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Capitol Hill Is Leaking

Or at least taking a look at leaks…

Taking place now…(where’s my Drudge siren when I need one?)

    May 30, 2006


    The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on “Examining DOJ’s Investigation of Journalists Who Publish Classified Information: Lessons from the Jack Anderson Case” for Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.

    By order of the Chairman

From today’s Roll Call (Mary Ann Akers):

It appears there may be an even more bizarre genesis to the FBI’s already unusual attempt to seize the papers of the late journalist Jack Anderson, who was 83 when he died in December. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear about the allegedly sordid past of a former Anderson reporter who tipped off the FBI when it convenes this morning to hold a hearing on the controversy.

According to a Senate Judiciary Committee source, a witness will testify that the entire Anderson investigation was triggered by a tip from a man convicted and imprisoned for sodomizing a young boy and who allegedly admitted to having a history of mental illness. The witness who will make these charges is Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at George Washington University, where the Anderson papers are stored. Feldstein is working on a book titled “Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture,” which is due out next year. So the FBI went to him to seek Anderson’s papers. The FBI reportedly said it wanted Anderson’s files, going back as far as the early 1980s, as part of its criminal probe of two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are accused of violating espionage laws. The FBI came knocking even though, as The Chicago Tribune noted in an editorial last month, Anderson “had been ill with Parkinson’s disease since 1986.”

Don Goldberg, a veteran spinmeister for the Clinton administration who is now a managing director for Qorvis Communications, says he and other former Anderson associates find the FBI’s attempt to seize Anderson’s papers “outrageous.” For one, Goldberg said, Anderson had not been an active journalist for at least 15 years before his death. More importantly, he said, “the First Amendment ability of journalists to protect their confidential sources regarding legitimate issues relating to how our government works is sacred. It doesn’t evaporate when a journalist dies. This is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate reporters by threatening them even in death.” Several close-knit Andersonites plan to attend today’s hearing. One of them, author James Grady, whose spy novel “Six Days of the Condor” was made into the ’70s suspense classic “Three Days of the Condor,” has a notion to corral the Anderson gang to sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of the session. “I think that would be appropriate to remind people where they are,” he said.

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