Friday, March 21, 2008

The Washington Times and the 1992 Passport Scandal

george h w bush the elder In light of the recent unauthorized accessing of Senator Barack Obama's passport files, Robert Parry reminds us of another passport files scandal that arose during the 1992 presidential campaign. Operatives for then-president George H. W. Bush illegally examined Democratic candidate Bill Clinton's passport file and ham-handedly tried to red-bait Clinton with the innuendo that he had been a "KGB agent of influence." To no surprise, Moon's Washington Times did what it could to turn these baseless accusations into a campaign issue. What I found incredible about the whole episode was the Kafkaesque line of reasoning used by Moon's Times and the Bush campaign: that the lack of anything incriminating in Clinton's passport file was itself proof that a Clinton supporter had removed incriminating evidence. This time, the dirty trick backfired (though fortunately for the Bush administration, Joseph diGenova was named special prosecutor to investigate any possible wrongdoing by the Bush administration; diGenova's wife Victoria Toensing did the current Bush administration's bidding in the congressional hearings that looked into the outing of Valerie Plame).

Addendum--Dirty Tricks by the Washington Times During Presidential Campaigns: In 1988, Times' editor-in-chief Wes Pruden used the paper to spread the unfounded rumor that Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis has received psychiatric treatment (then-president Reagan remarked soon after the story appeared that he wasn't going "to pick on an invalid" . . . During the 2000 campaign, Times reporter Bill Sammon concocted the phony "Floodgate" charges against candidate Al Gore (In his book on the election, Sammon doctored newspaper reports to intentionally misrepresent Gore's actions during the Florida recount) . . . The Washington Times' sister publication Insight first spread the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim who was schooled in a madrassa . . . It's a minor synchronicity that Parry wrote the article. I did the YouTube video that is currently being edited that addresses the Times' McCarthyite tactics. I hope to have the video online soon.

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