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FBI investigating media leaks of public corruption probes

[JURIST] Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] Director Robert S. Mueller [official profile] told the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Wednesday that the FBI has launched internal investigations into media leaks of details relating to several public corruption probes. The FBI had pending investigations of Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) [official website], Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) [WP profile; JURIST report] and Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) [official website] but word leaked of the probes right before last month's midterm elections. Mueller expressed his disappointment with the leaks but noted that at least one of the leak investigations could result in criminal charges. US Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website; JURIST news archive], outgoing chairman of the committee, chided Mueller that such disclosures were "just disastrous" for suspects who have not been charged, much less proven guilty.

FBI investigations into leaks to the media, particularly those that could result in criminal penalties, are rare and particularly hard to prove if some of the information has already been reported in the media or revealed in court documents. FBI agents found guilty can be forced to take lie-detector tests and cooperate with investigations to avoid losing their security clearances and pay. AP has more.

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