Albert Mueller

As a teenager, he left George Washington University well shy of a political science degree to start his reporting career working for muckraker Jack Anderson. And he's been ruffling official feathers since the Clinton Whitewater/Lewinsky imbroglio, when his stories on Salon.com took a prodigious swing at dismantling special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's investigation. Washington investigative journalist Murray Waas has been around awhile.

Yet the slightly disheveled Philly native has always managed to remain well under the public's radar – refusing to appear on television, toiling independently as a freelancer until recently joining the respected National Journal.

But his cover's been blown. With the publication in recent months of his news-breaking stories on the Bush administration's involvement in manipulating prewar Iraq intelligence – particularly its attempt to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and to out his CIA operative wife, Valerie PlameWaas has gotten a sometimes bitter taste of what he refers to as his "five minutes of fame."