Editor’s note: The following is an eye-opening look into New York Times best-selling author Richard Poe’s revealing book, “Hillary’s Secret War.” Whereas Edward Klein’s book on the New York senator reveals previously unknown aspects of her personal life, Poe’s expose focuses on how Hillary Clinton and the left’s “shadow government” have labored to put her and her far-left agenda in the White House by controlling the still-uncensored flow of real news to Americans – via the Internet.
If that sounds too fantastic to be true, read on.
“Look, this is a political case and the decision is going to be made at the national level.”
Accountant John Roux was not quite sure that he had heard correctly. Had IRS Field Agent Thomas Cederquist actually described the audit he was conducting as a “political case”? No, he couldn’t have. Surely Cederquist was aware that auditing any person or organization for political reasons was illegal. Indeed, attempted abuse of IRS audits had been one of the most serious charges brought against Richard Nixon, appearing as the second item on his articles of impeachment.
Roux needed clarification. He asked Field Agent Cederquist to please explain what he meant. “This is a political case, and the decision is going to be made at the national level,” Cederquist repeated. There was no mistake. John Roux had heard the man correctly. Cederquist had apparently just admitted that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting Roux’s client, the Western Journalism Center, for political reasons.
It all had to do with Christopher Ruddy. The reporter’s tireless crusade to expose the Vincent Foster cover-up had made him a hot potato. Anyone who helped Ruddy during those years quickly found himself in the cross hairs of Hillary’s Shadow Team.
The Western Journalism Center was a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 by Joseph Farah, who was, at the time, editor in chief of the Sacramento Union. Its purpose was to encourage independent investigative reporting. After the New York Post pulled the plug on Ruddy’s investigation into Vincent Foster’s death, Farah funded a major ad campaign to keep Ruddy’s work in the public eye. In doing so, Farah deeply offended the White House. It was not long before the Shadow Team began applying muscle.
Richard Nixon fell from power largely due to his role in covering up the burglary of Democratic headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. But when burglars invaded the offices of Joseph Farah’s Western Journalism Center in 1994, no national scandal ensued.
In order to raise funds for Ruddy’s investigation, Farah had taken out full-page advertisements, first in the Washington Times, then subsequently in the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Farah’s ads laid out the evidence of a cover-up and appealed for donations to keep the probe going.
Burglars entered Farah’s office in Fair Oaks, Calif., soon after. Farah says:
“Nothing was stolen. They broke in through the roof of the building, entered into an adjacent office, turned the place upside down, stole nothing from any of the offices, and then exited through the locked front door by smashing the glass and going out. We had just gone very high-profile by taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times just the week before … so it was extremely coincidental.”
Two years later, after Farah moved to new offices, burglars entered again. “Out of probably 20 offices in this larger complex, only our office was broken into, and again nothing was stolen,” Farah recalls. In addition, he says, “Our mailbox in the post office was broken into. … I thought that was very suspicious. All in the same time period. … It just seemed like a lot of amazing coincidences.”
The Troopergate burglaries
Farah was not the only Clinton critic to experience burglaries. R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.’s American Spectator magazine also suffered break-ins during its reporting of the so-called “Troopergate” scandal. According to London Sunday Telegraph correspondent Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the American Spectator “suffered these mysterious burglaries of its offices just at the time the [Troopergate] article was nearing completion.”
In August 1993, American Spectator reporter David Brock completed more than 30 hours of interviews with four Arkansas state troopers who had served on Gov. Clinton’s personal security detail. Published in January 1994, Brock’s expos? focused mainly on sex-related scandals – specifically, on allegations that Clinton had used his state trooper bodyguards to solicit women for sex, and sometimes to bribe and intimidate those women into silence. The sexual aspect of Troopergate got wide coverage in mainstream media and, to this day, most people believe that the Troopergate revelations were all about sex.
However, the burgeoning scandal threatened to reveal more sensitive matters. Clinton bodyguard Larry Patterson later testified that it was common knowledge among Arkansas state police that “large quantities of drugs [were] being flown into Mena airport, large quantities of money, large quantities of guns, that there was an ongoing operation training foreign people in that area. That it was a CIA operation.”
State trooper Larry Douglas Brown, better known as L.D. Brown, testified under oath that he had been inducted into the CIA on Bill Clinton’s personal recommendation. Brown testified that in 1984 his CIA handler instructed him to ride along on two flights out of Mena airport, on military C-123K transports. On the trip down, the crew dropped M-16 rifles by parachute into a mountainous, tropical area, presumably to be used by the Contra rebels in their war against the Sandinistas. Afterward, the team landed in Honduras, picked up four duffel bags, and flew home to Arkansas.
On the second such mission, Brown saw what was in the duffel bags. They were filled with one-kilo bricks of cocaine, in what he called “waxene-wrapped” packages. Frightened and angry, Brown went to Gov. Clinton and asked him point-blank if the CIA was running cocaine from Central America. “Oh no,” Clinton reportedly said. “That’s Lasater’s deal.”
Danny Ray Lasater was a wealthy Little Rock bond broker, a Clinton campaign contributor and a long-time intimate of Gov. Clinton. Following a four-year investigation, the FBI’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force concluded in 1986 that Lasater was a major cocaine trafficker. However, he was indicted only for distributing cocaine for “recreational use” and received a 30-month prison sentence – surprisingly mild treatment given the evidence the FBI had compiled against him. His close relationship with the governor appears to have won him leniency. Indeed, Lasater served most of his sentence in a halfway house in Little Rock and received a state pardon from Clinton in 1990.
Several authors have explored the guns-for-drugs operation that allegedly ran out of Mena airport during Clinton’s governorship. One such author – Pulitzer-prize-winning reporter Gary Webb, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News – was found dead in his home on Dec. 10, 2004, with a bullet wound in the head. His death was ruled a suicide.
The late Mr. Webb wrote of the Mena operation from a leftwing perspective. Others, such as American Spectator editor R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., have written about Mena from a conservative perspective. Still other writings have emanated from the shadow world of professional liars, dissemblers and disinformers.
To unravel fact from fiction in the Mena affair lies beyond the scope of this discussion. For our purposes, it is enough to know that the Troopergate scandal threatened to reveal far more than gossip over Bill Clinton’s sex life. The news that Arkansas state troopers were talking to the American Spectator must have hit Hillary’s War Room like a tornado. There was no telling what those troopers might say.
Burglars hit the American Spectator three times in 1993, all during the period that David Brock was working on his Troopergate story. Intruders entered the magazine’s office on Sept. 3 and 10. On Sept. 22, burglars broke into an Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan that the Spectator used. The burglars’ modus operandi was similar to that of the intruders who invaded Farah’s office.
Regarding the office break-ins, Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, who was then managing editor of the Spectator said, “All the desk drawers were left ajar. … Whoever entered got in through an unused part of the top floor, then cut a hole in a thin wall into the mail room. … These are the first break-ins in our 27-year history. We didn’t necessarily connect it with David [Brock’s Troopergate] research, but it made you wonder.”
Richard Mellon Scaife was not far off the mark when he called the Foster case “the Rosetta Stone to the Clinton administration.” Foster’s ghost seems to haunt virtually every Clinton cover-up of any significance. The Troopergate burglaries are no exception.
On Feb. 19, 2001 – shortly after the Clintons left office – Lord William Rees-Mogg wrote a scathing commentary about the Mena scandal in the Times of London, in which he plainly implied that Foster’s death was connected to the drug-smuggling operations at Mena.
Rees-Mogg is a prominent and respected journalist, having served as editor of the Times for 14 years and subsequently as vice chairman of the BBC. Today he is chairman of NewsMax Media Inc. – the parent company which owns Christopher Ruddy’s NewsMax.com.
In his February 2001 article, Rees-Mogg called the Mena airport affair “the biggest scandal of modern American history.” He noted that “there were several suspicious deaths” connected to Mena, notably those of former Clinton security chief Jerry Parks and Vincent Foster, and that money from Mena “can be traced through Parks as far as Vince Foster. …” Rees-Mogg cited evidence that the late Foster was involved in the drug-smuggling business that revolved around Mena.
“In 1993, Parks was murdered by two unknown gunmen,” noted Rees-Mogg. “He lived in a dangerous world, as, indeed, did Vince Foster, who was found dead in Fort Marcy Park, Virginia.”
The world of Jerry Parks and Vincent Foster was indeed a dangerous place. Christopher Ruddy had entered that same “dangerous world” when he undertook the Foster investigation. Now, by daring to extend a helping hand to Ruddy, Joseph Farah had entered that world, too.
The conspiracy report
Journalist Philip Weiss was going places. He had discovered a simple but effective formula for success: Defend the Clintons and attack their enemies, and all good things would come to you in the end. In large measure, Weiss owed his newfound success to the death of Vincent Foster.
Weiss had craved acceptance by the “in” crowd all his life. In a March 1995 interview with Newsday, Weiss ascribed his social insecurities to having grown up in what he called a “parochial” Jewish family. At Harvard, young Weiss felt intimidated by the “preppy WASPs” who dominated campus life. Later, as a successful journalist in New York, Weiss threw himself into the party scene. For all his carousing, however, Weiss never lost the sense of being an outsider with his face pressed against the glass.
“I tried to get in with an in-crowd in New York,” Weiss told Newsday. “My head was turned by the notion of social status. I really cared about that, or thought I cared about that. And in the end I didn’t find it meaningful. I realized that I had fooled myself, made a fool of myself.”
Weiss showed admirable candor and self-awareness in that Newsday interview. Sadly, he had not yet finished making a fool of himself. His face was still pressed against the glass, in more ways than he knew. Weiss would soon enter the innermost of all possible “in” crowds – the charmed and secret circle of Hillary’s Shadow Team.
In 1993, the Wall Street Journal ran a series of editorials skewering Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster for his role in the Travelgate scandal, for his past work with the less-than-savory Rose Law Firm, and for the part Foster played in concealing the scary details of Hillary’s health-care plan from the public.
After Foster’s death in July 1993, the Clinton spin team blamed the Wall Street Journal for driving the poor man to suicide. “When the history of these events is written, the Wall Street Journal editorial page will have a lot to answer for, and a lot to be ashamed of,” declared former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum in a phone interview with Philip Weiss. Weiss subsequently quoted Nussbaum in an Oct. 9, 1995 New York Observer column, in which Weiss blamed the Wall Street Journal for Foster’s death. That story proved to be Weiss’s ticket to the in crowd. He later wrote in the New York Observer of Nov. 22, 1999:
I became a White House friend. I didn’t realize it fully until later, but I was in. One Clinton friend called me to ask if he could put my Foster article on a pro-Clinton website. I was flattered, and na?ve. I didn’t understand that the war had already begun, and that on the Web the Clintonites were losing.
Weiss had a friend in the White House named Chris Lehane, a lawyer who worked for Mark Fabiani. Readers will recall Fabiani from Part I of this series as the Clinton spinmeister who told the Washington Post in 1996, “Mena is the darkest backwater of the right-wing conspiracy industry. The allegations are as bizarre as they are false.”
Weiss visited Lehane several times at the White House. On one of these visits, Weiss recalls that Lehane “proudly showed me a report he’d written. It was a thick blue looseleaf binder of news clippings interspersed with some analysis he’d written. It was titled, bizarrely, ‘The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce.'”
Weiss did not know it, but Lehane had just shown him one of the deepest secrets of Hillary’s Shadow Team – a secret that Weiss was destined to betray.
The Clinton haters
In the fall of 1996, the New York Times Magazine asked Philip Weiss to write a story on “Clinton haters,” eventually published on Feb. 23, 1997. Weiss’ assignment was to interview Clinton conspiracy theorists and portray them as nutcases. Weiss called up his friend Chris Lehane at the White House and requested another copy of The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, which arrived “bigger than ever,” updated with plenty of fresh news clips. Before departing for Arkansas, Weiss met with Mark Fabiani at the White House.
The first call Weiss made when he arrived in Arkansas was to Linda Ives. Weiss knew from the conspiracy report that Mrs. Ives was a central figure in the so-called “boys on the tracks” case, also known as the “Train Deaths” case.
On the night of Aug. 23, 1987, two teenage boys, Kevin Ives and Don Henry, said they were going deer hunting. At 4:25 a.m., the crew of the northbound Union Pacific train saw the boys lying side by side on the track. The train could not stop in time.
Arkansas State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak ruled the deaths “accidental,” saying that the boys had passed out on the tracks after smoking too much marijuana. Malak, however, was notoriously corrupt and incompetent, and a local grand jury refused to close the case. The bodies were exhumed and outside pathologists brought in. The new medical team concluded that the boys had been murdered. Someone had beaten Kevin Ives with a rifle butt and stabbed Don Henry in the back. Most likely, they were already dead when their killers laid them on the tracks. The grand jury ruled that the boys’ deaths were homicides.
Bit by bit, the real story began to leak out. The place where the boys died was known to local law enforcement as a drop zone for drug smugglers. Low-flying airplanes regularly dumped their contraband there for pickup. The boys had likely shown up at the wrong place at the wrong time. They had seen too much. Arkansas State Trooper L.D. Brown was ordered off the case in 1988. “I was told it had something to do with Mena and I was to get off it,” Brown later explained.
Bill Clinton played a suspicious role in the cover-up. As governor, Clinton shielded his medical examiner, Fahmy Malak, who remained in office until 1992. As president, Clinton hamstrung the Train Deaths investigation for good.
As recounted earlier in this series, Clinton ordered the resignation of all 93 U.S. attorneys and replaced them with Clinton loyalists – something no other U.S. president had ever done. He then fired FBI director William Sessions on July 19, 1993, an act equally unprecedented in U.S. history. Finally, Clinton appointed former campaign worker and long-time crony Paula Casey as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He pulled the FBI off the Train Deaths case and turned it over to Casey. The probe fizzled out. Kevin’s mother, Linda Ives, has been seeking justice ever since.
Of his meeting with Mrs. Ives, Weiss later admitted that the three or four hours he spent with her changed his life. He writes:
The boys’ murders had been blatantly covered up as an accident by Gov. Clinton’s medical examiner, and when at last the state was forced to rule them homicides, they had never truly been investigated. The drug dealers were obviously politically connected. The story was nauseating and left me troubled about the White House counsel’s office. Here was a woman as wronged as an Argentinian mother, still seeking justice, and the White House had lumped her in with the lunatic fringe.
When I left Linda’s house, late at night … I promised her I wouldn’t sell her out. … I didn’t realize it yet, but I was already becoming a Clinton-hater.
There was something else Weiss did not yet realize. In the three or four hours he had spent with Linda Ives, he had done something much more significant than simply begin to hate Clinton. He had jammed his foot in his mouth right up to the knee bone. Weiss had unwittingly blown the story of Hillary’s secret war wide open.
Traitor to the cause
“Linda had been through hell, and she was a lot tougher than I was, and not nearly so na?ve,” Weiss recalls. “She’d asked me that night how I learned about her case and I’d glibly told her about the White House documents.”
Mrs. Ives promptly called Micah Morrison at the Wall Street Journal. Morrison had written articles about the Train Deaths and had won Mrs. Ives’s trust. She told him about her strange visit from Weiss. The Arkansas housewife told Morrison that Weiss “wanted to know what journalists I had been talking to. Mark Fabiani, the White House spokesman had sicced him on me, he said. I found that curious. What would the White House want with me?” Good question.
Weiss was not the first reporter whom the Shadow Team had sent to ambush Linda Ives. A producer from “60 Minutes” had been there first. Former prosecutor Jean Duffey headed a drug task force in the Seventh Judicial District where the boys on the tracks were killed. Duffey’s career in law enforcement came to an abrupt end when her Train Deaths probe began implicating public officials. She tells this story:
The summer before the White House sicced Weiss on Linda, Evalyn Lee, a “60 Minutes” producer, was sent on a similar mission. Again, after spending two days with Linda and me, Lee confessed that she was supposed to “befriend and interview” us and to “fold our interviews into a story about Clinton-bashers.” According to Lee, the story was to air that fall before the ’96 election and was supposed to boost support for Clinton. Lee said she had changed her mind about using us and planned to ask her superior to run a legitimate story about the Train Deaths. Of course, that never happened. …
By the time Weiss phoned Morrison at the Wall Street Journal, the veteran newshound was lying in wait for him. Morrison turned the tables on Weiss, teasing information from the befuddled Shadow Team operative while giving little in return. “I called Mr. Morrison to interview him for my article,” Weiss later recounted in the New York Observer. “He was suspicious and opaque. He refused to meet with me, would only talk on the phone. In being interviewed by me, he interviewed me, and thoroughly finessed me. Then he called Mr. Fabiani to get the conspiracy report.”
The cat was out of the bag. Chris Lehane called Weiss in a panic. “He told me his clear understanding was that the report was off the record,” Weiss remembers. “I was defensive. I said I didn’t remember him declaring it off the record. We both braced for what would come.”
Of course, Weiss knew that he had betrayed Lehane and Fabiani. He had ratted them out to the enemy. But why? “[A]ny fool should have known it was off the record,” Weiss reflected years later. “And yet the report should have become public knowledge – it was wrong that taxpayers should have been paying for the White House counsel’s office to put out such crap. I wonder how much of that I’d unconsciously figured out.”
Thanks to Weiss, The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce did become public knowledge. Morrison’s story appeared in the Jan. 6, 1997 Wall Street Journal. For a brief time, Press Secretary Mike McCurry found himself under siege. Philip Weiss recalls that he was driving down I-40 outside Lonoke, Ark., when McCurry came on the radio. “I ducked my shoulders in the car, amazed that it had made CBS at the top of the hour,” says Weiss, who remembers feeling “stunned and scared.” Weiss need not have worried. As with virtually all Clinton scandals, the furor over The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce evaporated quickly. No serious consequences ensued.
One could argue that Hillary’s secret war on “Clinton haters” made the White House, at the very least, an accomplice to murder after the fact. Vincent Foster may or may not have met foul play, but there is no question about the boys on the tracks. They were murdered. The Shadow Team’s efforts to discredit Linda Ives plainly helped the boys’ killers evade justice by discouraging further investigation. No matter. The scandal faded within days. Most Americans never heard about The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, and most have never heard about the Train Deaths.
Chris Lehane went on to become Al Gore’s spokesman and later an adviser to presidential hopefuls Gen. Wesley Clark and John Kerry. He and Weiss no longer speak. Weiss later wrote of the experience in a New York Observer column titled, “The Truth About Clinton Cost Me a Powerful Pal.”
“Looking back on it, we were both being used,” Weiss mused. “He was the pawn putting out poison and washing his hands of it, I was the slithering snake that f–ked him. We told ourselves we were friends.”
In January 1996, Farah heard rumors from at least three different people that the IRS “had the goods” on him and was going to “nail” his Western Journalism Center. Farah’s accountant John Roux assured him that the Center’s finances were in order and that IRS filings were current. Moreover, Roux had heard nothing from the IRS.
Farah now believes that the rumor campaign may have been a shot across the bow to warn him off the Foster case. He did not take the hint. In July 1996, IRS Field Agent Thomas Cederquist began auditing Farah’s Center. The audit continued for nine months and came up blank. It uncovered no wrongdoing. Nevertheless, it accomplished what was probably its intended purpose. It forced Farah to stop supporting the Foster probe.
In April 1996, Field Agent Cederquist submitted to Farah’s Center an IRS “Information Document Request” which demanded, among other things, “Copies of all documents relating to the selection of Christopher Ruddy as an investigative reporter and how the topic was selected. Who was on the review committee?”
Accountant John Roux was shocked. What business did the IRS have questioning Farah’s decision to fund Christopher Ruddy – or any other investigative reporter? In a face-to-face meeting, Roux confronted Cederquist over the strangely political flavor of his audit. It was then that Cederquist made his now-infamous declaration, “Look, this is a political case and the decision is going to be made at the national level.”
For months, the Center devoted most of its manpower to dealing with the audit. It had to gather thousands of documents demanded by the IRS and pay a small fortune in accountants’ and lawyers’ fees. Worst of all, the nine-month audit cast a shadow over Farah’s reputation. Contributors backed off for fear that the Center was about to lose its nonprofit status and that their donations would no longer be tax-exempt.
Other contributors, sensing the political nature of the audit, cut their ties with Farah for fear that they might be audited next. Those fears turned out to be well-founded. When Farah retained civil liberties lawyer Larry Klayman to sue the IRS in 1998, Klayman’s Judicial Watch organization was immediately audited.
Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary even took it upon herself to contact one of Farah’s major corporate donors and threaten to pull the donor’s government contracts if he gave one more penny to the Western Journalism Center. “The warning was effective,” Farah wrote later. “He has not donated any money since.”
In the end, the Clinton administration’s economic warfare succeeded in forcing Farah to cut staff and stop funding investigative reporters, including Ruddy. The long ordeal had crippled his operation.
Farah’s experience was not an isolated event. At a Jan. 23, 1997, press conference, a reporter asked Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry to comment on the large number of conservative organizations being hit with IRS audits. “I’m not aware of any credible news organization that’s reported anything like that,” McCurry deadpanned.
At that time, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Times had all published stories on the suspicious audits, as McCurry was surely aware.
Joseph Farah broke the story of the IRS scandal nationally in an Oct. 22, 1996 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. In it, Farah traced his IRS troubles to a secret White House plan, concocted one month after Republicans swept Congress in 1994, to harass and neutralize Clinton critics.
Associate White House Counsel Jane Sherburne had drawn up a memo “naming names, outlining strategy and assigning staff to handle specific targets,” wrote Farah. When congressional investigators obtained a copy of Sherburne’s memo in September 1996, Farah discovered that he and his Western Journalism Center were targets. “When my article hit, it was like a bombshell,” recalls Farah.
The Wall Street Journal mounted a crusade, publishing story after story on the IRS abuses. It soon became clear that few Clinton critics of any significance had been missed. Hillary’s auditors hit dissident journalists particularly hard. Bill O’Reilly of Fox News was audited three years in a row, beginning the first year he launched “The O’Reilly Factor.” Also hit was David Horowitz’s Center for the Study of Popular Culture, which published the magazine Heterodoxy and the popular website FrontPageMagazine.com. Hillary’s IRS targeted the National Review, the Heritage Foundation and R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr’s American Spectator magazine.
As the IRS spun out of control, even left-of-center journalists began to worry. “The talk shows got on the political audits and even the liberals on those shows were saying, ‘This is beyond the pale,'” says Farah. However, as with all Clinton scandals, the indignation proved ephemeral. IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson – a friend of Hillary who had worked on the Clinton campaign – quietly resigned in February 1997. And that was it. The political audits continued under her successor. And Bill Clinton’s articles of impeachment, unlike Nixon’s, contained no mention of IRS abuses.
American Spectator in the cross hairs
In the case of the American Spectator, Hillary’s Shadow Team went beyond mere economic harassment. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell Jr. later wrote of his travails in a Spectator story of November 2002.
“Our offices were broken into twice, our New York apartment once,” Tyrrell recalls. “Thieves stole the manuscript to [Tyrell’s book] ‘Boy Clinton’ while it was being sent across town to Bob Novak for a blurb. … [N]umerous instances of intimidation [were] attempted against Spectator staffers by Arkansas thugs.”
Most damaging to the Spectator – and to press freedom generally – was an effort by the Clinton Justice Department to press criminal charges against Tyrrell and his associates for what turned out to be trumped up allegations of witness tampering.
On Jan. 27, 1998, Hillary Clinton famously appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” with Matt Lauer, urging news media to focus attention on the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” which she charged with persecuting the Clinton White House – the same conspiracy described in Hillary’s 1995 Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce report, which featured Richard Mellon Scaife as ringleader.
Hillary was not speaking idly. Major government and media institutions sprang into action to put her words into effect.
On April 1, 1998, Congressman John Conyers, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” to discuss the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Host Brian Lamb asked Conyers how the American Spectator fit into the picture. “We’re investigating the magazine,” Conyers responded.
Eight days later, the Clinton Justice Department launched a criminal investigation against the American Spectator over alleged witness tampering. Richard Mellon Scaife was the prime target. A long-time financial supporter of the magazine, Scaife had provided generous grants for its Clinton investigations. Such grants are common in journalism. The Pew Charitable Trust and Bill Moyers’ Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, for example, regularly lavish staggering sums on radical, left-wing media.
Hillary’s operatives could not fault Scaife for providing grants to journalists. Instead, they accused him of witness tampering – specifically of using the American Spectator as a conduit to transmit bribe money from Scaife to Judge David Hale, a major witness against Bill Clinton in the Whitewater investigation.
For 14 months, Scaife and various associates of the Spectator were hauled before investigators to testify. In the end, no charges were pressed. Scaife and the Spectator were exonerated. But the 14-month investigation nearly bankrupted Tyrrell’s magazine. More importantly, it set a dangerous precedent in American politics.
“[T]he precedent had been set to harass writers and publications that print unfavorable news about government. … [T]he practice of criminally investigating opposition journalists has now been established. …” Tyrrell later wrote.
Hillary’s campaign against dissident journalists had unexpected consequences: It got Joseph Farah and many other journalists thinking about their dangerous dependency on mainstream media outlets.
“We felt the full wrath of government persecution,” says Farah. “We were darned lucky there was a Wall Street Journal that was willing to allow us to have a little say. Had it not been for the Wall Street Journal, virtually nothing would have been said or published about this in the United States.” But suppose the Wall Street Journal had not let Farah speak. What then?
In 1996, Farah received strange phone calls from two journalists, one from the Philadelphia Inquirer and the other from The New York Times. The New York Times reporter was none other than Philip Weiss. Farah recalls, “They would say, “We have this report from the White House, and you’re all over the thing. What do you have to say about it?’ And I would say, ‘Well, I don’t know anything about this report. Can I see it?’ And neither one of them were willing to give me a copy.”
Farah ultimately obtained the report from Mark Levin of the Landmark Legal Foundation. Levin had somehow managed to get a photocopy from the Democratic National Committee. It was, of course, The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, now swollen to 331 pages.
Hillary is widely believed to have been the moving force behind the conspiracy report, and with good reason. Christopher Lehane wrote and compiled The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce at Mark Fabiani’s behest. Both men worked for Hillary’s Shadow Counsel’s Office. In the October 1998 American Spectator, Daniel E. Troy alleged that “Hillary Clinton … championed the report.”
During the brief media flurry that followed Micah Morrison’s Jan. 6, 1997, expos?, Hillary lay low, letting White House press secretary Mike McCurry fend off most of the flack. On Jan. 17, however, in a C-SPAN interview with Steve Scully, Hillary emerged from the shadows to defend the essential claims of the conspiracy report, while carefully refraining from mentioning the now-infamous document by name.
“There is a very effective, well-organized press that is … very up front in its right-wing, conservative inclinations and makes no apologies,” Hillary charged. Yet no liberal or left-wing press existed “on the other end of the political spectrum … to counterbalance that,” Hillary argued. Perhaps, in Hillary’s mind, The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce helped provide that missing “balance.”
Joseph Farah likes to joke that Hillary Clinton gave him the idea of publishing WorldNetDaily.com. And in a way she did. Inasmuch as Hillary appears to have masterminded The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, Hillary grasped the power of the Internet years before most of today’s leading Web journalists.
It would seem that, as early as 1995, the first lady had already identified the Web as a threat to Big Media’s information monopoly – and therefore to the Clintons’ power. A dark prophetess of doom, Hillary decried the Internet’s subversive potential at a time when dissident scribblers such as Farah were still trying to get their message out through printed newsletters and op-ed pieces in the Wall Street Journal. In 1999, after the Drudge Report had fulfilled Hillary’s direst warnings, Farah called The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce a “premonition” and a “prophetic nightmare.” He wrote:
[R]emember that the White House was having this bad dream back in 1994-1995. This was long before anyone had ever heard of Matt Drudge. It was long before WorldNetDaily.com … was even on the drawing board. … Was it a premonition? Indeed, this was an administration doomed to scandal exposed by the Internet – the one form of mass communication its partisans in the old, establishment press couldn’t seem to control. And, already, by early 1995, the White House could see the handwriting on the wall. … It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in computer science to recognize that the Clintons and their political allies are scared of the Internet. They are clearly dying to get their hands on it – not for their own creative use, mind you, but for the purposes of control, for stifling free expression by others.
When Farah first saw the report, he read through it in amazement, paying special attention to Section IX, which dealt with “The Internet Influence.” Farah says:
The ironic part is that we were not utilizing the Internet very well back then. We did have a website called etruth.com, and it did get a high level of traffic. I was always surprised that there were more people reading our stuff on the Internet than were reading our newsletter. But it still never occurred to me that it had all that much potential until the Clintons connected the dots for me.
When I saw that report, I became convinced that the Internet was the vehicle for keeping government under control, because if these guys were so scared of it, I felt we could do much more as journalists to utilize it. That report really was the genesis for WorldNetDaily.com.
More than any other factor, Hillary’s fear of cyber-journalism alerted Farah to the power of the Net. Ultimately, it led him to focus his efforts on Web publishing. Many other dissident journalists made the same decision around the same time.
The Web Underground made a quantum leap from the newsgroups and message boards of the early ’90s, when the Web had served mainly as a giant bulletin board to publicize articles from newspapers and magazines. Now it began generating its own reportage, much of it high-caliber investigative work, assigned and edited by news professionals such as Ruddy and Farah.
The Web Underground completed its metamorphosis just in time. It would play a decisive role in stopping the Democrats from stealing the 2000 election.
Joseph Farah, founder of WorldNetDaily.com and co-founder of WND Books says, “‘Hillary’s Secret War’ is not just an indictment of a woman now sitting in the U.S. Senate. It’s an expose of an authoritarian mindset that longs to regain power – and will stop at nothing to achieve its objective.” Order your copy of “Hillary’s Secret War” from the source, WorldNetDaily!
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