Friday, November 03, 2006

FBI Warned Against Leaking Info On Lawmaker-Related Probes

The plethora of corruption cases involving Republicans has gotten so embarrassing to the party that the FBI director is trying to combat the flow of information about the official malfeasance to the press.

Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. has issued a stern message to the bureau's nearly 30,000 employees warning them against leaks of confidential information after recent news articles disclosed criminal inquiries involving incumbent lawmakers, mainly House Republicans.

"There have been a number of recent stories in the press attributing sensitive law enforcement information to 'federal law enforcement officials,'" Mr. Mueller said in an Oct. 26 e-mail message. "While I cannot say they have come from F.B.I. employees, such disclosures do serious damage to our investigations and risk unfairly tarnishing the subjects of our investigations who enjoy the presumption of innocence."

In similar election season warnings, senior Justice Department officials sent messages on Wednesday to prosecutors reminding them of departmental rules against leaks. One was sent by Alice S. Fisher, assistant attorney general in charge of the department's criminal division, to prosecutors in her unit. Another was issued by Michael A. Battle, director of the Justice Department office that coordinates with federal prosecutors throughout the country.

Mr. Mueller has tried, during his five-year tenure, to keep a tight lid on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities in advance of elections, and is said by some associates to have been "livid" at the recent disclosures. In some cases, the F.B.I. investigations have been made into campaign issues that have threatened the re-election prospects of incumbents.

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