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They Eat Their Own: The Campaign to Smear "Scooter" Libby Begins

Reported by Marie Therese - November 3, 2005

Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby had better watch his back. His former friends are about to throw him to the wolves. If last night's O'Reilly Factor is any indication, the right wing attack machine has figured out a way to tie Libby to Marc Rich, Oil-for-Food, Denise Rich and the Clinton Library. Wow! What an embarrassment of riches for the conservative grist mill!

Months ago I predicted that - should Hillary Clinton make a run for the White House - the Republicans will mount a Swift-Boat-like assault in an effort to smear her name via the financing for the Clinton Library. The stage was set for this the day the Clinton Library opened in November 2004. Last night FOX News Analyst Jim Pinkerton appeared on the O'Reilly Factor to "report" on Lewis Libby's connections to Mark Rich and the Clintons. Pinkerton, a long-time Republican who worked in the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, is also a regular on FOX News Watch and a columnist for Newsday, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times (yes, folks, these liberal "rags" do feature prominent conservatives in their pages, contrary to what Bill O'Reilly would have you believe!).

In a masterpiece of innuendo, non sequitur and distortion, Pinkerton and O'Reilly began the demonization of Libby by associating his name with that hated, feared and reviled Democratic duo, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Pinkerton also tossed a little dirt in the direction of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, just for good measure.

O'Reilly started the segment by laying the groundwork for the hatchet job on Libby, saying "Impact segment tonight, a little-known story about Lewis Libby, currently under indictment in the CIA exposure case. You may remember that on his last day in office, President Clinton pardoned the biggest tax cheat in U. S. history, Marc Rich, who fled to Switzerland to avoid prosecution. The pardon came after his ex-wife Denise Rich and her friend, Beth Dozoretz, donated big money to the Clinton Library. Both women took the Fifth Amendment when asked to testify about the case in front of Congress. Despite the pardon, Marc Rich chose not to return to the U. S. A. because of civil litigation against him and then, according to a U. N. investigation, became a broker for Saddam Hussein in the Oil-for-Food scandal. This is quite a guy, Marc Rich. Now, one of his many lawyers was none other than Lewis Libby. Wow! ... Talk about strange bedfellows!"

PINKERTON: Well, talk about reprehensible figures. Marc Rich was a U. S. citizen and not only was - is he all in the middle of the Oil-for-Food scandal, according to the Volcker Report, he also was allegedly trading with the ayatollahs of Iran during the hostage crisis when the Iranians were holding our embassy officials in prison there.

[COMMENT: "Trading with the enemy" - that's exactly what Iran-Contra was all about. Isn't Pinkerton being just a little bit naive here, excoriating Rich for trading with Iran and never once bringing up his fellow FOX News personality Oliver North's indictment for what amounts to the same crime at the same time?]

PINKERTON: We don't know all the facts, of course, because Rich skipped the country in 1983 with, of all people, Rudolph Giuliani chasing after him. So, I think it's worth noting that 'Scooter' Libby, as Marc Rich's lawyer, collected, according to Libby's own testimony, $2 million in legal fees for Marc Rich and, while Libby denies having anything to do with Clinton's mysterious pardon, Libby admitted before the Congress on January 22nd, 2001 that he called Rich to congratulate him on getting the pardon from Clinton. So when he was on the Bush-Cheney payroll inside the White House he calls this squirrelly ex-client of his to say: Hey, great work on gettin' that pardon.

O'REILLY: Now, the thing that has always fascinated me about this whole deal was that, when - the press really let it go. I mean, they didn't investigate the Marc Rich pardon, because when you have two women - Denise Rich and Beth Dodorhetz - go to Washington repeatedly to meet with President Clinton and then, I guess, millions of dollars, maybe - I don't have the exact figure - wind up from these two ladies into the Clinton Library and then you have a pardon of a guy that everybody knows - and everybody said there was no justification for this pardon, ever - nobody sticks up for it, even Clinton - then you have Congress calling Denise Rich and Dodorhetz down to testify and they take the Fifth.! And the press does nothing!

PINKERTON: Well, that's right. The press was kind of in the tank for Clinton, as we know, but it's also worth noting that the Bush-Cheney administration ...

O'REILLY: Nothing.

PINKERTON: Exactly. They could have investigated it.

O'REILLY (overtalks last 5 words): Mary Jo White ...


O'REILLY: ... the U. S. Attorney in New York has a file about this case. I looked the woman in the eye in Colorado four years ago and said "Are you going to investigate this case?" The woman turned her back on me.

PINKERTON: Well, of course, one of Mary Jo White's deputies back then was Patrick Fitzgerald, who we all know about now.


PINKERTON: I mean, anybody, anybody in the Bush administration could have said: Hey , let's investigate this a little bit ...

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

PINKERTON: ... and not only get ex-President Clinton under oath on this but also Senator Clinton [indecipherable]

O'REILLY: And Lewis Libby!

PINKERTON: And Lewis Libby!

O'REILLY: And Lewis Libby! Although he was under oath when he testified about this in front - as you pointed out - January 20th, 2001 [sic]- when he went up and had to answer questions. Now, I don't think people quite understand that this is commonplace in Washington, where you have Republican lawyers, out of office, workin' for Democrats and vice versa. It's a big, incestuous deal and let's make money and put politics aside. Correct?

PINKERTON: Exactly. All the big lawyers in town and they kind of have a, for lack of a better word, a cabal where they say "We'll represent each other," and there's no sanction but I would say this, that Marc Rich is little better than just a mobster and for him to become - able to hire lawyers like this and then go into the White House, I mean, nobody would want an ex-John Gotti lawyer coming into the White House ...

O'REILLY: Yeah. That's a ...

PINKERTON: ... and why Rich ...

O'REILLY: That's a good point.

PINKERTON: Why Libby could do this for Bush is beyond me.

O'REILLY: I think Rich is worse than a mobster. I think he worked against his country. I think he's a traitor.


Poor Scooter. Facing 30 years on five counts and even his old buddies are turning on him. Guess those holiday invites won't be arriving in the mail anytime soon.

Wonder how long before he contacts Fitzgerald's office for a nice game of "Let's Make a Deal"?

Updated 11-3-05 5:40 PM EST

Thanks to our reader Peter for pointing out a factual error. Pinkerton's column appears in the Los Angeles Times, not the New York Times. The post has been amended to correct this mistake.


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