Looking at today's news, this writer was struck by the reappearance of names of people who have been involved in cover-ups in the recent past. Like Yogi Berra's aphorism, it's 'deja vu all over again.' Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is with some snippets from this writer's articles over the past two years. One of the most intriguing is the background of FBI agent Bradley Garrett. He was involved in a murder case the authorities considered a 'run of the mill' robbery/murder. The people involved in that case would lead one to think it was a high national security case. From this author's article, 'CHANDRA, JOYCE AND MARY - R.I.P.' of September 16, 2001: 'The murder of Mary Caitrin Mahoney and trial of her alleged killer, while probably not tied to the OKC bombing nevertheless involves an almost unbelievable cast of characters at a time large amounts of illegal campaign finance money were being raised and serious breaches of national security occurred. Mahoney had landed an internship working in the office of the Secretary of Commerce, Norman Mineta (the Current Transportation Secretary) for Doris Matsui. Matsui is the wife of California Democrat Representative Robert Matsui. However, she had political connections of her own having served as a trustee of the California Economic Advisory Council with Public Official Executive Board members, Gray Davis, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Matsui worked closely with John Huang, with the title of deputy assistant to President Clinton. Together they raised over $3 million in campaign funds from Asia and Asian-Americans. $1.2 million had to be returned because it came from corporations and non-citizens. It was in this time frame that John Huang worked first in the Commerce Department and then transferred to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) but kept his high security clearance. Huang had been attending CIA briefings and then immediately went across the street to the Washington office of Jackson Stephens, the Arkansas broker who was a financial angel of Bill Clinton and placed phone calls to his Chinese handler in the Lippo Group in Indonesia. Stephens was a partner with James Riady of the Lippo Group in the Worthen bank in Little Rock. The bank was alleged to have been involved in laundering CIA drug money. The bank (and Stephens) were involved (along with the Rose Law firm and partners Hillary Clinton, Web Hubbell and Vince Foster) in the takeover of First American in Washington D.C. by BCCI. Robert Bartlett, the then Editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal said he first starting keeping his eye on the Rose Law firm when he heard of its involvement with BCCI. And there sat intern Mary Mahoney in the midst of all that activity. The Clinton's had another reason to keep an eye on her. Mary was an open lesbian and aggressive supporter of gay rights. She had become something of a 'den mother' for younger interns who claimed to have suffered sexual harassment at the hands of the president (not including Monica) She had been threatening to do something about it. Mary also held a part time job as assistant cashier at the local Starbucks coffee shop. In July of 1997, she and two other employees were gunned down around closing time by what police claimed was a robbery although no money was taken. Mahoney was shot five times. One of the shots was to the back of her head gangland execution style. In March of the following year, FBI agent Bradley Garrett arrested Carl Derek Cooper for the three murders. After 54 hours of questioning by Garrett and another agent, Cooper signed a confession that he immediately repudiated as soon as he got to court. Garrett is currently in charge of the Chandra Levy 'missing persons' case and was the lead agent on the Vince Foster death determined to be a 'suicide.' Judge Joyce Hens Green set a trial date for April 10, 1999. This is the point at which the cast of characters becomes bizarre starting with Judge Green who was first appointed as a federal judge by President Jimmy Carter in 1979. In the last year of President Reagan's second term, Green was appointed to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to serve a non-renewable seven-year term. That court deals exclusively with national security and with international terrorism, and involves approving applications for electronic surveillance. Judges on that court require the highest security clearance available. In 1990, then President George Herbert Walker Bush appointed Green presiding judge of that court and she handled all emergency matters during the remaining five years of her term. Judge Green also presided over the BCCI trial that had resulted from indictments obtained by New York Assistant District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. Morgenthau's investigation was stopped when the FBI stepped in under the direction of Robert Meuller (currently the new FBI Director) and no further investigation ensued. Judge Green approved plea bargains that resulted in BCCI forfeiting its assets in the United States. Two defendants had been indicted, Roger Altman and Clark Clifford an influential power broker in the Democrat party. The two men had accepted the two top spots in First American after the BCCI takeover but claimed they had no idea BCCI was involved in the nearly nine years they functioned in those capacities. Altman was acquitted and Clifford never stood trial because of ill health. Back to the Cooper trial. Before the trial even started, a controversy arose when Janet Reno announced she was going to seek the death penalty for Cooper. D.C. officials were furious claiming Reno was overstepping her bounds. The district had never asked for the death penalty in any murder case. Reno held a hearing on the matter. At that hearing, defense attorney William Martin (not connected with the Cooper case) urged Reno to ask for the death penalty. Yes, that's the same Billy Martin who represented Monica Lewinski's mother, Marcia Lewis, and currently represents Chandra Levy's parents. To complete the cast, Judge Green then appointed attorney Francis D. Carter to represent Cooper. Carter is the Frank Carter to whom Vernon Jordan took Monica Lewinski. Carter prepared the false affidavit for Monica's signature, which put her at risk for perjury when she later testified in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. Monica escaped prosecution when she was granted immunity by independent counsel Ken Starr. With Carter as his defense counsel, Cooper was convicted despite a weak circumstantial evidence case. There were, of course, no eyewitnesses and Cooper's fingerprints were not found at the murder scene. During his 54 hours of interrogation, Cooper had consistently denied the crime and volunteered several times to take a lie detector test. Most of the testimony against him was by FBI agent Garrett based on Garrett's representation of what Cooper had said during the interrogation. The questioning was not recorded or videotaped although another agent took notes. One wonders at the array of a high-powered Washington judge with ties to the intelligence community and an attorney who barely escaped being disbarred (in another high profile case) in a case claimed to be a routine robbery murder case by a career criminal.' Garrett's name has surfaced again as one of the two questioners of Lee Malvo, the alleged teenage sniper. When Malvo was transferred from Maryland to Virginia, he underwent seven hours of interrogation by Garrett and Fairfax County detective June Boyle. Boyle had told Malvo he would get to see the attorney he had requested but first they wanted to ask a few questions about his background as 'part of the booking process.' Then followed the seven-hour interrogation. Garrett has filed 'summaries' of Malvo's answers (which were taped) purporting to confess to some of the shootings. However, it appears Malvo was responding to 'hypotheticals ' posed as to what the snipers may have done. Much of Garrett's summary has been leaked to the press. Officials have been quoted as saying no harm has been done since the 'confessions' will probably be suppressed by the court and 'at least the public will know.' Two more names recently in the news were involved in the investigation of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen. From Bojinka ' The Dog That Didn't Bark' of June 18, 2002:
'Surely FBI terrorism expert John O'Neill would have known the details of Bojinka having investigated the 1993 WTC bombing and the plot to blow up 11 airliners. O'Neill's departure from the FBI was started when he tangled with the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen over the investigation of the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. She banned him from Yemen. O'Neill's reputation was further stained when his briefcase containing classified documents went missing for several hours when he was called away to the telephone during a conference in Tampa, Florida. As a result of that unexplained incident, he was told he would not get a position in the National Security Agency (NSA) that he believed he had earned.
O'Neill became the Director of Public Safety at the WTC after he resigned and died mysteriously during the 9/11 attack. He had phoned his girlfriend after the first tower was hit to inform her he was safe.'
When O'Neill was bounced from the Cole investigation, the search for the culprits effectively ended. The report of the navy admiral who headed the DOD investigation of the bombing concentrated on recommendations for improvements in security. It did not assess any blame. O'Neill later said he was removed because he was getting too close to foreign dignitaries. He had already had a run in with FBI Director Freeh over the free ride Saudi Arabia was getting in investigation of the bombings of the U.S. embassies.
The U.S. Ambassador to Yemen who squelched the Cole investigation is Barbara Bodine. She was just recently appointed by President Bush as a key player in Iraq's transitional government. She will effectively be the 'Mayor of Baghdad' said one former high-ranking Senate official. She is to administer one of the three sectors in which Iraq will be divided. Hers is the central sector that includes Baghdad.
A Pentagon official who asked not to be identified, according to Washington reporter Jerry Sepe, said 'Miss Bodine dismissed warnings of terrorist attacks in Yemen against U.S. ships and allowed the Cole to enter port at a reduced security level because she felt the value of showing a U.S. presence in Yemen outweighed the risks.'
Sege also reports, 'FBI executives and agents familiar with the Cole probe said Miss Bodine, as ambassador in Yemen, prevented the bureau from advancing its investigation into the bombing at a time when agents were beginning to focus on the Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.'
The admiral, that didn't want to know who bombed the Cole, and was at odds with O'Neill in the investigation, is Harold W. Gehman, Jr. He currently heads the investigation into the Columbia shuttle disaster. He is repeating his Cole 'mandate' by only looking at improving methods and procedures and not trying to assess any blame.
We have previously reported on the makeup of the Commission appointed to investigate the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the earlier cover-ups in which many of that body have been involved.
It doesn't seem to make any difference whether a Republican or Democrat administration is in office, many of the same 'old reliables' are called back into service to 'investigate' high profile incidents when the public doesn't 'need to know' all of the facts.