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Special Report

Hume: Government respecting freedom of press?

In the matter of Fox News correspondent James Rosen, the Justice Department has gone where federal prosecutors have rarely, if ever, gone before.

To obtain a search warrant for Rosen's personal e-mails, they have claimed to a federal court that by doing what journalists do, which is to try to ferret out secrets of government and report them, Rosen has committed a crime. Indeed, they describe how he cultivated a state department official as a source, set up a confidential method of communicating with him, flattered him, spoke to him on the phone  -- gasp -- and asked him to provide information about State Department actions and intelligence on a foreign country, now identified as North Korea. All this, says the FBI in a 36-page affidavit, is in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy to divulge classified information.

Did Rosen do this to help an enemy?  The FBI makes no such claim. Instead it cites an e-mail in which Rosen tells his source  -- quote -- "I want to report authoritatively and ahead of the competition on new initiatives or shifts in U.S. policy, events on the ground and what intelligence is picking up." Oh Heaven forbid!

The president and his attorney general can recite all the platitudes they like about their respect for press freedom and the need for investigative reporting. But this FBI affidavit contradicts them all.