Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The West Wing Sphincter Meter just jumped

Ashcroft Recuses Self From CIA Leak Probe

WASHINGTON - Attorney General John Ashcroft will recuse himself from an investigation into who leaked the name of a CIA operative, Justice Department sources said Tuesday.

The investigation will be headed by the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, who will report to Ashcroft's new deputy, James Comey, the officials said. It was not immediately clear why Ashcroft made the decision.

Investigators want to know who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July. Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who has said he believes his wife's identity was disclosed to discredit his assertions that the Bush administration exaggerated Iraq's nuclear capabilities to build the case for war.

The leaker could be charged with a felony if identified.

Patrick Fitzgerald is apparently the prosecutor who is currently going after former Gov. George Ryan. Don't know anything else about him yet.

More news here.

More on Fitzgerald here.


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