by James Corbett
October 13, 2015
In May of this year a federal grand jury indicted former Speaker of the House John Dennis Hastert. The charges: that he had “structured” withdrawals of over $950,000 from various bank accounts to skirt bank reporting laws and that he had lied to federal agents about these withdrawals. According to the indictment the withdrawals were part of a bid to pay $3.5 million in blackmail to cover up “past misconduct” from his time as a high school teacher in Illinois.
The story seemed perfect fodder for the tabloid corporate press. It featured a former high-ranking politician, blackmail and intrigue, and just enough details about Hastert’s former life as a teacher and wrestling coach to suggest that the “past misconduct” referred to a salacious scandal of sexual abuse of a minor. But for some reason the story faded from the headlines almost as quickly as it appeared. And now that Hastert’s legal team has announced that they are seeking a plea deal with prosecutors in order to avoid a trial, it seems the story is likely to disappear completely.
But a series of revelations from FBI whistleblowers reveal that this story is just the tip of a very seedy iceberg, one that implicates Hastert, his top aide, other Congress members and government officials in a criminal network involved in sexual intrigue, foreign espionage, blackmail, and drug money.
In 2002 Gilbert Graham, a Special Agent in the Washington Field Office of the FBI, blew the whistle on an illegal surveillance program being conducted out of the Bureau’s Washington headquarters. According to the unclassified version of his complaint, obtained by the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition in 2007, Graham alleged violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillence Act “in conducting electronic surveillance as a subterfuge to acquire evidence of criminal activity.”
These allegations were backed up by a former FBI Counterintelligence Specialist in the Washington Field Office, who told the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition: “…you are looking at covering up massive public corruption and espionage cases; to top that off you have major violations of FISA by the FBI Washington Field Office and HQ targeting these cases. Everyone involved has motive to cover up these reports and prevent investigation and public disclosure.”
According to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, revealing the details of this program for the first time in a series of podcasts in the wake of the Hastert revelations, this illegal surveillance program — dubbed COINTELPRO II by the agents who were asked to implement it — dates back to the mid-1990s, when the Clinton White House was being rocked by a series of sex scandals.
In the mid-1990s, still bogged down with the Paula Jones Scandal, a case that refused to quickly go away, while preparing for another sexual scandal, the Monica Lewinsky case, Bill Clinton and his top White House team put together a political retaliation plan meant to retaliate against and then neutralize the Republican Party and key elected Republican officials. The main objective of the plan was to:
- Collect major dirt on key Republican officials
- Use the information to blackmail those Republicans as a means to prevent impeachment
- Strategically release the cases of those who did not back down by blackmail if the impeachment process were to proceed
[SOURCE: Probable Cause Podcast #23 | BoilingFrogsPost.com]
The plan, implemented with the help of Clinton appointees Janet Reno and Louis Freeh, was remarkably effective.
In December 1998, on the eve of the House debate on Clinton’s impeachment hearings, Washington was rocked by House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston’s sudden announcement of marital infidelity and resignation from the House. As the Chicago Tribune reported at the time:
The speaker-elect said those investigating him were trying to find “indiscretions which may be exploitable against me and my party on the eve of the upcoming historic vote on impeachment.”
Livingston did not give details of any affairs and said he was admitting them only because he had learned that unnamed “individuals” had been working with news organizations.
At the time, Larry Flynt claimed credit for forcing Livingston’s resignation, saying that he had an audiotape of the Congressman engaged in “raunchy” phone sex. This audiotape, according to Edmonds, came directly from the FBI’s counterintelligence unit and the COINTELPRO II program.
Livingston’s resignation was only the latest in a string of high-profile Republican sex scandals that involved information “leaked” to the media by unnamed sources in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal. Representatives Henry Hyde, Helen Chenoweth, and Dan Burton‘s adulterous relationships were all outed in the run up to impeachment, with Burton admitting to fathering a child out of wedlock.
Livingston was replaced as Speaker by Dennis Hastert, a Congressman no stranger to scandal himself. In 2005 Vanity Fair drew on FBI insiders, FEC filings, sworn testimony and other documents to report on some of the information the Bureau dug up on Hastert. This included FBI wiretaps capturing Turkish agents boasting of tens of thousands of dollars in payments they had used to assure Hastert’s flip flop on the US Congress’ Armenian genocide resolution.
Hastert Spokesman: This is all nonsense. It’s not being reported by the mainstream press because there’s no factual evidence. The reporter does not have a transcript of any wiretap conversations that we know of, and even if he did it’s preposterous. The speaker does not have any connections to American Turkish interests.
[SOURCE: Kill The Messenger]
Shortly after leaving the House in 2007, Hastert registered as a foreign agent lobbying on the hill for the Turkish government.
But the dirt on Hastert and his associates went much deeper than this.
Information on Hastert’s nefarious and illegal sexual activities between 1996 and 2002 is far more explosive than the activities “exposed” in the recent so-called revelations. Hastert’s sexual activities were videotaped and thoroughly recorded not only by two US government agencies, but also by a foreign network — a criminal foreign network — headquartered in Chicago and involved in NATO/CIA Gladio operations.
Between 1996 and 2002, Dennis Hastert engaged in illegal fundraising activities in Illinois. These activities included receiving and laundering foreign sourced cash funds, some of them drug money.
Several other high-level elected officials were also involved in these illegal activities. Representative Dan Burton was a key figure. The mayor of Chicago, the governor of Illinois, and at least three high-level staff members were involved as well.
[SOURCE: Probable Cause Podcast #20 | BoilingFrogsPost.com]
Hastert’s “nefarious and illegal sexual activities” have been broached in media reports going back at least a decade, since the time that Hastert, as Speaker of the House, helped cover up the Mark Foley scandal involving the sexual abuse of male House pages. Not only has Hastert’s sexual relationship with his live-in chief of staff, Scott Palmer, been repeatedly hinted at in articles by the likes of former US Senate Staffer Laurence O’Donnell, but as far back as 2006 investigative reporter Wayne Madsen was tying the Foley scandal and Hastert into Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, Southeast Asia, and child sex prostitution.
“State Department sources have also reported that the visits of Hastert and other congressional leaders and staff members to certain Southeast Asian nations and the Northern Marianas should come under the scrutiny of the House Ethics Committee, now officially investigating ‘Pagegate.’ The Northern Marianas became infamous in the scandals involving Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff because of the presence in the US slave labor territory of Asian children being used as prostitutes. Conveniently, Foley co-chaired the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, which would have had authority to investigate charges of child prostitution in the Northern Marianas,” Madsen reported, adding: “Hastert visited Vietnam, along with Palmer, in April of this year and spent three days in the country. Hastert, along with Illinois GOP Rep. Ray LaHood, canceled a visit to Thailand and Vietnam in January 2006. Hastert was also in Thailand in January 2002.”
This lines up with the information that FBI insiders have been trying to blow the whistle on for years.
PROBABLE CAUSE (different clip again) 22:04 – 23:26
Since 1996 the FBI has had tons of information on Hastert which was gathered in Chicago by the FBI’s Chicago Field Office. The incriminating criminal evidence in those files range from bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering and embezzlement, to sexual crimes against minors and participation in foreign-operated drug operations.
Since 1997 the FBI has had much hard evidence on Hastert gathered by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The documented deeds range from espionage to foreign bribery.
But that’s not all. The FBI also has had hard data on Hastert’s sexual violations outside the United States. The involved countries include Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey and Morocco, among others. This also included sexual favors as means of foreign bribery. Interestingly, the CIA had been documenting those sexual activities for many years, and not only on Hastert but on many others; elected and appointed.
[SOURCE: Probable Cause Podcast #24 | BoilingFrogsPost.com]
So why has this information never surfaced before, and why is one tiny sliver of information that might provide a window into this story emerging now, nearly a decade since Hastert left office and over a decade since the FBI wound up its surveillance operation?
Realizing that the FBI’s new dragnet was scooping up information on elected officials and political appointees across the board, not just Presidential enemies, and with FBI agents increasingly outraged over the activities they were documenting, the White House, the DOJ and the FBI sought a way to put a stop to the flow of embarrassing information.
In 1999, the FBI COINTELPRO II program was transferred from the FBI’s counterintelligence unit to the criminal unit, ostensibly to pursue prosecutions. But as the program had been founded on FISA violations, FBI agents were informed that the information couldn’t be used in a courtroom. It was this attempt to sweep these cases under the rug that infuriated many of the lower-level agents and caused Gilbert Graham to file his complaint in 2002.
But by then, it was already too late. The FBI’s surveillance was messy and involved too many agents who could potentially blow the whistle. In the wake of 9/11, the internal surveillance program was shifted from the Bureau to the NSA, and it was not long before those surveillance powers were being directed against politicians and officials in yet another attempt to gather dirt and find blackmail-worthy material on these individuals.
As NSA whistleblower Russell Tice told The Corbett Report in 2013, he had first-hand knowledge of this surveillance, which included politicians, judges, military personnel, and even the future President of the United States.
In short, this scandal is too deep, too dark, and covers too many people from both sides of the political aisle for it to ever proceed in public. If it were to be exposed it would uncover a tale of surveillance, scandal, drug money, child prostitution and blackmail that could blow up all over Washington and make Watergate look like a minor footnote in the history of political scandal.
Knowing this, it comes as little surprise that Hastert’s legal team, already having been granted two extensions to continue negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors, pushed back the deadline for pre-trial motions to October 15th, when a trial date is expected to be set. All specifics about the case are being kept under seal since, as the AP reports, “Judge Thomas Durkin agreed to a request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to keep materials secret, with prosecutors citing law enforcement and privacy interests.”
If these accusations of the FBI insiders of an illegal, White House-approved surveillance dragnet are true, and if the scandal does envelop several high-ranking politicians and appointed officials in both the Democrat and Republican parties, it is not difficult to imagine that Hastert’s lawyers could graymail prosecutors, asking for evidence that the government could never turn over without opening up the whole scandal.
And so we arrive at the present stalemate, where it looks increasingly likely that the case will be plea bargained away and further inquiry will be stopped before the case can be blown wide open.
Given the deafening silence on the accusations around this deeper scandal from the media, the evident refusal of the Department of Justice to look into the complaints of Graham and other FBI whistleblowers, and, of course, the reluctance of the government to even acknowledge the claims, the task falls to everyday motivated citizens to raise awareness of this story and create the space for more insiders to come forward with their knowledge of these cases.
In the meantime, stay tuned to BoilingFrogsPost.com for continuing coverage of the case, its history, and further revelations.
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