All-Star Panel: DOJ leak investigation gone too far?

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 22, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: What about the department of justice looking into news reporters, the AP first and James Rosen as a part of leak investigations.  Here is what Reginald Reyes, the special agent in charge and the affidavit.  "There is a probable cause to believe that the reporter," in this case James Rosen, "has committed or is committing a violation of 18 U.S.C. 793, unauthorized disclosure of national defense information as an aider, abetter and/or co-conspirator." We showed you that before. But it went on, "If the provider or other persons notify anyone that a warrant has been issued on the subject account, the targets of this investigation, including the reporter, and other persons may further mask their identity and activity, flee, or otherwise obstruct this investigation."

A flight risk is how it is characterized in the affidavit.  Ryan Lizza with the New Yorker was the first to get the documents, the court filings. We had since, as we told you about last night had them as well after that. It lists the number of phone numbers in here. And we confirmed today that one of the phone numbers listed in here is, in fact, James Rosen's parents in Staten Island. We are back with the panel – Bill?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, WEEKLY STANDARD: I mean, huge parts of this administration just seem to be out-of-control. In this case apparently not following their own guidelines for when they should investigate reporters and how they should do so. Maybe they have changed those guidelines. That would be very interesting to have the attorney general testify to and presumably he would have consulted the president on something so serious.

So, once again, I think we need to have accountability not on one FBI guy who may or may not have filed the, you know, affidavit that he shouldn't have but on justice department itself. And, again, I come back to the fact that we are now discovering that this administration, this White House either directs, subordinate parts of the government to do things it shouldn't be doing something or just totally turn as blind eye to very sensitive and important parts of the U.S. government.

BAIER: Mara?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Yeah, look. They had reason to believe that there was somebody in the state department who had leaked classified documents.  That's perfectly within their right to investigate and they have to see who he talked to. That's also fine.

But, where I think they really, you know, went astray and hurt themselves was to file an affidavit like this. I mean, first of all, they never had any intention of charging James Rosen. We know that. But to say that he is he a flight risk, to say that he might, you know, change his appearance, I think, is just patently ridiculous.

And I just want to say one other thing about James Rosen. Everything we have learned about him during this story has just cast him in wonderful light as a reporter. I really want to say that I mean, everything that he did was what a reporter should do. He pushed. He tried to, you know, get information. He was completely sober and serious about it at all times.  And I don't know, I think that that's been like peeling back the curtain on the workings of the press and it's been pretty interesting.

BAIER: We have every Wednesday tweet the panel.

@PsySciGuy tweets, "James Rosen a 'flight risk' according to FBI/DOJ. Can't the FBI agent be prosecuted for filing a false affidavit?" Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I'm not sure how you would show that it was a false affidavit, but it is a preposterous idea of Rosen being a flight risk. I mean, the guy lives and breathes journalism. He practically sleeps here. I mean, what is he going to do, go to Rio and report in Portuguese?

And it isn't only that he has a wife and two small kids, but if he left America, who would ever appreciate his Howard Cosell imitations? I mean, the guy would die without that.

BAIER: That alone.

KRAUTHAMMER: But I mean, this whole thing is a setup. They never intended a prosecution. The reason they pretended and said he was a flight risk is so that they could invade his e-mails the way you would a co-conspirator. And that is what I think is so disturbing here. This was so outside the rules as a way to nail him. Was it because it was him, because it was Fox? Who knows? But this is extremely unusual and very disturbing.

BAIER: Quickly, the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia response today said quote, "we did not wiretap the phones of any reporter or news organization nor did we monitor or track the phone calls of any reporter's parents. No records were obtained from the computer servers of any news organization."

In this list they have subscriber and call details for some numbers and subscriber records for other numbers. That's the response from the U.S. attorney. Quickly, Bill.

KRISTOL: I believe the attorney general would have to sign off on what happened with respect to James Rosen. So, we should not let this be, oh the FBI went a little overboard. The attorney general would have approved this.  And he needs called before Congress and made to defend what -- his decision.

BAIER: OK. Other tweets we received were about my tie and how it looks like Twizzlers. It's the lighting.

That's it for the panel. But, stay tuned for a determine effort to get answers from President Obama.

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