Whitewater and Clinton Scandal Clips

from The Progressive Review 1992-1997

Part 4: October 1996 - March 1997

 In May 1992, the Review became the first publication in America to present a comprehensive report on what has now come to be known as the Clinton scandals. Outside of conservative media no other publication has so consistently told this story

Index of Clips

Clips Feb '92 - Feb '94 Whitewater Clips Vol. 1

Clips Mar '94 - Feb '96 Whitewater Clips Vol. 2

Clips Mar - Sep '96 Whitewater Clips Vol. 3

Clips Oct 96- Mar 97 - Whitewater Clips Vol. 4

Clips Mar 97-July 97 - Whitewater Clips Vol 5

Clips Aug 97 - Whitewater Clips Vol 6

Back to the Review's home page

March 1997

False leads

Christopher Ruddy, the Whitewater investigative reporter, has compiled a list of false stories on Whitewater, including:

LA Times bureau chief Jack Nelson recently said Starr was ready to release his report on Foster. A few days later, Susan Estrich flatly declared that the report had been issued.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran a story that Starr had conducted mock trials of the Clintons. Starr's office denied the story.

In 1995, Scripps-Howard reported that Starr had concluded that Foster had killed himself. The story was carried on the front page of the Washington Times

In February of the same year, the Wall Street Journal quoted sources as saying the case had been closed as a suicide.

In October 1995, Mike Wallace declared on Sixty Minutes that Starr's report would be out shortly.

In December 1995, Starr's Washington office told Fox News that a report concluding the case would be issued within six weeks

In July 1996, Wallace once again reported a pending Starr suicide ruling.

In November 1996, Newsweek quoted sources as saying that the suicide report would be released soon.

What's going on here? Ruddy quotes a law enforcement source familiar with the case who argues that the leaks served trial balloons to test reaction the report might draw and that they also served as a signal to investigators and witnesses that officials didn't really want to look into the death any further and to discourage new testimony.

Starr and China

Starr has been often been criticized by both conservatives and liberals. The former believe he is about to throw (at least) the Foster case and maybe other aspects of the investigation to protect his own ambitions and agenda. Liberals, on the other hand, believe Starr is a tool of right-wing interests, shouldn't be engaged in a lucrative private practice while on public business and, anyway, has the wrong private clients (like the tobacco industry).

Now Starr seems to have developed a truly serious conflict-of-interest. While investigating Whitewater, he represented a firm owned by the China International Trust and Investment Corporation -- a huge corporation that was set up in 1979 as sort of a capitalist wing of the Communist Party. Given what has developed between the Clintons and China, the CITIC connection raises serious questions.

Interestingly, should Starr for forced out, his assistant Hickman Ewing would logically take over the operation. And Ewing, unlike Starr, is a tough prosecutor, said to be ready for Whitewater blood.

Whitewater shorts

Clinton has considerable chutzpah but he is no match for Foutanga Dit Babani Sissoko, a West African multi-millionaire who tried to get released from jail on bribery and smuggling charges by showing the judge a dinner invitation he had received to dine with the president at a Washington hotel last September. The judge did not release Sissoko, however, and set bail at $20 million. This is a South Florida record.

A lobbyist for Tyson Foods has been convicted of lying about providing favors to former agriculture secretary Espy. It took the jury only four hours to reach the decision. The prosecution was under the direction of Donald Smaltz, who has attracted much less attention than his peer Kenneth Starr and is quietly and aggressively pressing a corruption investigation that could lead straight to the Oval office.

Philip Weiss who wrote that strangely ambivalent piece about the Whitewater "crazies" for the New York Times, has come out of the closet further in an article for the New York Observer in which he confesses to reservations about the Foster death investigation -- particularly the missing car keys that suddenly turned up at the morgue and the harassment of witness Patrick Knowlton. Weiss even calls Whitewater irregular Hugh Sprunt's report on the case the "best treatment" of the investigation. Weiss also reports that when the IRS went after investigative reporter Chris Ruddy's conservative sponsor, the Western Journalism Center, its auditor asked for information such as "copies all documents related to the selection of Christopher Ruddy as an investigative reporter and how the topic was selected . . what review process is used for peer review? Were any other projects considered? What about any opposing viewpoints?" Heavy stuff for the supposedly non-partisan IRS to be messing around with.

If another president were to do what Nixon did, we would be much more understanding -- Katherine Graham of the Washington Post to Studs Terkel in the late 1980s

I think the ethical standards established in this White House have been the highest in the history of the White House. -- Al Gore, October 1996

The president and the American people are indeed fortunate to have your dedication and talent at their service. -- From a letter to White House security director and FBI-file-collector Craig Livingstone from FBI director Louis Freeh. Freeh claims he wrote the letter after his nomination ceremony during which Livingstone's staff fished his seven-year-old son out of a White House pond.

I don't think there's any question that when you're mid-water in a feeding frenzy, not much else filters out -- White House press secretary Michael McCurry grasping for a metaphor (or two or three) applicable to the current White House scandals.


Readers of the London's Sunday Telegraph have been given shocking news about the Vincent Foster death -- information that has gone largely unreported here. This is the lead from a story earlier this month by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, one of top Whitewater investigative journalists:

"A crime scene photograph from the investigation into the death of White House aide Vincent Foster appears to prove that the federal authorities have lied about the case and perpetuated a cover-up that continues to deceive the Foster family, the US Congress, and the American people. The photograph is one of the few surviving pictures taken by a Park Police officer soon after Foster's body was found . ./. It reveals that Foster suffered trauma on the right side of his neck, just below the jaw line. On the photograph there is a clearly visible wound about he size of an old sixpence, marked by a black 'stippled' ring suggestive of gunpowder burns. It has the appearance of a small-caliber gunshot wound."

Evans-Pritchard says the photograph has been quietly shown to key individuals -- including a top forensic scientist -- by a member of Kenneth Starr's own staff. This remarkable development comes only a few days after an LA Times story claiming that Starr would release a report on the Foster death declaring it a suicide. This is not the first time such a story has been leaked nor the first time such a leak has been subsequently countered by new revelations in the media. A cat and mouse game, reflecting perhaps a split among Starr's own investigators, may be underway: one side leaks a forthcoming suicide ruling in order to draw out any possible embarrassing counter evidence; the other side obliges with a bit more from its cache of facts. Then the Starr squad goes back to the drawing board.

Anything other than confirmation of a routine suicide in the case would be explosive news and there is speculation that the extraordinarily long time investigators have spent on the case reflects their inability to come up with enough rigorous evidence to defend the simple suicide theory. At least one conservative columnists has suggested that the Foster case is so uncomfortable for the ambitious Starr that it was the real reason he tried to duck out on the investigation before it was finished.

At issue is the Fiske report's conclusion that Foster shot himself in the mouth with a .38 revolver and that "there was no other trauma identified that would suggest a circumstance other than suicide." According to Evans-Pritchard, this is countered by the testimony of four paramedics who saw trauma to the neck, with two calling it probably a gunshot wound.

Further, the autopsy report's claim that the only external wound was a gaping hole in the back of the head where the bullet came out has also been challenged by some of the paramedics. Even the doctor who declared Foster dead doesn't recall seeing an exit wound: "I never saw one directly. I didn't spend too much time looking back there."

Asked to describe the exit wound, the head of the funeral home in Little Rock to which the body was taken, replied, "What if there was no exit wound at all? I'm telling you it's possible there wasn't." He then refused any further comment.

What about the other photos taken at the scene? Aside from few unrevealing Polaroids, the only other shots were underexposed photos from a 35 mm camera that are not good enough to use. And the autopsy X-rays? They have disappeared.

Feburary 1997

An important story behind the story of Whitewater is the increasing role of intelligence agencies. It appears that the FBI, CIA and NSA are all involved with institutional agendas that greatly muddy an already complex saga.

For example, some of the information concerning Chinese efforts to buy and exercise influence over American politics seems to have come from NSA intercepts of telephone calls carried out by listening posts such as those in England and New Zealand, which the agency uses to evade US wiretap laws. The NSA apparently also has a large file on Vincent Foster for unexplained reasons.

The CIA, already at risk because of intense interest in its 1980s activities out of Mena AK, has taken an unprecedented interest in a collection of files at the SBA related to the Clinton's China trade. So important are these files that when a congressional investigator with a top secret clearance came to check them out, he was told he couldn't. A congressional source told the Washington Times that "the documents are so classified that we were not allowed to look at them. They were taken from Commerce to the SBA, and there has been no explanation to date on how or why that occurred."

The FBI also has much at stake. Reports of inadequacies and improper procedures in its labs have sullied even the department's most routine and respected work. There are also charges of improper alteration of witness testimony in the Vince Foster case, not to mention the matter of how 900 personal FBI files ended up at the White House. Most recently, there has been a report of FBI warnings to selected members of Congress and the National Security Council concerning Chinese efforts to buy political influence in the last campaign. This story was reported by Robert Woodward, a journalist with a history of serving as a media mule for leaks from intelligence agencies. One question about this story: why has the FBI decide to tell this now? Further, in the wake of the revelation, Clinton found himself being directly contradicted by the FBI -- an unusual and ominnous development of the sort not seen since the notorious era of J. Edgar Hoover.

Each of these agencies has an interest in the outcome of the Whitewater affair that may frequently diverge from either their ostensible assignments or from the interests of other parties such as those in the White House or from that of the public. Within each agency -- as now seems the case with the FBI -- there may disputes over how matters have been or are being handled. Any or all of these agencies may be using the media to spin their version of the story no less intensively than Michael McCurry is for the Clintonistas. And each of these agencies has immense power to pressure or embarrass American politicians and to push history in the direction they desire.

Hence, all stories about Whitewater that touch on intelligence agencies should be read with such factors in mind. These are not pleasant or simple times.

The I-words -- impeachment and indictment -- are being heard increasingly, for good reasons. A few points to note:

Yes, the president can be indicted. There is simply no constitutional basis for the assumption that the president can commit a criminal act and not be called to account for it. The fact, that for political reasons or the good of the nation, it may be deemed better to start with impeachment, is a matter of judgment and not of law.

The president does not have to commit a crime to be impeached. In fact the Constitution, while noting that the stiffest penalty under impeachment is disqualification from all public office, adds that "the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law."

The offenses for which a president may be impeached are primarily political ones. Hamilton said that impeachment was for "offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to society itself."

Madison, in arguing for an impeachment provision, said "that some provision should be made for defending the community against the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief magistrate." He also, incidentally, foresaw the danger of a president who betrayed "his trust to foreign powers" and that "no one would say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing the first magistrate in foreign pay without being able to guard against it by displacing him."

Rent-a-Prez: Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor says he was "stunned" to learn that some of the companies joining him on trade missions were DNC campaign contributors. He apparently missed the nice material sent out by the DNC, complete with letter from Bill Clinton, that promised donors of $10,000, among other things, an invitation to "join Party leadership as they travel abroad to examine current and developing issues." Incidentally, the promo for the DNC we came by originated with a businessman who found the idea offensive. You see, he had previously given $25,000 and all he had gotten for it was a lousy breakfast with Al Gore.

The bust of Bill Clinton in the Hall of Presidents at the National Portrait Gallery was donated, according to the inscription, in honor of Mochtar Riady.

Some of the media types who stayed in the Lincoln bedroom: Richard Kaplan, then executive producer of ABC's World New Tonight; CNN's Ted Turner; Leslie Moonves, president of CBS Entertainment; and Elizabeth Tilberis, editor of Harper's.

Number of guilty pleas 9
Number of convictions 12
Number of felonies involved in above More than 50
Number of Clinton supporters who got to go on overnights at the White House in the two years before the 1996 election: 577
Number of US citizens whose names and personal information are in a White House computer database without their knowing about it 200,000 - 350,000
Number of times HRC said "I don't recall" or its equivalent in a statement to a House investigating committee 50
Number of paragraphs in this statement 42
Annual cost to taxpayers of defending Bill & Hillary Clinton $1.3 million
Number of witness interviewed by the special prosecutor as of last spring 2,000
Number of documents reviewed 5 million
Amount of an electronic transfer from the Arkansas Development Financial Authority to a bank in the Cayman Islands, according to an investigating congressmember $50 million

Grand Cayman's population

Number of commercial banks

Number of bank regulators




Number of journalists covering Whitewater who have been fired, transferred off the beat or otherwise gotten into trouble because of their work on the scandals (preliminary estimate) 7
Number of specific tasks set out for the Clintons' defense lawyers and support staff in a White House memo 40
Number of FBI files on US citizens that are in the White House for reasons that have yet to be explained: 900-1500

The Clinton White House's 331-page complaint about how the right-wing media has been out to get it fails to give the Progressive Review proper credit for its role in the media conspiracy. TPR published the most comprehensive summaries of the Whitewater scandal available anywhere in May 1992 and again in February 1994. And your editor wrote the first book raising serious questions about Clinton's character and politics. But then we don't exactly fit the notion of a conservative plot.

The WH theory, of course, is ludicrous, especially given the history of Clinton-coddling by the media. In fact, Clinton is primarily a creation of the media, without whose its timely, incessant, albeit unsubstantiated fawning, Clinton would still be the minor league, corrupt Arkansas politician he is at heart.

The White House vendetta against the media is far more than just one of words, as ably summarized recently by Micah Morrison in the Wall Street Journal. Here's what's happened to some of those who have tried to pursue the story:

o Doug Frantz quit the LA Times over its handling of his story about what Arkansas state trooper bodyguards had to say about Clinton's activities.

o ABC's Jim Wooten took himself off Whitewater after the network killed one of his Troopergate pieces.

o Time's Richard Behar left the publication after getting involved in a dispute with Tyson Foods over a report "linking the company to cash payments alleged destined for then-Gov. Clinton." Behar went to work for Fortune but says that Time stood behind him.

o Whitewater investigative reporter Christopher Ruddy was fired by the New York Post

o White House aides -- led by George Stephanopoulos -- have complained to WH reporters' bosses and lobbied to kill stories. In one case WH counsel David Kendall flew to New York to lobby against ABC running a piece on Clinton using state troopers to procure women. According to Morrison, "White House officials suggested that ABC corespondents look into reports that the main source for the story, Arkansas State Trooper LD Brown, had murdered his mother. The ugly allegation was false, but the ABC story never ran.

o Last year both CNN's 'Larry King Live' and NBC's 'Dateline' canceled plans to air interviews with WH FBI agent Gary Aldrich, after pressure from the Clintonistas.

o NY Daily News reporter David Eisenstadt was fired in November after filing a story about Clinton's Asian fundraising. The Village Voice reported that the Clinton campaign had complained to Mort Zuckerman, News co-publisher and frequent WH guest.

o Another Daily News reporter, Yinh Chan, has been charged with criminal libel in Taiwan after co-authoring a piece charging that a top Taiwanese official offered $15 million to the Clinton campaign.

Helping out in the Clinton war against the media is a group called the Back to Business Committee -- dedicated to getting the word out that there is "no smoking gun. The President and First Lady have done nothing wrong." The group, not surprisingly, was founded by Lynn Cutler and Ann Lewis, who would be happy to defend Ghengis Khan as long as he remained a registered Democrat. What is a little disturbing, however, are some of the other names on the list of Back to Business Committee advisors and spokespeople. They include Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Hodding Carter III, Father Robert Drinan, Susan Estrich, Gerald McEntee, Roslyn Carter and Letty Cottin Progrebin. If you like any of these folks, you should let them know that they are being badly used.

USA Today reports that prosecutor Starr's staff is now working six days a week towards new indictments sometime in February.

Now that the Paula Jones case is coming to the Supreme Court, the media has finally decided to pay it some mind. Evan Thomas, Washington bureau chief of Newsweek, admitted to CNN that "when the story first came out it was buried in a wave of pretty successful spin by the White House. The White House did a terrific job of portraying Paula Jones as a 'slut' and 'gold-digger' . . . and the press, for a variety of reasons, bought into that."

One reason, of course, was that the press wasn't doing its job, which includes piercing the spin of public officials. Thomas did not distinguish himself in the early stages of the story and actually described Jones on TV as a "sleazy woman with big hair who came out of a trailer park," a bare variation on James Carville's "this shows you that if you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, there's no telling what you can find." Change the words "a trailer park" to "the ghetto" and you can get some of the true implications of these remarks.

Thomas later apologized but his CNN appearance was noteworthy for his continued failure (along with most of the rest of the media) to understand that the Jones affair is not just a sex story but is about an alleged offense that, if proven, would have serious consequence for anyone less powerful than Clinton. The charge is not just that he exposed himself to Jones, but that he used his public office (including the services of an on-duty state trooper) to exercise totally improper influence over a state employee. Further, the Jones incident is only one of numerous such allegations (backed by the testimony of state troopers and others) that have been made against Clinton. It is long past time for the media to drop its boys-will-be-boys attitude towards these cases and recognize the serious abuse of power and potentially criminal behavior involved.

Clinton has hired white collar criminal defense lawyer Charles Ruff as his fifth White House counsel. Most recently, Ruff has been lawyer to the city of Washington under Mayor Marion Barry. He also represented Senator John Glenn in the Keating Five case, Senator Charles Robb in a grand jury wiretapping case and defended Exxon against criminal charges in the Valdez oil spill case. He seems like the right man for the job.

Senator Christopher Dodd, who was general Democratic National Committee chair throughout the last campaign, has refused to recuse himself from a Senate committee's investigation of illegal fundraising by the DNC.

Hillary Clinton went for her daily dose of photographic self-aggrandizement the other day. The scene: the pediatrics ward of the Georgetown University Medical Center where Mrs. Clinton was to be pictured reading to the kids. The problem: sick children don't look that cute, especially those who are bald from cancer treatments or fitted out with tubes and such. The solution: replace the sick children with well versions belonging to the hospital staff. It worked beautifully.

St. Susan of Ark.: Getting James McDougal to talk isn't as big a break for the special prosecutor as what he may talk about and what he may have in his possession. McDougal has endorsed David Hale's story about Bill Clinton's pressure for an illegal SBA loan, (as has a state trooper) and says his wife was sexually involved with the then governor. He claims he took five private lie detector tests trying to perfect an earlier claim of Clinton's innocence and flunked each of them. His wife Susan says he is a liar but then both members of the McDougal family have been found to be less than truthful. What really counts now is the corroborating evidence beyond his statement James McDougal provides the prosecutor.

Susan has been undergoing speedy canonization thanks to James Stewart in the New Yorker and a Nina Totenberg sob story on NPR, both of which transmitted the false White House spin that Starr couldn't get at Clinton without Susan's testimony. Buried in the Stewart story and totally absent from Totenberg's was the fact that Susan is a convicted crook and liar just like her husband. Among the charges the jury found her guilty of were making false entries and false statements. Totenberg also failed to tell her NPR listeners -- already miserably misinformed on Whitewater -- that after Susan divorced her husband she became the personal bookkeeper for conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife. That didn't work out so well either; Susan McDougal has pled not guilty to the embezzling (through unauthorized credit card charges) some $150,000 from the Mehtas. She could go to jail for nine years on that one. Stewart also reports that the LA US Attorney is investigating federal tax issues. Finally, it should be noted that Ms. McDougal is in jail because she has refused to answer some simple and direct questions before a grand jury. She was put there by a federal judge and not by Darth Vader. We are not aware of any other instances in which NPR or Totenberg have taken the position that it is noble to stonewall a grand jury. In any case, bear in mind as you hear further about Ms. McDougal, that St. Susan of Ark. she ain't.

Brenneke returns: Richard Brenneke, the spook who helped launch the October Surprise investigation and who is considered by some to have been an Israeli agent, by others a sometimes reliable source and by still others a colorful freelance dissembler, has turned up in the effluvia of Whitewater. A story in the latest issue of Oregon's Portland Free Press contains excerpts from Brenneke's 1991 sworn deposition before Rep. William Alexander Jr. and Arkansas deputy attorney general Chad Farris concerning drug operations at Mena.

Why bother with someone who -- like the McDougals -- has blithely mixed fact and fiction? Simply this: if police and journalists had to rely exclusively on the honest and upstanding for their information they wouldn't find out much. The problem with characters like Brenneke -- who increasingly dot the political landscape -- is not unlike a conundrum noted by adman David Oglivie. He said that fifty percent of all advertising is no good but you can't figure out which fifty percent. The same goes for the information of informants in political scandals.

What we found interesting about Brenneke's Mena deposition was how it supports information from other sources -- not only about the Arkansas operation but about the CIA's involvement in the drug trade as well. Keeping in mind that this deposition was taken five years before the current CIA-drug furor, here is what Brenneke had to say:

Q: Are you saying that drugs that you brought back from Central America to Mena were for the purpose of delivery to Mr. Reale who was in the employ of Mr. John Gotti, the New York crime syndicate boss?

A: Yes, sir. I would say that.

Q: And Mr. Reale was there to manage the transshipment of those drugs?

A. From time to time there were other people from the family down there.

Q: Did you have any conversations with him about where he intended to take those drugs?

A: Yes sir. I asked on more than one occasion where the drugs would be taken, and I was told the New York City area, specifically Kennedy International Airport. . .

Q: Now, did the Gotti organization, through Reale, pay money to the CIA for the drugs?

A: Yes, they did.

Q: Do you know how much money?

A: First hand knowledge, somewhere in the $50 million bracket.

The Portland Free Press claims the deposition is supported by other documents. Of course, Brenneke could have been lying, but such confirmation of the basic story is now becoming almost a bit redundant. How many different sources have to attest to what our government was up to before it is believed?

Besides, there are other inconsistencies worth considering. Senator John Kerry's 1988 inquiry into Contras, law enforcement and drug running, blew off Brenneke by saying he was "never officially connected to US intelligence." How did Kerry's committee know this? By examining "thousands of pages of documents from government files relating to him?" Thousands of pages of government files on an unconnected nobody? Hmm. In any case, you can obtain a copy of the Portland Free Press for $3 from PFP, PB 1327, Tualatin OR 97062.

Smaltz waltzes close: The smart money is keeping its eye on the other special prosecutor: Don Smaltz, who is looking into a wide range of corruption in an investigation that grew out of transactions by former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy. Clintonista lieutenant Vernon Jordan was recently called before a Smaltz grand jury.

The Federal Reserve Board has fined BCCI topsider Garth Pharaon $37 million for illegal activities carried out as part of BCCI's infiltration of the American banking system. Alexander Cockburn wrote in the Marc 3, 1992, LA Times: that itwas Jackson Stephens, who kept Clinton's primary campaign afloat with a big loan, "who brokered the arrival of BCCI into this country in 1977. He steered the bank's founder, Hassan Abedi, toward Jimmy Carter's budget director, Bert Lance, whose bank an Abedi front man took over." Stephens is a past business associate of Lance and Pharaon. In 1991, incidentally, Stephens joined BCCI investor Mochtar Riady in buying BCCI's former Hong Kong subsidiary from its liquidators.

January 1997

If Paula Jones is correct, then Bill Clinton is guilty of a criminal, as well as a civil, wrong-doing. The offense is called indecent exposure.

As we have noted, there has been a concerted effort to sabotage the use of special prosecutors in major corruption cases. Things would go a lot easier for Washington politicians in their ceaseless struggle against the public and press if the threat of an independent prosecutor didn't come from time to time.

Taking note of the efforts, special prosecutor Kenneth Starr particularly attacked current proposals for a time limit on investigations. Said Starr: "A one-year limit, even it allowed extensions in unusual circumstances, would confer few benefits and, more menacingly, would entail significant costs. Any attorney worth his her salt knows how to delay proceedings in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. A Procrustean time limit would serve as a powerful incentive to run out the clock, a blatant invitation to stonewall a good-faith investigation." We forgot to mention Michael Isikoff in our last post as one of those journalists whose life was changed in the course of the Whitewater era. Isikoff left the Washington Post for Newsweek in 1994 after the former failed to run his story on Paula Jones.

The investigation into Clinton's Asian money connection is not just about campaign finance corruption. There are indications that access purchased by foreign contributors might have been used for purposes of economic espionage. Which would explain the CIA's interest in certain SBA files and the FBI's curiosity as to who got intelligence briefings over at the Commerce Department and to whom they subsequently talked.

There is also growing interest in the rapidity with which the Clinton White House, after the death of one of its top officials, cleans up the office of the recently departed. Not only did WH officials start removing files from Vince Foster's office even before his death was announced, but it now appears something similar happened following Ron Brown's air crash.

Shortly after the election, President Clinton gave a speech to a group of Little Rock supporters in which he called those who were pressing the Whitewater and other investigations "a cancer" that he would "cut out of American politics."

Nine friends or associates of the Clintons have been convicted of felonies, five of misdemeanors and at least another nineteen are under investigation to date in the Whitewater inquiry.

The cost of access in the Republican Party is going up as well. Back in 1992, you could join the GOP's Team 100 for only $100,000; this year it cost $250,000 to become what the pros called "a season ticket holder."

If Clinton has trouble with understanding what's wrong about selling access, it may be because that's what he did in Arkansas -- albeit for a cheaper price. Now one of his top appointees is under investigation because of the interesting confluence of his political contributions and his progress within the Arkansas Democratic machine.

It turns out that the ubiquitous John Huang retained his top secret government clearance for a year after leaving the administration to go work for the Democratic National Committee. As William Safire asked recently, "Why does a Democratic party fund-raiser need top-secret clearance.?"

And while we're asking questions, why does the press continue to parrot the White House spin on the Vincent Foster death? For example, an article in the New York Times declared that the "Republican Party deserves criticism for trumpeting the Vincent Foster rumors in the mainstream press and calling for hearings." What exactly does the New York Times know that the special prosecutor and his squad of investigators don't? Or hasn't the Times noticed that even after all this time the Foster death case has not yet been resolved?

Here is the president's response to a news conference question about whether the Lippo Group's hiring of Webb Hubbell after he resigned from the Justice Department and shortly before he went to jail wasn't a bit suspicious. For your benefit, we have numbered Clinton's denials: "(1)Well, first of all, I didn't know about it. (2) To the best of my recollection, I didn't know anything about his having that job until I read about it in the press. (3) And I can't imagine who could have ever arranged to do something improper like that and no one around here know about it. (4) And I can tell you categorically that that did not happen. (5) I knew nothing about it -- no -- none of us did -- before it happened. (6) And I didn't personally know anything about it till I read about it in the press . . . (7) And I am just telling you it's not so."


Sooner or later the special prosecutor will explain how he thinks Vince Foster died. The mainstream media is convinced it was just your average suicide -- but that doesn't tell us why it has taken Starr's professional investigators so long to confirm this considered conclusion of America's major commentators. Here's a checklist (based on current information) to help you assess such a finding (or its contrary) if and when it comes



A photograph taken early in the investigation shows what may be a bullet wound to the neck    
The first witness on the scene reported no gun in Foster's hand    
The FBI has so far been unable to trace the gun that was later found    
The gun at found at Ft. Marcy was not recognized by members of Foster's family.    
Some experts argue that the exit wound was too small for the gun that was allegedly used.    
The bullet was never recovered despite major searches    
There were no Foster fingerprints, human oils or perspiration on the Ft. Marcy gun.    
There were no brain or bone fragments at the scene.    
No one heard the shot or saw Vince Foster in the park    
Blood loss was unusually small.    
Foster's eyeglasses were found 19 feet from his body.    
There was no matching ammo for the gun found at Foster's home.    
Despite the gun allegedly being fired into his mouth, there was no gunpowder on his tongue or damage to his teeth.    
A variety of carpet fibers were found on Foster's clothing, including his underwear.    
Foster's car keys were not found in his pockets at the park. They were later allegedly found in his pockets at the morgue.    
All 35mm crime scene photos were underexposed and most of the Polaroids are missing    
The X-ray machine used for the autopsy turned out to be "inoperable"    
The official White House statement of when it heard about the death is about one hour later than evidence from other witnesses -- including former White House aide David Watkins -- indicates.    
An accidental witness to events at Ft. Marcy Park that day claims his testimony was changed by FBI interviewers and that he was subjected to intense harassment surveillance in the months following.    
The Park police declared the death a suicide even before detectives had arrived on the scene.    
No dirt or grass stains on shoes despite an alleged walk of 700 feet from Foster's car.    
No one can account for Foster's whereabouts between the several hours between the time allegedly left the White House and the time he was found    

December 1996

[Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr] is one more mistake away from not having any kneecaps. -- James Carville to the New York Daily News.

James Carville's mad-dog act, railing against Kenneth Starr, is having an impact well beyond Whitewater. Using Carville as a peg, official Washington and its servile scribes are raising questions about the institution of independent counsel itself.

Independent counsels are loose cannon on the deck of Washington politics. Most everything else can be contained, restrained or explained away. The special counsels too often reveal just how seamy, corrupt and hypocritical this town is and there are plenty of people here who don't like it. Without even waiting to see what Starr's grand juries have come up with, the local establishment is buying into Carville's rant. As Carville himself put it recently, "There've been four 'Nightlines' on independent counsels. I've made my point."

Indeed he has. We have, for example, found Archibald Cox ruminating darkly in the New York Times, Vanity Fair running a long sob story about how tough it is to be a big shot under investigation, and the New Republic warning that "the need to reform the special prosecutor system has reached a critical point."

What is this critical point? Simply this: the presidential couple who have been the darlings of the city's elite are now in deep trouble because an independent counsel has been allowed to look into their affairs. While the city is busy feeling the Clintons' pain, the country can be deeply thankful that we still have a strong special prosecutor law on the books.

David Watkins got fired for getting caught by a photographer while scouting for golf courses near Camp David in a helicopter. In a typical Clintonian CYA gesture, the president fired Watkins on live television announcing that "Mr. Watkins has resigned; the taxpayers will be reimbursed. The Treasury will not be out one red cent for what happened there."

Clinton may be having second thoughts about making Watkins walk the plank. The ex-White House aide has become the first of his ilk to start spilling the beans. And we're not talking about some unreliable mere state trooper or FBI agent here, we're talking trusted Clinton aide.

Watkins's story is a bit on the tawdry side, reporting heavy action by both Bill and Hillary while in the White House -- Hillary with Vince Foster and Clinton with . . . well, we're above such sleaze so you'll just have to read it yourself in the January American Spectator.

The late gospel singer Mahalia Jackson used to sing, "I can't say one thing and then do another; be a saint in the church and a devil under cover." The Clintons, on the other hand, persist in pretending that they are moral and religious people, conscientious parents and a warm and loving couple. While they have the right to sleep with whomever they want, they do not have the right to have it both ways. Watkins's tale, if true, is ultimately not about sex but about chronic deceit.

It is also about timing. At 7:10 or 7:15 of a summer night, Watkins and his wife were watching "In the Line of Fire" at a movie theater in Washington when he was beeped with news of Vince Foster's death. This was shortly after the body was found. The White House, however, continues to insist that it did not hear about the death until 8:30 pm.

Dick Morris may have done all right hanging around the White House; the same can't be said for ex-FBI agent Gary Aldrich. Although his book about life at the WH has been on the best seller list for several months, he may never see any royalties. The reason: the Clinton administration has apparently launched a vendetta against Aldrich. Attorney General Reno is said to be considering prosecution of Aldrich that could result in confiscation of his book proceeds. He's already spent $100,000 in legal fees and exhausted his savings fighting the FBI, Justice Department and the White House.

One reason journalism isn't what it used to be: the growing number of ex-political flacks and hacks now comfortably in its midst. Latest through the revolving door: George Stephanopoulos who's joining ABC. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bryan York notes that "many investigations touching on his conduct and that of former colleagues are underway." Stephanopoulos' new colleagues have a difficult choice, says York: "Either they ask him about things he likely won't talk about, or they stifle their journalistic instincts and don't ask questions that should be asked."

Yet another White House counsel has precipitously jumped ship. When Clinton named Vice President Gore's top aide, Jack Quinn, a year ago, it suggested unusual WH influence on the part of Gore, perhaps related in some baroque fashion to Whitewater. Was the appointment some sort of Quinn pro quo with the veep? Gore's man took over from a rapidly departing Abner Mikva. Now, even more speedily, Quinn is himself departing. Curiouser and curiouser.

Speaking of curious things and of Al Gore, we now learn that the heretofore relatively unsoiled vice president has had long-standing ties with the peripatetic John Huang. In January 1989, Gore went to Asia with Huang while a senator from Tennessee. The trip was funded by Fo Kwang Shan, the Buddhist organization that runs the temple where the DNC picked up those interesting checks from nuns and such.

We hate to brag, but if we don't who will? If you pull out your October issue of TPR you will find an Arkansas flow chart that we ran in May 1992, showing Bill Clinton's curious connections in that state. Now look in the lower left hand corner. In one of the boxes is none of other than Indonesian billionaire Mochtar Riady, brought to your attention by us four years prior to his appearance on mainstream front pages.

Speaking of Riady, during the period in which Riady and Jackson Stephens were partners controlling the Worthen Banking Corporation, Worthen owned the First National Bank of Mena, in a tiny town that would eventually become notorious as the home of a CIA supported Contra supply base and a major drug running operation. In October 1986, a C-123 plane flying out Mena was shot down, a seminal incident in the revelation of the Iran-Contra scandal. One week after the shoot-down, Worthen signed an agreement to sell the bank.

November 1996

The strange case of Patrick Knowlton

One of the lesser known (to the public at least) techniques of intelligence agents is to intimidate individuals by repeated overt surveillance. This technique, part of the tools of that dark trade known as psychological operations, is "often used by government agents against witnesses," according to a former FBI agent now a private investigator. Here's how a retired Army intelligence agent describes what goes on:

"Intimidation is one purpose of a close, obvious surveillance. It can be done for any number of reasons, such as forcing someone to cease activities, move his activities out of the area, soften him up for future interrogation, and many other reasons.

"The surveillance team, trained in controlling human behavior, have no fears of the surveillance 'target' reporting his fears/observations, as this actually plays into the hands of those people. In fact, they want him to report that he is being mysteriously followed. This is to make him appear paranoid and thus destroy his credibility as a witness. Many times it actually cases the target to develop long term or permanent emotional/mental problems."

Patrick Knowlton is now in federal court charging that he was a victim of just such harassment by some two dozen men. The particular facts of the case make it a bit hard for the government to claim that he is fantasizing. These include the fact that some of the incidents were witnessed by his girlfriend and some by an investigative reporter.

Why would anyone wish to intimidate Knowlton, a self-employed construction worker? His case presumes that it was because he had accidentally showed up at Fort Marcey Park about seventy minutes before Vincent Foster's body was found there and saw things that did not fit with later official descriptions of the scene. Such as a man sitting in a blue-gray sedan giving him a fierce stare, a car with Arkansas license plates that did not match Foster's and items in that car including a briefcase, suit jacket and two bottles of wine cooler.

Knowlton reported what he saw to the Park Police, but it was not until nine months later that he was interviewed by FBI agents, who went to great lengths to get him to change his description of the car with the Arkansas tags. After a story in the London Sunday Telegraph a year and half later, Knowlton was finally subpoenaed by the Whitewater prosecutor. On the very day of his subpoena the intimidation allegedly began.

This is just the tip of the story, but enough to give you a flavor a major unsettling incident related to Foster's death that the media has almost entirely ignored. Knowlton is suing on the grounds of interference with his civil rights, assault, and civil conspiracy, among other things.

[ ]

John Hoobler, Inspector General of the Small Business Administration, has written the Wall Street Journal denying that the CIA had taken any of its files relating to the Democratic fundraising scandal. The Chicago Tribune reported the removal and we passed this on last issue. Hoobler admits that "classifying agencies" are reviewing the files but this review "has at all times been under the control of [his] staff to ensure the continued security and integrity of the documents." So now we seem to have the SBA guarding the CIA. This story gets more interesting by the minute.

The Times of London reported on November 10 that the CIA and Congress had "launched investigations into what appears to have been a stunning intelligence coup by China. In a four-year operation, Chinese agents were able to take advantage of lax security procedures and a pattern of corruption in the Clinton administration to get routine access for their friends and associates to the highest levels of the administration, including the Oval Office." It's a complicated story but it involves some of the characters with whom we are slowly becoming familiar. The bottom line is that what started out as a tale of corruption could end up as a major spy story.

Back in Watergate days, an impeachment committee staffer found historical evidence that it was a "high misdemeanor" and impeachable offense for a president to pardon his criminal buddies. Seems George Mason asked about a president who pardoned "crimes that were advised by himself" or used his power "to stop inquiry or prevent detection." James Madison replied that "if the president be connected, in any suspicious manner, with any person, and there be grounds to believe he will shelter him, the House of Representatives can impeach him; they can remove him if found guilty." The House researcher, by the way, was named Hillary Rodham.

Add to the list of questions about the ever curious John Huang. On October 18, a House committee asked for all documents Huang had maintained during 17 months as deputy assistant secretary for international economic policy at Commerce. On October 29, Commerce turned over a stack of papers less than an inch thick. Said the committee chair, Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, "If this is the full extent of Mr. Huang's records . . . it would appear either that Mr. Huang did almost no work during this year and a half. . or else that Mr. Huang and/or the department have violate the Federal Records Act."

For reasons that have been yet to be explained or legally justified, the CIA seized 25 of 40 files at the Small Business Administration reportedly kept by Clintonite John Huang.

We may have misunderstood Clinton's comments on behalf of free trade. Turns out that he and Ron Brown were talking about fee trade: you pay a fee to the Democratic National Committee and you get the trade.

When did Clinton become a convert to the war against tobacco? Probably about the time he realized it would be a good set-up for characterizing Ken Starr as a "tobacco lawyer." You just can't tell where morality is going to break out these days.

Seems that Hillary Clinton was on the board of a corporation about which questions have been raised concerning its role in the US-Iraq arms pipeline. You can read more about the LeFarge Corporation in the November issue of the American Spectator.

One problem with the announcement that the FBI couldn't find any interesting fingerprints on departmental files misappropriated by the Clintonistas is that they do have copying machines at the White House.

Nicely downplayed by the major media was the fact that the White House hosted a major drug dealer at its Christmas party last year. Jorge Cabrera -- who gave $20,000 to the DNC -- was also photographed with Al Gore at a Miami fund-raiser, a fact the Clinton administration initially attempted to conceal based on the amazing argument that a publicity shot with the veep was covered by the privacy act. Cabrera was indicted in 1983 by a federal grand jury -- on racketing and drug charges -- and again in 1988, when he was accused of managing a continuing narcotics operation. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges and served 54 months on prison. Since his visit to the White House he has been sentenced to 19 years on prison for transporting 6,000 pounds of cocaine into the US. When arrested, he not only had the drugs but several boxes of Cuban cigars and photos of himself with Fidel Castro. The Secret Service says letting him come to the WH was okay because he posed no threat to the president. (The DNC, incidentally, returned the $20 thousand after the arrest. Who said those folks didn't have ethics?)

The special prosecutor's office has made it known that unforeseen complications have developed in its investigation into the mystery death of Vince Foster

John Huang's departure bonus from the Lippo Group before leaving to be in charge of trade policy for the Department of Commerce: $780,000 [Washington Times]


October 1996

Or how an employee of Sea World Indonesia and a Buddhist nun ended up bankrolling the Clinton campaign

"Mark Fabiani, White House spokesman, has attributed [the Wiriadinata's gift of over $400,000 to the Democrats] to gratitude for a get-well letter Mr. Clinton sent Mrs. Wiriadinata's father after he suffered a heart attack last summer while visiting the United States" -- The Washington Times

Because the latest Clinton scandal is so confusing, we are providing readers with a brief Who's Who in Lippo-Suction to help follow the story in the days ahead.


BILL CLINTON: What foreign campaign money? Let me tell you about the economy . .

HILLARY CLINTON: Wife of the President, former partner of the ROSE LAW FIRM and former board member of Wal- Mart.

EAST TIMOR: An occupied territory of Indonesia where roughly one third of the people have been slaughtered by Indonesian troops over the past 20 years. As a candidate BILL CLINTON said of East Timor, "I think we have ignored it in ways that I think are unconscionable." Then during his presidency, Clinton approved more than $470 million in arms sales to the Indonesian regime. (Senator Dole in 1994 helped to kill a bill that would have barred the use of US- supplied weapons in East Timor.)

FIRST NATIONAL BANK of Mena: This bank, in the tiny town now best known its Contra arms supply, drug running and money-laundering operation, was purchased by MOCHTAR and JAMES RIADY.

C. JOSEPH GIROIR JR.: ROSE LAW FIRM partner, board member of the WORTHEN BANK, and the man who hired HILLARY CLINTON. Set up the ARKANSAS INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to do joint ventures with the LIPPO GROUP. Brokered dealings between LIPPO and Tyson Foods, Wal-Mart and Jim Tucker, Arkansas governor and cable TV franchise operator. Current plans include a $1 billion power plant in China. The backwoods Arkansas airport approved by the Clinton administration was to be used to ship Tyson chickens to Indonesia.

JOHN HUANG: Formerly a LIPPO GROUP executive in Little Rock, later a high Commerce Department official, until recently with the Democratic National Committee. Solicited the contribution of ARIEF WIRIADINATA. Also responsible for the Democratic Party fund-raiser at the HSI LAI BUDDHIST TEMPLE near LA. Also was vice chair of the LIPPO BANK until he joined the Commerce Dept. in 1994.

WEBSTER HUBBELL: ROSE LAW FIRM partner who -- although not known for skill in Asian trade matters -- went to work for a LIPPO GROUP affiliate after being forced out of the Clinton administration and before going to jail. He was paid a reported $250,000. Was asked at a Senate hearing by the majority counsel: "I guess the question is really this, it is whether, in connection with this representation, you received a large amount of money and that may have had an impact on the degree of your cooperation with the Independent Counsel or with us?" Hubbell responded, "That's pretty rotten" and chair Al D'Amato changed the subject. Hubbell represented both WORTHEN and JAMES RIADY during the 1980s.

BERT LANCE: Georgia financier and Jimmy Carter's budget director. Old friend of JACKSON STEPHENS. Later embroiled in BCCI scandal. LIPPO BANK: a California Bank owed by the RIADY family. In 1994, federal regulators, according to the New York Times, found evidence that the bank had violated "laws and/or regulations" and that it needed tighter controls to prevent money laundering. The order against the bank was lifted this March.

LIPPO GROUP: Huge Indonesian conglomerate -- estimated assets are $6 billion -- that is curiously ubiquitous in the affairs of BILL CLINTON and friends. Began doing business in Arkansas in 1983 with the help of a SBA loan of $2 million. To get the loan, Lippo named an American -- recently departed Carter SBA administrator Vernon Weaver -- to front as chairman of the Little Rock subsidiary. Weaver used then- governor Clinton as a character reference to obtain the SBA money.

HSI LAI BUDDHIST TEMPLE: This temple was mysteriously chosen by JOHN HUANG as the site for a major Democratic National Committee fund-raiser. According to the Washington Post, "Several people named in official DNC reports as having contributed $2,000 to $5,000 at the fund-raiser were listed with addresses at or adjacent to the temple. Both the DNC and Peter D. Kelly, the attorney for the temple said Wednesday that those donors were monks and other religious personnel at the temple." The temple abbess, Tzu Jung, said the temple only provided the site and that monks and nuns "do not have that kind of money." She, however, is listed as one of the donors under her other name, Su-Jen Wu. The Wall Street Journal reported that another woman had been approached at the time of the fund-raiser, given $5000 in small bills and asked to write a check for that amount to the DNC.

MOCHTAR RIADY: One of Indonesia's ten billionaires and a member of that country's powerful Chinese ethnic minority. The Riady family and related interests have given nearly $1 million to the Democratic Party. Close to SUHARTO. The New York Times reports that he has been used as a "back channel" to President Suharto on East Timor. Bought $16 million worth of stock in the WORTHEN BANK and installed his son JAMES RIADY as a director. With JACKSON STEPHENS, he bought BCCI's former Hong Kong subsidiary from its liquidators in 1991. Also a major investor in the LIPPO GROUP, an Indonesian conglomerate that made a major investment in the Stephens family's WORTHEN BANK of Arkansas. (Readers of the hard-copy edition of TPR will find Riady's name in the lower left corner of the 1992 Arkansas Flow Chart reprinted in the current issue.)

JAMES RIADY: MOCHTAR RIADY's son, who became an official of WORTHEN BANK. Came to Little Rock as an intern in 1977 at the STEPHENS family's investment firm, Stephens Inc. He said he was "sponsored" by Bill Clinton although other accounts have Stephens officials inviting him to come as an intern. Gave at least $175,000 to the Clinton Inaugural Committee. Now living in Indonesia.

JACKSON STEPHENS: was board chair of WORTHEN during the period when the bank provided BILL CLINTON's 1992 presidential primary campaign with a multi-million dollar line of credit that enabled the Clinton effort to stay afloat. Described at the time by the New York Post as a man who was to "Clinton what BERT LANCE was to candidate Jimmy Carter." Got to know MOCHTAR RIADY in 1977 when Riady was considering buying BERT LANCE's interest in the National Bank of Georgia. That year, according to Alexander Cockburn, Stephens had "brokered the arrival" of BCCI to this country, and steered BCCI's founder, Hassan Abedi, to Lance -- whose bank a BCCI front man -- Ghaith Pharaon -- eventually took over. Stephens in 1991 joined Mochtar Riady in the purchase of a BCCI subsidiary in Hong Kong.

ARIEF WIRIADINATA: Came to the US from Indonesia allegedly to study landscape architecture -- although some accounts describe him simply as a gardener. Somehow seems to have become distracted by campaign finance. Gave nearly a half million dollars to the Democratic Party. His wife is the daughter of a man who was a key business partner of the RIADYs. Wiriadinata is now back home, reportedly working for Sea World Indonesia.


Excellent article in the Nov. 4 issue of Insight on the complexities of possible impeachment and/or indictment of the President and his wife. Author David Wagner makes a key point that is often misunderstood: impeachment and indictment are quite different. In fact, the Constitution specifically says that a president removed from office through impeachment "shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law." At the height of Watergate, staffers of the then Democratic House Judiciary Committee did a report on the subject. In it, they noted that the high misdemeanors the Constitution calls impeachable come from English precedents dating back the 14th century, in which officials were charged "with a wide range of criminal and non-criminal offenses against institutions and fundamental principles of English government." Among these, the House staff said, were attempting expand the powers of the executive beyond constitutional limits; behavior that is objectively and grossly bad; or using federal office for improper purposes or personal gain. Wagner also quotes Notre Dame law professor Douglas Kmeic as saying that impeachment "is not confined to violations of criminal statutes. It covers political malfeasance generally. It's the American equivalent of a no-confidence motion."

Here's an interesting question concerning the White House database and its files on 200,000-400,000 people (depending on whose estimate you use). The database was begun in 1994 and became operational in the summer of 1995. How did that many names get in it that fast? It is improbable that the Yalies, yuppies and yahoos of the White House staff took time off from spin control to do that much data processing. More likely we have something far more serious than a do-it-yourself dossier on political friends and enemies. Could the 900 FBI files we know the White House was examining be only the tip of the iceberg? Did the WH compile its list from various existing law enforcement, corporate and intelligence databases?

When Jerry Parks heard of Vince Foster's body being found at Ft Marcey Park, he told his wife, "I'm a dead man." Two months later, Parks was shot to death in a mob-type slaying in Little Rock. Parks had been a security aide to Bill Clinton during the 1992 campaign. He began collecting a dossier on the candidate and, according to his wife, was hired by Vince Foster to spy on Clinton. After Parks' death, his house was ransacked by federal agents -- and his files, 130 telephone tapes and computer data were removed.

Parks' wife Jane has now told Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Sunday Telegraph that the night before Foster's death she overhead a heated telephone conversation with Foster in which her husband said, "You can't give Hillary those files, they've got my name all over them." Foster was allegedly calling from a public pay phone in Washington. Mrs. Parks also said that Foster paid her husband $1000 per trip to carry carloads of cash from the Mena airport. As the story was breaking, Mrs. Parks says she received three death threats. In one, the caller allegedly said, "You will be dead before the election." She has asked for federal protection.

Writes Evans-Pritchard: "The account of the phone call on July 19, 1993, comes from Mrs. Parks alone. But two official investigators have told the Telegraph that they consider Mrs. Parks, a Pentecostal Christian now suffering from multiple sclerosis, to be a credible witness."

The missing ex-White House staffer mentioned in our last report turned up for closed-door testimony before Senate investigators. Mari Anderson, who was D. Craig Livingstone's executive assistant, said that Livingstone and his colleague Anthony B. Marceca knew that there were former Republican officials on the list of White House pass holders for whom FBI files were being requested. According to Anderson, when she mentioned it to Livingstone, he said, "Yes, that is just, it's part of the process." A recently uncovered WH memo also strongly suggests Livingstone knew what he was doing despite his earlier sworn testimony that "I was not told, and I had no reason to believe, that some of the persons on the lists no longer should have been included in the Secret Service's White House access list."

The New York Post has raised an interesting question: who is paying the legal fees of Craig Livingstone, the White House's former personnel security chief? Livingstone is using lawyers from a firm that normally charges between $350-600 an hour. The firm -- Miller Cassidy Larroca & Lewin -- is where Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick used to work.

GOP Rep. Curt Weldon notes that if President Clinton really intends to follow Justice Department procedures in handling pardon requests from his various convicted buddies, the Whitewater Gang is in trouble. Turns out that Justice requires applicants for pardons to wait five years after their conviction before beginning a 30-month application process.

Former FBI agent Dennis Sculimbrene, who was stationed at the White House, estimates that "about 25 percent of the incoming [Clinton] administration . . . had a problem with illegal drugs. Not just casual experimentation, but a pattern of usage . . . not just marijuana but cocaine; amphetamines; amphetamine-derived 'designer' drugs such as Ecstasy; hashish; mushrooms." Included among the uses, says Sculimbrene, "senior aides and advisors to the president."

Al Gore appears to have gained curiously strong influence in the White House. It was startling enough last fall when Clinton named Jack Quinn, Gore's chief of staff, as White House counsel giving the VP a highly unusual direct link into the Clinton inner circle. Then in May, Gore's former administrative assistant, Peter Knight, became Clinton's campaign manager. Is this just good old boys bonding in high office? Not very likely. Presidents rarely give such gratuitous access to those salivating over the prospect of replacing them. Far more likely is that Gore demanded Quinn and Knight be appointed as part of a damage control arrangement with, and power play against, the president, the latter based on information about the Clintons in the vice president's possession that has yet to be revealed.

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