Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Politico's Ben Smith rewrites history for Hillary

The Politico's Ben Smith has transformed himself into a world-class dissembler with his latest defense of the Clintons in the Hsu affair.

So is the Hsu story more sinister because Norman Hsu, the controversial donor, is Chinese-American, born in Hong Kong?

...But the Republican National Committee has been pushing this angle pretty hard, and apparently attempting to revive the — never proven — allegations of a Chinese "spy ring" buying its way into the 1996 Clinton campaign. ...This morning, [the RNC] e-mailed [a] transcript of an interview between the Wall Street Journal's John Fund and Alan Colmes:

Fund: "But I think we need to learn more. And I think we need to have Mr. Hsu found. [ed.- I've seen nothing to suggest he's hiding.] After all, there's a warrant out for his arrest on grand theft. And he should be brought in and should be asked a lot of questions about a lot of things." ...

Colmes: "But you want to pin this on Hillary Clinton because of his behavior?"

Fund: "No. No, no. The only concern with the Clinton campaign is we have seen strange campaign contribution scandals before. The 1996 campaign saw 120 people connected to the Clinton fundraising efforts either flee the country to avoid questioning or plead the Fifth Amendment. ... I'm simply saying the Clintonites should have learned from that 1996 thing."

Colmes: "First of all, you don't know that they didn't. You don't know they didn't. You want to go back John Huang. You want to go back to what happened in 1996 with Bill Clinton ... And then you want to use that to overlay that on Hillary Clinton, and presume that there's some malfeasance here because of what might have happened 10 years ago." ...

Fund: "[T]he same finance people who worked in the Clinton campaign in 1996 are running Hillary's campaign. The same people, Alan. Terry McAuliffe."

Nothing conclusive came out of those 1990s investigations.

Oh, really, Ben? May I remind you of... (cue the ominous music)

The strange case of Bill Clinton and the Chinese Military

On 9/13/1995, President Clinton met with John Huang and James Riady (pictured below). During the meeting, Huang expressed an interest in becoming a fund-raiser for the Democratic National Committee.

In this position at the DNC, Huang raised $3.4 million. The DNC was later forced to return nearly $2 million when a Congressional investigation revealed "problems" with the source of the funds. Huang was later convicted of crimes related to illegally reimbursing campaign contributions with Asian funds. Riady was also convicted of related campaign finance crimes. A U.S. Senate campaign finance report stated that Riady had a, "long-term relationship with... Chinese intelligence."

On 3/14/1996, President Clinton signed an order transferring license-granting authority for military/industrial technology from the State Department to the Commerce Department. This order made it easier for the Chinese military (the PLA) to launch American satellites, over objections from the Pentagon and the State Department. During the Clinton administration, focused Chinese espionage efforts made significant headway in the theft of U.S. military/industrial secrets including those concerning nuclear weaponry.

On 5/25/1999, the U.S. House of Representatives released the Cox Report ("Report of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China"), which detailed publicly for the first time China's espionage campaign against the United States. The report was a redacted version of a still-classified report. Approximately 30% of the original report, the unanimous product of a bi-partisan committee, remains classified.

Those are the facts, Ben. Oh, and by the way, if you're so convinced of the Clintons' innocence in these matters, why not demand the full disclosure of the Cox Report and the Barrett Report? The latter is reputed to be chock-full of interesting disclosures and was censored by the Clintons' law firm. But I'm sure it's "nothing conclusive."

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