Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #489 2nd Interview with Robert Parry

Record­ed Decem­ber 5, 2004
REALAUDIO

High­light­ing Robert Parry’s new book Secre­cy and Priv­i­lege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Water­gate to Iraq, the pro­gram focus­es on a series of ille­gal and trea­so­nous Repub­li­can gam­bits con­duct­ed dur­ing Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion years, as well as the politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence that began with the elder George Bush’s tenure as CIA direc­tor. Begin­ning with the Nixon campaign’s sab­o­tage of peace talks with the North Viet­namese in 1968, the pro­gram then explores the suc­cess­ful Nixon admin­is­tra­tion plot to assure that George McGovern—viewed as the weak­est pos­si­ble oppo­nent for Nixon—would get the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion. In 1980 the Repub­li­cans suc­cess­ful­ly exe­cut­ed the Octo­ber Sur­prise col­lu­sion with the Iran­ian Islamists in order to defeat Jim­my Carter. The sub­se­quent Con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion was torpedoed—in part because Lawrence Bar­cel­la (in charge of the inves­ti­ga­tion) was impli­cat­ed in the Octo­ber Sur­prise itself, as well as a num­ber of over­lap­ping scan­dals. The pro­gram then exam­ines the evo­lu­tion of the politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence, from the elder George Bush’s impor­ta­tion of Team B to mag­ni­fy and exag­ger­ate the CIA’s esti­mates of Sovi­et strength, through William Casey’s thor­ough cor­rup­tion of the CIA’s ana­lyt­i­cal divi­sion, and on to George Tenet’s role in head­ing off attempts to block Robert Gates’s nom­i­na­tion to head the CIA. An aide to Sen­a­tor David Boren, Tenet even­tu­al­ly became head of the CIA him­self and con­tin­ued the trend of politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Hen­ry Kissinger’s role in sab­o­tag­ing the 1968 peace talks with the North Viet­namese; John Con­nal­ly pro­tégé Robert Strauss’s role in sab­o­tag­ing attempts to block the nom­i­na­tion of McGov­ern; the involve­ment of Octo­ber Sur­prise “inves­ti­ga­tor” Lawrence Bar­cel­la in the Octo­ber Sur­prise, Iran-Con­tra and BCCI scan­dals; Sen­a­tor David Boren’s shep­herd­ing of the con­tro­ver­sial nom­i­na­tion of Robert Gates to be head of the CIA.

1. Numer­ous broad­casts have dis­cussed the “Octo­ber Surprise”—the deal between the Reagan/Bush cam­paign in 1980 and the Iran­ian Islamists to hold the U.S. hostages tak­en from the U.S. Embassy in Tehran until after Jim­my Carter’s humil­i­a­tion and con­se­quent elec­tion defeat were assured. This GOP trea­son was pre­ced­ed by a sim­i­lar trea­so­nous inter­ven­tion in inter­na­tion­al affairs by the Nixon/Agnew cam­paign in 1968. In order to pre­vent Hubert Humphrey from ben­e­fit­ing from peace talks that John­son was attempt­ing to start with the North Viet­namese, the Nixon cam­paign used a back chan­nel to block the talks. Approx­i­mate­ly 30,000 Amer­i­cans and hun­dreds of thou­sands of Viet­namese died AFTER the inter­dic­tion of the peace talks. The war dragged on for anoth­er four years. “In a sim­i­lar way, Nixon may have under­tak­en his Water­gate adven­ture in 1972, in part, because of his suc­cess in secret­ly sab­o­tag­ing Pres­i­dent Lyn­don B. Johnson’s last-ditch attempt to nego­ti­ate a Viet­nam peace agree­ment at the end of the 1968 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, when 500,000 U.S. troops were in Viet­nam. Though John­son got wind of Nixon’s scheme, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­dent kept qui­et, part­ly out of fear that the plot’s expo­sure could dev­as­tate the inter­na­tion­al image of the Unit­ed States, espe­cial­ly if Nixon still won. By stay­ing silent, how­ev­er, John­son may have encour­aged either Repub­li­can schemes, hatched out of a con­fi­dence that the Democ­rats were too inef­fec­tu­al to dis­cov­er the facts or too timid to blow the whis­tle.”
(Secre­cy and Priv­i­lege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Water­gate to Iraq; by Robert Par­ry; pp. 90–91.)

2. “Nixon’s Viet­nam gam­bit in 1968 was also the direct antecedent to the alle­ga­tions of Rea­gan-Bush inter­fer­ence in Carter’s hostage nego­ti­a­tions in 1980. Indeed, the evi­dence of Nixon’s Viet­nam schem­ing under­cuts one of the strongest argu­ments against believ­ing the alle­ga­tions about the 1980 ‘Octo­ber Sur­prise’ case, that as bare-knuck­led as U.S. pol­i­tics can be, there are lines that no respon­si­ble polit­i­cal leader would cross, either out of patri­o­tism or fear of get­ting caught. But the 1968 inci­dent, as pieced togeth­er by jour­nal­ists and his­to­ri­ans in the three-and-a-half decades that fol­lowed, sug­gests that any such line might be fuzzi­er than believed or might not exist at all, that when the enor­mous pow­er of the U.S. gov­ern­ment is at stake, some politi­cians will do what­ev­er it takes to win and wor­ry about man­ag­ing the con­se­quences lat­er.” (Ibid.; p. 91.)

3. “The first major recount­ing of Nixon’s sab­o­tage of Johnson’s Paris peace talks—by offer­ing South Vietnam’s Pres­i­dent Nguyen van Thieu a bet­ter deal from Repub­li­cans than was avail­able from the Democrats—came 15 years after the actu­al events, in Sey­mour Hersh’s 1983 polit­i­cal biog­ra­phy of Hen­ry Kissinger, The Price of Pow­er. Accord­ing to Hersh’s book, Kissinger learned of Johnson’s peace plans and warned Nixon’s cam­paign. ‘It is cer­tain,’ Hersh wrote, ‘that the Nixon cam­paign, alert­ed by Kissinger to the impend­ing suc­cess of the peace talks, was able to get a series of mes­sages to the Thieu gov­ern­ment mak­ing it clear that a Nixon Pres­i­den­cy would have dif­fer­ent views on the peace nego­ti­a­tions.’” (Idem.)

4. “Nixon’s chief emis­sary was Anna Chen­nault, an anti-com­mu­nist Chi­nese leader who was work­ing with the Nixon cam­paign. Hersh quot­ed one for­mer offi­cial in Pres­i­dent Lyn­don Johnson’s Cab­i­net as stat­ing that the U.S. intel­li­gence ‘agen­cies had caught on that Chen­nault was the go-between between Nixon and his peo­ple, and Pres­i­dent Thieu in Saigon. . . . The idea was to bring things to a stop in Paris and pre­vent any show of progress.’” (Idem.)

5. “In her mem­oirs, The Edu­ca­tion of Anna, Chen­nault acknowl­edged that she was the couri­er. She quot­ed Nixon cam­paign man­ag­er John Mitchell as call­ing her a few days before the 1968 elec­tion and telling her: ‘I’m speak­ing on behalf of Mr. Nixon. It’s very impor­tant that our Viet­namese friends under­stand our Repub­li­can posi­tion and I hope you have made that clear to them.’” (Idem.)

6. “On Novem­ber 2, four days before the U.S. elec­tion, Thieu with­drew from his ten­ta­tive agree­ment to sit down with the Viet Cong at the Paris peace talks, killing Johnson’s last hope for a set­tle­ment of the war. A late Humphrey surge fell short and Nixon won a nar­row elec­tion vic­to­ry.” (Ibid.; pp. 91–92.)

7. “In The Price of Pow­er, Hersh quot­ed Chen­nault as say­ing that after the elec­tion, in 1969, Mitchell and Nixon urged her to keep qui­et about her mis­sion, which could have impli­cat­ed them in an act close to trea­son. As the Viet­nam War dragged on for anoth­er four years, tens of thou­sands of U.S. sol­diers died, as did hun­dreds of thou­sands of Indochi­nese. When the alle­ga­tions of the secret deal sur­faced, sur­vivors of the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion denied them, depict­ing Chen­nault as a free­lance oper­a­tive work­ing on her own ini­tia­tive. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 91–92.)

8. Four years lat­er, the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion again engaged in ille­gal sub­terfuge dur­ing the Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in a series of machi­na­tions which—when they were uncovered—became known as Water­gate. The “Plumbers” unit (clan­des­tine oper­a­tives of the Nixon cam­paign) had installed a tap on the phone of Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty oper­a­tive Spencer Oliv­er. This enabled them to block

an attempt by Texas Democ­rats to pre­vent George McGov­ern from gain­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion. (Nixon want­ed the weak­est Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nent to gain the nom­i­na­tion. McGov­ern was their choice. When he did get the nom­i­na­tion, he only won Mass­a­chu­setts.) The tap on Oliver’s phone per­mit­ted them to suc­cess­ful­ly inter­dict the Texas Democ­rats’ attempt at block­ing McGovern’s nom­i­na­tion. “So, while Nixon’s polit­i­cal espi­onage team lis­tened in, Oliv­er and his lit­tle team can­vassed state par­ty lead­ers to fig­ure out how the Demo­c­ra­t­ic del­e­gates planned to vote. ‘We deter­mined on that phone that McGov­ern could still be stopped even if he won the Cal­i­for­nia pri­ma­ry,’ Oliv­er said. ‘It would be very close whether he could ever get a major­i­ty.’” (Ibid.; p. 30.)

9. “After McGov­ern did win the Cal­i­for­nia pri­ma­ry, the stop-McGov­ern bat­tle focused on Texas and its Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­ven­tion, sched­uled for June 13. ‘The one place he could be stopped was at the Texas State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Con­ven­tion,’ Oliv­er said.” (Idem.)

10. “ ‘There had been a major fight in Texas between the Left and the Right, between the lib­er­als and the con­ser­v­a­tives,’ Oliv­er said. ‘They hat­ed each oth­er. It was one of these life­time things.’ Between the strength of the con­ser­v­a­tive Demo­c­ra­t­ic machine and the his­to­ry of hard­ball Texas pol­i­tics, the Texas con­ven­tion looked to Oliv­er like the per­fect place to push through a sol­id anti-McGov­ern slate, even though near­ly one-third of the state del­e­gates list­ed McGov­ern as their first choice. Since there was no require­ment for pro­por­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion, who­ev­er con­trolled a major­i­ty at the state con­ven­tion could take all the pres­i­den­tial del­e­gates or divide them up among oth­er can­di­dates, Oliv­er said.” (Ibid.; pp. 30–31.)

11. It appears that Robert Strauss (a pro­tégé of Demo­c­rat-turned-Nixon-Cab­i­net-offi­cial John Con­nal­ly) was one of the cogs in the sub­ver­sion of the attempt to block McGovern’s nom­i­na­tion. “At Sanford’s sug­ges­tion, Oliv­er decid­ed to fly to Texas. When he reached the Texas con­ven­tion in San Anto­nio, Oliv­er said he was stunned by what he found. The John­son-Con­nal­ly wing of the par­ty appeared unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly gen­er­ous to the McGov­ern cam­paign. Also arriv­ing from Wash­ing­ton was one of Connally’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic pro­tégés, the party’s nation­al trea­sur­er Bob Strauss.” (Ibid.; p. 31.)

12. “ ‘I’m in the hotel and I’m stand­ing in the lob­by the day before the con­ven­tion,’ Oliv­er said. ‘The ele­va­tor opens and there’s Bob Strauss. I was real­ly sur­prised to see him and he makes a bee-line straight for me. He says, ‘Spencer, how you doing?’ I say, ‘Bob, what are you doing here?’ He says, ‘I’m a Tex­an, you’re a Tex­an. Here we are. Who would miss one of these state con­ven­tions? Maybe we ought to have lunch.’ He was nev­er that friend­ly to me before.’” (Idem.)

13. “Oliv­er was curi­ous about Strauss’s sud­den appear­ance because Strauss had nev­er been a major fig­ure in Texas Demo­c­ra­t­ic pol­i­tics. ‘He was a Con­nal­ly guy and no back­ground in pol­i­tics except his per­son­al ties to Con­nal­ly,’ Oliv­er said. ‘He hadn’t been active in state pol­i­tics except as Connally’s fund-rais­er. He wasn’t a del­e­gate to the state con­ven­tion.’ Plus, Strauss’s chief men­tor, Con­nal­ly, was a mem­ber of Nixon’s Cab­i­net and was plan­ning to head up Democ­rats for Nixon in the fall cam­paign.” (Idem.)

14. “Known as a smooth talk­ing lawyer, Strauss had made his first major for­ay into pol­i­tics as a prin­ci­pal fund-rais­er for Connally’s first guber­na­to­r­i­al race in 1962. Con­nal­ly then put Strauss on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee in 1968. Two years lat­er, Con­nal­ly agreed to join the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion. ‘I wouldn’t say that Con­nal­ly and Strauss are close,’ one crit­ic famous­ly told The New York Times, ‘but when Con­nal­ly eats water­mel­on, Strauss spits seeds,’” (Idem.)

15. “Oth­er Con­nal­ly guys held oth­er key posi­tions at the state con­ven­tion, includ­ing state chair­man Will Davis. So, pre­sum­ably the lib­er­al, anti-war McGov­ern would have looked to be in a tight spot, opposed not only by Davis but also by much of the con­ser­v­a­tive state Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship and orga­nized labor. ‘It was clear that 70 per­cent of the del­e­gates were anti-McGov­ern, so they very eas­i­ly could have coa­lesced, struck a deal and blocked McGov­ern,’ Oliv­er said. ‘That prob­a­bly would have blocked him from the nom­i­na­tion.’” (Idem.)

16. “Oliv­er told some polit­i­cal allies at the con­ven­tion, includ­ing par­ty activists R.C. ‘Bob’ Sla­gle III and Dwayne Hol­man, about the plan that had been hatched in Wash­ing­ton to shut McGov­ern out of Texas del­e­gates. ‘They thought it might work and agreed to pro­mote it with the state Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship,’ Oliv­er said. ‘Bob went to lay out this plan to stop McGov­ern and I wait­ed for him. (After he emerged from the meet­ing,) we went around the cor­ner, and he said, ‘It’s not going to work.’ He said, ‘Will Davis thinks we ought to give McGov­ern his share of the del­e­gates.’ I said, ‘What? Will Davis, John Connally’s guy? Does he know that this will give McGov­ern the nom­i­na­tion?’ He [Davis] said, ‘ We shouldn’t have a big fight. We should all agree that every­one gets the per­cent­age they had in the pref­er­ence. We’ll just let it go.’” (Ibid.; p. 32.)

17. “ . . . (The DNC also agreed to set­tle the Water­gate law­suit in 1974. Though the pre­cise terms were sealed, Strauss said pub­licly that the Democ­rats were will­ing to accept about $1.25 mil­lion. Oliv­er even­tu­al­ly set­tled sep­a­rate­ly with the Repub­li­cans, with those terms also under court seal.)” (Ibid.; pp. 43–44.)

18. The Repub­li­cans’ fail­ure to pre­vent the unfold­ing scan­dal taught them a lesson—cover-up their crimes more effec­tive­ly. By 1980, they had learned how to do this and were able to suc­cess­ful­ly cov­er-up the Octo­ber Sur­prise. “ ‘Water­gate was the most dev­as­tat­ing blow that any polit­i­cal par­ty has suf­fered in mod­ern his­to­ry,’ Spencer Oliv­er told me in an inter­view in 1992 when he was serv­ing as chief coun­sel for the House Inter­na­tion­al Affairs Com­mit­tee. ‘The Pres­i­dent was dri­ven out of office. The Repub­li­cans were repu­di­at­ed at the polls. They took enor­mous loss­es in Con­gress. What they learned from Water­gate was not ‘don’t do it,’ but ‘cov­er it up more effec­tive­ly.’ They have learned that they have to frus­trate con­gres­sion­al over­sight and press scruti­ny in a way that will avoid anoth­er major scan­dal.’” (Ibid.; p. 45.)

19. After Robert sum­ma­rizes the Octo­ber Sur­prise, he relates how the con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion of that crime was derailed. One of the fac­tors in the sub­ver­sion of the inves­ti­ga­tion was the fact that Lawrence Bar­cel­la, select­ed to over­see the pro­ceed­ings, was deeply com­pro­mised by his rela­tion­ships to many of the scan­dals that over­lapped the Octo­ber Sur­prise. Bar­cel­la had suc­cess­ful­ly pros­e­cut­ed “ex”-CIA agent Edwin Wil­son. In so doing, how­ev­er, he had delib­er­ate­ly over­looked the fact that the CIA had lied about the fact that Wilson’s oper­a­tions were not divorced from Agency pol­i­cy. (For more about Wil­son, see—among oth­er pro­grams—RFA#4, avail­able from Spit­fire. For more about the Octo­ber Sur­prise, see—among oth­er pro­grams—RFA#31, avail­able from Spit­fire, as well as FTR#’s 360, 430, 449, 485.) “ . . . But even that vic­to­ry [over for­mer CIA offi­cer Edwin Wil­son] has lost its shine over the years because of a belat­ed admis­sion that Wilson’s con­vic­tion was aid­ed by a U.S. gov­ern­ment deci­sion to lie about Wilson’s secret work for the CIA and to with­hold excul­pa­to­ry infor­ma­tion from Wilson’s defense. The dis­cov­ery of this pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al abuse—after Wil­son had been impris­oned for two decades—led U.S. Dis­trict Judge Lynn N. Hugh­es in 2003 to vacate4 Wilson’s con­vic­tion for sell­ing mil­i­tary ite

ms to Libya.” (Ibid.; p. 153.)

20. “Judge Hugh­es said over­turn­ing the con­vic­tion was jus­ti­fied because the pros­e­cu­tors sub­mit­ted a false affi­davit that had denied Wilson’s claims that he was in fre­quent con­tact with the CIA. ‘There were, in fact, over 80 con­tacts, includ­ing actions par­al­lel to those in the charges,’ Judge Hugh­es wrote in the deci­sion.” (Idem.)

21. Bar­cel­la was also con­nect­ed to oth­er peo­ple and insti­tu­tions impli­cat­ed in one way or anoth­er with the Octo­ber Sur­prise itself. His con­flicts of inter­est should have pre­vent­ed him from over­see­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion. One of his con­flicts of inter­est was his link to Michael Ledeen: “There were oth­er trou­bling aspects of Barcella’s career, includ­ing a tol­er­ance for the back-scratch­ing ways of Wash­ing­ton. That atti­tude was revealed in some of his per­son­al ties to alleged par­tic­i­pants in the Octo­ber Sur­prise case. For instance, accord­ing to author Peter Maas in Man­hunt, a book on the Wil­son case, Bar­cel­la had enter­tained a night­time vis­it in 1982 from Michael Ledeen, the neo­con­ser­v­a­tive writer who then was work­ing as a State Depart­ment con­sul­tant on ter­ror­ism. Ledeen and Bar­cel­la were per­son­al friends who social­ized togeth­er. Bar­cel­la also had sold Ledeen a house and the two aspir­ing Wash­ing­ton pro­fes­sion­als shared a house­keep­er.” (Ibid.; pp. 153–154.)

22. “ . . . That evening, Ledeen was con­cerned that two of his asso­ciates, Ted Shack­ley and Erich von Mar­bod, had come under sus­pi­cion in the Wil­son case. ‘IF told Lar­ry that I can’t imag­ine that Shack­ley [or von Mar­bod] would be involved in what you are inves­ti­gat­ing,’ Ledeen told me. . . . Lat­er, Shack­ley and von Mar­bod were dropped from the Wil­son inves­ti­ga­tion.” (Ibid.; p. 154.)

23. Ledeen had oth­er links to the Octo­ber Sur­prise team: “In the con­text of the Octo­ber Sur­prise case, how­ev­er, the Ledeen con­nec­tion raised oth­er ques­tions about Barcella’s objec­tiv­i­ty. The Task Force staff would dis­cov­er that Ledeen was con­sid­ered an infor­mal mem­ber of the Rea­gan-Bush campaign’s ‘Octo­ber Sur­prise Group’ and had oth­er con­nec­tions to the Octo­ber Sur­prise case, includ­ing the work that Ledeen and Shack­ley had done for the Ital­ian intel­li­gence ser­vice SISMI in 1980 at a time Shack­ley was work­ing for George H.W. Bush on the Iran hostage issue.” (Idem.)

24. Bar­cel­la was also no stranger to the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal, which over­lapped the Octo­ber Sur­prise. “Bar­cel­la him­self had played a small role in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal. In 1985, as an assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, Bar­cel­la was con­tact­ed by a Pen­ta­gon offi­cial who want­ed to get legal advice so retired Major gen­er­al John Singlaub could ship weapons to the Nicaraguan con­tras. At the time, the Pen­ta­gon and the CIA were legal­ly barred from ‘direct­ly or indi­rect­ly’ assist­ing the con­tras mil­i­tar­i­ly. The call from the Pen­ta­gon also should have raised ques­tions in a prosecutor’s mind about pos­si­ble vio­la­tions of the Neu­tral­i­ty Act, which pro­hibits plot­ting unau­tho­rized acts of war against for­eign nations.” (Idem.)

25. “Instead of object­ing to the poten­tial crimes, Bar­cel­la gave advice on how Singlaub could skirt the Arms Export Con­trol Act by buy­ing the weapons over­seas. Fol­low­ing Barcella’s sug­ges­tion, Singlaub obtained light assault weapons from Poland that were shipped to Hon­duras for the con­tras in July 1985. Singlaub, how­ev­er, was not act­ing on his own. He was a front man for the secret White House con­tra-sup­port oper­a­tion run by Oliv­er North and over­seen by William Casey. So Bar­cel­la had got­ten an ear­ly look into the Iran-Con­tra crim­i­nal con­spir­a­cy, but instead of act­ing to thwart it as a gov­ern­ment pros­e­cu­tor, he chose to offer legal advice to the con­spir­a­tors. . . .” (Idem.)

26. “ . . .After leav­ing the U.S. Attorney’s Office and going into pri­vate prac­tice, Bar­cel­la rep­re­sent­ed Bar­bara Stud­ley, the pres­i­dent of GMT, the Wash­ing­ton-based com­pa­ny that Singlaub had used to arrange con­tra arms ship­ments to Cen­tral Amer­i­ca. The shad­owy firm, which employed a num­ber of for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cials, was close­ly linked to William Casey’s rogue CIA oper­a­tions and to the clan­des­tine activ­i­ties of Oliv­er North.” (Ibid.; p. 155.)

27. Bar­cel­la also worked for the BCCI, also impli­cat­ed in some of the Octo­ber Sur­prise machi­na­tions. (For more about BCCI, see—among oth­er pro­grams—FTR#’s 310, 356, 357, 368, 462, 464, 485.) “Bar­cel­la also went to work for the scan­dal-plagued Bank of Cred­it and Com­merce Inter­na­tion­al in the late 1980’s as it was try­ing to frus­trate press and gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions into its world­wide fraud­u­lent activ­i­ties, includ­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing for drug traf­fick­ers. Barcella’s law firm—Laxalt, Wash­ing­ton, Per­i­to & Dubuc—collected $2.16 mil­lion in legal fees from BCCI from Octo­ber 1988 to August 1990, accord­ing to a Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee report on the BCCI scan­dal. As part of his work for BCCI, Bar­cel­la tried to dis­cour­age jour­nal­ists who were sniff­ing out BCCI’s secret own­er­ship of First Amer­i­can Bank in Wash­ing­ton.” (Idem.)

28. “BCCI also had popped up on the Octo­ber Sur­prise radar scopes through its deal­ings with Cyrus Hashe­mi and John Sha­heen. Short­ly after Ronald Reagan’s Inau­gu­ra­tion in 1981, the FBI inter­cept­ed a mes­sage to Hashe­mi about BCCI deliv­er­ing a pay­ment from Lon­don via the Con­corde. When Sha­heen set up his mys­te­ri­ous Hong Kong bank, one of the direc­tors was Ghan­im Al-Maze­r­ouie, who owned ten per­cent of BCCI’s shares.” (Idem.)

29. Yet anoth­er con­flict of inter­est con­cerned Paul Lax­alt, a key Rea­gan-Bush oper­a­tive and law part­ner of Bar­cel­la. “The iden­ti­ty of the lead part­ner in Barcella’s law firm also rep­re­sent­ed a poten­tial con­flict of inter­est. Paul Lax­alt, the for­mer sen­a­tor, was one of Reagan’s clos­est polit­i­cal allies and was chair­man of the 1980 Rea­gan-Bush cam­paign, the prin­ci­pal sub­ject of the Octo­ber Sur­prise inves­ti­ga­tion. The Sen­ate BCCI report said Bar­cel­la worked direct­ly with Lax­alt on the BCCI account. Bar­cel­la told me that he didn’t believe that his work for BCCI cre­at­ed a con­flict of inter­est.” (Idem.)

30. Next, the dis­cus­sion turns to the ques­tion of the politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence, begin­ning with the elder George Bush’s import­ing of “Team B” to give a much more alarm­ing (and fun­da­men­tal­ly incor­rect) view of the Sovi­et Union’s capa­bil­i­ties and inten­tions. The Team B analy­sis set the stage for the huge mil­i­tary buildup of the Rea­gan-Bush years and the enor­mous bud­get deficits that result­ed. “The CIA’s view of a tamer Sovi­et Union had influ­en­tial ene­mies inside Ger­ald Ford’s admin­is­tra­tion. Hard-lin­ers, such as William J. Casey, John Con­nal­ly, Clare Booth Luce and Edward Teller, sat on the President’s For­eign Intel­li­gence Advi­so­ry Board. The PFIAB first raised the idea of let­ting a team of con­ser­v­a­tive out­siders inside the CIA to con­duct a com­pet­i­tive threat assess­ment in 1975, but CIA Direc­tor Col­by shot down the plan by argu­ing that a new nation­al intel­li­gence esti­mate was under­way and would be dis­rupt­ed. ‘It is hard for me to envis­age how an ad hoc ‘inde­pen­dent’ group of gov­ern­ment and non-gov­ern­ment ana­lysts could pre­pare a more thor­ough, com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment of Sovi­et strate­gic capabilities—even in two spe­cif­ic areas—than the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty can pre­pare,’ Col­by said.” (Ibid.; p. 52.)

31. “In 1976, with Bush as the new CIA direc­tor, the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion had changed. In March, fac­ing the Rea­gan chal­lenge from the Right, Ford ordered his White House aides ‘to for­get the use of the word détente.’ The same month, Allen, Kam­pel­man, Nitze, Ros­tow and Zumwalt cre­at­ed the ‘Com­mit­tee on the Present Dan­ger’ to warn the pub­lic of the ‘grow­ing Sovi­et threat.’ Putting anoth­er scare into the Ford cam­paign, Rea­gan pulled off an upset in the North Car­oli­na pri­ma­ry on March 23.” (Idem.)

32. “Ford was ready to toss the con­ser­v­a­tives a bone by giv­ing them access to the CIA’s raw data and perm

ission to pre­pare a com­pet­ing analy­sis of Sovi­et pow­er. But the project rep­re­sent­ed a test for George H.W. Bush. As a CIA direc­tor who con­sid­ered him­self a defend­er of the agency’s inter­ests, he would have to under­cut the proud ana­lyt­i­cal divi­sion. But as a Repub­li­can with polit­i­cal ambi­tions, he—like Ford—needed to win some points with an increas­ing­ly influ­en­tial bloc of Repub­li­cans, those who want­ed a more con­fronta­tion­al approach toward the Sovi­et Union.” (Idem.)

33. “ ‘Although his top ana­lysts argued against such an under­tak­ing, Bush checked with the White House, obtained an O.K. and by May 26, [1976] signed off on the exper­i­ment with the nota­tion, ‘Let her fly!!,’ wrote research Anne Hes­s­ing Cahn after review­ing doc­u­ments released in response to a Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act request.” (Idem.)

34. “Bush offered the ratio­nale that the con­ser­v­a­tive ana­lysts, known as Team B, would rep­re­sent an intel­lec­tu­al chal­lenge to the CIA’s offi­cial assess­ments. His ratio­nale, how­ev­er, assumed that Team B didn’t have a pre-set agen­da to fash­ion a worst-case sce­nario for launch­ing a new and inten­si­fied Cold War. To fill out Team B’s ros­ter, Har­vard pro­fes­sor Pipes picked oth­er like-mind­ed con­ser­v­a­tives, includ­ing arms nego­tia­tor Paul H. Nitze; arms con­trol spe­cial­ist Paul Wol­fowitz; and Gen­er­al Daniel O. Gra­ham, who had been direc­tor of the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency.” (Idem.)

35. “Not sur­pris­ing­ly, the hard-lin­ers con­clud­ed that their notions about Sovi­et capa­bil­i­ties and intent were cor­rect. ‘The prin­ci­pal threat to our nation, to world peace and to the cause of human free­dom is the Sovi­et dri­ve for dom­i­nance based upon an unpar­al­leled mil­i­tary buildup,’ wrote three Team B mem­bers: Pipes, Nitze and William Van Cleave. Access to secret CIA data gave Team B extra cred­i­bil­i­ty in chal­leng­ing the assess­ment of CIA pro­fes­sion­als.” (Ibid.; pp. 52–53.)

36. When Rea­gan became Pres­i­dent in 1980—with Team B stew­ard Bush as his Vice-Pres­i­dent and Team B sym­pa­thiz­er William Casey as head of the CIA, the delib­er­ate slant­i­ng of intel­li­gence toward an alarmist, inac­cu­rate assess­ment of Sovi­et capa­bil­i­ties inten­si­fied dra­mat­i­cal­ly. The CIA’s ana­lyt­i­cal divi­sion became fun­da­men­tal­ly cor­rupt­ed and many of its best ana­lysts were brow­beat­en and their careers imped­ed. The politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence became stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dure at the CIA. “With the 1985 report on the papal assas­si­na­tion plot, Good­man wrote that the CIA’s politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence on the Sovi­et Union hit ‘rock bot­tom.’ But he said the broad­er con­se­quence of the hyped intel­li­gence was to prime the pump for an expen­sive U.S. mil­i­tary expan­sion.” (Ibid.; p. 192.)

37. “ ‘The CIA car­i­ca­ture of a Sovi­et mil­i­tary octo­pus whose ten­ta­cles reached the world over sup­port­ed the administration’s view of the ‘Evil Empire,’ Good­man wrote. ‘Gates used worst-case analy­sis to por­tray a Sovi­et capa­bil­i­ty to neu­tral­ize the strate­gic capa­bil­i­ties of the Unit­ed States. Moscow, in fact, had no capa­bil­i­ty to tar­get dis­persed mobile ICBMs and lacked an air defense sys­tem that could counter strate­gic bombers. Moscow had no con­fi­dence that its efforts to destroy war­heads on land-based mis­siles would actu­al­ly fined mis­siles still teth­ered to their launch­ers, and CIA’s empha­sis on Moscow’s ‘launch on warn­ing’ capa­bil­i­ty was noth­ing more than a dooms­day sce­nario.’” (Ibid.; pp. 192–193.)

38. “Though Gates has con­sis­tent­ly denied ‘politi­ciz­ing’ the CIA’s analy­sis, he acknowl­edged that Casey did put pres­sure on ana­lysts, espe­cial­ly when they were work­ing on a sub­ject dear to his heart, such as the Sovi­et threat.” (Ibid.; p. 193.)

39. “ ‘Casey com­plained bit­ter­ly and often graph­i­cal­ly when the analy­sis he got seemed fuzzy-mind­ed, lacked con­crete­ness, missed the point, or in his view was naïve about the real world, when it lacked ‘ground truth,’ Gates wrote. ‘An ana­lyst had to be tough and have the courage of his or her con­vic­tions to chal­lenge Casey on some­thing he cared about and knew about. He argued he fought, he yelled, he grumped with the ana­lysts in per­son and on paper. He pulled no punch­es. Some thrived on it. Many were put off by his abra­sive­ness, his occa­sion­al bul­ly­ing man­ner. . . .” (Idem.)

40. “ ‘For a cadre of ana­lysts accus­tomed to ‘gen­tle­man­ly dis­course’ and even more to a hands-off approach to their work from their own senior man­agers in the analy­sis direc­torate, such intru­sive­ness and assertive­ness on the part of the DCI was unprece­dent­ed, and unwel­come.’” (Idem.)

41. “In the trench­es at the CIA, how­ev­er, Casey’s blus­ter often was ampli­fied by the new senior man­agers who had risen to pow­er under Casey and Gates, accord­ing to sev­er­al CIA ana­lysts whom I inter­viewed. Some ana­lysts were ver­bal­ly berat­ed until they agreed to change their find­ings; some faced job threats; oth­ers expe­ri­enced con­fronta­tions with super­vi­sors who threw papers around the office and some­times into the ana­lysts’ faces. The scars left on the CIA’s tra­di­tion of objec­tive analy­sis ran deep and affect­ed lat­er intel­li­gence fail­ures, the ana­lysts said.” (Idem.)

42. “ ‘The politi­ciza­tion that took place dur­ing the Casey-Gates era is direct­ly respon­si­ble for the CIA’s loss of its eth­i­cal com­pass and the ero­sion of its cred­i­bil­i­ty,’ said Mel Good­man, the for­mer chief of the Sovi­et analy­sis office. ‘The fact that the CIA missed the most impor­tant his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ment in its history—the col­lapse of the Sovi­et Empire and the Sovi­et Union itself—is due in large mea­sure to the cul­ture and process that Gates estab­lished in his direc­torate.’” (Idem.)

43. “In Goodman’s view, the fail­ure to notice the decline and the dis­in­te­gra­tion of the Sovi­et Union can be traced direct­ly to the Gates-Casey inter­ven­tion in the ana­lyt­i­cal process. ‘They sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly cre­at­ed an agency view of the Sovi­et Union that overem­pha­sized the Sovi­et threat, ignored Sovi­et vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and weak­ness­es,’ said Good­man, who served as a senior CIA ana­lyst on Sovi­et pol­i­cy from 1966 to 1986.” (Idem.)

44. In addi­tion to CIA direc­tor Casey, his assis­tant Robert Gates worked v very hard to cor­rupt the CIA ana­lysts’ assess­ment of the Sovi­et Union. This became an issue when the elder Pres­i­dent Bush nom­i­nat­ed him to be head of the CIA in 1991. In addi­tion, Gates’ involve­ment in the relat­ed and over­lap­ping Iran-Con­tra and Octo­ber Sur­prise inves­ti­ga­tions was brought up in an attempt to block his nom­i­na­tion. “The ques­tion of ‘politi­ciza­tion’ at the CIA cropped up briefly as a nation­al issue in 1991 when Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush appoint­ed Robert Gates to be CIA direc­tor. In a break with tra­di­tion, CIA ana­lysts stepped out of the shad­ows and tes­ti­fied open­ly before the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee against Bush’s choice.” (Ibid.; p. 195.)

45. Gates’ nom­i­na­tion was suc­cess­ful­ly shep­herd­ed by the head of the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, David Boren. “Led by Sovi­et spe­cial­ist Good­man, the CIA dis­si­dents fin­gered Gates as the key ‘politi­ciza­tion’ cul­prit. Their tes­ti­mo­ny added to doubts about Gates, who was already under a cloud for dubi­ous tes­ti­mo­ny he had giv­en on the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal, alle­ga­tions that he had par­tic­i­pat­ed in a covert scheme to arm Sad­dam Hussein’s Iraq, and claims that he played a role in the Octo­ber Sur­prise oper­a­tion of fall 1980. But the elder George Bush lined up sol­id Repub­li­can back­ing for Gates and enough accom­mo­dat­ing Democrats—particularly Sen­a­tor David Boren of Okla­homa, the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee chairman—to push Gates through. In his mem­oirs, Gates denied all the charges against him, but cred­it­ed his friend, David Boren, for clear­ing away any obsta­cles. ‘David took it as a per­son­al chal­lenge to get me con­firmed,’ Gates wrote in From the Shad­ows.” (Idem.)

46. “Part of run­ning inter­fer­ence for Gates includ­ed reject­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny of wit­ness­es who impli­cat­ed Gates in scan­dals begin­ning with the alleged back-channe

l nego­ti­a­tions with Iran in 1980 through the arm­ing of Iraq’s Sad­dam Hus­sein in the mid­dle of the 1980’s. Boren’s Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee brushed aside two wit­ness­es con­nect­ing Gates to the alleged schemes, for­mer Israeli intel­li­gence offi­cial Ari Ben-Menashe and Iran­ian busi­ness­man Richard Babayan. Both offered detailed accounts about Gates’s alleged con­nec­tions to the schemes.” (Ibid.; pp. 196–197.)

47. “Gates’s denials about a role in the Iraq­gate con­tro­ver­sy pret­ty much held until Jan­u­ary 1995 when a new wit­ness linked Gates to arms ship­ments to Iraq. Howard Teich­er, a staffer on Ronald Reagan’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, sub­mit­ted a sworn affi­davit in an arms-to-Iraq case in Mia­mi. ‘Under CIA Direc­tor Casey and Deputy Direc­tor Gates, the CIA autho­rized, approved and assist­ed [Car­los] Car­doen in the man­u­fac­ture and sale of clus­ter bombs and oth­er muni­tions to Iraq,’ Teich­er wrote. In oth­er words, an insid­er on Reagan’s NSC staff was lev­el­ing the same Iraq­gate charge against Gates that Ben-Menashe and Babayan had made ear­li­er.” (Ibid.; p. 197.)

48. One of the staffers who aid­ed Boren’s suc­cess­ful cham­pi­oning of Gates’ nom­i­na­tion was George Tenet. When he became CIA direc­tor, Tenet con­tin­ued the trend of politi­ciza­tion of intel­li­gence with his dis­as­trous acqui­es­cence in the sec­ond Bush administration’s dis­tor­tion of the threat of Iraq’s WMD’s. As this descrip­tion is being writ­ten, U.S. troops are pay­ing the price for this dis­as­trous fail­ure. “(Boren’s key staff aide who helped lim­it the inves­ti­ga­tion of Gates was George Tenet, whose behind-the-scenes maneu­ver­ing on Gates’s behalf won the per­son­al appre­ci­a­tion of the senior George Bush. Those polit­i­cal chits would serve Tenet well a decade lat­er when the younger George Bush pro­tect­ed Tenet as his own CIA direc­tor, even after the intel­li­gence fail­ure of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, and lat­er embar­rass­ing rev­e­la­tions about faulty intel­li­gence on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruc­tion. Tenet final­ly resigned in July 2004 amid a grow­ing scan­dal over the faulty intel­li­gence that led the Unit­ed States to war in Iraq. Gates did not respond to a request­ed inter­view for this book.” (Idem.)

Discussion

8 comments for “FTR #489 2nd Interview with Robert Parry”

  1. http://consortiumnews.com/2011/08/12/keeping-a-curious-bush-secret/

    Keep­ing a Curi­ous Bush Secret
    August 12, 2011

    Exclu­sive: One of the strange mys­ter­ies from the Rea­gan-Bush era is where did George H.W. Bush go on one Sun­day in Octo­ber 1980 when some wit­ness­es placed him meet­ing with Ira­ni­ans in Paris. More than three decades lat­er, Bush’s sup­posed ali­bi remains a state secret, Robert Par­ry reports.

    By Robert Par­ry

    More than three decades ago, on Oct. 19, 1980, then-Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date George H.W. Bush sup­pos­ed­ly took an after­noon trip to vis­it a fam­i­ly friend in Wash­ing­ton, an ali­bi that could prove he could not have trav­eled secret­ly to Paris for treach­er­ous meet­ings with Ira­ni­ans.

    But Bush’s White House in 1992 – and his pres­i­den­tial library now – have refused to release the name of this ali­bi wit­ness or even the address where Bush alleged­ly went. The insis­tence on keep­ing this secret has just been reaf­firmed by Debra Stei­del Wall, deputy archivist of the Unit­ed States.

    So, rather than release what the­o­ret­i­cal­ly should be a fact the Bush Fam­i­ly would want out – proof that the elder George Bush did not engage in secret talks with Ira­ni­ans behind Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter’s back regard­ing 52 Amer­i­cans then being held hostage in Iran – the U.S. gov­ern­ment is say­ing that only a cost­ly fed­er­al court law­suit can dis­lodge this his­tor­i­cal detail.

    Or, per­haps the rea­son that this secret has been so zeal­ous­ly guard­ed for so long is that Bush nev­er took the after­noon trip, that it was just part of a cov­er sto­ry to con­ceal his mis­sion to Paris, and that the host — if ques­tioned — would dis­cred­it Bush’s ali­bi .

    What­ev­er the truth, as long as the Bush­es and the gov­ern­ment pre­vent the cor­rob­o­ra­tion of his pur­port­ed after­noon vis­it, it remains impos­si­ble to dis­prove con­trary evi­dence that Bush did sneak off for the alleged Paris meet­ing and sim­ply arranged with friends in the Secret Ser­vice to con­coct an ali­bi.

    Anoth­er part of Bush’s ali­bi for Oct. 19 – a morn­ing trip to the Chevy Chase Coun­try Club – pre­vi­ous­ly col­lapsed when no one at the club recalled the vis­it and the account from Secret Ser­vice super­vi­sor Leonard Tanis, who described a brunch also involv­ing Bar­bara Bush and Jus­tice and Mrs. Pot­ter Stew­art, turned out to be false.

    Dis­prov­ing Tanis’s account, Mrs. Bush’s Secret Ser­vice records showed her tak­ing a morn­ing jog along the C&O Canal, and Mrs. Stew­art told me that she and her late hus­band nev­er had brunch with the Bush­es at the Chevy Chase club. When ques­tioned by con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors, none of the oth­er Secret Ser­vice agents on the detail recalled going to the Chevy Chase club at all.

    After his Chevy Chase sto­ry was debunked, Tanis – a Secret Ser­vice offi­cial who was known to be per­son­al­ly close to Bush – with­drew it

    A Mys­te­ri­ous Ali­bi

    That left Bush’s sup­posed after­noon trip on Oct. 19 as his key ali­bi. But there were prob­lems with that sto­ry as well...

    (sto­ry con­tin­ues at link)

    Posted by R. Wilson | August 13, 2011, 5:25 pm
  2. @R. Wil­son: Inter­est­ing stuff. Sad thing is, were it not for the ‘Octo­ber Sur­prise’, Rea­gan prob­a­bly would­n’t have won the 1980 elec­tion.

    Posted by Steven | August 14, 2011, 12:31 am
  3. http://consortiumnews.com/2011/09/27/taking-a-bush-secret-to-the-grave/

    Tak­ing a Bush Secret to the Grave
    Sep­tem­ber 27, 2011

    Spe­cial Report: The Nation­al Archives has approved an appeal by jour­nal­ist Robert Par­ry seek­ing release of a 30-year-old secret, the address where George H.W. Bush sup­pos­ed­ly went on an Octo­ber week­end in 1980 — when sev­er­al wit­ness­es put Bush in Paris meet­ing with Ira­ni­ans. But it turns out the “ali­bi wit­ness” is now dead.

    By Robert Par­ry

    A three-decade-old mys­tery has final­ly been solved – who was George H.W. Bush’s uniden­ti­fied “ali­bi wit­ness” on Oct. 19, 1980, when oth­er wit­ness­es allege the then-Repub­li­can vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date took a secret flight to Paris for meet­ings with Ira­ni­ans – but the mystery’s answer only rais­es new ques­tions.

    After 20 years of reject­ing requests from var­i­ous inves­ti­ga­tors for the iden­ti­ty of the “ali­bi wit­ness,” the U.S. gov­ern­ment final­ly released enough infor­ma­tion from Secret Ser­vice files – in response to an appeal that I filed with the Nation­al Archives – to ascer­tain the person’s iden­ti­ty.

    The per­son who per­haps could have ver­i­fied where Bush was or wasn’t on that day was Richard A. Moore, a Bush fam­i­ly friend best known for his role in the Water­gate scan­dal as a spe­cial coun­sel to Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon. In 1973, Moore was Nixon’s point man in attack­ing the cred­i­bil­i­ty of fired White House coun­sel John Dean after Dean turned whistle­blow­er.

    In 1980, Moore, who some­how man­aged to escape indict­ment for his Water­gate role, and his wife, Jane Swift Moore, were liv­ing in an exclu­sive tree-lined neigh­bor­hood in North­west Wash­ing­ton about one mile from the home of George H.W. and Bar­bara Bush.

    Accord­ing to Secret Ser­vice records that I found in the files of Bush’s White House coun­sel C. Boy­den Gray — and which have now been more ful­ly released — Bush’s Secret Ser­vice detail left the Bush fam­i­ly home at 4429 Low­ell St. N.W. at 1:35 p.m. on Oct. 19, 1980, and arrived at “Moore Res­i­dence, 4917 Rock­wood Pkwy.” at 1:40 p.m.

    By check­ing Wash­ing­ton D.C. real estate records, I dis­cov­ered that Richard A. Moore owned the house at 4917 Rock­wood Park­way in 1980.

    If George H.W. Bush actu­al­ly made the vis­it to Moore’s house with his wife Bar­bara Bush on that after­noon — rather than Bar­bara pos­si­bly going alone — that would make Bush’s alleged trip to Paris vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble. So it would have seemed to be in Bush’s inter­ests to release this infor­ma­tion to inves­ti­ga­tors and have then inter­view Moore, if Moore would con­firm that Bush dropped by that day.

    In the ear­ly 1990s, Moore also was Bush’s ambas­sador to Ire­land and thus pre­sum­ably inclined to help both his boss and his friend. How­ev­er, when inves­ti­ga­tors were try­ing to deter­mine whether Bush had trav­eled to Paris — and were look­ing for evi­dence to prove that he hadn’t — the Bush admin­is­tra­tion whit­ed-out Moore’s address before releas­ing redact­ed ver­sions of the Secret Ser­vice records.

    Moore died on Jan. 27, 1995. So, if George H.W. Bush’s pur­pose in delay­ing release of Moore’s iden­ti­ty was to ensure that no one could check with Moore about Bush’s ali­bi for Oct. 19, 1980, Bush achieved his goal.

    Though most of us who were exam­in­ing this mys­tery two decades ago gave great weight to the Secret Ser­vice records seem­ing to place Bush in Wash­ing­ton, not Paris, there was the ques­tion of whether Bush, a for­mer CIA direc­tor, might have con­vinced some friend­ly Secret Ser­vice super­vi­sor to cook up some ali­bi to cov­er the flight to Paris.

    Those sus­pi­cions deep­ened with the Bush administration’s con­tin­ued refusal to pro­vide seem­ing­ly innocu­ous infor­ma­tion, like Moore’s address.

    Jus­ti­fy­ing a Secret

    In 1991–92, Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ued to insist on keep­ing the “Moore Res­i­dence” des­ti­na­tion secret even after Con­gress autho­rized an inves­ti­ga­tion into the so-called Octo­ber Sur­prise case, whether Repub­li­cans in 1980 had con­tact­ed Ira­ni­ans behind Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter’s back to frus­trate his efforts to free 52 Amer­i­can hostages.

    Carter’s fail­ure to gain release of the hostages made him look weak and inept, set­ting the stage for Ronald Reagan’s land­slide vic­to­ry, an elec­tion which dra­mat­i­cal­ly changed the course of the nation. The Ira­ni­ans released the Amer­i­can hostages imme­di­ate­ly after Rea­gan was sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981, fur­ther mak­ing Rea­gan appear to be an impos­ing world fig­ure.

    Though there were ear­ly rumors about a secret Repub­li­can deal with Iran, the Octo­ber Sur­prise mys­tery didn’t gain much trac­tion until the expo­sure of secret Iran-Con­tra arms ship­ments approved by Rea­gan to Iran in 1985–86. Sud­den­ly, the notion that Rea­gan and his Vice Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush would lie about covert deal­ings with Iran didn’t seem so pre­pos­ter­ous.

    Essen­tial­ly, the Octo­ber Sur­prise ques­tion was whether Reagan’s secret con­tacts with Iran dat­ed back to Cam­paign 1980, as a grow­ing num­ber of wit­ness­es — from inside the gov­ern­ments of Iran, Israel, France and the Unit­ed States — were alleg­ing.

    How­ev­er, when Con­gress final­ly agreed to look into the Octo­ber Sur­prise case in 1991–92, Repub­li­cans were deter­mined to cir­cle the wag­ons around the then-sit­ting Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush, who was fac­ing a tough reelec­tion fight against Demo­c­rat Bill Clin­ton.

    Rather than wel­come any truth-seek­ing, the Repub­li­cans and their media allies went on the attack claim­ing that the Octo­ber Sur­prise case was a base­less “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry.”

    At the time, the Repub­li­cans also sug­gest­ed sev­er­al rea­sons why the ali­bi wit­ness for Oct. 19, 1980, should remain secret. One was that Bush might have been off on a roman­tic ren­dezvous and that Democ­rats sim­ply want­ed to pry into the vis­it as a way to neu­tral­ize accounts of Bill Clinton’s wom­an­iz­ing.

    How­ev­er, that “tryst” ratio­nale fell apart when I obtained the Secret Ser­vice records for Bar­bara Bush and they showed her on the same trip, with the des­ti­na­tion again whit­ed-out.

    Then, there was the sug­ges­tion that the uniden­ti­fied Bush fam­i­ly friends were very pri­vate peo­ple who shouldn’t be dragged into the mid­dle of a polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy. (As it turned out, the Moores were very much pub­lic fig­ures, both hav­ing worked in the Nixon White House and Richard A. Moore serv­ing as U.S. ambas­sador to Ire­land dur­ing the first Bush admin­is­tra­tion.)

    In 1992, as Bush’s team con­tin­ued to stonewall the iden­ti­ty of Bush’s “ali­bi wit­ness,” Bush angri­ly demand­ed at two news con­fer­ences that Con­gress specif­i­cal­ly clear him of the alle­ga­tions that he had tak­en a secret trip to Paris in 1980.

    Bow­ing to those pres­sures in June 1992, Rep. Lee Hamil­ton, D‑Indiana, chair­man of the House inves­tiga­tive task force, agreed to a curi­ous bar­gain in which he and a few senior inves­ti­ga­tors were shown the des­ti­na­tion of Bush’s sup­posed after­noon trip on Oct. 19, 1980, but with the pro­vi­so that they nev­er inter­view any­one who was there or dis­close any names.

    So, with­out ver­i­fy­ing Bush’s ali­bi, the House task force cleared Bush of going to Paris. When I asked Hamil­ton about this strange agree­ment this week, in the wake of the Nation­al Archives’ release of the “Moore Res­i­dence” doc­u­ment, he respond­ed through a spokesman that he was “not able to pro­vide any answers” because he no longer has his offi­cial records.

    Moore’s Silence

    Though the Oct. 19, 1980, vis­it could have involved either Moore or his wife or both, the “ali­bi wit­ness” being kept secret in 1992 had to be Moore, since his wife, Jane Swift Moore, died in 1985.

    When I con­tact­ed one of Moore’s sons, Richard A. Moore Jr., he told me that he didn’t think that any of the family’s five chil­dren were still liv­ing in the Rock­wood Park­way house in 1980. Nor did he think there would like­ly be any pho­tographs of the vis­it since the Bush­es were “almost neigh­bors,” often pop­ping in.

    But the ques­tion remains: If Richard A. Moore could have con­firmed that Bush was def­i­nite­ly in Wash­ing­ton on Oct. 19, 1980, not on a secret mis­sion to Paris, why wasn’t he ques­tioned? Why was the Bush admin­is­tra­tion so deter­mined to block the House task force from inter­view­ing Moore.

    Moore owed a huge debt to Bush, who had lift­ed Moore from his Water­gate-taint­ed pur­ga­to­ry in 1989 by appoint­ing him to be U.S. Ambas­sador to Ire­land. Moore would seem to be a friend­ly wit­ness who would hap­pi­ly want to cov­er for Bush, if pos­si­ble.

    Which is why Moore’s silence in 1992 only adds to the mys­tery. Moore served in Dublin until June 1992, depart­ing the same month as the bat­tle over with­hold­ing his iden­ti­ty was play­ing out in Wash­ing­ton.

    Giv­en Moore’s close call with a crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion for his role in the Water­gate cov­er-up – he was often in meet­ings where all the oth­er par­tic­i­pants end­ed up going to jail – he under­stand­ably might have been very leery about lying to Con­gress even to pro­tect anoth­er U.S. pres­i­dent and a per­son­al friend, if Bush indeed had snuck off to Paris.

    Anoth­er doc­u­ment released to me under my appeal to the Nation­al Archives rais­es fur­ther sus­pi­cions about Bush’s where­abouts on that Sun­day. Undat­ed hand­writ­ten notes that I found in the files of one of White House coun­sel Gray’s assis­tants, Ronald Von Lem­bke, indi­cate that some of the Secret Ser­vice records for Oct. 19, 1980, were miss­ing.

    For that date, the notes say, “*NO Res­i­dence Report. *0000 [mid­night] – 0800 – miss­ing. 0800–1600 – okay. *1600–2400 – miss­ing.” Stars were used to high­light the ref­er­ences to miss­ing mate­r­i­al.

    Writ­ten in the mar­gin, next to the time ref­er­ences is the name “Pot­ter Stew­art,” the late Supreme Court Jus­tice who was anoth­er Bush fam­i­ly friend. The ref­er­ence sug­gests that the White House counsel’s office was check­ing on how to bol­ster Bush’s ali­bi for Oct. 19, 1980.

    The same notes include a check mark next to the name “Buck Tanis,” sug­gest­ing that the author of the notes had con­tact­ed Secret Ser­vice super­vi­sor Leonard “Buck” Tanis, who was a Bush favorite from his Secret Ser­vice detail. Tanis was one of the super­vi­sors for Bush’s Secret Ser­vice detail in Octo­ber 1980.

    Tanis was also the only Secret Ser­vice agent on Bush’s detail for Oct. 19, 1980, who claimed to recall anoth­er dubi­ous part of Bush’s ali­bi men­tioned in the Secret Ser­vice reports, a morn­ing trip to the Chevy Chase Coun­try Club.

    When the redact­ed Secret Ser­vice records were first released in the ear­ly 1990s, Bush’s sup­posed Chevy Chase vis­it was cit­ed as slam-dunk evi­dence that Bush couldn’t have gone to Paris.

    Rely­ing on Repub­li­can sources, friend­ly jour­nal­ists report­ed that Bush had been play­ing ten­nis that morn­ing at the club. But the ten­nis ali­bi col­lapsed when it was dis­cov­ered that rain had pre­vent­ed ten­nis that morn­ing.

    Then, Tanis came for­ward with anoth­er sto­ry, that George H.W. and Bar­bara Bush had brunch at the club with Jus­tice and Mrs. Pot­ter Stew­art. By 1992, how­ev­er, Jus­tice Stew­art was dead and Repub­li­cans said Mrs. Stew­art was in poor health, suf­fer­ing senil­i­ty and couldn’t be inter­viewed.

    So, anoth­er Bush ali­bi couldn’t be checked out – and Tanis’s rec­ol­lec­tion would have to stand unchal­lenged.

    How­ev­er, I learned that reports of Mrs. Stewart’s phys­i­cal and men­tal decline were great­ly exag­ger­at­ed. She was going out with a retired CIA offi­cial whom I knew. When I called her, she was quite lucid and told me that she and her hus­band nev­er had brunch with the Bush­es at the Chevy Chase club.

    Using the Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act, I also obtained redact­ed reports from Bar­bara Bush’s Secret Ser­vice detail and they showed her going to the C&O jog­ging path that morn­ing, not to the Chevy Chase club.

    When I passed on this infor­ma­tion to con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors, they inter­viewed Tanis again – and he backed away from his sto­ry of the brunch. He joined the oth­er Secret Ser­vice agents in say­ing he had no spe­cif­ic rec­ol­lec­tion of Bush’s trav­els that day.

    The new­ly released hand­writ­ten notes sug­gest that, at min­i­mum, an offi­cial from Bush’s counsel’s office dis­cussed the Pot­ter Stew­art ali­bi with Tanis, thus rais­ing ques­tions about whether Tanis’s ini­tial tes­ti­mo­ny about the alleged brunch was taint­ed.

    Bush’s Curi­ous Actions

    With Tanis and his brunch ali­bi dis­cred­it­ed, inves­tiga­tive atten­tion in 1992 turned to the after­noon trip on Oct. 19, 1980. But there again Bush’s ali­bi proved curi­ous, espe­cial­ly with his “ali­bi wit­ness,” who we now know was Ambas­sador to Ire­land Richard A. Moore, kept away from the con­gres­sion­al task force.

    All this strange behav­ior piqued the sus­pi­cions of House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee chief coun­sel R. Spencer Oliv­er. In a six-page memo, Oliv­er urged a clos­er look at Bush’s where­abouts and ques­tioned why the Secret Ser­vice was con­ceal­ing the name of the ali­bi wit­ness for the after­noon trip.

    “Why did the Secret Ser­vice refuse to coop­er­ate on a mat­ter which could have con­clu­sive­ly cleared George Bush of these seri­ous alle­ga­tions?” Oliv­er asked. “Was the White House involved in this refusal? Did they order it?”

    Oliv­er also not­ed Bush’s odd behav­ior in rais­ing the Octo­ber Sur­prise issue on his own at two news con­fer­ences.

    “It can be fair­ly said that Pres­i­dent Bush’s recent out­bursts about the Octo­ber Sur­prise inquiries and [about] his where­abouts in mid-Octo­ber of 1980 are disin­gen­u­ous at best,” wrote Oliv­er, “since the admin­is­tra­tion has refused to make avail­able the doc­u­ments and the wit­ness­es that could final­ly and con­clu­sive­ly clear Mr. Bush.”

    From the new­ly released White House doc­u­ments, it is clear that Oliver’s sus­pi­cions were well-found­ed regard­ing the involve­ment of Bush’s White House staff in the deci­sion to con­ceal the name of his sup­posed after­noon host.

    Keep­ing the tough-mind­ed Oliv­er off the Octo­ber Sur­prise inves­ti­ga­tion also became a high pri­or­i­ty for the Repub­li­cans. At a mid­way point in the inquiry when some Demo­c­ra­t­ic task force mem­bers asked Oliv­er to rep­re­sent them as a staff inves­ti­ga­tor, Repub­li­cans threat­ened a boy­cott unless Oliv­er was barred.

    In anoth­er ges­ture of bipar­ti­san­ship, Hamil­ton gave the Repub­li­cans the pow­er to veto Oliver’s par­tic­i­pa­tion. Denied one of the few Demo­c­ra­t­ic inves­ti­ga­tors with both the savvy and courage to pur­sue a seri­ous inquiry, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic mem­bers of the task force retreat­ed. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Inside the Octo­ber Sur­prise Cov­er-up” or Secre­cy & Priv­i­lege.]

    The Case for the Trip

    All this Repub­li­can resis­tance to the Octo­ber Sur­prise inves­ti­ga­tion also must be viewed against the back­drop of sig­nif­i­cant evi­dence that Bush did go to Paris and that the Rea­gan cam­paign did under­cut Carter’s efforts to free the hostages.

    Though some of those sus­pi­cions dat­ed back almost to the time the hostages were freed on Jan. 20, 1981, oth­er alle­ga­tions emerged as the Iran-Con­tra inves­ti­ga­tion pro­gressed in the late 1980s. That led PBS “Front­line” to recruit me in 1990 to exam­ine whether the Octo­ber Sur­prise case had been a pre­quel to the Iran-Con­tra Affair.

    That Front­line doc­u­men­tary, which aired in April 1991, coin­cid­ed with a New York Times op-ed by for­mer Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil aide Gary Sick, giv­ing new momen­tum and new cred­i­bil­i­ty to the Octo­ber Sur­prise alle­ga­tions.

    As the Octo­ber Sur­prise con­tro­ver­sy heat­ed up – with the Repub­li­cans and Bush allies in the news media wag­ing a fierce coun­terof­fen­sive – Front­line asked me to stay on the sto­ry, which led to anoth­er dis­cov­ery that bol­stered the Bush-to-Paris claims.

    Because of the April 1991 doc­u­men­tary, David Hen­der­son, a for­mer U.S. For­eign Ser­vice offi­cer, recalled a con­ver­sa­tion that he had had with a jour­nal­ist on Oct. 18, 1980, about Bush fly­ing to Paris that night to meet with Ira­ni­ans regard­ing the Amer­i­can hostages.

    Hen­der­son couldn’t remem­ber the reporter’s name but he passed the infor­ma­tion on to Sen. Alan Cranston, D‑California, whose staff for­ward­ed the let­ter to me. By cross-check­ing some oth­er infor­ma­tion, we deter­mined that the jour­nal­ist was John Maclean of the Chica­go Tri­bune, the son of author Nor­man Maclean who wrote the nov­el, A Riv­er Runs Through It.

    Though John Maclean was not eager to talk with me, he final­ly agreed and con­firmed what Hen­der­son had writ­ten in his let­ter. Maclean said a well-placed Repub­li­can source told him in mid-Octo­ber 1980 about Bush tak­ing a secret trip to Paris to meet with Ira­ni­ans on the U.S. hostage issue.

    After hear­ing this news from his source, Maclean passed on the infor­ma­tion to Hen­der­son when the two met at Henderson’s Wash­ing­ton home to dis­cuss anoth­er mat­ter.

    For his part, Maclean nev­er wrote about the Bush-to-Paris leak because, he told me, a Rea­gan cam­paign spokesman offi­cial­ly denied it. As the years passed, the mem­o­ry of the leak fad­ed for both Hen­der­son and Maclean, until the Octo­ber Sur­prise sto­ry bub­bled to the sur­face in 1991.

    The sig­nif­i­cance of the Maclean-Hen­der­son con­ver­sa­tion was that it was a piece of infor­ma­tion locked in time untaint­ed by lat­er claims and counter-claims about the Octo­ber Sur­prise dis­pute.

    One could not accuse Maclean of con­coct­ing the Bush-to-Paris alle­ga­tion for some ulte­ri­or motive, since he hadn’t used it in 1980, nor had he vol­un­teered it a decade lat­er. He only con­firmed it – and did so reluc­tant­ly.

    French Intel­li­gence

    And, there was oth­er sup­port for the alle­ga­tions of a Repub­li­can-Iran­ian meet­ing in Paris.

    David Andel­man, the biog­ra­ph­er for Count Alexan­dre deMarench­es, then head of France’s Ser­vice de Doc­u­men­ta­tion Exterieure et de Con­tre-Espi­onage (SDECE), tes­ti­fied to con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors that deMarench­es told him that he had helped the Rea­gan-Bush cam­paign arrange meet­ings with Ira­ni­ans on the hostage issue in sum­mer and fall of 1980, with one meet­ing in Paris in Octo­ber.

    Andel­man said deMarench­es insist­ed that the secret meet­ings be kept out of his mem­oir because the sto­ry could dam­age the rep­u­ta­tions of his friends, William Casey and George H.W. Bush.

    The alle­ga­tions of a Paris meet­ing also received sup­port from sev­er­al oth­er sources, includ­ing pilot Hein­rich Rupp, who said he flew Casey (then Ronald Reagan’s cam­paign chief and lat­er CIA direc­tor) from Washington’s Nation­al Air­port to Paris on a flight that left very late on a rainy night in mid-Octo­ber 1980.

    Rupp said that after arriv­ing at LeBour­get air­port out­side Paris, he saw a man resem­bling Bush on the tar­mac.

    The night of Oct. 18 indeed was rainy in the Wash­ing­ton area. And, sign-in sheets at the Rea­gan-Bush head­quar­ters in Arling­ton, Vir­ginia, placed Casey with­in a five-minute dri­ve of Nation­al Air­port late that evening.

    There were oth­er bits and pieces of cor­rob­o­ra­tion about the Paris meet­ings.

    A French arms deal­er, Nicholas Ignatiew, told me in 1990 that he had checked with his gov­ern­ment con­tacts and was told that Repub­li­cans did meet with Ira­ni­ans in Paris in mid-Octo­ber 1980.

    A well-con­nect­ed French inves­tiga­tive reporter Claude Angeli said his sources inside the French secret ser­vice con­firmed that the ser­vice pro­vid­ed “cov­er” for a meet­ing between Repub­li­cans and Ira­ni­ans in France on the week­end of Oct. 18–19. Ger­man jour­nal­ist Mar­tin Kil­ian had received a sim­i­lar account from a top aide to intel­li­gence chief deMarench­es.

    As ear­ly as 1987, Iran’s ex-Pres­i­dent Bani-Sadr had made his own claims about a Paris meet­ing, and Israeli intel­li­gence offi­cer Ari Ben-Menashe tes­ti­fied that he was present out­side the Paris meet­ing and saw Bush, Casey and oth­er Amer­i­cans in atten­dance.

    Final­ly, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment sent a report to the House task force, say­ing that Sovi­et-era intel­li­gence files con­tained infor­ma­tion about Repub­li­cans hold­ing a series of meet­ings with Ira­ni­ans in Europe, includ­ing one in Paris in Octo­ber 1980.

    “William Casey, in 1980, met three times with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Iran­ian lead­er­ship,” the Russ­ian report said. “The meet­ings took place in Madrid and Paris.”

    At the Paris meet­ing in Octo­ber 1980, “for­mer CIA Direc­tor George Bush also took part,” the report said. “The rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Ronald Rea­gan and the Iran­ian lead­er­ship dis­cussed the ques­tion of pos­si­bly delay­ing the release of 52 hostages from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran.”

    Request­ed by Hamil­ton, who was in charge of the lack­adaisi­cal con­gres­sion­al inquiry into the Octo­ber Sur­prise mys­tery in 1992, the Russ­ian report arrived via the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in Jan­u­ary 1993. But Hamilton’s task force had already decid­ed to dis­miss the Octo­ber Sur­prise alle­ga­tions as lack­ing sol­id evi­dence.

    The Russ­ian report was kept hid­den until I dis­cov­ered it after gain­ing access to the task force’s raw files. Though the report was addressed to Hamil­ton, he told me last year that he had not seen the report until I sent him a copy short­ly before our inter­view.

    Lawrence Bar­cel­la, the task force’s chief coun­sel, acknowl­edged to me that he might not have shown Hamil­ton the report and may have sim­ply filed it away in box­es of task force records.

    Casey in Spain

    I also dis­cov­ered in the files at the George H.W. Bush Pres­i­den­tial Library in Col­lege Sta­tion, Texas, anoth­er doc­u­ment that sup­port­ed alle­ga­tions that Casey had trav­eled to Madrid, as Iran­ian busi­ness­man Jamshid Hashe­mi had claimed. Hashe­mi tes­ti­fied under oath that Casey met with Iran­ian emis­sary Meh­di Kar­ru­bi in Madrid, Spain, in late July 1980 to dis­cuss delay­ing the release of the Amer­i­can hostages until after the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion so as not to help Pres­i­dent Carter.

    Search­ing through the archived files at the Bush library, I found a “mem­o­ran­dum for record” dat­ed Nov. 4, 1991, by asso­ciate White House coun­sel Chester Paul Beach Jr.

    Beach report­ed on a con­ver­sa­tion with State Depart­ment legal advis­er Edwin D. Williamson who said that among the State Depart­ment “mate­r­i­al poten­tial­ly rel­e­vant to the Octo­ber Sur­prise alle­ga­tions [was] a cable from the Madrid embassy indi­cat­ing that Bill Casey was in town, for pur­pos­es unknown.”

    How­ev­er, the House task force was appar­ent­ly nev­er told about this con­fir­ma­tion of Casey’s pres­ence in Madrid and pro­ceed­ed to reject the Madrid alle­ga­tions by cit­ing a par­tic­u­lar­ly bizarre ali­bi for Casey’s where­abouts on the last week­end in July 1980.

    The task force placed Casey at the exclu­sive all-male retreat at the Bohemi­an Grove in Cal­i­for­nia although the doc­u­men­tary evi­dence clear­ly showed that Casey attend­ed the Grove on the first week­end of August, not the last week­end of July. [For details, see Secre­cy & Priv­i­lege. For more on Casey’s alleged trav­els, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Octo­ber Sur­prise Evi­dence Sur­faces.”]

    Stranger Than Fic­tion

    Anoth­er stranger-than-fic­tion twist in this sto­ry is the new rev­e­la­tion that a fig­ure from the Water­gate cov­er-up was Bush’s “ali­bi wit­ness,” although the wit­ness appar­ent­ly could not be count­ed on to sup­port Bush’s Octo­ber Sur­prise ali­bi.

    Though Richard A. Moore was not one of the house­hold names from the Water­gate cov­er-up, a review of lit­er­a­ture on the scan­dal reveals that he was a trust­ed aide to Pres­i­dent Nixon and helped for­mu­late both legal and pub­lic-rela­tions strate­gies to fend off the Water­gate inves­ti­ga­tions.

    In The Halde­man Diaries, White House chief of staff H.R. Halde­man describes Nixon fre­quent­ly send­ing his top aides to con­sult with Moore about devel­op­ments in the scan­dal. At one point, as White House coun­sel Dean is start­ing to talk with pros­e­cu­tors, Halde­man notes that “Moore was very close to Dean, how about hav­ing him talk with Dean and see what he has in mind.”

    In Dean’s Blind Ambi­tion, Dean cred­its Moore with first com­ing up with the mem­o­rable phrase that the Water­gate cov­er-up was becom­ing “a can­cer” on Nixon’s pres­i­den­cy, a metaphor that Dean used in a key con­fronta­tion with Nixon and repeat­ed dur­ing the Water­gate hear­ings.

    Dur­ing those hear­ings, Moore was dis­patched by the White House to dis­pute Dean’s asser­tion that Nixon was com­plic­it in the cov­er-up of the June 1972 break-in at the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Head­quar­ters at least as ear­ly as that Sep­tem­ber.

    On July 12, 1973, Moore told the Sen­ate Water­gate Com­mit­tee that “noth­ing said in my meet­ings with Mr. Dean or my meet­ings with the Pres­i­dent sug­gests in any way that before March 21 [1973] the Pres­i­dent had known, or that Mr. Dean believed he had known, of any involve­ment of White House per­son­nel in the bug­ging or the cov­er-up.”

    Per­haps because of his sta­tus as a lawyer to Nixon, Moore escaped the fate of many oth­er White House insid­ers who were indict­ed and pros­e­cut­ed for false tes­ti­mo­ny and obstruc­tion of jus­tice.

    Being a Yale alum­nus and a friend of the well-con­nect­ed George H.W. Bush, who was then chair­man of the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee, prob­a­bly didn’t hurt either.

    Moore had start­ed his legal career work­ing as a lawyer for the Amer­i­can Broad­cast­ing Com­pa­ny in the 1940s. He was a close friend of Nixon’s Attor­ney Gen­er­al John N. Mitchell who brought Moore into the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion as his spe­cial assis­tant. Moore moved over to the White House in 1971 to serve as spe­cial coun­sel to Nixon.

    After leav­ing the White House, Moore returned to the tele­vi­sion indus­try, becom­ing a founder and asso­ciate pro­duc­er of “The McLaugh­lin Group” polit­i­cal chat show.

    In Sep­tem­ber 1989, Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush named Moore as Ambas­sador to Ire­land, where he stayed until June 1992, when his tes­ti­mo­ny in anoth­er polit­i­cal scan­dal might have proved very impor­tant in either exon­er­at­ing Bush or expos­ing a pho­ny cov­er sto­ry that pro­tect­ed Bush’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in an oper­a­tion that bor­dered on trea­son.

    With­out ever being ques­tioned in the Octo­ber Sur­prise mys­tery, Moore died in Wash­ing­ton on Jan. 27, 1995, at age 81. He suc­cumbed to prostate can­cer, accord­ing to his daugh­ter Kate L. Moore.

    Posted by R. Wilson | October 1, 2011, 8:33 pm
  4. End of the line for mass meta­da­ta col­lec­tion? Per­haps:

    The New York Times
    Judge Ques­tions Legal­i­ty of N.S.A. Phone Records

    By CHARLIE SAVAGE
    Pub­lished: Decem­ber 16, 2013

    WASHINGTON — A fed­er­al dis­trict judge ruled on Mon­day that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency pro­gram that is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly keep­ing records of all Amer­i­cans’ phone calls most like­ly vio­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion, describ­ing its tech­nol­o­gy as “almost Orwellian” and sug­gest­ing that James Madi­son would be “aghast” to learn that the gov­ern­ment was encroach­ing on lib­er­ty in such a way.

    Judge Richard J. Leon of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia ordered the gov­ern­ment to stop col­lect­ing data on the per­son­al calls of the two plain­tiffs in the case and to destroy the records of their call­ing his­to­ry. But the judge, appoint­ed to the bench in 2002 by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, stayed his injunc­tion “in light of the sig­nif­i­cant nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests at stake in this case and the nov­el­ty of the con­sti­tu­tion­al issues,” allow­ing the gov­ern­ment time to appeal it, a mat­ter that he said could take at least six months. The case is the first in which a fed­er­al judge who is not on the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Court, which autho­rized the once-secret pro­gram, has exam­ined the bulk data col­lec­tion on behalf of some­one who is not a crim­i­nal defen­dant.

    The Jus­tice Depart­ment has said that 15 sep­a­rate judges on the sur­veil­lance court have held on 35 occa­sions that the call­ing data pro­gram is legal. It also marks the first suc­cess­ful legal chal­lenge brought against the pro­gram since it was revealed in June after leaks by the for­mer N.S.A. con­trac­tor Edward J. Snow­den.

    “I can­not imag­ine a more ‘indis­crim­i­nate’ and ‘arbi­trary’ inva­sion than this sys­tem­at­ic and high-tech col­lec­tion and reten­tion of per­son­al data on vir­tu­al­ly every sin­gle cit­i­zen for pur­pos­es of query­ing and ana­lyz­ing it with­out pri­or judi­cial approval,” Judge Leon wrote in a 68-page rul­ing. “Sure­ly, such a pro­gram infringes on ‘that degree of pri­va­cy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amend­ment,” which pro­hibits unrea­son­able search­es and seizures.

    Andrew Ames, a Jus­tice Depart­ment spokesman, said gov­ern­ment lawyers were study­ing the deci­sion, but he added: “We believe the pro­gram is con­sti­tu­tion­al as pre­vi­ous judges have found.”

    In a state­ment from Moscow, where he has obtained tem­po­rary asy­lum, Mr. Snow­den praised the rul­ing.

    “I act­ed on my belief that the N.S.A.’s mass sur­veil­lance pro­grams would not with­stand a con­sti­tu­tion­al chal­lenge, and that the Amer­i­can pub­lic deserved a chance to see these issues deter­mined by open courts,” Mr. Snow­den said in his state­ment. It was dis­trib­uted by the jour­nal­ist Glenn Green­wald, who received leaked doc­u­ments from Mr. Snow­den and who wrote the first arti­cle about the bulk data col­lec­tion. “Today, a secret pro­gram autho­rized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to vio­late Amer­i­cans’ rights,” the state­ment said. “It is the first of many.”

    The case was brought by sev­er­al plain­tiffs led by Lar­ry Klay­man, a con­ser­v­a­tive legal activist. Mr. Klay­man, who rep­re­sent­ed him­self and the oth­er plain­tiffs, said in an inter­view on Mon­day that he was seek­ing to turn the case into a class action on behalf of all Amer­i­cans. “I’m extreme­ly grat­i­fied that Judge Leon had the courage to make this rul­ing,” he said. “He is an Amer­i­can hero.”

    Mr. Klay­man argued that he had legal stand­ing to chal­lenge the pro­gram in part because, he con­tend­ed, the gov­ern­ment had sent inex­plic­a­ble text mes­sages to his clients on his behalf; at a court hear­ing, he told the judge, “I think they are mess­ing with me.”

    The judge por­trayed that claim as “unusu­al” but looked past it, say­ing Mr. Klay­man and his co-plain­tiff instead had stand­ing because it was high­ly like­ly, based on the government’s own descrip­tion of the pro­gram as a “com­pre­hen­sive meta­da­ta data­base,” that the N.S.A. col­lect­ed data about their phone calls along with every­one else’s.

    Sim­i­lar legal chal­lenges to the N.S.A. pro­gram, includ­ing by the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union and the advo­ca­cy group Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion, are at ear­li­er stages in the courts. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear an unusu­al chal­lenge to the pro­gram by the Elec­tron­ic Pri­va­cy Infor­ma­tion Cen­ter, which had sought to bypass low­er courts.

    ...

    It will be inter­est­ing to see hos the suit pro­gress­es, not only because of the larg­er impli­ca­tion of on mass sur­veil­lance but also because Lar­ry Klay­man appears to be charg­ing the NSA with send­ing fake emails to his client as part of some sort of cam­paign of intim­i­da­tion. That seems like a pret­ty big abuse of pow­er too!

    It’s also worth not­ing that Judge Richard Leon is not unfa­mil­iar with con­tro­ver­sial cas­es involv­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly ques­tion­able intel­li­gence oper­a­tions. So this rul­ing was­n’t entire­ly sur­pris­ing but, in some ways, it was actu­al­ly pret­ty sur­pris­ing:

    Con­sor­tium News
    Who Is Judge Richard Leon?
    Novem­ber 9, 2011

    Exclu­sive: The appoint­ment of fed­er­al judges is a key pow­er of the U.S. pres­i­dent. It can reward par­ti­san allies for past ser­vices and ensure favor­able rul­ings in the future. Both fac­tors were in play for Dis­trict Judge Richard Leon who just struck down new cig­a­rette warn­ings, writes Robert Par­ry.

    By Robert Par­ry

    On Mon­day, U.S. Dis­trict Court Judge Richard Leon hand­ed the tobac­co indus­try a big vic­to­ry by block­ing a new fed­er­al require­ment that cig­a­rette packs car­ry graph­ic warn­ing labels. Though the rul­ing may mean ill­ness and pre­ma­ture death for many Amer­i­cans, it wouldn’t have come as a sur­prise to any­one who knew Leon’s his­to­ry as a par­ti­san activist.

    Leon was appoint­ed to his life­time judi­cial post by George W. Bush in 2002 after Leon had “earned” the grat­i­tude of the Bush Fam­i­ly by pro­tect­ing its inter­ests as an aggres­sive and reli­able Repub­li­can legal appa­ratchik on Capi­tol Hill. There, the heavy-set Leon gained a rep­u­ta­tion as a par­ti­san bul­ly who made sure polit­i­cal­ly charged inves­ti­ga­tions reached a desired out­come, what­ev­er the facts.

    In the 1990s, Leon served as spe­cial coun­sel to the House Bank­ing Com­mit­tee as it trans­formed Pres­i­dent Bill Clinton’s minor White­wa­ter real estate deal into a major scan­dal that even­tu­al­ly led to the House vote to impeach Clin­ton in 1998 and thus set the stage for Bush’s dis­put­ed elec­tion vic­to­ry in 2000.

    How­ev­er, Leon’s most impor­tant work for the Bush­es may have come in the 1980s and ear­ly 1990s when he helped con­struct legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for Repub­li­can law-break­ing and sought to intim­i­date Iran-Con­tra-relat­ed wit­ness­es who came for­ward to expose GOP wrong­do­ing.

    In 1987, when Rep. Dick Cheney, R‑Wyoming, was lead­ing the Repub­li­can coun­terof­fen­sive against the Iran-Con­tra inves­ti­ga­tion into evi­dence that Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan and Vice Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush had engaged in a wide-rang­ing con­spir­a­cy involv­ing ille­gal weapons ship­ments and mon­ey trans­fers, Leon stepped for­ward as deputy chief coun­sel on the Repub­li­can side.

    Leon worked with Cheney not only in fend­ing off accu­sa­tions of wrong­do­ing, but in com­ing up with a counter-argu­ment that accused Con­gress of intrud­ing on for­eign pol­i­cy pre­rog­a­tives of the Pres­i­dent.

    “Con­gres­sion­al actions to lim­it the Pres­i­dent in this area … should be reviewed with a con­sid­er­able degree of skep­ti­cism,” the Repub­li­can minor­i­ty report said. “If they inter­fere with the core pres­i­den­tial for­eign pol­i­cy func­tions, they should be struck down.”

    In 2005 as vice pres­i­dent, Cheney harkened back to that Iran-Con­tra minor­i­ty report in defend­ing George W. Bush’s asser­tion of unlim­it­ed pres­i­den­tial pow­ers dur­ing wartime.

    “If you want ref­er­ence to an obscure text, go look at the minor­i­ty views that were filed with the Iran-Con­tra com­mit­tee,” Cheney told a reporter. Cheney said those old argu­ments “are very good in lay­ing out a robust view of the president’s pre­rog­a­tives with respect to the con­duct of espe­cial­ly for­eign pol­i­cy and nation­al secu­ri­ty mat­ters.”

    So, one could say that Richard Leon was there at the birth of what became George W. Bush’s impe­r­i­al pres­i­den­cy.

    Cov­er-up of Crimes

    But Leon’s cru­cial work went beyond build­ing a legal frame­work for Repub­li­can pres­i­dents to ignore the law. More sig­nif­i­cant­ly, he con­duct­ed cov­er-ups of their crimes.

    In 1992, when a House task force was exam­in­ing evi­dence that Rea­gan and Bush began their secret con­tacts with Iran in 1980 while try­ing to unseat Pres­i­dent Jim­my Carter, Leon was the Repub­li­can point man to make sure noth­ing too dam­ag­ing came out. Leon served as chief minor­i­ty coun­sel to the House task force inves­ti­gat­ing the so-called Octo­ber Sur­prise alle­ga­tions.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 16, 2013, 8:05 pm
  5. The pile of evi­dence point­ing towards Nixon’s trea­so­nous derail­ment of peace talks with the North Viet­namese in 1968 just got high­er:

    Politi­co
    Yes, Nixon Scut­tled the Viet­nam Peace Talks

    It’s been rumored for years. Now we have real proof.

    By JOHN ALOYSIUS FARRELL

    June 09, 2014

    Did Richard Nixon’s cam­paign con­spire to scut­tle the Viet­nam War peace talks on the eve of the 1968 elec­tion to cap­ture him the pres­i­den­cy?

    Absolute­ly, says Tom Charles Hus­ton, the author of a com­pre­hen­sive, still-secret report he pre­pared as a White House aide to Nixon. In one of 10 oral his­to­ries con­duct­ed by the Nation­al Archives and opened last week, Hus­ton says “there is no ques­tion” that Nixon cam­paign aides sent a mes­sage to the South Viet­namese gov­ern­ment, promis­ing bet­ter terms if it obstruct­ed the talks, and helped Nixon get elect­ed.

    Nixon’s cam­paign man­ag­er, John Mitchell, “was direct­ly involved,” Hus­ton tells inter­view­er Tim­o­thy Naf­tali. And while “there is no evi­dence that I found” that Nixon par­tic­i­pat­ed, it is “incon­ceiv­able to me,” says Hus­ton, that Mitchell “act­ed on his own ini­tia­tive.”

    Huston’s comments—transcribed and pub­lishe­don the web site of the Richard Nixon Pres­i­den­tial Library in Yor­ba Lin­da, Cal­i­for­nia on Wednesday—are the lat­est twist in a long­stand­ing tale of polit­i­cal skull­dug­gery involv­ing Nixon and his pre­de­ces­sor, Lyn­don John­son. It is a tale that fea­tures a secret “X‑file,” a mys­te­ri­ous “Drag­on Lady” and reports of wire­taps and bug­ging that has cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of schol­ars and con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists for half a cen­tu­ry.

    Like many of Nixon’s actions, this par­tic­u­lar trans­gres­sion was born of para­noia. As the 1968 elec­tion approached, Nixon and his aides feared that John­son would try to help the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nominee—Vice Pres­i­dent Hubert Humphrey—by stag­ing an Octo­ber sur­prise. When LBJ announced to the nation, just days before the bal­lot­ing, that he was call­ing a halt in the bomb­ing of North Viet­nam to help fuel progress in ongo­ing peace talks, the Repub­li­cans thought their fears were real­ized.

    Anna Chen­nault, a Repub­li­can activist with ties to the South Viet­namese gov­ern­ment, sent word to Saigon that it would get bet­ter terms if Humphrey lost and Nixon took office, the FBI would dis­cov­er. The South Viet­namese dragged their feet, infu­ri­at­ing LBJ who, in a taped con­ver­sa­tion released by the John­son pres­i­den­tial library sev­er­al years ago, can be heard denounc­ing Nixon for “trea­son.”

    LBJ ordered the FBI to put Chen­nault under sur­veil­lance and, accord­ing to doc­u­ments at the John­son library, tracked the machi­na­tions of the “Drag­on Lady”(as Nixon called her) via inter­cept­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions at the South Viet­namese embassy. After Nixon won, FBI Direc­tor J. Edgar Hoover told the new pres­i­dent that John­son had ordered Nixon’s cam­paign planes bugged as well.

    Once in office, Nixon ordered his staff to inves­ti­gate the bomb­ing halt and the alle­ga­tion his cam­paign had been bugged. Hus­ton, a ded­i­cat­ed and resource­ful young con­ser­v­a­tive who had worked on the 1968 cam­paign before join­ing the White House as a pres­i­den­tial aide, was giv­en the job. But his inves­ti­ga­tion, and the report he deliv­ered to White House chief of staff H. R. Halde­man in 1970, found that both pres­i­dents had cause for embar­rass­ment: LBJ for the sur­veil­lance of a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date from the oth­er par­ty, and Nixon for the role that his cam­paign played in derail­ing the peace talks.

    Nei­ther side want­ed to push the issue. “I think there was an implic­it under­stand­ing between two very polit­i­cal­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed peo­ple, who had been in the are­na for a very long time, to say ‘Hey, look, this thing is over, you know, nei­ther one of us are going to gain any­thing by stir­ring up this pot,’” Hus­ton says.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 10, 2014, 6:24 pm
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huston_Plan

    The Hus­ton Plan was a 43-page report and out­line of pro­posed secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions put togeth­er by White House aide Tom Charles Hus­ton in 1970.[1] It first came to light dur­ing the 1973 Water­gate hear­ings head­ed by Sen­a­tor Sam Ervin (a Demo­c­rat from North Car­oli­na).

    The impe­tus for this report stemmed from Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon want­i­ng more coor­di­na­tion of domes­tic intel­li­gence in the area of gath­er­ing infor­ma­tion about pur­port­ed ‘left-wing rad­i­cals’ and the coun­ter­cul­ture-era anti-war move­ment in gen­er­al. Hus­ton had been assigned as White House liai­son to the Inter­a­gency Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence (ICI), a group chaired by J. Edgar Hoover, then Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion (FBI) Direc­tor. Hus­ton worked close­ly with William C. Sul­li­van, Hoover’s assis­tant, in draw­ing up the options list­ed in what even­tu­al­ly became the doc­u­ment known as the Hus­ton Plan.

    Among oth­er things the plan called for domes­tic bur­glary, ille­gal elec­tron­ic sur­veil­lance and open­ing the mail of domes­tic “rad­i­cals”. At one time it also called for the cre­ation of camps in West­ern states where anti-war pro­test­ers would be detained.

    In mid-July 1970 Nixon rat­i­fied the pro­pos­als and they were sub­mit­ted as a doc­u­ment to the direc­tors of the FBI, Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency (CIA), Defense Intel­li­gence Agency (DIA) and the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA).

    Out of these only Hoover object­ed to the plan, and gained the sup­port of then Attor­ney Gen­er­al of the Unit­ed States John Mitchell to pres­sure Nixon to rescind the plan. And despite the ulti­mate deci­sion by the Pres­i­dent to revoke the Hus­ton Plan, sev­er­al of its pro­vi­sions were imple­ment­ed any­way.

    After the Hus­ton Plan, the FBI low­ered the age of cam­pus infor­mants, there­by expand­ing sur­veil­lance of Amer­i­can col­lege stu­dents as sought through the Plan. In 1971, the FBI rein­stat­ed its use of mail cov­ers and con­tin­ued to sub­mit names to the CIA mail pro­gram.

    As details of the Hus­ton Plan unfold­ed dur­ing the Water­gate Hear­ings, it came to be seen as a part and par­cel of what Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mitchell referred to as, “White House hor­rors”. This would include the Plumbers Unit, the pro­posed fire-bomb­ing of the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion, the cre­ation of a White House ene­mies list, and the use of the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice (IRS) to pun­ish those deemed to be ene­mies.

    The Hus­ton Plan was also inves­ti­gat­ed by the U.S. Sen­ate Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence chaired by Sen. Frank Church in 1976, into activ­i­ties of the CIA and abus­es of domes­tic intel­li­gence gath­er­ing.

    References[edit]1.Jump up ^ Amer­i­ca Sink­ing through a Water­gate
    Exter­nal links[edit]Huston Plan: Hear­ings before the Select Com­mit­tee to Study Gov­ern­men­tal Oper­a­tions with Respect to Intel­li­gence Activ­i­ties, Church Com­mit­tee, U.S. Sen­ate, Sept. 23–25, 1975.
    SUPPLEMENTARY DETAILED STAFF REPORTS ON INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES AND THE RIGHTS OF AMERICANS, pub­lished by the Sen­ate Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence
    Inter­view with Army whistle­blow­er Chris Pyle, Amer­i­can Pub­lic Media

    Posted by Swamp | June 10, 2014, 7:30 pm
  7. Check it out! The GOP has found a new way to show the world how much it hates Oba­ma: Open let­ters to world lead­ers telling them not to nego­ti­ate with the White House:

    Bloomberg News
    Repub­li­cans Warn Iran — and Oba­ma — That Deal Won’t Last
    Mar 8, 2015 10:07 PM EDT
    By Josh Rogin

    A group of 47 Repub­li­can sen­a­tors has writ­ten an open let­ter to Iran’s lead­ers warn­ing them that any nuclear deal they sign with Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma’s admin­is­tra­tion won’t last after Oba­ma leaves office.

    Orga­nized by fresh­man Sen­a­tor Tom Cot­ton and signed by the cham­ber’s entire par­ty lead­er­ship as well as poten­tial 2016 pres­i­den­tial con­tenders Mar­co Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the let­ter is meant not just to dis­cour­age the Iran­ian regime from sign­ing a deal but also to pres­sure the White House into giv­ing Con­gress some author­i­ty over the process.

    “It has come to our atten­tion while observ­ing your nuclear nego­ti­a­tions with our gov­ern­ment that you may not ful­ly under­stand our con­sti­tu­tion­al sys­tem … Any­thing not approved by Con­gress is a mere exec­u­tive agree­ment,” the sen­a­tors wrote. “The next pres­i­dent could revoke such an exec­u­tive agree­ment with the stroke of a pen and future Con­gress­es could mod­i­fy the terms of the agree­ment at any time.”

    Arms-con­trol advo­cates and sup­port­ers of the nego­ti­a­tions argue that the next pres­i­dent and the next Con­gress will have a hard time chang­ing or can­cel­ing any Iran deal — – which is report­ed­ly near done — espe­cial­ly if it is work­ing rea­son­ably well.

    Many inside the Repub­li­can cau­cus, how­ev­er, hope that by point­ing out the long-term fragili­ty of a deal with no con­gres­sion­al approval — some­thing Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei has also not­ed — the Iran­ian regime might be con­vinced to think twice. “Iran’s aya­tol­lahs need to know before agree­ing to any nuclear deal that … any uni­lat­er­al exec­u­tive agree­ment is one they accept at their own per­il,” Cot­ton told me.

    The issue has already become part of the 2016 GOP cam­paign. For­mer Flori­da Gov­er­nor Jeb Bush came out against the nego­ti­a­tions in a speech at the Chica­go Coun­cil last month. For­mer Texas Gov­er­nor Rick Per­ry released a video crit­i­ciz­ing the nego­ti­a­tions and call­ing for Con­gres­sion­al over­sight. “An arms con­trol agree­ment that excludes our Con­gress, dam­ages our secu­ri­ty and endan­gers our allies has to be recon­sid­ered by any future pres­i­dent,” Per­ry said.

    Repub­li­cans also have a new argu­ment to make in assert­ing their role in the diplo­mat­ic process: Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden sim­i­lar­ly insist­ed — in a let­ter to then-Sec­re­tary of State Col­in Pow­ell — on con­gres­sion­al approval for the Moscow Treaty on strate­gic nuclear weapons with Rus­sia in 2002, when he was head of the Sen­ate For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee.

    ...

    Well, at least they’re out in open about it this time around.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 9, 2015, 8:58 am
  8. Giv­en the ongo­ing back­lash against the GOP open let­ter warn­ing Iran not to nego­ti­ate with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, it’s worth recall­ing that Sen­a­tor Tom Cot­ton, the fresh­man Sen­a­tor from Arkansas who authored the let­ter, had a dif­fer­ent bold idea for show­ing the world how ‘tough’ he is on Iran back in 2013 while he was still a con­gress­man. His bold idea? Pun­ish all fam­i­ly mem­bers, up to three degrees removed, of some­one is charge with vio­lat­ing the Iran sanc­tions. With or with­out evi­dence of wrong­do­ing:

    Huff­in­g­ton Post
    Tom Cot­ton ‘Cor­rup­tion Of Blood’ Bill Would Con­vict Fam­i­ly Mem­bers Of Iran Sanc­tions Vio­la­tors

    Zach Carter
    Post­ed: 05/22/2013 6:36 pm EDT Updat­ed: 05/23/2013 2:52 pm EDT

    WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Cot­ton (R‑Ark.) on Wednes­day offered leg­isla­tive lan­guage that would “auto­mat­i­cal­ly” pun­ish fam­i­ly mem­bers of peo­ple who vio­late U.S. sanc­tions against Iran, levy­ing sen­tences of up to 20 years in prison.

    The pro­vi­sion was intro­duced as an amend­ment to the Nuclear Iran Pre­ven­tion Act of 2013 which lays out strong penal­ties for peo­ple who vio­late human rights, engage in cen­sor­ship, or com­mit oth­er abus­es asso­ci­at­ed with the Iran­ian gov­ern­ment.

    Cot­ton also seeks to pun­ish any fam­i­ly mem­ber of those peo­ple, “to include a spouse and any rel­a­tive to the third degree,” includ­ing, “par­ents, chil­dren, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grand­par­ents, great grand­par­ents, grand­kids, great grand­kids,” Cot­ton said.

    “There would be no inves­ti­ga­tion,” Cot­ton said dur­ing Wednes­day’s markup hear­ing before the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee. “If the prime male­fac­tor of the fam­i­ly is iden­ti­fied as on the list for sanc­tions, then every­one with­in their fam­i­ly would auto­mat­i­cal­ly come with­in the sanc­tions regime as well. It’d be very hard to demon­strate and inves­ti­gate to con­clu­sive proof.”

    ...

    Arti­cle III of the Con­sti­tu­tion explic­it­ly bans Con­gress from pun­ish­ing trea­son based on “cor­rup­tion of blood” — mean­ing that rel­a­tives of those con­vict­ed of trea­son can­not be pun­ished based only on a famil­ial tie.

    Fam­i­ly mem­bers of peo­ple sus­pect­ed to be polit­i­cal dis­si­dents in North Korea fre­quent­ly dis­ap­pear or are pun­ished by the North Kore­an gov­ern­ment.

    Cot­ton warned that some wrong­do­ers in Iran may shift finan­cial assets to fam­i­ly mem­bers to avoid for­fei­ture under U.S. laws, so fam­i­ly mem­bers must auto­mat­i­cal­ly be guilty of sanc­tion vio­la­tions as well.

    “Iran­ian cit­i­zens do not have con­sti­tu­tion­al rights under the Unit­ed States Con­sti­tu­tion,” Cot­ton said. “I sym­pa­thize with their plight if they are harm­less, inno­cent civil­ians in Iran. I doubt that that is often the case.”

    The Fifth Amend­ment reads “no per­son ... shall be deprived of life, lib­er­ty, or prop­er­ty, with­out due process of law,” and makes no dis­tinc­tions regard­ing cit­i­zen­ship. In Wong Wing v. Unit­ed States, the Supreme Court found that nonci­t­i­zens charged with crimes are pro­tect­ed by the Fifth Amend­ment, along with the Sixth and 14th Amend­ments. The case was decid­ed in 1896.

    Sev­er­al mem­bers of the For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee acknowl­edged that stash­ing assets with fam­i­ly mem­bers can be a prob­lem. But they not­ed that oth­er pro­vi­sions in the bill would ensnare fam­i­ly mem­bers who con­spired with those who vio­late the sanc­tions. Chair­man Ed Royce (R‑Calif.) sug­gest­ed that Cot­ton with­draw his amend­ment and nar­row its lan­guage.

    After some back-and-forth with Grayson and Royce, Cot­ton relent­ed and with­drew the amend­ment.

    Aha.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 10, 2015, 12:43 pm

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