Meet the Newest GOP Attack Dog

John Podesta has an awesome op-ed in this morning's Washington Post taking on former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Freeh, as you've probably heard by now, is in the midst of promoting a new memoir, My FBI, which vigorously attacks President Clinton. Most notably, Freeh claims that in 1998 while he was supposed to be pressing Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah on cooperation in the investigation of the bombing of Khobar Towers, Clinton was really hitting up Abdullah for donations to the Clinton Library. Freeh is the first to admit however, that he has no first hand knowledge of this. Podesta points out that many officials "who were in the room, including several still in government service who cannot speak publicly, all concur that Clinton pushed Abdullah hard for cooperation..."

Podesta compiles a laundry list of Freeh's "blunders and failures," including the FBI's handling of Wen Ho Lee, Robert Hanssen, and the millions of dollars wasted in the bungled upgrading of their computer systems. Beyond his failures, Podesta argues that the real problem with Freeh is that he seems completely incapable of taking responsibility for them.

Who was to blame for the fact that there weren't enough FBI agents working on counterterrorism? According to Freeh, it was Congress. But in testimony three years ago, Freeh declared that "Congress has shown great foresight in strengthening" counterterrorism efforts, tripling the FBI's counterterrorism budget from $97 million in 1996 to more than $300 million in 1999. Whose fault was it that the FBI remained incapable of basic file management? Congress's, Freeh contends -- it underfunded the bureau's technology program. But as the report of the Sept. 11 commission points out, Congress did not meet FBI requests in the late 1990s because the bureau had squandered so much money already. Equally appalling is Freeh's recent claim on "60 Minutes" that the bureau was too distracted by the many "scandals" in the Clinton White House to attend to the terrorist threat. Of course, none of those politically motivated witch hunts, in which Freeh did the bidding of his congressional patrons on the partisan right, resulted in a conviction. And never mind that Freeh's FBI ought to have been able to protect the American people while pursuing other investigations at the same time.

And Podesta's not the only one to point out Freeh's failings. In My Life, President Clinton also listed "a whole series of missteps on Louis Freeh's watch." Alongside the failed computer system upgrades Podesta listed, Clinton cited "botched reports from the FBI forensic laboratory" and the "apparent attempted entrapment of Richard Jewell" in the Olympic Park bombing case.

On Meet the Press this morning, Freeh said that if Clinton had problems with him, the President should have fired him. This completely ignores the fact that Freeh was heading up numerous investigations into the administration -- Clinton firing Freeh would have looked like Nixon firing Archibald Cox. When Tim Russert asked him how he felt about the White House saying that Clinton felt Freeh was "doing the best job he can" in 1997, Freeh called that "a direct attack on a sitting FBI director." But firing him would have somehow been acceptable?

The unfortunate lesson from all of this is that Democrats cannot trust Republicans. Unlike the current Crony-In-Chief, President Clinton was willing to open the doors of his administration to Republicans as well as Democrats. (No, naming a Democrat to head up the Department of Transportation doesn't really count.) Former Republican Senator Bill Cohen is a perfect example, filling no less a crucial role in the Clinton administration than Secretary of Defense. Freeh, who's given $19,000 to Republican candidates and PACs, was openly hostile to the President during his administration and now even more so in retirement. While Podesta rightly points out that Freeh's attacks on Clinton are buck-passing of the first degree, one can't help but think that they're also partisan in nature.

Newt Gingrich, looking for any angle to get back into the public spotlight, has been citing Freeh's specious claims about Clinton asking for money from the Saudis. On Hannity & Colmes, Gingrich tried to relive his glory days, seemingly unaware that Bill Clinton is no longer the President.

If the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is prepared to swear that the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, while in office, was asking for money from a foreign leader, I think that is a criminal offense of the first order and threatens the very nature of the American system.

Freeh's claims are completely baseless, but that won't stop other Republicans from running with them. This book will join the pantheon of right-wing encyclopediae of smear, quoted from freely whenever a Republican sees the need to muddy the waters with misinformation.

Tags: Republicans (all tags)



I always felt that Freeh was leaking stuff like crazy to the Republicans in Congress in order to curry favor and pad his budget.  He was openly hostile and incompetent.  Clearly Freeh should have been fired.  Whether he could have been fired is another issue.

The FBI both pre and post 3/11 was an incompetent group of political hacks that rewarded bootlickers.  It needs a spring cleaning. My choice would be a military person with impeccable credentials and balls of steel.  Wes Clark anyone?  Two other choices would be a tough cop like William Bratton (es-NYC and current LA chief of police) or just a truth teller like Max Clelland.

by David Kowalski 2005-10-16 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Freeh
To hell with that, lets put Clark in there. Oh how I remember Clark went out there and immediately tagged all of this on Bin Laden, just a day after, on charlie rose -

I think Rove was asking cheney to read my pet goat ... Emimem says... I'm baaack!

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-16 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Freeh
The FBI both pre and post 3/11 was an incompetent group of political hacks that rewarded bootlickers

One really eye-opening part of the 9/11 commission report was the sections on the FBI. It went WAY beyond any of the normal incompetence or underestimation of the threat that characterized other parts of government (the CIA, for example). The FBI was incredibly, laughably incompetent. You really have to read it all to get the full scope of the disaster that was (and maybe is) the FBI. It was like a big, multi-billion version of the Keystone Kops. Almost willfully stupid, and with a slightly mean streak running through organization. People running divisions refusing to process FISA surveillance requests unless they had total power over the information that results, bringing all FISA work to a halt. Field offices refusing to do simple follow-up work on any lead coming from another field office. It was just unbelievable.

The Bush administration comes out bad in that report (way worse than the press reports made it out, imo), but the FBI is savaged by the entire thing. My mouth was literally hanging open at some parts of it. I'd yell to my wife, "Listen to this!"

I simply can't convey with words how bad the FBI looked in that report. Louis Freeh should be a pariah in our national discourse, his name an adjective for abject failure and incompetence. But, instead, he's got a book deal ...

by BriVT 2005-10-17 08:14AM | 0 recs
Interesting how Freeh has turned up on 60 Minutes and Sunday Talk Shows to slime Clinton just as the wheels are coming off the bus for the Republicans. Diverting and distracting are the hallmark of Rove and his wantabee's. I smell a turd blossom.
by easystreet 2005-10-16 10:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Timing
Its just a beautiful lily of the field growing next on a pile of steaming dung...  There is a man standing next to it, that is being tested in a bet between god and satan, and he can't smell how beautiful the blossom smells... because he is surrounded by Bush political appointees..

A voice comes from the storm..

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-16 06:08PM | 0 recs
It's Not My Fault
It looks like freeh is another graduate of the rove school for "don't blame me, it's all Clinton's fault." Now I just want an answer to the following...whenever someone has come out with a book critical of bush and his administation, the howling from the repubs is deafening. When are the Democrats going to start opening their mouths in unison against this type of cheap shot artist? Why can't they take their cue from Podesta and strike back?
by blogus 2005-10-16 10:52AM | 0 recs
Clinton Couldn' Fire Freeh -- He Had a Fixed Term
So Clinton was supposed to fire Freeh if he didn't like what he was doing? That would have been a neat trick, because the FBI director is appointed to a fixed 10 year term. Freeh's term would have expired in 2003 had he not resigned in 2001. See the following link

Why didn't Russert nail him on this.  Surely Freeh has not forgotten the terms of his appointment?

David in DC

by David in DC 2005-10-16 12:52PM | 0 recs
Blaming Clinton a hallmark of the Bu$h Presidency
  As one commentator here has so aptly put it the timing of this smear of Billy boy Clinton just when the wheels are about to fly off the GOP bandwagon is more then a little suspicious. When in trouble one of the hallmarks of this odious , vicious regime is to drag Billy out in public 1 more time for a good diversionary flogging to re-direct the media attack hounds etc. Rove et al., can always count on the help of people like Russert, Tweety (Matthews,) and their ilk to help out in spreading this crap. As if at this late date anyone but Rove's MSM shills give a shit.
by Blutodog 2005-10-16 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Blaming Clinton a hallmark of the Bu$h Presid
Hey blutodog - I seem to recall. No. Vividly recall. Rove's media people are male prostitutes, aren't they? Do you think thats why he knows so much about being gay?
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-16 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Blaming Clinton a hallmark of the Bu$h Presid
I wouldn't doubt it one bit. Turd Blossom (KarlRove) strikes me as closet queen like J. Edgar Hoover was. Whatever he is, one thing we know for sure he's a lying evil sack of shit.
by Blutodog 2005-10-17 02:33PM | 0 recs
for the record
John Podesta fucking murdered Freeh in the WaPo this morning.

A definitive and unambiguous smackdown.  

by Sam Loomis 2005-10-16 03:29PM | 0 recs
where did that money come from
Where did Louis Freeh get $19000 to donate to Republicans? Was he moonlighting for someone else? Hmmm, undue affluence is one of the signs of espionage, not that I'm accusing him of anything.
by phinky 2005-10-16 04:31PM | 0 recs
Free as a bird
There is a book that I consider sort of even handed, actually in its treatment called "losing bin laden" in which it really chronicles how Clinton had Bin Laden in his sights.

But looking where we are now, its beginning to look like full-on obstruction of justice.. intense prayers are beginning right now amongst the true christians that the truth will shine like the torch of liberty - that it will light the way...

Watchdogs are a good thing - A party is defeated when it tries to get in the business of saying what the truth is - in my view , a federal crime is a federal crime. But treason is a totally different matter, and for that, we were innocent under Pres. Clinton - we were still a democracy.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-16 06:12PM | 0 recs
As a software guy
You have to understand the magnitude of the failed FBI computer system. Here we have a fairly simple network architecture in place. These guys convert the data, go over to the new system. No sweat. Any enterprise network engineer such as myself could've handled it. I'm not kidding when I say that I could have done it. I've worked on projects about as big.

Now, as a software guy - I have to comment at least on one thing - under Freeh, a 20 million dollar system went in place that completely failed.

Not many people know that a software glitch in the FAA radar software misreported UAL 97 on 911, as being at a different location, they thought it was far out to sea. And the 911 system crashed under call volume after about 5 minutes of calling..

But the biggest glitch may have been, the attack dog FBI agent that was after Al Qaeda.. died in the tower. And his records and data - well, it might as well be lost.

If you can imagine a 20 million dollar up grade that simply never happens. The money spent, under Freeh. But not a single computer upgraded.

That is phenomenal.
Just staggering . No computer guy will tell you this is justified, in a land of 700.00 dell computer workstations..

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-10-16 06:19PM | 0 recs
Ooops! Wrong President! Never Mind!
Newt Gingrich, looking for any angle to get back into the public spotlight, has been citing Freeh's specious claims about Clinton asking for money from the Saudis. On Hannity & Colmes, Gingrich tried to relive his glory days, seemingly unaware that Bill Clinton is no longer the President.
If the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is prepared to swear that the president of the United States, Bill Clinton, while in office, was asking for money from a foreign leader, I think that is a criminal offense of the first order and threatens the very nature of the American system.

From Wikipedia, on the Iran-Contra Affair:
Funding the Contras

The Reagan administration had been providing covert assistance to the Contras since November 1981, but the 1982 Boland Amendment blocked further military aid when it was discovered that the CIA had supervised acts of sabotage in Nicaragua without notifying Congress. The amendment, effective December 1983 to September 1985, prohibited the CIA, Defense Department, and any other government agency from providing any further covert military assistance. The Reagan administration circumvented this ban by using the National Security Council, which was not explicitly covered by the law, to supervise covert support. The NSC proceeded to raise private and foreign funds for the Contras. In addition, proceeds from the arms sales to Iran were used to purchase arms for the Contras in an arrangement instituted by Colonel Oliver North, aide to National Security Advisor John Poindexter.

And there's this:

Copyright 1987 The Washington Post  
The Washington Post

May 12, 1987, Tuesday, Final Edition


LENGTH: 1022 words

HEADLINE: President, Saudis Met Twice;
Funds Flowed to Contras After Talks

BYLINE: Bob Woodward, David B. Ottaway, Washington Post Staff Writers

President Reagan met personally with Saudi Arabian officials both on the eve of the Saudis' 1984 decision to begin contributing $ 1 million a month to the Nicaraguan contras, and again on the eve of the Saudi decision in February 1985 to sharply increase that contribution by giving $ 24 million more to the rebels, according to informed sources and public testimony.

As I was saying... Blowjobs.  Definitely blowjobs.  That's what threatens to destory America, and Western Civilization as we know it.

Pssst... Ronnie didn't get any, did he?

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-10-17 12:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Ooops! Wrong President! Never Mind!
It's "Quid pro Blow" - a unique poltical activity used most often by Republicans.
by leftofcenter 2005-10-17 07:37AM | 0 recs
Louis Freeh's publisher
Really had to rush this book to market. The window of opportunity to make a buck bashing Bill Clinton must be smaller than a postage stamp by now.

My question is his motivation. Is this book a personal goal of his or were others pushing him to give the right more material to use against Democrats?

by leftofcenter 2005-10-17 07:46AM | 0 recs


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