D.C. City Council Chairman David A. Clarke announced yesterday that he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate whether federal officials leaked information about their investigation into drug use by D.C. employes and to apologize to District residents for "the efforts of those officials to try the case in the public."

Clarke said that it is a "reasonable assumption" that the leaks came from federal officials close to the investigation and that the leaks were a violation of the law regarding grand jury investigations.

The federal investigation ended Thursday and had involved convicted cocaine dealer Karen K. Johnson.

" . . . Because the subject was the mayor, and because allegations of his misconduct were spread far and wide and had the tendency to reflect negatively not only upon the mayor personally but upon the city itself, I believe that the department owes the city and its citizens an apology for the efforts of those officials to try the case in the public," Clarke wrote.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said the letter, which asks for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the source of the leaks, was received yesterday and will be sent to the criminal division.

Last summer, Clarke made a similar request to then-attorney general William French Smith, and he has received indications that the letter had been sent to the proper officials for review.

In asking for an investigation, Clarke said that he is acting not on Barry's behalf but for the good of the city, which he said has been "hurt" by having its mayor linked to the investigation.