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May 25, 2006


"federal investigators know about the bribe Denny took, but they're not investigating it"

EW, that would be my interpretation too. And there is a pattern here, with the DoJ prosecutors unable to get security clearance to review the DoJ internal docs on the NSA domestic spying issue. Abu is working overtime to quash the investigations where high level Repub politicos and his own fingerprints are all over it.

my guess is we should make this last bit very common knowledge; can we but hope to see it everywhere?
Hastert named in bribery probe, is department of justice investigating?

Maybe the metaphor is accurate about wrestling, though, that would mean Harry Reid, if I recall correctly that his early fame was in the wrestling ring; Hastert, if I recall, was a gym coach.

Now that we surmount the physical imagery, to add an element of mundane electronics reality, as I understand cellphones, there are some unwiretappable aspects remaining in the technology, but a lot less than when congress passed and the FCC finally implemented E911, which means all modern cellphones contain a GPS-like chip, the idea being to locate someone physically with an accuracy of approximately 100 feet when they have made a 911 call. I am not sure how the final law was written concerning letting wiretaps occur, like the CALEA provision for baby bell companies, by building a government port into the network for ease of wiretapping.

Actually, this is all aside from the detective work you are doing on the topic of the bribe scandals.

There is a row still occurring in the legal cyberworld regarding the illegitimacy of the search of a congress person's office; but our history has had so many stings netting congress people, I doubt that will generate much interest at the Supreme Court; the Saturday nite search of the congress person's capitol hill office was done with a warrant. Update: Bush has sealed the evidence and told the searchers they do not have a key to the storage.

I have thought longtime that if warrantless wiretapping ever is proven to target politicians and the like, congress will be stirred to strengthen the FISA process posthaste.

As for whether Hastert has a problem with the scandal on briberies, at the very least he is as expendable as Speaker Rostenkowski was when the Democrats were in the majority. It is difficult to be in politics and fundraising and pork barreling, yet to remain bribe-free. Quite an interesting bruhaha.

What I can't get my mind around is Hastert's reaction. He demands a retratction from ABC, even threatens to take them to court for libel. I can understand that. But then he turns around and claims someone at DOJ leaked this as a warning to him. He's blaming DOJ, but threatening ABC?? It seems to me Denny has to pick one or the other. Does anyone else sense anything other than sheer panic on Hastert's part?

I agree that "someone" appears to be shielding Hastert.

Recall that Sibel Edmonds remains under a gag order and cannot divulge the information she gleaned about Hastert's other illegal activities while she was working as an FBI translator. Hmmm, something to do with drug smuggling, illegal arms sales, and illegal campaign contributions (tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions all made for amounts under $200 to eliminate FEC reporting requirements). The Turkish Council, etc.
I think it was Vanity Fair that ran quite a story on the whole business late last year. But it's now been almost four years, and Sibel's lips are "sealed." Ahem.

So yes, I think it's a given BushCo is protecting Hastert. Considering that he's third in line to the "throne," I'm sure Hastert is privy to a shitload of Dubya's and Cheney's dirty little secrets. Knows for a fact where dem bones is buried. But they done pissed off the "teddy bear." No wonder he called the Prez twice this week raising hell. Note how quickly Dubya leaped into the fray and ordered the FBI to stand down today -- no doubt in response to Hastert's renewed threats of some good old fashioned quid pro quo. Dubya has to protect his own ass, don't you know, but isn't it all a bit curious how that cease and desist order came about when Dubya has insisted time and again he will not get involved nor will he comment on an ongoing criminal investigation. I guess today he just plum forgot.

That Vanity Fair article that onhot2o mentions is here.

Also note that Ashcroft et al have already shut down an investigation into Hastert. In an interview Sibel said:

“…what happened was, FBI had this information since 1997. In 1999, the Clinton Administration actually asked the Department of Justice to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate Hastert, and certain other elected officials that were not named in this (VF) article, to be investigated formally. And the Department of Justice actually went about appointing this prosecutor, but after the Administration changed they quashed that investigation and they closed it despite the fact they had all sorts of evidence, again I’m talking about wiretaps, documents- paper documents- that was highly explosive and could have been easily used to indict the Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. That investigation was closed in 2001, and this was around the time I started reporting my cases to the Congress.”

John Lopresti,

If Hastert already knows what phones ABC was talking to and they were at the DOJ, then the unknown would be only which DOJ employee leaked to ABC. And with the NSA mining for reporter's telephone contacts, Hastert could easily know what phones the ABC reporters were talking to.

Nothing limits that kind of NSA data mining to terrorists and criminals. I wouldn't be surprised if this were what John Bolton received from the NSA when he was at State and sabotaging Colin Powell. NSA to Cheney to Bolton. Which is why the administration never allowed Congress to know what Bolton had.

hastert evaded the VietNam draft by claiming a ' bad knee ', yet he wrestled in college for 4 years.

oldtree: Reid was a boxer. Hastert taught social studies and coached wrestling, which is why he was often referred by Repubs in the House as the coach.

This all sounds like standard damage control, and if the consensus is right, it will all go away very soon.

A suit against ABC would go nowhere, of course; the standard for libeling a "public figure" is very high. He's just putting on a show of being wounded and publicly confronting his accuser.

And if it's true that DoJ is playing favorites in the Congressional corruption investigations -- which looks very likely indeed given the FBI raid on Jefferson's offices and the peace and quiet at DeLay's, and which is hardly surprising given the complete lack of professional ethics of the current occupant of the AG's office (what IS it about Republican AGs?) -- then Hastert has nothing to worry about. Resources for the investigation will be hard to come by. Recommendations for action will be subject to long, careful review. Conclusions will need to survive the most rigorous scrutiny, given the importance of the targets, the respect for the separation of powers, blah blah blah etcetera and so forth.

In short ... whitewash.

bleh: But then why is Hastert freaking out about the separation of powers issue? It looks to me like he is sort of panicking....

Maybe it's just me, but I think there are multiple levels here, and it's mostly a can't lose proposition for the GOP: 1) you've got a rep who is a Democrat involved in an easily understandable corruption investigation; 2) an FBI raid on a congressional office (apparently breaking new ground, though certainly not illegal). Bush seals the evidence, and thereby shines a light on the whole dust-up. The story gets frozen in time, and the vapid media can yak yak yak about the obviously corrupt Democrat for months.

I doubt that Hastert really thinks he can get congressional privelege to stick, in this case... but if it does, hey, that's great, for him especially.

This looks like a Rove special.

And speaking of Rove, if I were Brian Ross, I'd be wary that that there source...

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