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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Why DOJ didn't need a 'super search warrant' to snoop on Fox News' e-mail

If attorney general Eric Holder wanted to perform even a momentary Internet wiretap on Fox News' e-mail accounts, he would have had to persuade a judge to approve what lawyers call a "super search warrant."

A super search warrant's requirements are exacting: Intercepted communications must be secured and placed under seal. Real-time interception must be done only as a last resort. Only certain crimes qualify for this technique, the target must be notified, and additional restrictions apply to state and local police conducting real-time intercepts.

But because of the way federal law was written nearly half a century ago, Holder was able to obtain a normal search warrant -- lacking those extensive privacy protections -- that allowed federal agents to secretly obtain up to six years of email correspondence between Fox News correspondent James Rosen and his alleged sources.

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