25 June 2009

Note to Self: Read Murray Waas

Seriously, this guy is the best investigative reporter of my generation.

This time, he shows how the Bush administration leaked the fact that there was an investigation of Republican Congressman Rick Renzi the day after a wiretap warrant was approved:
In the fall of 2006, one day after the Justice Department granted permission to a U.S. attorney to place a wiretap on a Republican congressman suspected of corruption, existence of the investigation was leaked to the press — not only compromising the sensitive criminal probe but tipping the lawmaker off to the wiretap.

Career federal law enforcement officials who worked directly on a probe of former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) said they believe that word of the investigation was leaked by senior Bush administration political appointees in the Justice Department in an improper and perhaps illegal effort to affect the outcome of an election.

At the time of the leak, Renzi was locked in a razor-thin bid for reelection and unconfirmed reports of a criminal probe could have become politically damaging. The leaked stories — appearing 10 days before the election — falsely suggested that the investigation of Renzi was in its initial stages and unlikely to lead to criminal charges.
Note that if they had gotten permission to wire tap a Congressman, criminal charges are nearly a slam dunk, and the US attorney pursuing the investigation of the now-indicted Renzi was one of those purged by Bush and His Evil Minions for insufficient political loyalty.

BTW, it appear that the leaker may have been Alice Fisher, who was a recess appointment by President Bush as Assistant Attorney General in charge the Criminal Division of the DoJ.

She is the only assistant AG in that position who has never tried a criminal case.



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