• February 22nd, 2001 -- The Scoop on Hugh Rodham

    Top Five Reasons why Hugh Rodham (Hillary's brother) getting $200,000 (now returned) to lobby in favor of pardons and commutations for convicted drug trafficker Carlos Vignali and herbal supplement king Almon Glenn Braswell ain't as bad as it looks:

    5. Hugh Rodham won't need those secret payments from Marc Rich anymore.
    4. Gives Jack Quinn someone to look down on.
    3. Even drug traffickers need a break sometimes.
    2. Makes clear Bill ain't the only one with a loser brother.
    1. Gets that whole Marc Rich thing outta the headlines.

  • February 22nd, 2001 -- The Spy Connection Hey! Wait a second! Do I have to connect all the dots here? Remember the laptop that went missing from the State Department last year? Maybe Hanssen snagged it!!!

    According to this article just posted on MSNBC: "From February 1995 until January, Hanssen was the FBI's senior representative to the State Department's Office of Foreign Missions, where he oversaw an interagency counterintelligence group."

    So maybe the problem wasn't Madeleine Albright running a loosey-goosey, slipshod operation. Maybe it was Louis Freeh sending a spy over to help "oversee" State Department intelligence.

    Louis, good goin' dude!!!

    P.S. Could Hanssen have been connected to that Russian diplomat who got caught working on an eavesdropping device outside State Department headquarters back in '99? Sure, why not? Put that on the list too.

    P.P.S. Do you have any reason to believe, or does it even make sense, that Hanssen could have been involved in either one of these incidents? No idea. But, hey, we're talkin' about Louis Freeh here so we can use his rulebook, no? Let's wait and see what Walter Pincus and Vernon Loeb come up with.

    Robert Philip Hanssen seems so obviously guilty that the only mystery remaining now in this espionage case is who Louis Freeh will find to pin the blame on, and how he'll do it.

    Washington is filled with people who have mastered the art of "failing up." But no one has mastered this art quite as well as Louis Freeh.

    As the master profilographer David Plotz explained last fall, what's most fascinating about Freeh is not that his agency has managed to blow so many of the high profile cases it's been involved in over recent years (Waco, Richard Jewel, Wen Ho Lee, etc.). The real intrigue is that he's managed to pass almost all of it off as someone else's fault. Who takes the fall for this screw up? Janet Reno? Bill Clinton? Denise Rich? Bernie Sanders? Who? Think fast! Who?

  • February 22nd, 2001 -- The Wall Street Journalistically Dishonest Last Friday, John Fund of The Wall Street Journal editorial page went on the Ger aldo Rivera show to chat about the brouhaha surrounding the Marc Rich pardon.

    At one point, in exasperation, Rivera asked Fund, "Have you apologized yet for the (false) stories about White House vandalism? Have you apologized?"

    Here's the interchange that followed. . .

    FUND: I never ran -- I never ran any stories about it.

    RIVERA: Have you apologized -- has your newspaper apologized for the stories about. . .

    FUND: We never -- we never referenced it.

    Now, my understanding of this back-and-forth is that Fund first denied that he had ever written about the prank story. And when he says "we", he's talking about The Wall Street Journal editorial page and its public online incarnation Opinionjournal.com. So in the second run-through he's denying that the editorial page had ever played up Prankgate.

    So is this true? They'd didn't even mention it? Please! Not even close. How about the predictable Peggy Noonan on January 26th "Back to Normal"or Tunku Varadarajan on January 29th "No Joke"? Or do only unsigned pieces count? Well then how about this piece, also from January 26th "Gary Aldrich Was Right"?

    An editorial zinger to drive the point home?

    Nope. I think this one speaks for itself.

  • February 22 -- Squash Ted Olson. Please. Okay, let's run down the official Top Ten list of reasons why the Senate should reject Bush's nomination of Ted Olson to be Solicitor General.

    So Anton, a drum roll please. . .

    The Top Ten reasons the Senate should neg Solicitor General nominee Ted Olson are. . .

    10. Made his legal career attacking and dismantling federal environmental and anti-discrimination laws.

    9. Successfully argued one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American history.

    8. Just squints too damn much.

    7. Too big a bud to Kenneth Starr.

    6. What would the big polluters and tobacco companies do without him?

    5. Helped prep the Paula Jones legal team for their appearance before the Supreme Court.

    4. One degree of separation from former federal prosecutor/Clinton-hating freak/Dan Burton crony/Hillary-bashing author Barbara Olson is just too close!

    3. Spent mid-1990s organizing and overseeing multi-million dollar anti-Clinton dirty tricks campaign called the Arkansas Project.

    2. Because it's the right thing to do.

    1. 'Cuz it would just feel so damn good.


    This Washington Memo adapted from Joshua Micah Marshall's Talking Points