Video: The man running the CIA leak probe

By Kelly O'Donnell Capitol Hill Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/25/2005 7:21:16 PM ET 2005-10-25T23:21:16

One man knows the secrets of the CIA leak case — and Washington is riveted by what special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald might do.

"He is dogged and he is tenacious," says former independent counsel Robert Ray. "But he's also responsible."

Fitzgerald was born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants. His father was a Manhattan doorman. Fitzgerald worked as a custodian and took other modest jobs to get through elite schools. He was a math and economics major at Amherst College then went to Harvard Law.

"His brainpower is, you know, beyond star quality," says Mary Jo White, a former U.S. attorney with the Southern District of New York.

He’s a career prosecutor, with a track record of tough cases, including going after the mob and al-Qaida.

In the 9/11 hearings, Fitzgerald testified, "Bin Laden had declared war on the American people."

He won convictions against terrorists behind the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.

Fitzgerald took on political heavyweights, too, indicting the former governor of Illinois on racketeering charges, insisting, "The citizens of this state deserve honest government."

At age 44 and never married, he is known as "Fitzie" to friends like U.S. Attorney David Kelley.

"He has a very, very dry sense of humor," says Kelley.

Kelley says Fitzgerald's bachelor habits and tireless work ethic can lead to a stack of old pizza boxes in his kitchen.

"He reminded me that, although he'd lived there for at that point about 10 years," recalls Kelley, "he'd never had the stove turned on."

As for political heat, Fitzgerald has no party affiliation.

"I think most people who know him well have come to the conclusion, frankly, that if anything he's apolitical," says former independent counsel Ray.

Fitzgerald is a Bush appointee and President Bush said Fitzgerald has done his work "in a dignified manner," which could make it harder for the White House to criticize Fitzgerald's findings if anyone is indicted.

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