In 2006, Philadelphia-area Rep. Curt Weldon, a Republican, was running for re-election in a race that unexpectedly drew national attention.
Only with recent developments in the Trump Russia inquiry does the nature of the deep state assault on Weldon come into full view.
I first reported on this assault in WND on Sept. 21, 2006, in article titled “The War on Weldon.”
As I noted, Weldon was paying the price for shining a cold light on the nation’s intelligence apparatus, especially the Clinton administration’s subversion of a potentially effective anti-terror project known as Able Danger.
That was not all. As vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Weldon was conducting three extremely sensitive investigations at the time that likely would have embarrassed senior leaders in both parties, the Clintons most obviously.
To silence Weldon, the deep state surfaced as an opponent a retired admiral with a sketchy record who grew up in Weldon’s district named Joe Sestak.
Helping direct the Sestak campaign was the recently disgraced National Archives thief Sandy Berger, and contributing were at least a dozen well-known Clinton national security cronies.
Among the more dubious of the Sestak contributors were former CIA Director John Deutch, who had signed a criminal plea agreement in connection with his mishandling of national secrets before being pardoned by Clinton, and Mary O. McCarthy, fired from the CIA after failing a polygraph on leaked classified information.
“If the Democrats regain the House in November, his seat in particular,” I said of Weldon at the time, “the possibility for exposing the truth on several key issues will effectively end.”
A week later, I wrote a follow-up article titled, “Clinton targets Weldon in Fox tirade.” Bill Clinton was not even subtle. “Other than George Bush,” I wrote, “Clinton mentioned only one other Republican by name. That was Curt Weldon. Clinton wanted him gone.”
Soon after his tumultuous appearance with Chris Wallace on Fox, Clinton visited Weldon’s district to fire up the base. A week after that visit, the media started leaking a story that Weldon had used his influence with – who else? – Russia to secure a consulting contract for his daughter’s firm.
On Oct. 16, 2006, the FBI raided the homes of Weldon’s daughter and a friend, allegedly for fear that documents would be destroyed if they did not do so sooner.
Here is how the Washington Post blithely justified the raid, “The search warrants were executed, in part, because of news reports over the weekend exposing the investigation, according to a senior Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry. Typically, such searches are sped up to prevent any evidence from being destroyed.”
Here is another part of the pattern: the “on condition of anonymity” part. Although the raid happened under Bush’s watch, the DOJ official managing it was a Democratic contributor named Howard Sklamberg.
This was the same official who allowed Sandy Berger to plea his 11 admitted felonies down to one misdemeanor. Sklamberg recommended a $10,000 fine for Berger, no jail time and an agreed upon polygraph that was never administered.
By noon on the day of the raid on the offices of Weldon’s daughter and her colleague, a group of nearly 20 Democratic protesters were outside Weldon’s district office in Upper Darby, carrying matching signs that read, “Caught Red-Handed.” So much for “innocent until proven guilty.”
In the ensuing two weeks, local and national media ran multiple stories implying that Weldon, too, must have been under investigation. Although Weldon had a roughly 7-point lead at the time of raid, Sestak ended up winning the election.
And here is where the real parallel with the Russia-Trump inquiry emerges. In addition to the use of the FBI by the DOJ for political ends, the Weldon-Russia collusion story was pure smokescreen.
To this day, incredibly, no one in authority has talked to Weldon or his daughter about the raid or the investigation. There was no follow up, no questions, no grand jury interrogation, nothing.
If the media had noticed, CNN’s Van Jones might have called this Russia collusion story a “nothingburger,” but for Weldon, and possibly for America, it was a particularly toxic one.