For Immediate Release: Andrew Langer (703) 683-5004 - Friday, September 24, 1999
Vol. 3, No. 35
Print, TV Outlets Skip FBI Agents Charging Justice Department Supervisors Hindered Fundraising Probe
The Shocking New Thompson Hearings
Readers of The Washington Times woke up Thursday morning to a shocking front-page story
on a hearing of Sen. Fred Thompson's Governmental Affairs Committee, the committee so
scorned by reporters when they held fundraising hearings in 1997. Four FBI agents
testified that their Justice Department supervisors actively hindered the probe into
illegal donations to the Democrats during the 1996 election cycle, including information
that Charlie Trie had brought "duffel bags full of cash" to the Democratic
Party. But Washington Post and Wall Street Journal readers couldn't locate an account of
the hearing. New York Times fans found it wasn't among "all the news that's fit to
print." USA Today printed a brief article.
Typically, every network missed the hearing Wednesday night, except Fox News
Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume. Carl Cameron showed clips of the hearing and
noted "While the DOJ, the Department of Justice supervisors were denying any
wrongdoing or political overtones in all of this, those FBI agents
were in the back of the room, Brit, snickering, heard in a number of cases to say 'Bull,'
and a bit more." FNC's soft-newsy Fox Report ignored its own story. The networks'
Thursday morning shows also were a blank.
Here's what most Americans were not told:
Bunglers in Charge? Ivian C. Smith, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Little
Rock field office, wrote personally to FBI Director Louis J. Freeh on August 4, 1997 to
complain about what he called an "increasing amount of frustration by the working
street agents engaged in this matter....I am convinced the team at [the Justice
Department] leading this investigation is, at best, simply not up to the task....The
impression left is the emphasis on how not to prosecute matters, not how to aggressively
conduct investigations leading to prosecutions."
No End to Shredding Parties. Washington Times reporter Jerry Seper added: "Mr.
Smith, along with agents Daniel Wehr, Roberta Parker and Kevin Sheridan, told the
committee that their Justice Department supervisor, Laura Ingersoll, who eventually was
replaced as the campaign-finance probe's lead attorney, prevented them from executing
search warrants they sought to stop the destruction of evidence. The agents said they were
blocked from serving the search warrants because Miss Ingersoll did not believe they had
established probable cause to show that a crime had been committed. The agents argued,
however, that the probable cause standard set by Miss Ingersoll was more than was legally
The Missing Notebook Pages. Parker testified that "Ingersoll instructed the agents
assigned to the case that the Justice Department 'would not take into consideration'
evidence involving Mr. Clinton's legal defense fund and an obstruction of the Senate's
investigation. She also said 27 pages from a spiral notebook recounting her disagreements
with Justice Department lawyers disappeared after she turned over her notes to FBI
superiors when Congress sought information about the disagreements. She said the pages,
which have yet to be discovered, were torn out of the book."
Thompson said, "I do not eliminate the possibility of obstruction of justice
within the Justice Department." But will the reporters who scorned Thompson and the
probity of Reagan-Bush Justice officials ever notice? -- Tim
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Geoffrey
Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Brad
Wilmouth, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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