All-Star Panel: Reaction to DOJ targeting FNC's James Rosen

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 21, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president believes this deeply, that the press is allowed to pursue investigate gave journalism freely. He is a fierce defender of the First Amendment of press freedom and will continue to be. And you asked, again, about a specific matter, and I can't comment on the specifics of any ongoing criminal matter. But if you're asking me whether the president believes that journalists should be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the answer is no. 


BAIER: Jay Carney at the White House today. New information on this story late today from the federal court filing into the investigation into our colleague, James Rosen, chief Washington correspondent, that it went further than initially reported. The U.S. attorney for D.C. has seized records associated with more than 30 different phone numbers. Two of those numbers are associated with the White House. At least five more numbers targeted by the government are for this building, the Fox D.C. bureau, as well as James Rosen's mobile phone.

The government, according to the filing, involving a former state department contractor, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, accused of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking classified information about North Korea to Rosen, characterized Rosen this way, quote, "Based on the foregoing, there is probable cause to believe that the reporter has committed or is committing a violation," and then it goes into the specific violation, "unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, as an aider, abettor, and/or co- conspirator."

Rosen said in a statement yesterday, quote, "As a reporter I always honor the confidentiality of my dealings with all of my sources." and the executive vice-president of news for Fox Michael Clemente issued this statement, quote, "We are outraged to learn today," that was yesterday, "that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter. In fact, it's downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of the what up until now has been always a fee pass."

With that let's bring in our panel, Tucker Carlson, host of "Fox and Friends Weekend", Kirsten Powers, columnist for The Daily Beast, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. OK, Charles, thoughts? 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I repeat, Jay Carney is underpaid. Here he is saying the president or the administration, which has just trashed the First Amendment, but he can't talk about it because it's under investigation when we can all see it in front of our eyes he is a believer in the First Amendment.

Why is this a trashing of the First Amendment? Because as you said, they said that James Rosen presented this to the court as a co-conspirator.  Why? Because that's the only way in which you can invade his e-mail and his other contacts. If you can save the person involved is under criminal investigation, the reason it's a travesty is because it's a ruse. There's no chance of that happening. It's unprecedented. The only possible exception is the pursuit of Neal Sheehan who leaked the Pentagon papers that Nixon tried to prosecute and then gave up because it wasn't going to succeed.

We have never had a case of seeking of a journalist seeking seeking of information being accused of a crime. So they set it up as if it's going to be accused of a crime. Of course he hasn't. But it was a way to get and invade the e-mail in a way that you can't if it's just looking into a journalist. And that is a travesty. And of course we understand that the administration is a huge supporter of the First Amendment and the rights of the press.

BAIER: Kirsten, a lot of reporters, a lot of organizations have put out statements in support of Rosen, in support of Fox. Your thoughts?

KIRSTEN POWERS, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK POST: I just think it's incredible that he can stand up there and say that he's a fierce defender of the First Amendment, which he's said before, as the press secretary of an administration that's spying on reporters. And if he's so offended by this, who has been fired? Why are heads not rolling over this? I actually haven't seen the president express real outrage other than giving lip service to it. And I also think that you have to remember we're focused on the media because we're media, but there are a lot of regular people who are whistle-blowers who have had their lives turned upside down by this administration, the same administration who said they treat whistle-blowers as criminal but then people who leak information like Stuxnet, or the kill list, or Usama bin Laden information are heroes because they make President Obama look like some super human protector of America. So everything is completely upside down here.

BAIER: Just one quick poll from our poll out today, Tucker. The question, do you feel government is out of control and threatening your basic civil liberties? 68 percent said government is out of control, 26 percent said no, don't feel that way.

TUCKER CARLSON, EDITOR, THEDAILYCALLER.COM: Expect that number to grow. I actually can't do justice to the column that Kirsten wrote today, which I recommend to everyone who is watching, which is a fantastic description of how this happened.

But let me just note the obvious, which is reporters said nothing when this has happened in the past, over the past four and a half years. When David Petraeus had his life destroyed because the FBI, the Obama Justice Department broke into his personal e-mail and leaked the contents to newspapers, thereby destroying his whole family, no one said anything. It's only when it happened to reporters.         What's so very frustrating about this is the administration can and will and does hide behind classification. So the attorney general said in the AP case it was a very, very serious leak that endangered this country.  He won't explain what the leak was or how it endangered America. People are too credulous about this. The U.S. government has tens of millions of classified documents that we know nothing about. It was only two years ago that the CIA declassified the last documents from World War I, 100 years ago, about secret ink and how to hide it in your starched collar. There is a lot of information that is kept from the public for no justifiable reason other than CYA, period.

BAIER: Here is what they say, that national security, Republicans who are upset about this can't have it both ways. They can't say stop the leaks, go after the leakers, and then get upset when they are doing it.  That's what they say.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Yes, that's what they say. And they imply that once you determine there's been a leak, you can do anything. You cannot. We are a republic of laws. We have a Constitution. We also have an understanding of how you do this. Yes, you can go after the leaker, but there are regulations and rules about what you can do with the press. It is not illegal for a member of the press to seek information. And if you make it illegal, then you are really making a huge dent in and a huge assault on the First Amendment and freedom of the press, which, incidentally, is the First Amendment. That's what we start with. Without that, you've got nothing.

BAIER: The U.S. attorney's office in D.C. said because of this case, it's an open case, active prosecution, they're limited in what they can share. The government exhausted, they said, "All reasonable non-media alternatives for collecting this evidence before seeking court approval for a search warrant based on the investigation and all the facts known to date. No other individuals, including the reporter, have been charged since Mr. Kim was indicted nearly three years ago." We can report that James Rosen, to his knowledge, was never contacted by anyone in the administration.

POWERS: Which is what they're supposed to do which is normal operating procedure. The fact that he hasn't been charged -- I'm sorry. They just went through his e-mails and his private Gmail and that's OK, but they haven't charged him with anything, so let's just all move on?

I want to go back to the fact if that if they're concerned about leakers, the leakers are the people who are leaking all the information about Obama being a superman when it comes to Usama bin Laden. The people who are being prosecuted are whistle-blowers. There's a difference. The whistle-blowers are doing it to try to disclose information about the government. For example, one released some information about water boarding. Another one has released some information about State Department abuses during the Iraq war, wasting money. That's whistle-blowing. Leaking is what the Obama administration does to make the president look better, and nobody gets prosecuted for that.


BAIER: You know, I just want to point out one more thing. You know, we said the different numbers. We have the documents now, and the seized toll records also relate to James' parents' home in Staten Island.

CARLSON: It's unbelievable. But this began when the administration tried to read Fox News out of the White House press pool. You had a politician determining what is and what is not a news organization, and by and large, the press stood still and allowed that to happen. By the way, Cheryl Atkinson, a terrific reporter at CBS, who's, I think been doing great work, is reporting that she believes her personal commuter was compromised. We don't know by whom, but it does suggest that this story may grow a lot bigger before it ends.

BAIER: OK, next up, the latest on the IRS scandal, a shifting response from the White House, and pleading the Fifth. 

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