disclose, denny

Monday, April 27, 2009

CQ: Hastert knew of AIPAC infiltration

Jeff Stein has a new brain-twister of an article in CQ titled 'CIA “Whistleblower” Told Hastert About Suppression of Harman Wiretap.'

The premise of the article is that in 2006, ODNI Negroponte, apparently at the behest of Attorney General Gonzales, blocked DCI Porter Goss from following protocol and informing the House leadership, Hastert and Pelosi, about the Harman wiretaps. In May 2006, Michael Hayden replaced Goss as DCI, but still there was no briefing for Hastert and Pelosi.

In the Fall of 2006, someone from CIA HQ, either under orders or freelancing, 'blew the whistle' to Hastert, 'incensed' that the protocols had been breached, then wrote a letter to Attorney General Gonzales demanding to be briefed. Gonzales ignored the request for weeks, but eventually told Hastert that there was nothing in the files to warrant a briefing.

By this time, the 'whistleblower' was becoming "agitated" about the lack of movement on the case. Fearing that the whistle blower might release the wiretap transcripts to the media - which would expose the operation against AIPAC and "unfairly 'smear' Harman as a foreign agent," (who they knew to be "highly respected") - Hastert's staff told Pelosi's staff about the wiretap on Harman in 'early October' 2006. Pelosi's Chief of Staff “remembers a conversation about it with (Hastert's Chief of Staff ), but that’s all.”

Kudos to Jeff Stein for getting Hastert on the record about this, and continuing to chase the story - and I'm sure that the 'facts' presented here are (mostly) accurate, but the combination of narrative & spin presented here doesn't make much sense. I'm not criticizing Stein here - but there's much more going on here than Stein offers in this piece.

For starters, Hastert was most likely not really concerned about separation-of-power arguments, nor about following protocol. His demand for a briefing was much more likely because he desperately wanted to know the status of the 'sister investigation' that caught him on wiretaps in the years leading up to 1999, and probably since then.

Similarly, Hastert's efforts to inform Pelosi were intended to appease the so-called whistleblower from the CIA so that the news of the investigation didn't get exposed in public, because that would be very bad for Hastert and his cronies.

For some reason, Hastert thought that telling Pelosi would assuage the 'agitated' CIA 'whistleblower,' and stop him from going to the media. But as Jeff Stein reported last week, a CIA official independently told Pelosi. "She knew. We made sure she knew," said one of the former officials, chuckling."

(As an aside, from the pieces of Hastert's statements that Stein published, Hastert seems keen to emphasize two points: a) that the wiretap was a "legally authorized wiretap related to an espionage investigation" and b) that he "instructed (his) staff in early October 2006." I'm not exactly sure of the significance of either of those yet, but they are interesting details.)

Goss and the CIA
We also don't know the motivations of the CIA 'whistleblower.' Was Porter Goss really worried about the protocol of informing the House Leadership? Was he really worried that there might be a mole in their midst? Goss himself was Chair of the House Intelligence Committee from 1997 to 2005, so he was well aware that Hastert himself, and others in the House, had been compromised by Israeli and Turkish surrogates.

Perhaps the CIA 'whistleblower' actually was freelancing, and was legitimately concerned about the possibility that Harman would become Chair of House Intelligence. In that case, they only needed to tell Pelosi, but they told Hastert too, under the guise that the protocol dictated that both Hastert and Pelosi should know this information.

Regardless, at the same time that the CIA 'whistleblower' was telling Hastert, he was apparently exposing the issue in the media regardless of Hastert's efforts.

Hastert instructed his "staff in early October 2006 to tell Leader Pelosi" about the wiretaps, but the Time article detailing the essence of the story was published on Oct 20, 2006 anyway.

In a ridiculed op-ed in the New York Times in early 2006 called Loose Lips Sink Spies, Goss wrote:
I take seriously my agency's responsibility to protect our national security. Unauthorized disclosures undermine our efforts and abuse the trust of the people we are sworn to protect. Since becoming director, I have filed criminal reports with the Department of Justice because of such compromises. That department is committed to working with us to investigate these cases aggressively...

Our enemies cannot match the creativity, expertise, technical genius and tradecraft that the C.I.A. brings to bear in this war. Criminal disclosures of national security information, however, can erase much of that advantage. The terrorists gain an edge when they keep their secrets and we don't keep ours.
Your choice, Mr Goss: A) Did you file a criminal report with the DoJ in this case? Or B) Was this an 'authorized disclosure'?

The incurious Nancy Pelosi is apparently befuddled about these events.

In May 2006, according to LA Weekly, Harman "had some major contributors call Pelosi to impress upon her the importance of keeping Jane in place. According to these members, this tactic, too, hasn't endeared Harman to Pelosi."

The Harman thing was obviously on her radar, then - both privately and in the press - at a time when "Pelosi had soured on her California colleague."

At some point, apparently in the early Fall of 2006, the CIA officials unofficially told Pelosi:
that Harman had been overheard on a wiretap agreeing to intercede with Justice Department officials to try to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
However, Pelosi only has some vague recollection of this. Now she says that she can not remember exactly who told her, but "she thought it was the FBI."

But again, according to the 'whistleblowers':
"She knew. We made sure she knew," said one of the former officials, chuckling."
But according to Pelosi, they apparently didn't 'make sure' that she really knew.

And again, in "early October," Hastert briefed Pelosi on the matter, in a highly irregular meeting, that Harman was on the wiretaps. This meeting presumably included the fact that Hastert was 'incensed' at the breach of protocol, that Gonzales was blocking the whole thing, and that CIA officials from headquarters had decided to circumvent their chain of command, yet Pelosi's firewall Chief of Staff "remembers a conversation about it... but that’s all.”

And this was all during the time when there was a large battle taking place - in public and behind closed doors - about who Pelosi would appoint to Chair the House Intelligence Committee (Reyes was appointed in December 2006)

Yet apparently this was all eminently forgettable to Pelosi.

(Compare and contrast Hastert's level of detail with Pelosi's haziness. I suspect that Hastert's apparent clarity of recollection is due to Hastert doing some CYA - both then and now. And I suspect that Pelosi's haziness is due to same.)

Why It Matters
As Phil Giraldi said in his interview with Scott Horton last week, if not for the wiretap:
(Y)ou might have had someone who was - essentially - an Israeli agent either heading the House Permanent Intelligence Committee - or heading the CIA, which was another job that Jane Harman had a shot at.
At his blog on Saturday, Giraldi said:
As a former intelligence officer who has himself recruited agents of influence, I can tell you that Harman was the fruit of a high level Israeli covert action.

Whomever Harman spoke to, she was surely aware that she was in contact with someone empowered to promise her rewards from Israel and the Israeli lobby. The threat to withhold contributions from the Democratic Party if Harman were not to be named chairman is significant, as it indicates that it was all part of a careful plan.

The Israeli on the phone was committing espionage against the United States by trying to influence the actions of a government official and Harman was committing a number of possible crimes by agreeing to cooperate in return for her own personal advancement.

Please take my word for it that the quid pro quo is precisely how an intelligence officer recruits an agent. You ask for a favor and give a favor in return. As both the favor and the reward are illegal and the agreement itself can be used to blackmail the target of the operation, the target henceforth will be obligated to do what the intelligence officer wants or risk exposure.

This whole transaction is particularly important in the context of Jane Harman and what she might have represented to the Israelis. She was chairman presumptive of the House Intelligence Committee and subsequently was spoken of as being on the short list for Obama’s Director of Central Intelligence. If she had obtained either position, which would have happened if the FBI had not been privy to the transaction, she would have had complete access to all of America’s secrets and would have been involved in policy making. She would also have been working for Israel. So I have to ask, why isn’t the MSM interested in aggressively pursuing this story?

Jeff Stein
Again, kudos to Jeff Stein for pushing this story so hard. And congratulations to him for continuing to get people on the record and advancing the story. He has said that he was completely taken by surprise by the traction that this story has received. And at the same time, Giraldi is also correct that the MSM needs to agressively push it further.

Giraldi has a new article. Read the whole thing, but this excerpt was maybe the juiciest:
"Once you are on the hook in an intelligence relationship, there is no getting off it. Had Harman done a favor for the Israelis and been rewarded in return, it would have been a skeleton in her closet forever. The Israelis might also have taped the incriminating conversations, presumably unaware that the FBI was also on the line. The Israelis would surely remind her of her crime whenever they need a favor, and she would be forced to pay the piper whenever called upon. What could have been better for Israel than owning the director of central intelligence or the head of the House Intelligence Committee? What could have been worse for the United States?"

Obama: Armenian genocide

Obama marks Armenian tragedy but doesn't say 'genocide'

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday broke a campaign pledge but mollified Turkey by formally remembering the mass killings of Armenians without using the diplomatically loaded term "genocide."
Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush broke similar pledges. President Bill Clinton, too, leaned on congressional leaders not to pass genocide commemoration measures.

In 2000, only minutes before debate was set to start in the House of Representatives, then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert yielded to Clinton's request not to bring the genocide resolution, authored by Radanovich, up for a vote.

Hastert is now a lobbyist with the firm Dickstein Shapiro, one of a number that Turkey hired to press its cause on Capitol Hill. Turkey pays $35,000 a month for help from Hastert and his team, Justice Department foreign-agent filings show. Turkey is paying former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt's firm, DLA Piper, $100,000 a month, filings have shown.
For the record, Gephardt is another first-I-was-against-it genocide denier too.

Poltico is running this youtube of Samantha Powers today

Kudos to Jonathon Schwarz who ran this six weeks ago.

BTW: I knew that Marc Grossman, William Cohen and Joe Ralston had a "strategic alliance" with DLA Piper via the Cohen Group, but I (think I) only recently learned that all three are actually "Senior Advisers" to DLA Piper directly.

BTW2: Note in the following youtube how Hastert's 'official spokesman' says "The Speaker does not have any connections to American-Turkish interests." That statement is no longer operative.

Also interesting is the spokesperson's statement/rebuttal that 'the reporter does not have a transcript of any wiretap conversations that we know of' - which is reminiscent of the current outbreak of the Harman/AIPAC outrage.

* Update: In a post worth reading (as usual) , Mizgin says:
"If any of these Deep Staters had even the slightest nano-particle of honor, they'd blow their own brains out.

I'm just saying."
For what it is worth, I'd consider any reports of suicide as suspicious. I think we are both on the same page.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Hastert out.

"Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert bid his colleagues farewell in a final speech Thursday, expressing worry about the "breakdown of civility" in politics.

Hastert, 65, became the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House in history after taking the post in January 1999. The Illinois lawmaker stepped down as the top House Republican leader after Democrats won a majority in the 2006 midterm elections, ending 12 years of GOP control.

During his farewell address, the former high school history teacher and wrestling coach offered one bit of analysis about his tenure in Congress. "I continue to worry about the breakdown of civility in our political discourse," Hastert said. "I tried my best, but I wish I had been more successful."

Although he did not announce the date of his House departure, an aide to Hastert says the former speaker will retire by the end of the year.

Hastert, who forged a reputation for his ability to form compromises, said lawmakers "have a responsibility to be civil, open-minded and fair -- to listen to one another and work in good faith to find solutions to the challenges facing our nation."
Lawmakers have a responsibility not to take bribes from foreign interests.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hastert Rules Out Another Run

From the Washington Post:
"Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.), who last year became the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House, will announce Friday that he will not seek reelection, Republican House aides said yesterday.

GOP aides say that Hastert is likely to serve out the rest of his term, but that he has been considering resigning from the House this year. If he did, Hastert would trigger a special election that could give an indication of whether Democrats are continuing their political surge or whether Republicans have stanched the bleeding in GOP-leaning districts."
No mention on whether he is about to be indicted.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hastert: I hate competition!

Hysterical. I missed this LTE from Hastert to the Chig Sun Times, April 26 (in full):
At a time when recent trends in youth drug use have shown a significant downturn, I was disturbed by your recent editorial "Legalize medical marijuana" in support of state legislation to permit the growth of marijuana for medical purposes.

As a former schoolteacher and coach and father of two, I believe in giving our kids a drug-free future. Illegal drugs are responsible for the loss of 17,000 American lives annually, and marijuana is by far the most used and abused of these drugs. More kids use marijuana than cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and all other illicit drugs combined. Legislation that allows, supports or recognizes marijuana as a medicine is irresponsible, shortsighted and sends the wrong message to our youth.

There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that marijuana has any medicinal value. The Food and Drug Administration is the only agency that can designate a substance as a medicine and to date has not done so. Marijuana continues to be a Schedule I Controlled Substance, and its use under federal law, for any reason, is a crime.

It is clear that if this bill becomes law, it would undermine the medical integrity and safeguards established by the federal drug approval process, compromise law enforcement efforts to combat drug trafficking, and endanger public health and safety. Legalization of any kind will also have unintended consequences: each person injured in driving and work-related accidents committed by those under the influence, and unborn babies harmed by abusing mothers.

I urge the General Assembly to think twice about supporting legislation that softens the stance that marijuana is dangerous, addictive and illegal. I would hope that everyone could agree that there is no legitimate place in our society for marijuana use.

For fisking of the letter, see DrugWarRant @ Salon.

Remember, Daniel Ellsberg:
"Sibel says that suitcases of cash have been delivered to the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, at his home, near Chicago, from Turkish sources, knowing that a lot of that is drug money.

Now these are pretty inflammatory allegations, let's say, and it's note-worthy that they haven't even been picked up by the mainstream press. The Vanity Fair article made that plain, though not in as much detail as the antiwar.com interviews - but not one major newspaper I don't think has picked up her allegations against Hastert which are very specific, and one would think very important."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hastert: Most Corrupt

* RawStory:
"The advocacy group Judicial Watch released a list today of “Washington's 'Ten Most Corrupt Politicians' for 2006.” In a final swipe at Republican leadership in the last Congress, the list, as acquired by RAW STORY, singles out more Republicans than Democrats.

Judicial Watch describes itself as "a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, [that] promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law."

This year, according to the group, six of the most corrupt Washington politicians were Republicans whose names are often identified with the scandals widely believed to have contributed to the Democratic victory in the November midterms: Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA), Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX), Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Rep. Denny Hastert (R-IL), and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)."

Hastert is the only one who still has a job, so far.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006




CREW Questions Hastert Earmark – Demands Reform

Washington, DC – Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) violated the law by inserting an earmark into the 2005 Highway Bill that earned him a 500% profit on a lucrative land deal.

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, in August 2002, Speaker Hastert purchased 179 acres of land, inaccessible by road, in Kendall County, Illinois for $925,000, or $5,200 per acre. Then, in February 2004, Speaker Hastert formed a real estate trust with two other land buyers and purchased 69 acres of land adjacent to the original parcel at a cost of $1,033,000, or $15,000 per acre. The trust’s 69 acres was then joined with 69 acres of Speaker Hastert’s land.

The land purchased by the trust was more valuable than Speaker Hastert’s property because it was accessible by road.

In the summer of 2005, the Federal Highway Bill was enacted containing a $207 million earmark inserted by Rep. Hastert for construction of the Prairie Parkway. While the earmark was sufficient only to build about one-third of the entire 36 mile parkway, the language of the legislation mandated that construction take place on the portion of the parkway nearest to Speaker Hastert’s property.

As reported in The New Republic, four months after the bill was signed into law, the trust’s 138 acres was sold to a developer for $4,989,000 or $36,152 an acre. The partners apportioned the proceeds of the sale according to the acreage each had contributed. Thus, Speaker Hastert was credited with 62% ownership on the supposition that his $5,200 per acre land was equal in value to the partnership’s $15,000 per acre land with the result that he received $3,118,000 of the proceeds. While Rep. Hastert’s partners each made a 144% profit on their investment, Speaker Hastert’s profit was 500% of his original investment.

Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, stated, “Speaker Hastert’s use of the earmarking process to increase his own property value is an egregious abuse of his legislative authority. The Department of Justice should immediately investigate this sweetheart deal.”

Sloan continued, “Congressional leaders have promised that the first order of business in January will be to enact ethics legislation. Any reform package must include a provision prohibiting members from inserting earmarks for their own personal financial benefit.”

The request for investigation and supporting documents are available at CREW’s website.

Speaker Hastert was included in the watch list of CREW's September 2006 report, "Beyond DeLay: The 20 most corrupt members of Congress (and five to watch)."


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Hastert for UN?

Foreign Policy:
The List: Who Will Replace John Bolton?

John Bolton is the most controversial U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in history. But, to the delight of his critics, his temporary appointment is nearing expiration. With congressional Democrats in charge, President Bush won’t have the votes to send Bolton back to New York. Or will he? This week’s FP List considers the contenders for Bolton’s spot.
The Longshot

Dennis Hastert, Republican congressman from Illinois

Why he’ll get the post: The outgoing Speaker of the House is already rumored to be at the top of Bush’s list to become the next ambassador to Japan. Hastert has said publicly that the 2007–2008 term will be his last, and there’s a chance the president will encourage him to step down early in order to go to Turtle Bay instead of Tokyo. That way, Bush can stick it to the Democrats who scuttled the Bolton nomination by appointing someone who equally raises partisan hackles.

Why he won’t: Hastert is politically polarizing. Critics call him a defender of congressional corruption. He was recently called out for his handling of the Mark Foley sex scandal and was a little too close for comfort to Jack Abramoff. Plus, his foreign-policy experience is thin. He briefly served on the House subcommittee tasked with national security, hardly a stand-out resume for the country’s top diplomat.
Please, please, please let Hastert be nominated, and soon.

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