LEAK PROBE: NEXT TARGET

How far will federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald go in his campaign to sniff out government leakers? As special counsel in the Valerie Plame leak probe, Fitzgerald, the hard-charging U.S. attorney in Chicago, has subpoenaed D.C. reporters, demanding they identify sources who told them Plame was an undercover CIA operative. But Fitzgerald's war on leakers may generate more controversy in another case: his efforts to hunt down the officials who alerted The New York Times to raids on two Islamic charities in 2001. Fitzgerald recently informed the newspaper that he will subpoena the phone records of two reporters--Judith Miller and Philip Shenon--from the local phone company. (Normally, records of local phone calls are kept on computer tapes for about three months, but an industry official tells NEWSWEEK phone companies are now paid by the Feds to retrieve tapes of much older calls.) The Times last week sued to block the threatened subpoenas; lawyer Floyd Abrams noted they'd identify everybody Miller and Shenon talked to during a 20-day period--including a "large number of confidential sources" on unrelated stories. Sources say the subpoenas were approved by top Justice officials furious at the Times for allegedly compromising the raids by calling the charities for comment before agents arrived. The Times counters that the charities knew for months they were under federal scrutiny.