Current scandals? Freeh’s own scandals? Gone in 60 Minutes.
Suspicious timing this evening by 60 Minutes, which puffed former FBI director Louis Freeh‘s tell-all book that skewers Bill Clinton.
Myopic is one word that comes to mind. Another is whitewash, the kind of sucker job that Tom Sawyer conned his pals into doing.
Why Freeh’s book now? Why’s it coming out just now? It’s a worthy try at distracting us, and it’s apparently working, having taken up room on 60 Minutes that could be spent trying to sort through the threads of the biggest scandals to emerge from Capitol Hill since Watergate.
If you missed Mike Wallace‘s slow-pitch interview of the former FBI director, catch up on this CBS page. Read the accompanying story and you’ll see no mention of some of Freeh’s own memorable gaffes, like the Hanssen spy case.
Why in the world, when that world is collapsing around George W. Bush amid the Wampumgate scandal, the Iraq debacle, the lost battle of New Orleans, would CBS focus on Freeh’s blast against Clinton?
Ordinarily, something like the John McCain blast at Bush would be sped into the rotation on 60 Minutes. But this old crap from Freeh? Please.
The 60 Minutes piece lacked perspective, you might say. For example, the word “Hanssen” doesn’t even appear in the long story about it on the 60 Minutes site.
Conspiracy theorists can take note that the scumbag spy and Freeh attended the same conservative Catholic church — along with Antonin Scalia and Rick Santorum. (Can’t resist slipping in some Santorum here.)
We also know that Freeh was a favorite of John Ashcroft’s and that Bush was in no hurry to oust the Clinton era holdover from his FBI job. Yes, Freeh had his conflicts with Ashcroft, and the right wing wanted to get rid of him. But he seemed to leave under his own power.
The piece by 60 Minutes sank to a modern low when Freeh argued that even if the FBI had known that Osama bin Laden planned to fly jets into buildings, we probably couldn’t have stopped him.
That’s crap. In fact, if we had known that, then Colleen Rowley and the FBI office in Minneapolis and agent Robert Wright would have been able to pursue the Moussaoui case to its fullest, and that probably would have stopped the attack on New York City and the Pentagon.
All kinds of Moussaoui info was surfacing during Freeh’s spotty reign as FBI director.
But I forgot. The scandal du jour is still blowjobs in the Oval Office. Here’s a snatch of CBS’s story about its Freeh piece:
[Freeh] found it deeply awkward and frustrating to be constantly investigating his boss and says it became “theater of the absurd” when special prosecutor Ken Starr asked him to get a DNA sample from the president to compare with that notorious stain on Lewinsky’s dress.
Freeh says the entire scenario of getting a blood sample from the president was like a bad movie.
“Well, we went over to the White House. We did it very carefully, very confidentially,” remembers Freeh. The president was attending a scheduled dinner and pretended he had to go to the bathroom. Instead, Clinton went to a room where the FBI had people waiting to take his blood.
That’s a story right now, in 2005, when we’re shedding more than just a few drops of blood in Iraq?
Besides, who was responsible for doggedly pursuing the blowjobs scandal? Ken Starr and his allies. Next to the current spate of scandals crawling their way out of the White House, who cares?
Let’s have a little perspective here, you might say. But not 60 Minutes, which noted:
As FBI director, Freeh operated strictly by the book and annoyed the president in his first week on the job when he returned his White House pass after learning the president was under investigation for Whitewater.
He “operated strictly by the book”? Like in the Hanssen spy case, right? The guy in the next pew who was a Soviet spy?
And how can anyone seriously compare the Whitewater scandal to Wampumgate? Clinton’s performance in the White House was often beneath contempt, but the corruption revolving around Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff (both of who say they’re innocent, by the way) will provoke a real crisis in our democracy if we follow the money trail to its conclusion. Unfortunately, we have to follow that money trail, because our way of doing the democracy bidness is in danger if we don’t. We’re trapped, kind of the way we’re trapped in Iraq.
Oh, but let’s talk about Clinton’s cum spots on Lewinsky’s dress.
We’ve got laundry far more stained than that. And it’s piling up.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2005