Chicago Tribune Federal Wiretap Leaker Stands By Blago
When former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich faced media microphones after he was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, the Chicago reporter who told Blago that the feds were bugging his phones stood beside his man. (Video)
The man to Blago's immediate right wearing glasses, and a dark blue sleeveless sweater over a long sleeve light blue shirt, is Tribune reporter John Chase.
Why is that significant? Chase was the reporter who leaked to Blago's inner circle, days before the former governor was arrested by F.B.I. agents on orders from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office, that the feds were wiretapping his, Blago's, phone conversations. The transcript of the conversation where Blago learned of the government bugs can be read here.
Neither Fitzgerald, who once jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller for 85 days for not revealing the source of information pertaining to Valerie Plame, nor the Department of Justice, has shown any interest in learning how Chase gained knowledge of sensitive information concerning a federal investigation against a sitting governor.
In this ABC News video from Fitzgerald's press conference when he announced the conviction of Blago, Chase is seated to the U.S. Attorney's left, in the front row, again wearing a blue shirt. During the press conference, in a surreal moment, other reporters ask Fitzgerald about the leak. All the while, everyone in the room knows the leaker is in the front row!
A Chicago-based website that reports on Illinois corruption, stated, in their September 19, 2011 article linked above, that:
At about 5:40 in the recording, Fitzgerald reports what everyone in the room already knows, and one reporter in the room knows better than all the others. "There was a leak to a newspaper article that indicated that Mr. Blagojevich was being recorded on," he says.
Later in the press conference, reporters begin asking Fitzgerald - whose national reputation as a dogged plugger of leaks was built during his relentless pursuit of the person who revealed Valerie Plame's identity as a Central Intelligence Agency employee - about the leak in the Blago investigation.
It's a head-scratcher: The reporter who alerted Blago that the feds were bugging his phones, and never revealed his source for that information, is front-and-center in the saga's bookend events -- Blago's arrest and his sentencing. And, as far as we know, Chase has never been held accountable by the U.S. Attorney, or the Department of Justice, for leaking sensitive information, nor has he revealed his source. What's up with that?