05/20/2013 02:38 pm ET Updated Jul 20, 2013

Fox News On James Rosen: We Will 'Unequivocally Defend' Him From 'Downright Chilling' Probe

Fox News reacted aggressively on Monday to the news that one of its reporters had been heavily targeted by the Justice Department.

The DOJ's surveillance of James Rosen--and, especially, its contention that he was a "co-conspirator" in a criminal case simply because he encouraged a source to given him information--sent shockwaves throughout the journalism world. Fox News, which has often taken hits in the past for its hyperbolic opposition to the Obama administration, suddenly had a real scandal in its backyard, and it did not shy away from going after the DOJ.

The network gave a statement to TV Newser denouncing the investigation, calling it "downright chilling":

"We are outraged to learn today that James Rosen was named a criminal co-conspirator for simply doing his job as a reporter. In fact, it is downright chilling. We will unequivocally defend his right to operate as a member of what up until now has always been a free press."

Brit Hume, the longtime anchor for the network, also appeared multiple times throughout the day to condemn the targeting of Rosen.

"The Obama-Holder Justice Department is now prepared to treat the ordinary newsgathering activities of reporters trying to seek information from government officials as a possible crime," he said.

James Rosen Scandal