I've waited a couple of days for this story to move from the back pages to the headlines. Nothing. Apparently the story that a Republican Party fundraiser has now been accused of financing terrorism is no big deal. The media's more interested in Obama's smoking, the Clintons' sex life, and the state of decay on the face of Anna Nicole's corpse (which Larry King covered the other night, thanks to a talkative county coroner.)
In fairness to Larry, he's not supposed to cover hard news. And to that joker who just said it's a redundancy to say "Republican Party fundraiser accused of financing terrorism" - very funny, wise guy. Still, to read this story and realize that it's been essentially overlooked is to experience the impending explosion of one's own head.
Can you imagine how they'd cover it if a Democratic Party fundraiser had been accused of financing terror training camps, transferring funds to pay for "night vision goggles and other equipment" needed to train terrorists manqué? It would be an even bigger story than the plane Nancy Pelosi (didn't) request - by, oh, a factor of a million or so. Doncha think?
Oh, and the camp in question is in Afghanistan. You remember. The country that was connected to 9/11. The one that is part of the "war on terror." Where the war is going ... badly ...
Then there's the odd ratio between the amount of money this financier allegedly transferred to the terrorist camp - $152,000 - and the amount he gave to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which was $15,250. DailyKos notes its resemblance to a "tithe," but when nice round figures like 10% come up (plus a $50 service fee?) its more often in the context of a negotiated fee-splitting arrangement.
Not that it could be in this case. I'm just sayin', is all ...
The Boston Herald reports that the accused's resume describes him as a National Republican Senatorial Committee "Inner Circle Member for Life" and a member of the NRCC's "White House Business Advisory Committee." UPI reports that the NRCC is keeping the money and will only donate it to charity if he's convicted. (They're not banking on their leadership to get this prosecution right, are they?)
And Jamie at Intoxination observes that the GOP's hostility to habeus corpus and Constitutional rights for accused terrorists seems to have evaporated in this case. Jamie quotes the NRCC's touchy-feely statement about the accused and his money:
"We are extremely concerned and disturbed by these charges but we need to be careful not to rush to judgment as the judicial process moves forward. If the individual in question is actually found guilty of a crime, it is our intent to donate the money to charity."
Kinda sounds like the ACLU, doesn't it? (Question: If he loses, will they give up the interest they've earned in the meantime? Gotta watch these guys.)
The irony is that they're right, of course. Many, if not most, of the people accused in this Administration's ineptly managed anti-terrorism program have later been found innocent of the charges against them. But you can't have it both ways: Either the GOP's been taking money from a terrorist/terror banker, or it's screwed up yet another anti-terrorism prosecution.
It reminds me of another story, one of the few scoops that I've had in my short career. (I don't usually have the time for investigative reporting, as much as I admire the craft. I have a day job.) That was back when the Republicans wanted to tar the Dems and Kofi Annan with the oil-for-food scandal, and I found that the only known politician to have financial ties to the company that bribed Saddam and has family was ... a Republican Senator.
The media yawned about that story, too. Can you imagine if Howard Dean had been the recipient, not Don Nickles? (I was right, however, when I predicted the Republicans would suddenly "lose interest" in the issue.)
Here's a web of international terror financing that could lead all the way into the White House itself. isn't it worthy of some ink? I mean it's no "Dean scream", but ...