* Fox News phone records sought in North Korea leak probe

* Holder's approval of phone subpoena not disclosed earlier (Adds Justice Department confirmation, quote)

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved a decision to subpoena Fox News telephone records as the Justice Department investigated an unauthorized leak regarding North Korea, officials said on Tuesday.

The Justice Department did not mention the subpoena when it issued a statement on Friday describing how Holder had vetted a decision to seek a search warrant for the contents of an email account used by Fox News reporter James Rosen.

The revelation that Holder approved subpoenas that sought Fox News phone records shows that his involvement was broader than the Justice Department had earlier acknowledged publicly, as details continue to emerge in the controversy.

Rosen reported in June 2009 that U.S. intelligence officials believed North Korea would conduct more nuclear tests in response to U.N. sanctions.

Stephen Kim, a former State Department analyst who was Rosen's alleged source, is scheduled to go on trial as soon as next year on charges that he violated an anti-espionage law. Rosen has not been charged.

"In the investigation that led to the indictment of Stephen Kim, the government issued subpoenas, with approval from the attorney general as required by Justice Department guidelines, for toll records for five phone numbers associated with the media over a two-day period," a Justice Department official said.

The Obama administration has also been under fire for a separate subpoena of Associated Press phone records as part of a different investigation of an alleged unauthorized leak.

Both incidents have sparked an outcry from journalists, but the Fox News case has proved more concerning to some because investigators described Rosen as a suspected "co-conspirator" in the leak of secret government information.


ACCUSED OF INTIMIDATION

Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes said in a statement on Thursday that the Obama administration was attempting to intimidate Fox News and its employees.

A law enforcement official said that subpoenas issued for Fox News covered telephone records for two days during 2009. The official said that a certified letter and fax notifying the general counsel of News Corp, parent of Fox News, about the subpoenas was sent on Aug. 27, 2010, the day Kim was indicted.

Authorities emailed Rosen at his work address with a similar notification, the official said. News Corp has said that it has found no record of such notifications, though it is not disputing government officials' accounts.

Mark Corallo, a Justice Department spokesman between 2002 and 2005, said that during his tenure, any request from any part of the Justice Department for the issuing of subpoenas against a news organization had to be submitted to his office for approval.

Corallo said that of "dozens" of requests from prosecutors for subpoenas directed against news organizations, he approved only one during his tenure.

President Barack Obama said last week that Holder would begin a review of Justice Department procedures related to media records. Holder, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said he hopes to meet this week with media organizations about the review.

"We're going to have a real frank, good conversation about this," Holder said. "And I think we're going to make some changes. I'm not satisfied with where we are." (Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Additional reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Karey Van Hall and Eric Beech)

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  • Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder is expected to face aggressive questioning on topics ranging from the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press to the government's handling of intelligence before the Boston Marathon bombings. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) questions Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, during the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder reacts to aggressive questioning from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, as the House Judiciary Committee focused on oversight of the Justice Department. Lawmakers pressed for answers about the unwarranted targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department's secret seizure of telephone records at The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, as Attorney General Eric Holder testified before committee's oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder told the committee that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press as he stood by an investigation in which he insisted he had no involvement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder gestures as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee as it focuses on oversight of the Justice Department. Holder told the committee that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press as he stood by an investigation in which he insisted he had no involvement. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., wants to know more about the unwarranted targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department's secret seizure of telephone records at The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder pauses while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder told Congress Wednesday that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press as he stood by an investigation in which he insisted he had no involvement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, to testify before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., wants to know more about the unwarranted targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department's secret seizure of telephone records at The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder gestures as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder is expected to face aggressive questioning on topics ranging from the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press to the government's handling of intelligence before the Boston Marathon bombings. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder gestures while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder told Congress Wednesday that a serious national security leak required the secret gathering of telephone records at The Associated Press as he stood by an investigation in which he insisted he had no involvement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder, the nation's top law enforcement official, is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice. Department. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte,R-Va., wants to know more about the unwarranted targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department's secret seizure of telephone records at The Associated Press. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, before the House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department. Holder is expected to face aggressive questioning on topics ranging from the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press to the government's handling of intelligence before the Boston Marathon bombings. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)