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Monday, December 11, 2006

FBI Probes Media Leaks Against Weldon

From the AP:

The FBI has begun several internal investigations, including at least one that could result in criminal charges, over leaks to the media about public corruption probes shortly before last month's elections.

At least one of the alleged leaks involves the federal inquiry of Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. He lost his House seat weeks after the FBI raided the homes and offices of his daughter and her business partner.

"There are a series of investigations we've undertaken, some by our inspection side, and some, at least one we're looking at as a criminal investigation," FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"Although I usually say I can neither confirm nor deny an investigation, I think it's fair to say in this particular case we are pursuing it, and by that I mean (the leak involving) Congressman Weldon," Mueller said.

Mueller described himself as "exceptionally disappointed, and that is being charitable, in terms of my response upon hearing about the leak."

From Ken Timmerman:

Defeated Pennsylvania Republican Curt Weldon believes that the CIA and the FBI are "out of control," and that the next Congress must do better oversight to prevent them from continued interference in domestic U.S. politics.

The charge by the outgoing Republican congressman and deputy chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, one of the top targets of the Democratic National Committee in November's congressional election, was not idle speculation.

"Just yesterday, FBI Director Mueller took the unusual step of publicly acknowledging that the FBI had launched a criminal inquiry into the activities of two of its agents for misconduct in a federal investigation," Weldon said. "Even more unusual, Mueller said that the improper leaks involved Congressman Weldon."

Weldon spoke to NewsMax on Friday just outside the House chamber in the Capitol building on his last day as a United States congressman. He planned to stay for votes scheduled to continue until 11 p.m.

Six weeks before last November's election, Weldon continue to dominate his Democratic opponent in the polls. Then, out of nowhere, "anonymous law enforcement sources" leaked to the press that the FBI was conducting a federal probe into the Pennsylvania Republican for alleged influence peddling.

Weldon has been in Congress since 1986, and was re-elected in 2004 with 59 percent of the vote. After a televised FBI raid on his daughter's townhouse on Oct. 16, Weldon dropped like a rock in the polls.

Timmerman then reports:

Weldon also charged the former CIA station chief in Paris, Bill Murray, of attempting to smear the incoming chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes, by alleging that Reyes attended a meeting in Paris with Iran-contra figure, Manoucher Ghorbanifar.

Those allegations appeared in a left-wing Internet publication on Nov. 17 that was clearly aimed at thwarting Reyes's candidacy to take over the sensitive intelligence oversight position. "What does this say about Reyes' judgment, meeting with a guy like this?" left-wing journalist Laura Rozen wrote.

Impeached former federal judge Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., was in line to become chairman of the intelligence committee, but was facing stiff opposition from security-minded Democrats as well as Republicans, who argued he was unfit for the job. Reyes was seen as a compromise candidate for the job.

"Bill Murray's aim was to impugn the reputation of the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee," Weldon said. "This is outrageous. And it is a blatant lie, because Reyes never met with Ghorbanifar in Paris."