Alabama Senator Focus of Investigation

Sen. Richard Shelby (R)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R)

Alabama's senior senator is under investigation. The U.S. Justice Department is accusing Senator Richard Shelby of leaking sensitive intelligence material about the 9-11 terror attacks. The criminal investigation has actually been going on for months. But now, it is being handed over to the senate ethics committee.

The investigation involves material gathered from eavesdropping on the conversations of suspected terrorists overseas. The conversations were picked up more then 24 hours before the September 11th attacks. One day later, Shelby and fellow members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were briefed on the information.

Some of the precise language that was leaked to reporters includes the phrases "match is about to begin" and "tomorrow is zero hours." At the time of the leak, Shelby was Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Shelby's office responded Saturday with the same statement made in January when the allegations first surfaced. The statement says that neither he nor his staff knowingly compromised classified information.

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Marty Connors says the fact that the U.S. Justice Department handed the investigation over to congress indicates to him that it has "no legs." He says he doesn't expect Shelby will face any charges.