Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Saturday, May 26, 2007
Hookergate 2.0
There's always something interesting going on at Wayne Madsen's blogspot. In a May 23rd posting, Madsen details ABC News' decision to spike the D.C. madam story aired on the 4th of the month, by stripping it of the names of high profile johns, including some within the Bush administration. Madsen charges that ABC not only scuttled the report by Brian Ross, former TPM Muckraker Justin Rood and others, but that they also put out "false flag" stories to deflect the story, under heavy pressure from the Bushies. Madsen also connects the following dots:

The Washington Madam case also involves criminal conspiracy and malfeasance within the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service, and Postal Inspection Service. Palfrey's case file was not opened until June 2004 after she had been in business for over a decade without any pressure from the government. After Baltimore Police Commissioner and later Maryland State Police Superintendent Ed Norris was charged in May 2004 with three criminal counts by US Attorney Thomas DiBiagio, the IRS opened a file on Palfrey the following month. It is clear that with Norris, a 20 year veteran of the New York Police Department, facing up to 30 years in prison, he entered into a plea bargain with DiBiagio. In return for his cooperation, which included Norris naming Pamela Martin as one of the recipients of Baltimore Police supplemental accounts money, he got six months in prison and six months home detention. Norris now hosts a radio show in Baltimore.

DiBiagio's assistant US Attorney Jonathan Luna, who once worked at the Brooklyn District Attorneys' office when a probe was being conducted of both Norris and his friend, former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, was on to Norris' corruption in Baltimore. Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley appointed Norris as police commissioner but soon became disenchanted with his performance. After his re-election as Governor in 2002, Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich appointed Norris as Maryland State Police Superintendent. Luna was brutally murdered near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in December 2003.

Norris' cooperation with DiBiagio resulted in Palfrey's criminal case being opened in Baltimore subsequent to Norris' plea bargain. However, Palfrey, who merely ran an escort agency, was never a target of DiBiagio we have been informed. During his probe of Norris and Palfrey, DiBiagio had uncovered much wider criminal conduct by Maryland Republican Governor Ehrlich, convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and gambling interests hoping to open casinos in Maryland. In fact, the DiBiagio probe collected evidence that Ehrlich and Abramoff were Pamela Martin clients. DiBiagio's probe was gaining steam until December 2004. That is when DiBiagio became the first U.S. Attorney fired by the Justice Department in the wake of George W. Bush's re-election. However, with the corporate media in the pocket of the Bush administration, DiBiagio's name is not counted among the fired U.S. Attorneys, yet, his firing was the most egregious of the firings. DiBiagio was actively pursuing a Republican Governor, a GOP lobbyist linked to several Republican members of Congress, most notably convicted Ohio congressman Bob Ney; Representatives, Tom DeLay, Tom Feeney, and John Doolittle; as well as top staffers to Senators Conrad Burns, Kit Bond, and Representatives Roy Blunt and Don Young. The trail also leads to Shirlington Limousine, CIA Director Porter Goss -- Dick Cheney's handpicked man to purge the agency -- , CIA Executive Director Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, and convicted Representative Duke Cunningham.

After DiBiagio's ouster, the Palfrey investigation was out on ice. However, that all began to change when Palfrey put her Vallejo, California house up for sale in August 2006. She planned to move to Germany. In early September, there was some interest in the house, however, the phone number left with World Star Realty turned out to be bogus. It was clear that while Palfrey was on a trip to Germany, unknown persons were interested in seeing her home, not with the intention of buying it but with other motivations. However, Palfrey did not leave a key with her real estate agent while she was out of the country. On September 27, after Palfrey wired $70,000 to Germany in order to purchase an apartment, the government reacted rapidly.

On September 29, Washington DC Postal Inspection Service agents Maria Cuvio and Joe Clark showed up at World Star Realty and claimed they were married and were being transferred from Washington to San Francisco and wanted to buy Palfrey's house quickly. It was clear they were conducting a ruse while a search warrant was being obtained from a willing Federal judge. Oddly, when the warrant was obtained and a Civil Asset Forfeiture order was obtained, IRS agent Burrus was not interested in Palfrey's phone records located in her house.

Considering the fact that a top Washington DC law firm that represents Saudi Arabia was a subject of the phone lists, it is odd that the Federal government would not have wanted to cull the records for information relating to prominent and not-so-prominent Arab clients and the 9/11 attacks. The significance of Jack Abramoff's role in DiBiagio's investigation should not be understated with regard to Arab clients of Pamela Martin. The FBI received evidence that two or three of the 9/11 hijackers, including Mohammed Atta, were spotted on Abramoff's Sun Cruz casino boat with American women in Madeira Beach, Florida shortly before the 9/11 attacks. Also, several of the hijackers were known to frequent erotic dancing bars in New Jersey and Florida while planning for the 9/11 attacks. There is also a possibility that, through Abramoff, some so-called "Al Qaeda" cells, as well as Saudi embassy diplomats in the Washington and Baltimore areas, may have engaged the services of prostitutes.

The timing of the Federal government's quick seizure of Palfrey's assets and forcing her back from Germany is suspect considering that the Maryland gubernatorial election between Ehrlich and O'Malley was a month away. At the end of September, the race was considered close. The Bush administration was obviously worried that Palfrey took her "black book" to Germany and the contents might have ended up in the pages of Der Spiegel or Stern. In fact, there was no Heidi Fleiss-type "black book," but the government did not know that. The Bush administration's asset seizure was merely a ploy to get Palfrey to return to the United States. The failure of the government's young and inexperienced agents to seize Palfrey's 46 pounds of phone records was a monumental blunder on the part of the IRS and Postal Inspectors. That is why Assistant U.S. Attorney William Cowden has been so adamant in his requests to Judge Kessler to keep the records from further release.

Palfrey and her attorney has called for the appointment of a Special Counsel in the Palfrey case. That certainly seems warranted after one of the Pamela Martin clients retained the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani. Rudolph Giuliani was New York Mayor during the time Norris and Kerik were under a criminal probe by the Brooklyn District Attorney. Pamela Martin clients also lived in New York. We now have a murdered Assistant U.S. Attorney, a fired U.S. Attorney, several high-profile and blackmailable "johns," and the involvement of the law firm of a presidential candidate involved in defending one of the escort agency's high profile clients. This unfolding story has merely shown the tip of a huge iceberg.
That's a lot of dots, but sadly, I find it harder to believe that there's nothing there, than to believe that there is.

One thing, though, I sure wish Madsen would update his blog to make it possible to link directly to individual stories...

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