Senate Republicans and Democrats signed a letter to Atty. Gen. Ashcroft, calling for criminal investigation of allegedly improper disclosure of Senate Judiciary Committee files by a former staffer. It called for the appointment of a "professional prosecutor who is free from all conflicts and appearances of conflict -- or, if appropriate, a special counsel -- who has full investigatory, charging and reporting authority."
The letter cited Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney now investigating the leak of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, as an example of the sort of counsel needed. Signed by Judiciary Committee Democrats Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) as well as Republicans Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) and Mike DeWine (Ohio), the letter is online courtesy of TalkingPoints.com. (more ... )
More in the Washington Post: "Senate Panel Agrees to Seek Federal Probe: GOP Aides' Accessing of Democratic Files at Issue," Washington Post March 12, 2004, p. A21 (free registration required). In that article, lawyers for Manuel Miranda are quoted as calling "remarkably negligent and biased" the recently released report by the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle that identified Mr. Miranda in connection with allegations of inappropriate access to confidential computer files.
See also: Unintended Consequences: Senate Judiciary Computergate: Criminal?
And "Pickle Report Names Staff in Judiciary Files Scandal" (Unintended Consequences March 6, 2004)