Judiciary Leak Probe Comes to Close

Posted March 3, 2004 at 6:30pm

With Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Pickle having completed a three-and-a-half-month investigation, the Judiciary Committee meets today to decide its next step in the scandal regarding leaked Democratic memos.

In a closed-door session, Judiciary Democrats are expected to push the committee to forward the report to the Justice Department, contending Pickle couldn’t get to the bottom of which, if any, outside groups played a role in distributing their internal memos to the media.

Pickle delivered the report late Wednesday afternoon to Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), each of whom emerged from the hourlong meeting with a large Manila envelope under his arm.

Hatch and Leahy would not comment at all about the contents of the report and issued only a joint press release praising Pickle’s work.

In an interview, Pickle said he laid out a “chronology of what happened” in the case, which involved the unauthorized downloading of thousands of Democratic documents in a period of more than 18 months. He said he did not make any conclusions about the criminality of the actions of two former Hatch staffers, both of whom have since resigned.

Instead, Pickle said, his objective was “to state what happened, to the best we can determine, and then list options of what the committee can do next.”

While he still has a few “loose ends” to clean up, including some extra interviews and computer forensic work, Pickle said his work is basically done. “It’s really up to the committee now,” he said.