Opinion: Eliot Spitzer ruined by leaks and FBI director has nothing to say


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Amazing, isn’t it, how we already know so much about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s flings with high-priced hookers that he’s had to resign and you can already buy T-shirts making fun of him as Client #9?

And yet he’s not been charged with a solitary thing and not one single government official has publicly uttered his name?


Now, FBI Director Robert Mueller, whose agents were involved in the probe along with the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. attorney’s office, claims to be an outspoken critic of leaks to the press and says he believes in taking ‘appropriate action’ to plug them.

But appearing at an editorial board meeting at the Chicago Tribune today, Mueller declined to criticize or offer any other comment on the gusher of confidential information inexplicably pouring out of the prostitution investigation that led to Spitzer’s resignation today. Not a word. And he showed his mastery of the District of Columbia dodge.

Within a day of the unsealing of the complaint, which details Spitzer’s....

ualleged Feb. 13 Washington assignation with ‘Kristen’, federal sources began ladling out secret aspects of the investigation, most importantly that someone mentioned in the transcript as ‘Client 9’ was, indeed, the former state attorney general Spitzer, who publicly prosecuted the wrongdoings of so many others for so many years, including prostitution.

A number of federal agencies were involved, and sign-off on the wiretaps would have to come from high in the Justice Department. So the potential leaks’ sources are multiple.

But the formal complaint is essentially the sworn statement of a Mueller special agent, so you might excuse the director if he felt protective of that information and offered at least a quiet lament at how quickly and ruthlessly Spitzer was cut out from a herd of 10 listed johns, politically destroyed and publicly humiliated without ever being named on the record by one government official or document.

Not so.

Here’s part of the exchange when Mueller was asked today about Spitzer’s outing:

Given the breach of confidentiality, ‘are you at all troubled by the way this investigation has been handled ... ?’


‘That’s a very good question, but I respectfully defer from answering it.’

‘You’ve been a stickler for maintaining confidentiality...’

‘Absolutely. Absolutely. And I still am today. And that’s all I’ll say. I’ll speak generally that I deplore leaks and when you find leaks, then you take appropriate action.’

‘Do you know that the leak was not the bureau’s?’

‘Again, it’s a nice try.’

So you can see how forthcoming this guy was. And now the country is covertly informed about the governor’s doings but not how the government manages to do that.

--Andrew Zajac

Andrew Zajac writes for the Swamp of the Chicago Tribune’s Washington Bureau.

Photo credit: <i>Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times </i>