"For anybody willing to find it, and write about it, and explain it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for President. A few journalists have kind of caught on to it and explained it, but it has not yet been fully revealed to the American public. And actually, you know, in a bizarre sort of way, this may do it." -- Hillary Clinton on NBC's Today, Jan 27, 1998
As predicted on this page four days earlier, they are now using the "victim of a conspiracy" defense.
If the Clintons need a conspiracy theory, why not blame their problems on the intelligence community? Oops, there's a tiny problem here: the official line is that the intelligence community is controlled by the President. Such blame from the Clintons would raise ugly issues about whether the intelligence community is really a "rogue elephant," as Frank Church charged 22 years ago. It would quickly become awkward for all concerned. Nevertheless, we can find as much evidence of an intelligence connection, as we can of a "vast right-wing conspiracy."
Here is a circumstantial chain of connections, available for desperate Clintonistas to seize on, in their anticipated efforts to suggest that their wonderful leader was set up:
From the New York Times, January 26, 1998, by Tim Weiner and Judith Miller:
From Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years, by J. Anthony Lukas (Bantam edition, 1977), pp. 218-9:
From the San Francisco Chronicle, January 23, 1998:
Alongside Goldberg's possible acquaintance with confirmed CIA agent Seymour Freidin, her 1972 claim to be affiliated with the North American Newspaper Alliance takes on additional significance. NANA actually existed, but it was infested with CIA connections, as JFK assassination researchers eventually discovered. Priscilla Johnson McMillan, who had numerous CIA and State Department links, was working for NANA when she interviewed Lee Harvey Oswald in Moscow in 1959. Another NANA reporter, Virginia Prewett, was an anti-Castro activist recruited by NANA founder Ernest Cuneo, a high-ranking OSS veteran. In the mid-1960s, NANA was acquired by a partnership between Leonard Marks, Drew Pearson, and Fortune Pope. In 1952, Fortune Pope's brother, Generoso Pope, Jr., bought the National Enquirer. The previous year Generoso was a CIA officer (according to Generoso's listing in Who's Who in America, 1984-85). Marks and Pearson were also friendly with the CIA.
Information received from an Internet reader:
Her husband is in Who's Who in America, 1984-85 (note the extensive, high-level association with NANA):
From an article by Frank Greve and Ron Hutcheson, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Information Services, February 6, 1998:
Victor Lasky, who died on February 22, 1990, was more than a simple right-wing columnist. From 1956-1960 he was a public relations executive for Radio Liberty, which was one of the CIA's two largest propaganda operations at the time (the other was Radio Free Europe). Starting just two years later and continuing until 1980, the North American Newspaper Alliance distributed his syndicated column. It was revealed during Watergate testimony that Lasky was secretly paid $20,000 by Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President while he was writing his column. CREEP included a number of CIA operatives. In the mid-1980s, Lasky was close to CIA director William Casey.
Lucianne and Sid's 28-year-old son Jonah Goldberg has been helping mom with her project. He is employed by Ben Wattenberg, a think-tank activist who was intimately involved with CIA-linked contra support activities during the 1980s. Wattenberg was also vice-chairman of the Board for International Broadcasting, which was created by Congress in 1973 in an attempt to remove Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty from the taint of direct CIA control. His son Daniel Wattenberg, a conservative writer who has helped expose the Clintons, was a special assistant to convicted Iran-contra figure Elliott Abrams.
Richard Mellon Scaife, who funded numerous conservative groups in the 1980s, some of which evolved into anti-Clinton efforts over the past five years, was entangled with a major CIA propaganda effort based in London during the 1970s. It began as Forum World Features in the 1960s, which then spun off the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1970. Both were funded jointly by Scaife and the CIA.
Lucianne Goldberg is talking to the press recently, and is apparently trying to be up-front. Kenneth Starr should ask Ms. Goldberg and Linda Tripp, under oath, to describe any connections they have with U.S. intelligence. This may amount to nothing, but they should be asked for the record.
None of which, it should be added, excuses Bill Clinton.
Sidney Blumenthal, fearless defender of the Clintons, co-edited a conspiracy book in 1976 titled Government by Gunplay. This book is hard to find today. It included chapters on the 1960s assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK, the shooting of George Wallace), as well as one on unsolved Watergate breakins, and another on Nixon and organized crime (by Jeff Gerth before he joined the NYT). It's a classic of its day.
No fewer than four of the current advisory board members at Public Information Research contributed to this 1976 book: Robert Fink, Peter Dale Scott, Carl Oglesby, and L. Fletcher Prouty. Jeff Cohen, who at one time was a colleague of mine in Los Angeles, and is now the head of FAIR, a media organization in New York, contributed another chapter. Another friend of mine, Philip Agee, wrote the introduction.
Fast forward 22 years to the New York Times of February 28, 1998, in a story by John M. Broder:
It would be more accurate if Blumenthal had complained that these crazy prosecutors understand the White House the same way that Blumenthal himself did 22 years ago. On the very day that Blumenthal made this statement, ABC News reported that Kathleen Willey has claimed that Nathan Landow encouraged her to change her story.
Landow, a real estate developer in the DC area with connections to organized crime, is a long-time Democratic fundraiser and contributor. More interestingly, he is the father-in-law of Clinton's lawyer Michael H. Cardozo, who is involved with all of the White House secrets -- from Vince Foster, to Webster Hubbell, to Charlie Trie. Three days before Foster's death, Hubbell met with Foster and Cardozo at Landow's estate in Easton, Maryland. That very morning, Hubbell had fired FBI director William Sessions. Foster reportedly was depressed after his visit.
Does this sound like how the mafia works, or does it sound like how democracy works, or does it even sound a little like Government by Gunplay?
Perhaps it's time for Kenneth Starr to bite the bullet.
Perjury and obstruction of justice over Bill Clinton's skirt-chasing is one thing, but Starr might think about using the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970, which criminalizes patterns of illegal activity, and might theoretically allow him to sweep the White House with a broader broom.
The only problem is that when it comes to racketeering, no one holds a candle to Congress (unless it's Wall Street). Starr probably knows that he can't take on more enemies than he already has.
"They just don't understand democracy." On second thought, Blumenthal's statement might have been tongue-in-cheek. Is it possible that he still understands democracy the way he used to, and that he merely switched sides? He certainly is wearing some nice threads these days, and hanging out with a different class of people.
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