The Chicago Tribune and reporter John Chase are leaking, again

Lee Cary & Marty Watters
Why is the Chicago Tribune quoting unreleased DoJ audio tapes of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's phone conversations? And how did Trib reporters get the transcripts?

On December 11, 2011, the American Thinker posted the story, complete with photo, of how,

"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 Tribune reporter, John Chase, passed the information to Blago, through one of Blago's supporters, just as persons representing Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. were putting together a money package to buy J.J. Jr. the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama. Soon after that, then U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald arrested Blago in order to stop a "crime spree." 

The December 2011 article posted on the American Thinker asked this question:

"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 [now former] U.S. Attorney, or the Department of Justice, for leaking sensitive information, nor has he revealed his source. What's up with that?"

That was then.

Now, there's been a recent development in the Tribune-Chase-Blago saga, as reported by the Tribune on August 8, 2012, and posted on DRUDGE.

"An upcoming book about Rod Blagojevich says undercover recordings caught the former governor saying he had heard that convicted influence peddler Antoin "Tony" Rezko secretly channeled $25,000 in cash to Barack Obama, but federal authorities did not deem the claim credible."

The book, written by Tribune reporters Jeff Coen and John Chase, entitled "How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself Out of the Governor's Office and Into Prison," "suggests Blagojevich was talking about an undisclosed payment to help Obama with his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate."

"The book says that federal investigators pursued the claim but ultimately gave it little credence. 'Never was Blagojevich seen as a credible threat to the incoming president,' says the book, an outside project by two Chicago Tribune reporters."

What are the key players saying about Blago's accusation? An Obama campaign spokesperson calls it "preposterous."  Federal authorities, who "did not deem the claim credible" back then, have declined to comment.

So a widespread debunking of Blago's claim is underway. But something else interesting is happening. 

"Blagojevich's claim about the money was caught on a government recording that was not made public during either of Blagojevich's trials, according to the book."

So how did Tribune reporters Chase and Coen get access to an unreleased transcript from a federal investigation? Isn't leaking a sealed federal court document a crime?

Add that to the initial question: How did John Chase know that the feds were tapping Blago's phone in the first place? That, too, remains unanswered.

Then there's this interesting statement in the Tribune article announcing the Chase-Coen book:

"The book portrays Blagojevich as being envious that Obama's political fortunes had risen so high when the governor thought the incoming president had bigger Rezko problems than he did."

Problems?  What sort of "problems"?

The Tribune's advance summary of the book suggests that its purpose is to acknowledge Blago's claim, and then debunk it. 

Is this, perhaps, a preemptive strike on the man in jail in Colorado who has yet to tell all?

Meanwhile, Blago has long been calling for all his recorded conversations to be released to the public.

So who's leaking this stuff, and what's their motive?

Why is the Chicago Tribune quoting unreleased DoJ audio tapes of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's phone conversations? And how did Trib reporters get the transcripts?

On December 11, 2011, the American Thinker posted the story, complete with photo, of how,

"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 Tribune reporter, John Chase, passed the information to Blago, through one of Blago's supporters, just as persons representing Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. were putting together a money package to buy J.J. Jr. the U.S. Senate seat once held by Barack Obama. Soon after that, then U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald arrested Blago in order to stop a "crime spree." 

The December 2011 article posted on the American Thinker asked this question:

"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 [now former] U.S. Attorney, or the Department of Justice, for leaking sensitive information, nor has he revealed his source. What's up with that?"

That was then.

Now, there's been a recent development in the Tribune-Chase-Blago saga, as reported by the Tribune on August 8, 2012, and posted on DRUDGE.

"An upcoming book about Rod Blagojevich says undercover recordings caught the former governor saying he had heard that convicted influence peddler Antoin "Tony" Rezko secretly channeled $25,000 in cash to Barack Obama, but federal authorities did not deem the claim credible."

The book, written by Tribune reporters Jeff Coen and John Chase, entitled "How Rod Blagojevich Talked Himself Out of the Governor's Office and Into Prison," "suggests Blagojevich was talking about an undisclosed payment to help Obama with his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate."

"The book says that federal investigators pursued the claim but ultimately gave it little credence. 'Never was Blagojevich seen as a credible threat to the incoming president,' says the book, an outside project by two Chicago Tribune reporters."

What are the key players saying about Blago's accusation? An Obama campaign spokesperson calls it "preposterous."  Federal authorities, who "did not deem the claim credible" back then, have declined to comment.

So a widespread debunking of Blago's claim is underway. But something else interesting is happening. 

"Blagojevich's claim about the money was caught on a government recording that was not made public during either of Blagojevich's trials, according to the book."

So how did Tribune reporters Chase and Coen get access to an unreleased transcript from a federal investigation? Isn't leaking a sealed federal court document a crime?

Add that to the initial question: How did John Chase know that the feds were tapping Blago's phone in the first place? That, too, remains unanswered.

Then there's this interesting statement in the Tribune article announcing the Chase-Coen book:

"The book portrays Blagojevich as being envious that Obama's political fortunes had risen so high when the governor thought the incoming president had bigger Rezko problems than he did."

Problems?  What sort of "problems"?

The Tribune's advance summary of the book suggests that its purpose is to acknowledge Blago's claim, and then debunk it. 

Is this, perhaps, a preemptive strike on the man in jail in Colorado who has yet to tell all?

Meanwhile, Blago has long been calling for all his recorded conversations to be released to the public.

So who's leaking this stuff, and what's their motive?