Anonymous Leaks Pour From Federal Sources
A week ago, America never heard of Theodore Kaczynski. Now the country knows all about him: his rickety bicycle, the contents of his cabin, his telltale typewriter, his travels to California, his body odor.
Officially, none of this came to you from your government. Some of it came from acquaintances and yearbooks and the local librarian and professors who knew Kaczynski. But much came from the government unofficially - from "federal law-enforcement officials" and officials "who spoke on condition of anonymity." People in the government have leaked and leaked again.
"And I think it's criminal," says David Goldberger, an Ohio State University law professor and former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Illinois. "This is a recurring catastrophe in our legal system."
He said U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, before whom Kaczynski appeared last week, "should be holding an inquiry at this moment. He should be going after the leakers and putting them in jail."
Leaks in sensational cases - the O.J. Simpson double murder trial, the Oklahoma City bombing, even the Lindbergh kidnapping in the 1930s and the Sam Sheppard murder case of the 1950s - are a fact of life. But few cases have brought such a rush of detailed information as the Unabomber affair, in which Kaczynski officially is not a suspect. He has been charged only with possessing bomb components.
Even Anthony Bisceglie, the lawyer who was a conduit between Kaczynski's brother, David, and the FBI, deplored the leakage.
"I have never seen so many unnamed federal officials in my life," he told a Washington news conference Monday in which he laid out David Kaczynski's role in pointing to his brother as a suspect.
"And given some of the information that has been coming out of those unnamed federal officials, if I were you all, I'd be very careful about what I reported," Bisceglie said.
Carl Stern, spokesman for the Justice Department, said no leaks came from high officials. "The problem is that you cannot restrain an entire federal work force from commenting," he said.
Asked if Attorney General Janet Reno, in light of the Kaczynski flood, had put out any instructions emphasizing existing rules against leaks, Stern said: "We have done everything in our power, and I think largely successfully, to keep people in the know from talking about this thing."
The attorney general did not have to issue instructions, he said; she assumed her views would be known throughout her department.
"It is not within our power to keep everybody who has a cousin or a brother in the federal service from talking to a reporter," said Stern.