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Hillary’s Plummers

John on November 5, 2007 at 11:37 am

In 1971, Richard Nixon set up a secret unit within the White House whose job it was to stop leaks of damaging information. The so-called plumbers performed at least three confirmed burglaries in an attempt to control information that might hurt the administration. Their last mission, a burglary of the Watergate complex, led to them being discovered, arrested and eventually jailed. The fallout from this incident led directly to President Nixon resigning his office on August 9, 1974.

Hillary’s years quashing bimbo eruptions weren’t wasted on herHillary Clinton, who came of age politically in the Nixon years, seems to have learned all the wrong lessons from those events. Her campaign appears to have its own version of the plumbers, using whatever means necessary to control damaging information, from shady campaigns to discredit unflattering authors to, allegedly, Watergate style break-ins.

Hillary’s plumbers have a specific M.O. They gain access to books, articles (and sometimes private personnel files), then leaking helpful bits to friendly news sources so they can then shape the news cycle, usually to discredit the individual or author in question. Consider the history:

03-1998 (link) – Days before Linda Tripp was to testify before a grand jury in the Lewinsky affair, two individuals including an assistant Secretary of Defense leaked damaging information from Tripp’s private personnel file to friendly reporters. A DOD IG investigation found that both leakers were guilty of violating Tripp’s privacy and knew it was wrong even as they did it.

07-1998 (link) – William Safire writing in the NY Times raises unanswered questions about Filegate, a scandal in which 900 FBI files, mostly those of Republican lawmakers, were transferred to the White House. Safire notes how close Filegate is to a Nixonian “enemies list.” He also alludes to shades of Nixon in how far the White House went to cover up their wrong-doing:

Who in the White House cooked up the excuse offered when Filegate first surfaced, that the Secret Service was to blame for providing an outdated list of names? After Secret Service agents testified to Congress that this was untrue, and that the names of former White House aides were clearly marked ”inactive,” Clinton’s Treasury harassed the agents with a costly investigation.

06-08-03 (link) – Juicy bits of Hillary’s “tell-all” book, Living History, for which she received an $8 million advance, are leaked to the Associated Press. The source is never identified but some suspect Clinton herself leaked the details to help promote the book:

AP has declined to comment, except to say that Simon and Schuster does not have a strong case if it wants to sue.

Just about the only point of agreement among all involved is that the publicity generated by the leak will help to market the book.

It’s also worth noting that Hillary’s account of these events doesn’t jibe with two other published accounts from former Clinton insiders.

06-07-05 (link) Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog founded with help from Hillary Clinton, unleashes an attack on the as-yet unpublished book by Edward Klein, The Truth About Hillary. Media Matters later compiles a lengthy refutation of specific claims in Klein’s book. It’s a pattern that will repeat itself.

09-07-06 (link) After public agitation from the Clinton camp, Senator Harry Reid sends a letter to ABC television demanding they pull The Path to 9/11 or face review of their broadcast license. The DNC also joins the campaign against the show, seeking to prevent its broadcast.

Under intense pressure, ABC agrees to edit the show just days before airing it.

05-22-07 (link) – The New York Observer reports that Page Six regularly killed stories critical of Hillary. Former Page Six employee Jared Paul Stern related the following incident:

n the summer of 2005, he said, he was preparing to bust the publication date on Edward Klein’s then-forthcoming Hillary Clinton tell-all book, The Truth About Hillary.

“We had heard that there was some pretty juicy stuff in there; we had heard that he had gone into the lesbian kind of thing and that stuff,” Mr. Stern recalled.

But, he said, after Mr. Johnson emerged from a daily 11 a.m. editorial meeting, he told Mr. Stern that he had been ordered to kill the story.

“So, basically, what we ended up doing is reconfiguring the story and working with Hillary Clinton’s people on this, and the story we ended up printing was that Ed Klein had done a sloppy hatchet job,” Mr. Stern said.

No doubt “Hillary Clinton’s people” were relying on the work of Media Matters.

05-25-07 (link) – Hillary’s campaign leaks contents of an as-yet-unpublished book by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta to the Washington Post. The campaign simultaneously coordinates with Media Matters to attack the leaked contents as old news:

“The only people who have an interest in putting it out on a Friday before Memorial Day are the Clinton folks,” said Chris Lehane, a veteran of Clinton White House damage control.

The use on Clinton’s website of passages from one book also appeared to confirm that the campaign had a copy of the book in its possession.

Meanwhile Philippe Reines, Clinton’s spokesman, drew chuckles inside the Beltway for his canned response to the books: “Is it possible to be quoted yawning?”

The politico article notes that the Media Matters attack on Gerth appeared a day before the Post article, indicating they had inside knowledge of the coming leak to the Post.

In this article, Jeff Gerth (co-author of the book and the subject of the Media Matters hit piece) confirms that the Clintons had indeed obtained a pre-release copy of the book and that a Clinton staffer had written the publisher seeking a correction several months prior to its publication.

09-05-07 (link) The LA Times publishes speculation that the Clinton campaign is blocking the DVD release of The Path to 9/11 miniseries:

With no date for the release, questions are being raised about whether political pressure is behind its current status as a stalled or discarded DVD project. The reasons are murky, but the miniseries’ writer, Cyrus Nowrasteh, believes it’s crystal clear: Powerful forces are out to protect Bill Clinton’s presidential legacy and shield Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from any potential collateral damage in her bid for the White House.

Nowrasteh, also one of the miniseries’ many producers, said he was told by a top executive at ABC Studios that “if Hillary weren’t running for president, this wouldn’t be a problem.”

09-05-07 (link) World Net Daily reports that Kathleen Willey’s house is broken into and a manuscript of her forthcoming book on the Clinton’s stolen while she slept in a bedroom on the next floor:

Kathleen Willey, the woman who says Bill Clinton groped her in the Oval Office, claims she was the target of an unusual house burglary over the weekend that nabbed a manuscript for her upcoming book, which promises explosive revelations that could damage Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Willey told WND little else was taken from her rural Virginia home as she slept alone upstairs – electronics and jewelry were left behind – and she believes the Clintons were behind it.

The break-in, she said, reminded her of the widely reported incident 10 years ago in which she claimed she was threatened near the same Richmond-area home by a stranger just two days before she was to testify against President Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

09-07-07 (link) Media Matters publishes a 4,200 word response to the World Net Daily story, casting doubt on Willey’s credibility and subtly insinuating that the break-in story may be part of a drive to publicize the book. The piece never claims the break in didn’t happen.

Early September 2007 (link) – Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Hillary’s campaign, approaches the author of a forthcoming book on the Clintons and lets it slip that Bill has already read the book and is devastated by its contents:

“I was trying to prevent my jaw from dropping to the floor,” Smith told the Huffington Post. “Only 20 galleys had been printed and everyone who received a copy had signed a confidentiality agreement… The worry is that it’s only early September, and the Clinton camp now has a lot of time to develop a plan to undermine the book in some way.”

McAuliffe later denies having said it.

09-24-07 (link) – Clinton’s campaign kills an unflattering article set to appear in GQ magazine by threatening to cut off access to former President Clinton.

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That candidates will do what they can to minimize damage is hardly news, but Clinton’s camp seems to have taken it to a truly Nixonian level. The consistent pattern of obtaining unpublished materials, followed by careful leaks and co-ordinated attacks on authors and their work suggests that Hillary’s years quashing bimbo eruptions weren’t wasted on her.

One can only suppose that all of this criminal and merely unethical activity is justified by Hillary’s belief in a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy against her. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that we’ll see a lot more of this behavior over the next year as Hillary and her team of plumbers work on the pipes that lead them to the White House.

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