"...Best Democrat investigative talent was out rummaging through the Reagan archives.."

A. C. Szul mack97 at EROLS.COM
Sun Oct 12 20:52:25 MDT 1997


"...Speaking on condition of anonymity, our source revealed some
information that  the  grand  jury  may  likely  be covering:
...For instance, the 44 coffee anthology thus  far  released  by
the  White  House  shows only the beginning of these events.  The
administration line is that once the speechifying began  and  the
meeting  got  down to business, the cameras stopped rolling.  But
our source contends that:  "They (WHCA camera  crews)  video  all
official  activities at the White House. They also take stills of
all official activities.  I would be willing to bet that many  of
the coffees were fully taped...."


TALE OF THE TAPES
             Bill Clinton's Funny Money Home Videos

By Carl of Oyster Bay

    When word leaked out last  weekend  that  TIME  Magazine  was
about  to report the existence of Clinton fundraising videotapes,
the reaction of the press was justifiably  electric.   It  wasn't
just  the prospect of smoking gun evidence at long last, although
that was part of it.  More than the evidence itself,  finally  we
seemed to have a made for TV Washington scandal.  No longer would
reporters have to explain in ominous tones  the  significance  of
White  House memos showing one transgression or another.  No more
need  to  note  Bill  Clinton's   classic   backwards   checkmark
indicating  "the  president  has seen".  With the release of this
initial batch of 44 videos, not only could America tell that  the
president  had  seen, they could see with their own eyes what the
president had done in response.   It  was  as  if  Rodney  King's
videographer,  George  Halliday, had suddenly decided to turn his
Sonycam on Bill Clinton's Washington.  And the result promised to
be just as brutal.

    The initial release was  merely  a  preview;  a  White  House
compilation  of excerpts no doubt carefully screened for damaging
evidence.  Throughout the week reports continued to suggest  that
there would be up to 150 additional tapes to come.  By Wednesday,
Clinton spear-catcher, Lanny Davis acknowledged "three  or  four"
more videos had surfaced.  But they, and all the others, would be
withheld pending further White House "review".

    Sensing unnecessary delay, both Fred Thompson and Dan  Burton
issued  a  deadline.   All  tapes would have to be turned over to
their respective committees by 7 p.m. Friday - or the White House
could be cited for contempt.

    By week's end, Spin  Secretary  Mike  McCurry  seemed  to  be
running  out  of alibis: "Ask them to send us 50 or 60 lawyers to
come down here and work with our people to  get  it".  How'd  you
like  to  live in his household when Blockbuster calls wanting to
know why "Murder at 1600" still hasn't been returned?

    While Clintonites were having a  devil  of  a  time  locating
their  home  movies,  White  House  agents  were  having far more
success on the West Coast.

    According to Burton Committee spokesman Will  Dwyer,  someone
had  apparently been dispatched to the Reagan library to look for
cinematic evidence that "they all do it."  Just four  days  after
the   Clinton   videos   began  livening  up  the  nightly  news,
"Democratic sources" (as described by CNN)  hit  paydirt.   Their
archaeological  dig  turned  up a 10 year old video of the Gipper
thanking supporters for their past and future help.  Evidently no
cumbersome Lanny Davis "review" was required prior to the release
of the Reagan tape.

    Think about that.  As the political world waited breathlessly
for  the  first  unexpurgated feature length version of "la Dolce
Clinton",  the  best  Democrat  investigative  talent   was   out
rummaging  through  the  Reagan  archives,  from which not even a
shred of paper had been subpoenaed.  So while Davis,  McCurry  et
al  barred  the  door,   DNC  henchman were desperately trying to
create a diversion.   Just  after  the  Thompson/Burton  deadline
expired, it seemed for a moment that the White House was ready to
come clean.  A brand new photo had turned  up  of  the  president
addressing a private gathering of supporters.  But no.  This time
the president was George Bush.

    Clearly the White House anticipates much trouble  from  their
own  tapes.   Though  there's  no  guarantee,  it'll  be tough to
destroy the evidence since the White House Communications  Agency
logs  all their material in and out.  Apparently the strategy is:
Get as much dirt out on the old guys before  our  dirt  hits  the
fan.   Aside  from  being  transparently  craven,  this  kind  of
manipulation of an ongoing investigation  might  just  constitute
obstruction of justice.

    And where might the landmines be buried?  Well, as the  White
House pretended to scour the premises, WHCA employees responsible
for the taping were summoned before a Washington  grand  jury  to
explain,  among  other  things,  how  their  work could have been
overlooked for so long.  Naturally they  aren't  talking  to  the
press.   However  The Washington Weekly has tracked down a former
WHCA employee who had earned top secret clearance during previous
administrations.   Speaking on condition of anonymity, our source
revealed some information that  the  grand  jury  may  likely  be
covering.

    For instance, the 44 coffee anthology thus  far  released  by
the  White  House  shows only the beginning of these events.  The
administration line is that once the speechifying began  and  the
meeting  got  down to business, the cameras stopped rolling.  But
our source contends that:  "They (WHCA camera  crews)  video  all
official  activities at the White House. They also take stills of
all official activities.  I would be willing to bet that many  of
the coffees were fully taped."

    What's on the record tends to support this suspicion.   After
all,  Al  Gore's Buddhist Temple fundraiser was videoed - and not
just the familiar part where Gore is seen  strolling  across  the
grounds  as  hordes  of  admiring  mystics  look  on.  The indoor
portion  of  the  program,  including  Gore's  address   to   the
assemblage,  was  taped  in  full.   While  WHCA wasn't doing the
filming, this episode demonstrates that the White House political
operation  had no particular aversion to wall to wall coverage of
fundraisers even in the most exotic (and  illegal)  of  settings.
Then  why  haven't  we seen the video of Gore's Buddhist address?
As the heat approached, Temple  members  destroyed  all  but  one
copy,  and  that one is said to have been removed to China by yet
another fleeing witness.

    Further indication that the Clinton coffees were  subject  to
full  WHCA  coverage  comes  from the very evidence the Democrats
hope will get Mr. Clinton off the hook - that 1987  Reagan  tape.
Those who have seen this clip might notice that Reagan thanks his
supporters during what appears to be the end of  the  event.   If
WHCA  cameras  were rolling throughout for RR, it's reasonable to
expect that some of BC's pitches were taped  in  their  totality.
Besides, why would a WHCA crew be summoned to the White House, go
though all the trouble of setting  up,  check  the  lighting  and
sound  levels,  etc. - just to shoot a minute or two of tape?  If
that's all that was really required, still photos would have been
plenty  adequate.  The  "they  just  taped  the  beginning" alibi
doesn't pass the smell test.

    Moreover, what's been revealed in the 44  sanitized  excerpts
offered  by  the  White House is considerably less innocuous than
first  suggested.   We  have  one  coffee  that  Clinton  records
indicated was given in the Roosevelt Room.  But the videotape for
the date in question, May 1,  1996,  shows  that  the  "Roosevelt
Room"  was  in reality the Oval Office.  Worse still, an internal
DNC memo shows that this coffee was projected to raise $400,000 -
a goal that was met nearly to the penny.

    And somehow the flickering image of  Arief  Wiriadinata,  the
Indonesian  gardener-tycoon,  slipped  beneath the radar of White
House  editors.   One  of  the  highlights   of   Volume   1   is
Wiriadinata's  awkwardly blunt greeting to Clinton - "James Riady
sent me".  It's like watching a  preview  of  Godfather  IV:  the
Arkansas Years.

    All this suggests that Thompson and Burton  should  brook  no
further  delay  in  getting their hands on Clinton's tapes.   Our
WHCA source tells us that all such videos would  most  likely  be
archived  at Anacostia Naval Station in Southeastern D.C.  That's
just a short cab ride from Capitol Hill; a  trip  that  shouldn't
take 10 minutes let alone 10 days.

    The longer these tapes remain solely  in  the  hands  of  the
White  House,  the  more  reason  there  is  to  suspect that the
Clintonites may be acting on what they  undoubtedly  perceive  as
Watergate's true lesson: Next time, burn the tapes.




  Published in the Oct. 13, 1997 issue of The Washington Weekly
  Copyright 1997 The Washington Weekly (http://www.federal.com)
          Reposting permitted with this message intact
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Has our political system come down to rummaging thru your opponents'
archives and saying "He did it too," though there's really no comparison
anyway?! Can sure fool some, but not everyone...
--
-A
http://www.erols.com/mack97



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