A law enforcement official has told NBC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who signed the search warrant for the private emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The warrant was signed under the guise that Rosen might be a “possible co-consiprator” in violation of the Espionage Act.
The law enforcement official said Holder’s approval of the Rosen search, in the spring of 2010, came after senior Justice officials concluded there was “probable cause” that Rosen’s communications with his source, identified as intelligence analyst Stephen Kim, met the legal burden for such searches. “It was approved at the highest levels– and I mean the highest,” said the law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said that explicitly included Holder.
The affidavit submitted to Google stated Rosen had “asked, solicited and encouraged Mr. Kim to disclose sensitive United States internal documents and intelligence information.” It went on to describe that Rosen had employed “flattery and [was] playing to Mr. Kim’s vanity and ego.”
It also said that Google was specifically instructed not to notify “the subscriber” — Rosen — that his emails were being seized. In new documents disclosed Thursday, the Justice Department sought and obtained approval to keep the search warrant, which was approved by a federal magistrate, under seal.
Officials have since said they do not intend to criminally charge Rosen.
Holder, the man who signed the warrant for Rosen’s private emails, will “convene” a group of media organizations to garner feedback and will report back to Obama by July 12.