Fox News on Monday asked former Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove, who participated in leaking the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame in 2003, to comment on the Obama administration’s decision to investigate Fox News reporter James Rosen as a co-conspirator in leaking CIA documents.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the FBI had accused Rosen of illegally soliciting information about North Korea from government adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim in 2009. The FBI allegedly searched Rosen’s emails and tracked him as he used a key card to enter and exit the State Department.
In a statement, Fox News executive VP of news Michael Clemente called the investigation “downright chilling” and “promised to unequivocally defend” Rosen.
Rove told Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Monday that “every American has sympathy for the release of confidential secret information of the government” but that the news about Rosen was “deeply troubling.”
“The focus should be on the people who break their oath and put the American people at risk, not on reporters who gather this information,” Rove explained. “That should not be the focus of these investigations.”
“We had to confront this question during the Bush administration. There were leaks of classified information and in each and every instance, the focus was on the potential leak, not the reporter who received it,” he continued. “Can you imagine what would have happened if The New York Times, which was the recipient of a number of those confidential leaks, if the Bush administration had asked for the phone records — secretly asked for the phone records of up to 100 of editors and reporters at The New York Times?”
Kelly reminded Rove that he had a role in leaking Valerie Plame’s identity, and that former New York Times reporter Judy Miller — who now works for Fox News — was jailed for 85 days for refusing to testify against I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff.
But Kelly argued that this case was different because the Department of Justice had obtained Rosen’s emails instead of jailing him for contempt.
Watch this video from Fox News, broadcast May 20, 2013.