President Barack Obama crosses the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, May 19, 2013. (Jonathan Ernst/ …The Justice Department spied extensively on Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010, collecting his telephone records, tracking his movements in and out of the State Department and seizing two days of Rosen’s personal emails, the Washington Post reported on Monday.In a chilling move sure to rile defenders of civil liberties, an FBI agent also accused Rosen of breaking anti-espionage law with behavior that—as described in the agent's own affidavit—falls well inside the bounds of traditional news reporting. (Disclosure: This reporter counts Rosen among his friends.)
UPDATE: Fox News responds with a blistering statement that asserts Rosen was "simply doing his job" in his role as "a member of what up until now has always been a free press.”
The revelations surfaced with President Barack Obama’s administration already under fire for seizing two months of telephone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press. Obama last week said he makes “no apologies” for investigations into national security-related leaks. The AP's CEO, Gray Pruitt, said Sunday that the seizure was "unconstitutional."
The Obama administration has prosecuted twice as many leakers as all previous administrations combined.
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As the chair of the Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R – Minn.) is railing against the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups, saying: “clearly, this had political implications…that would benefit President Obama.”
“Over and over and over, the common thread is the Obama administration was too willing to use the government to advance their agenda, their political agenda,” Bachmann tells The Fine Print.
Bachmann says individuals in the Tea Party have been voicing concerns to her about getting “ridiculous questions” from the IRS for quite some time and asserts that other groups, in addition to the Tea Party, were also targeted.
“The IRS couldn't do enough to part the waters to make sure that every progressive, left-wing leaning organization got their new tax-exempt status,” she says. “So they were able to get a favorable tax treatment, while Christians, pro Israel, conservative, Tea Partiers, pro-growth, pro-job, pro-business, they were hurt.”
The congresswoman says the recent controversy highlights her broader concerns that the IRS may gain access to people’s medical information under the Affordable Care Act.
“When people realize that their most personal, sensitive, intimate, private healthcare information is in the hands of the IRS that's been willing to use people's tax information against political opponents of this administration, then people have pause and they pull back in horror,” Bachmann says.
The Obama administration has refuted the claim that the IRS will handle people’s medical records, but Bachmann is not convinced. The long-time critic of the president’s health care plan led a vote in the House last week calling for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“Well the ball is in Harry Reid's court now, because the House of Representatives has done its part,” Bachmann says of the measure that passed the House, but is not expected to gain traction in the Senate.
While the former presidential candidate says she isn’t thinking about running for president again, she isn’t exactly ruling it out either, saying: “you never know.”
“My calculus never has been about politics,” Bachmann says. “It’s really about the issues. And I will tell you, the reason why I ran for president is because I knew I had the backbone and the spine to repeal Obamacare.”