Most federal investigations of national security leaks go nowhere, because the officials and journalists who are the only witnesses to any crime refuse to discuss it, says the New York Times. In the case of Valerie Wilson, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has succeeded in penetrating that sanctum. It may be clear as soon as today if Fitzgerald will bring charges in the case.
The House Intelligence Committee, under Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Mi.), has called for redoubled efforts against leakers. Fitzgerald’s approach differs from the one pursued by prosecutors in most previous leak investigations. An investigation concluded in 2004 that Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Al.), was almost certainly a source for news accounts that described classified Arabic-language messages intercepted by the National Security Agency just before the Sept. 11 attacks. No charges were filed. A case, against Charles G. Bakaly III, a spokesman for Kenneth W. Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton, ended in acquittal in 2000. In a 2003 episode involving the Drug Enforcement Administration, analyst Jonathan Randel was sentenced to a year in prison for providing what the agency called sensitive information to The Times of London.