Tripp's FBI File & Freeh's Condemnation of Reno Skipped
1) FNC talked to Operation
Tailwind participants and they prove CNN wrong; NBC explained how
financiers plundered Northwest Airlines, but skipped over how one, Al
Checchi, is a Democrat of note.
2) White House got Linda
Tripp's FBI file, but the networks don't care. Other recent newspaper
stories ignored: Clinton administration snafus allowed China to get
high-tech info and the FBI Director condemned Reno for not naming an IC
for fundraising abuses.
Nothing about any Clinton scandal or the impending Secret Service
testimony on any of the five network evening shows Monday night.
Monday's Washington Times featured a front page story on how Linda
Tripp's file was among the 1,000 or so FBI files obtained by Craig
Livingstone and the White House. (See item #2 for details.) But not a word
about the revelation Monday morning or evening on the networks.
Instead of telling
their viewers about the Clinton team's effort to get dirt on Tripp and
how that may have led to a violation of her privacy rights when the
Pentagon revealed her security clearance form, Monday night ABC and NBC
ran full pieces about a Democratic report on what they dubbed "Air
Tobacco," how tobacco companies have provided private jet services to
Republicans. CBS Evening News viewers learned how El Nino caused Ohio
farmers to grow big apples and grapes, CNN's The World Today viewers got
a peek inside a computer programming summer camp for kids and NBC Nightly
News watchers heard Mike Jensen explain the popularity of stocks for
companies dealing with the Internet, as the broadcast.com stock price
soared from $18 to $63 on Friday.
Every network led
their East Coast feeds with live coverage of the cruise ship fire off
Miami. Live coverage consumed the first 40 minutes of FNC's 7pm ET Fox
Report. CBS and CNN delivered stories on the controversy over health care
ID numbers for all Americans.
Also of note: With
the Pentagon report on sarin gas use expected Tuesday, FNC's Gary
Matsumoto provided a summary of how those on Operation Tailwind deny or
contradict CNN's initial story line. NBC Nightly News ran an In Depth
look at how the buyout of Northwest Airlines by some investors who then
sold off assets has made the airline one of the worst, but while NBC named
one of the investors who personally reaped a big profit before running for
Governor of California, the network failed to mention to which party the
money man belongs.
-- First, the FNC
story. After running some clips from the CNN NewsStand story in which
former Army members claimed seeing caucasians and that sarin nerve gas was
used in the 1970 mission, Gary Matsumoto relayed the results of FNC's
"Fox News Channel spoke to all 16 American
green berets who fought behind enemy lines in Laos on Operation Tailwind.
Fifteen of the 16 said there were no caucasians, but all of them said
there were no defectors, no women and children and without exception they
said they never confirmed to anyone the use of nerve gas."
Matsumoto continued: "The historical
documents, some only recently declassified, are consistent between the Air
Force, the Marine Corps and the Army. All of them refer to CBU-19 or 30,
the ordinance numbers for CS gas...."
Back to the CNN story, Matsumoto showed clips of
participants saying they inhaled gas which he countered with this
soundbite from Jonathan Tucker, a chemical weapons specialist: "If in
fact they inhaled large quantities of the agents as they have described,
there's no way it could have been sarin nerve gas which would have
killed them in a matter of minutes."
-- Second, NBC
Nightly News took an In Depth look at increasing airline traffic and
complaints. For the second story Fred Francis checked the troubles at
Northwest Airlines, known as Northworst as it ranks ninth of ten carriers
in baggage handling and on time performance. Francis asserted:
"Critics say the airline's problem began
nine years ago with its takeover by a group of financiers who then buried
it with $3 billion in debt. This man, Al Checchi, led the takeover,
putting up just over $10 million as did others. Checchi resigned as the
airlines Co-Chairman last year to run for California Governor. Today his
investment is worth $450 million. To pay off the loans Checchi and his
partners sold off planes, routes and gates...." But that was not
enough, Francis explained, so the airline got $800 million each from
Minnesota and the unions. Now Northwest is profitable, but the union is
upset that the airline is not rewarding its members.
Who is this man
without a party? Al Checchi was a Democratic candidate for Governor who
lost the primary in June. How much do you want to bet that if he were a
conservative Republican NBC would have made sure viewers knew the
affiliation of a greedy investor who is shortchanging the working man.
Monday's Washington Times disclosure about the FBI files is not the only
newspaper scoop the networks have failed to pick up recently. Below is an
excerpt of that story, plus of a Los Angeles Times investigation showing
how Clinton Administration breakdowns led to the improper transfer of
technology to China, another Washington Times report on how the White
House failed to reveal a search for Tripp information, and a New York
Times story on how the FBI Director long-ago urged Janet Reno to appoint
an independent counsel to explore foreign donations to Democrats.
None of these
stories has been touched in the morning or evening by the networks,
according to my viewing and daily reviewing by the MRC news analyst team
of Clay Waters, Geoffrey Dickens, Eric Darbe, Jessica Anderson and Mark
-- From the July 20 Washington Times:
Tripp Among Names on new 'Filegate' FBI
By Bill Sammon
Linda R. Tripp is among nearly 1,000 people
whose secret FBI background files were obtained by the Clinton
administration, according to new "Filegate" documents obtained
by The Washington Times.
Mrs. Tripp and hundreds of other Bush and
Reagan administration appointees -- including top CIA, Pentagon and
National Security Agency officials -- were recently named for the first
time by the FBI as people whose dossiers were turned over to former White
House employees D. Craig Livingstone and Anthony B. Marceca. The new
Filegate list, which contains more than twice as many names as were
previously disclosed, also includes former FBI agent Gary Aldrich, whose
book, Unlimited Access, savaged lax security practices in the Clinton
Filegate victims are represented by
Judicial Watch, a legal foundation that recently obtained the new,
FBI-generated list through the discovery process in a $90 million lawsuit
against the administration.
The most eye-catching new name on the list
is Mrs. Tripp, the star witness in independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's
sex-and-lies investigation of President Clinton. The revelation that the
White House obtained her secret FBI background file raises new questions
about efforts by Clinton-friendly forces to discredit Mrs. Tripp in the
-- From the July 19 Los Angeles Times:
Lax Security in Satellite Exports Points to
Risks: High-tech transfers show lapses. Critics say White House eased
controls too far in trying to spur commerce.
By Paul Richter
Repeated snafus and breakdowns have marred
the Clinton administration's system for safeguarding some of America's
most sensitive technological secrets in the export of U.S. satellites to
China, according to government officials and documents.
Government rules call for close and
continued oversight when companies ship high-tech products that might give
a foreign power new military capabilities. But the recent history of
satellite exports to China shows regular slip-ups in a system that the
administration has defended as fully adequate to protect national
Specifically, the government failed to
require Pentagon export-security monitors at seven of the 12 launches that
occurred during President Clinton's watch -- including one as recently as
May -- although officials said they believe that a monitor should be
present for each event.
And in five of the launches, the monitors
now required by government regulations were not on hand for prelaunch
planning meetings between U.S. and Chinese teams, though some experts
consider these meetings even more critical to protecting secrets than the
-- From the July 17 Washington Times:
White House Combed Tripp File as Scandal
By Bill Sammon
White House officials searched their files
for "anything and everything" on Linda R. Tripp after the Monica
Lewinsky scandal broke, but President Clinton refused to reveal that
search to Congress, The Washington Times has learned.
Thursday, the Chairman of the House Rules
Committee referred "this potential obstruction of a congressional
investigation" to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. Rep. Gerald
B.H. Solomon suspects the White House, after searching its files on Mrs.
Tripp, tipped off the New Yorker magazine to damaging information in Mrs.
Tripp's personnel file at the Pentagon.
"In the Linda Tripp matter, we may be
previewing the extent of damage the president's political team is capable
of, and apparently intent upon, inflicting," Mr. Solomon wrote to Mr.
Starr, adding that it amounted to "intimidation of a federal
Days after the New Yorker published
sensitive information from Mrs. Tripp's security clearance form in March,
Mr. Solomon -- in an attempt to determine if the Tripp leak violated
federal law -- asked Mr. Clinton in a letter whether anyone had pulled
Mrs. Tripp's White House file....
"Because of the seriousness of this
unfortunate and illegal occurrence, I look forward to the courtesy of a
rapid response," the New York Republican wrote in the letter, dated
March 18. According to a Solomon spokesman, Mr. Clinton did not respond.
But the answer was revealed June 30 by
Terry W. Good, director of White House records management. In a deposition
to Judicial Watch, a legal foundation that is suing the Clinton
administration for improperly gathering FBI files on Reagan and Bush
administration officials, Mr. Good said the White House counsel's office
asked him to pull "anything and everything that we might have in our
files relating to Linda Tripp." The request was made after the
scandal broke in January....
-- From the July 16 New York Times:
Freeh Says Reno Clearly Misread Prosecutor
Law: He Tells Her 'It Is Difficult to Imagine a More Compelling
Situation' for a Counsel
By Neil A. Lewis
FBI Director Louis Freeh forcefully warned
Attorney General Janet Reno that she was misreading the law by not seeking
an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund raising by the Clinton
administration, Sen. Fred Thompson told a Senate committee on Wednesday.
"It is difficult to imagine a more
compelling situation for appointing an independent counsel," Freeh
wrote in a memorandum, Thompson said. The Republican Tennessee senator
said he was briefed on the memo in June by a senior FBI official.
With Reno appearing as a witness before the
Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Thompson and others used the
disagreement between her and Freeh to press again for an outside
investigation of campaign finance practices involving White House
Although Freeh's rift with Reno over the
appointment of a special prosecutor had been publicly disclosed last
winter, Thompson angered Reno on Wednesday by confronting her with
specific language and details from Freeh's memo that had not been publicly
released. The Justice Department had repeatedly rebuffed requests by
Congress to release Freeh's memo, even going so far as to defy a subpoena
issued by a House committee investigating campaign finance.
Freeh's 22-page memorandum was written in
November 1997. Thompson, who was Chairman of the Senate panel that had
investigated campaign finance abuses, characterized Freeh's memo as a
broad-based and unforgiving critique of the Attorney General's
interpretation of the independent counsel law....
Freeh, the Senator said, "pointed out
that their investigation, the FBI's investigation, had led them to the
highest levels of the White House, including the vice president and the
President, and therefore the Department of Justice must look at the
Independent Counsel Statute."
He added that FBI officials told him that
Freeh's memo also described Reno's decision not to seek an independent
counsel as starkly inconsistent with her actions in seeking to have
independent counsels named in other investigations....
As noted in the
July 16 CyberAlert, several networks Wednesday night showed clips from the
hearing of Senator Hatch and Reno disagreeing about whether she was
employing delaying tactics by appealing the Secret Service rulings. But
none uttered a word about Thompson raising the Freeh menu. And the top of
the front page lead in the New York Times failed to generate any network
interest. -- Brent Baker
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