Thursday, February 10, 2005
Tick, tick, tick
GannonGate, today, enters a new phase.
The GOPUSA, Talon News and Jeff Gannon web sites have been freshly scrubbed, although a search of the Men’s News Daily site is still producing 412 Gannon bylined articles, as better minds than my own parse the mystery reporter’s published output.
Yesterday, as guilty digital memories were being erased, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) demanded, in a letter to the President, an explanation of Gannon/Guckert’s lengthy and curious presence:
Despite the fact evidence shows that "Mr. Gannon" is a Republican political operative, uses a false name, has phony or questionable journalistic credentials…and according to several web reports, may have ties to the promotion of the prostitution of military personnel…I am asking you to please explain to the Congress and to the American people how and why the individual known as "Mr. Gannon" was repeatedly cleared by your staff to join the legitimate White House press corps?
While Rep. Slaughter waited for her reply, the Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz was, oddly, spinning toward a 5:55pm, est appearance with Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: Is there any evidence that there is a connection, that the White House put him up to this…any evidence of wrongdoing, first of all, on the part of the White House?
KURTZ: No evidence whatsoever.
BLITZER: But McClellan knows who he is.
KURTZ: He calls on him at White House briefings from time to time.
A moment or two later in his relatively brief but heavily promoted CNN appearance, Howie delivers a bit of speculation that had to bring wide rovian smiles to sad presidential assistant faces:
KURTZ: The issue, I think, is should some of his [Gannon/Guckert’s] liberal critics, these liberal bloggers, have started investigating his personal life in an effort to discredit him?
The sexual aspect of this story must have offended Howie’s delicate corduroy-wearing sensibilities for he only, ever so lightly, brushed against their bulbous tumescence:
KURTZ: They’ve [icky liberal bloggers] raised questions about some sexually provocative web addresses that he [Gannon/Guckert] registered.
Though he admitted Gannon/Guckert registered domain names, our blushing Howie just couldn’t bring himself to mention militaryescortsm4m.com or hotmilitarystud.com or even Gannon/Guckert’s most curious and tasteful semi nude photograph on an old AOL personal homepage; homepages known to be useful when meeting new “people” in certain AOL chatrooms that coincidentally bear the m4m designation.
Had Howie read some of Gannon/Guckert previously published material, perhaps, he could have seen the relevance of these blushingly adult web addresses.
For example, on October 12, 2004 Gannon/Guckert, in furtherance of the Bush campaign’s Gay Marriage scare tactic, wrote:
Sen. John Kerry might someday be known as "the first gay president" were he to win the White House…Democrats have pledged to expand homosexual rights…Kerry said that he might change his position on gay marriage.
On February 5, 2004, in an article that featured quotes from Rev. Louis Sheldon, the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council, this came from the Gannon/Guckert writing closet:
Democrats receive nearly all of the political support of gay rights activists…President Bush stands to benefit by taking a strong stand to protect traditional marriage.
But Howie, a man Wolf described as “doing some digging, doing some reporting”, seems to have utilized a rather small reportorial spade.
Howie’s a tad subtler in this morning’s Washington Post but not by much.
MediaMatters.org, including very interesting examples of Gannon/Guckert’s Plame-related questions, quite effectively addresses the “calls on him…from time to time” portion of Howie’s bloviation with dates, transcripts and scene-setting descriptions of events prior to Gannon/Guckert’s alleged White House Briefing questions.
Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan
I was intrigued by the slant Gannon/Guckert took during his August 9, 2004 questions regarding the blown cover of “turned” radical Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan:
Q: The publication of that man's [Khan’s] name by The New York Times -- how damaging is that to our war on terror?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not sure where it was published, first. Obviously, it was published recently -- the capture of this individual.
CNN on that very day of August 9, 2004 was reporting something quite embarrassingly different:
The effort by U.S. officials to justify raising the terror alert level last week may have shut down an important source of information that has already led to a series of al Qaeda arrests, Pakistani intelligence sources have said. Until U.S. officials leaked the arrest of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan to reporters, Pakistan had been using him in a sting operation to track down al Qaeda operatives around the world, the sources said.
As I headlined yesterday, this matter continues to become curiouser and curiouser.
Certain individuals, posting comments on certain liberal blogs, have urged Mr. Gannon/Guckert to avoid taking small plane rides and baths in lonely West Virginia motels.
Images: jeffgannon.com, AOL, ABC