Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spoken Like A Typical Teabagger...

There was a Tea Party gathering in Richmond yesterday. Naturally, I didn't bother to go. But now part of me is wishing I had gone. Turns out Gary Aldrich was in town. Boy, did I miss out on this:

In 1996, former FBI agent Gary Aldrich published Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House. It was an account of his days running background checks for the Clinton White House, and like every pre-2001 book accusing the Clintons of strange things, it was a hit. Aldrich faded into the background after that, but he's emerged at the Tea Party Patriots Convention, under the banner of his Patrick Henry Center, as a punchy political veteran who can teach activists how to avoid being screwed by the media.

"This is a typical liberal," said Aldrich at his morning session, pointing to a slide of Hannibal Lecter. "They're some of the nastiest people you could possibly imagine." He switched up the Lecter photo with photos of enemy reporters, like Chris Matthews, "perky"Katie Couric, and Rachel Maddow, pausing briefly to make fun of Maddow's haircut. And on the way into the room, he said, he browbeat a reporter for filming an interview with a goofy-looking tea party activist who was carrying a gun. "That's what's going to show up on the nightly news," he said. His audience nodded their heads knowingly.

And so Aldrich's advice to activists fit cleanly under the heading of "ways to seem paranoid." Don't travel alone, he said: He himself had advised a prominent Tea Party leader to stop traveling solo around the country. Choose friends wisely, because allies can betray you and leak to reporters. Demand conditions from the media before agreeing to interviews. Also, learn to use a gun, especially if you live in an open carry state. (The friction between this and his previous statement was not noted)... {boldface mine}

I got to that boldfaced part above, and I immediately thought of what David Brock had to say about Aldrich and Unlimited Access in his own tell-all book Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-conservative:

...Regnery [Publishing, Inc.] put on a full-court press for Unlimited Access, hiring veteran conservative publicists Greg Mueller, a former spokesman for Pat Buchanan, and Craig Shirley, whose clients included the NRA, the American Conservative Union, PaulaJones, and the American Spectator, to manage the promotional campaign. On the day of publication, Mueller saw to it that its most sensational revelation -- the Marriott story -- was plastered across the front page of the Washington Times. What jolted me that June morning as I sipped my coffee and read my copy of the Times was Aldrich's description of his source on the Marriott story: "a highly educated, well-trained, experienced investigator who is conducting his own investigation into the Clintons." Although I wasn't really any of those things, I had a nauseous feeling that I was in the middle of another comedy of errors: While I thought I had been interviewing Aldrich, he had been interviewing me.

Brock's account of the Marriott story, and how he told it to Aldrich, appears a few pages earlier in the book...

...I had heard about Clinton slipping out of the White House for late-night trysts. Supposedly, Clinton hid under a blanket as he was ferried to the downtown Marriott Hotel in the backseat of a sedan driven by his trusted counselor, Bruce Lindsey. As these things often went, I had heard the tale from a Republican investigator on the Hill, who had heard it from a friend who was in town visiting for the weekend, who had a friend who worked at the Marriott. When I asked Aldrich if it would have been possible for Clinton to slip his Secret Service detail to visit the Marriott, Aldrich told me no -- the first and only firm answer I had gotten out of him. Given his law enforcement credentials, I took Aldrich's word as definitive, and soon forgot about the Marriott story...

Returning forward in time to the day Unlimited Access was being showcased by the Moonie rag...

A few hours later, I received a call from Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who was writing a piece on the election year furor incited by the Marriott allegation.... Coincidentally, Isikoff and I had had lunch a few weeks before; we learned that we had bith pursued Aldrich as a source, and we had both concluded that he was pretty much worthless. So Isikoff knew I knew Aldrich, and acting on a hunch, he asked me if I was possibly the journalist who told Aldrich the Marriott story. When I said I thought I was, Isikoff asked if I was willing to go on the record. Uhhh... yes, I was. I spoke to Isikoff from my gut. I had firsthand knowledge of a smear being broadcast nationwide, and I felt I had a responsibility to tell what I knew.
After hanging up with Isikoff, I decided I had better get in touch with Aldrich to make certain that I was his source... When Aldrich came on the line, I asked him if I was te source of the Marriott story, and when he told me I was, I protested that I couldn't be the source because, as I had explained to him some months before, I had never been able to verify it. I had no firsthand or even secondhand knowledge of the story; it was repeated to me thirdhand. "Well, why can't you be the source," an enraged Aldrich asked me. "Because you're a journalist?" So far as I knew there was no story, I said for the final time. I then told Aldrich I had given Isikoff an interview disavowing it. "What are you doing to me?" Aldrich wailed...



Brock's account from eight years ago, coupled with Aldrich's statements from yesterday, remind me of what Susan McDougal, whom Ken Starr ran through Hell and back in his blindly partisan desire to have Bill Clinton impeached and removed from office on the basis of a fabricated real but not-at-all-impeachable sex scandal, once said about her experiences and how she ultimately addressed them: "If you start to lie, you'll be lying for the rest of your life." To her credit, Susan went and took the hard road -- and in doing so, she preserved her integrity.

Gary Aldrich, on the other hand, has obviously chosen to go on lying for the rest of his life instead. I am not saying that it was David Brock's refusal to go with the conservative movement flow that drove Aldrich to the sorry state he's in now, but it might as well have been. I fail to see how he's any different from the likes of Andrew Breitbart or James O'Keefe at this point. All three of these clowns seem to have no ability to distinguish what they believe to be true from what is true.

The same could be said of the followers of Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite. Decide for yourselves how those folks fared...

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