Jim Norman was a Senior Editor at Forbes Magazine whose article entitled Fostergate had been killed by Malcolm S. ("Steve") Forbes. Forbes had done so at the urging of Caspar Weinberger, the former Reagan Secretary of Defense who was Chairman of the Board of Forbes, Inc. Norman was interested in my references to an NSA project to spy on banking transfers, because he had information that Vince Foster, a Rose Law Firm partner, oversaw such a project at Jackson Stephens' software firm Systematics. He also wanted to get Fostergate published elsewhere, and I promised to bring it to public attention through the Internet. Not all of the material in the article was familiar to me, but those parts that were had merit -- and in any case I didn't believe in military censorship of information presented in civilian financial publications. (I discovered soon enough, however, that most of the senior staff of Forbes Magazine had ties to the intelligence community, so perhaps Norman's experience was not all that uncommon.)
Bill Hamilton of Inslaw had been pursuing a case for years to collect from the U.S. government the value of Inslaw's PROMIS software that had been stolen by the U.S. Department of Justice. In its original form, the PROMIS system was used for federal case management. Another version had been converted for intelligence use in tracking agents, operations, and movements. A CIA agent named Michael Riconosciuto had worked on this version, and -- in connection with Bobby Inman of the National Security Agency -- had created code that would cause the computer hardware to give off signals, disguised as noise, when the program was running. (The standing waves emitted can be modeled by mathematical functions called "Walsh functions".) The program was then marketed around the world by another CIA agent named Earl Brian, who set up a company for that purpose. One of Earl Brian's sales, made to the government of Brazil, was observed by another CIA agent named Chuck Hayes. Hayes had testified to this sale before a Chicago grand jury, but his testimony had been redacted under the National Security Act. These software sales were not only profitable to Brian's company, but they also allowed U.S. intelligence agencies to access the intelligence data of the foreign country running the software. The signals given off by the computer hardware could picked up by nearby vans or, often, by satellite.
Another modification of the software had shown up at the World Bank in 1983, where it was being used to track wire transfers, apparently in connection with a money-laundering operation that went from BCCI London through the World Bank and into Caribbean institutions. This was of considerable interest to me, because I had learned in banking circles that the NSA was spying on banking transactions, and that this apparently included domestic financial transactions in certain instances. Gradually I had learned that the NSA seemed to be working through a Little Rock-based company called Systematics, which was controlled by Jackson Stephens, a principal financial backer of Bill Clinton, and a person connected with the BCCI purchase of First American Bank in Washington, D.C. In early 1995 I published on the Internet a bibliography of Systematics' banking deals, and in that context mentioned the name of Web Hubbell as being associated with the NSA project -- but I did not yet know of Vince Foster's greater involvement. This bibliography had apparently been used by Norman and also by others pursuing the same story.
Gregory Wierzynski was interested in money laundering. When I met with him and Stephen Ganis, Counsel to the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services, they were interested in any information I knew of that connected Vince Foster to money-laundering in Arkansas. I told them I had no non-public information, and gave them a copy of Fostergate, which Jim Norman had sent to me only a few days before. "Why would Steve Forbes kill it?" Wierzynski wanted to know. He knew Steve Forbes because Forbes, like Wierzynski, had once served as head of Radio Free Europe. As time passed, I became increasingly convinced that Wierzynski was more involved in covering up than in actual investigation. (Wierzynski's boss, Jim Leach, was overheard saying to Newt Gingrich about the investigation, "If we don't do something, this thing is going to get out of hand." This gave me little confidence Leach was going to conduct an aggressive search for the truth.) As best I could tell, Wierzynski had been booted out of the Pentagon after his son was caught hacking into Defense Department computers.
Shortly after this meeting in June 1995, however, I began my series of Vince Foster posts ("Allegations Regarding Vince Foster, the National Security Agency, and Banking Transactions Spying") on the Internet, and sent copies along to the House Comittee on Banking and Financial Services. A few days later Jim Leach wrote to the Director of the National Security Agency asking about the allegations:
July 11, 1995 Vice Admiral John McConnell, USN Director, National Security Agency Ft. George Mead, MD 20755 Dear Admiral McConnell: I am writing to seek your agency's help in verifying or laying to rest various allegations of money laundering in Arkansas in the late 1980s. For that purpose, I would request a briefing from NSA's Inspector General on Friday, July 14 before 1:00 p.m.; if that is not possible, sometime on Monday, July 17, would also be convenient. The reports I have in mind have appeared in the general press and, sometimes in sensational form, in more narrow- gauged outlets, including the Internet. They speak of secret foreign bank accounts held by prominent people in Arkansas, special software to monitor bank transfers, and similar tales. I would like to determine whether there is any substance at all to these stories. Specifically, I would like your Inspector General to tell me whether the Agency: (1) knows of any secret bank accounts held by U.S. citizens domiciled in Arkansas at any time between 1988 and now; (2) is aware, directly or indirectly, of any efforts by computer hackers, U.S.-government related or otherwise, to penetrate banks for the purpose of monitoring accounts and transactions; (3) knows of or has participated, directly or indirectly, in efforts to sell software--notably versions of a program in use at the Justice Department called PROMIS--or clandestinely produced devices to foreign banks for the purpose of collecting economic intelligence and information about illicit money transfers; (4) is cognizant of any attempts by Systematics Inc, an Arkansas-based electronic data processor that is now a division of Alltell [Alltel], to monitor or engage in the laundering of drug money or proceeds of other illegal activities, notably those conducted through Mena, Arkansas; (5) can produce information about Charles Hayes, a businessman in Nancy, Kentucky, who claims to have been a CIA operative in Latin and Central America, among other places; (6) knew of or was involved in, directly or indirectly, any covert activities by the U.S. government or any private parties (the so-called "private benefactors") in or around Mena in the late 1980s; (7) had any contractual or other relationship with the late Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal in the 1980s or knew about his activities in connection with Mena. I would appreciate your help in shedding light on these matters. Sincerely, James A. Leach Chairman
What answers Jim Leach's House Committee on Banking and Financial Services received from the National Security Agency's (NSA's) Inspector General is not known, but apparently the NSA stonewalled the investigation. On July 23, 1995, Gregory Wierzynski e-mailed me, asking "Do you have suggestions on how we could verify some of the elements in the Norman story? I've talked to Chuck in Kentucky and am still in touch with him. But his stories have not panned out, even partially. I would be most interested in your ideas." I found this statement remarkable, and knew that Wierzynski was being deliberately obtuse. Moreover, neither I -- nor anyone else of my acquaintance -- had told Wierzynski that I was talking to Chuck Hayes in Nancy, Kentucky.
Jim Norman had first suggested that I call Hayes -- had even implied that Hayes wanted me to call -- but initially I had been reluctant to do so. There were enough people trying to get me off the Internet, and I was dubious of the motives of an ex-intelligence operative. But when I finally did so, we spent a hour and twenty minutes on the phone in a wide-ranging conversation about money-laundering. I jumped around from topic to topic, bringing up numerous obscure connections between the intelligence community and banking. In each case Hayes was right there with me, adding details to what we were discussing. From time to time I would make deliberate mis-statements to see if Hayes would catch the discrepancies. He did. By the end of the conversation it did not matter to me whether Chuck Hayes was just a hillbilly Kentucky junk dealer or an ex-member of CIA's division D. His knowledge spoke for itself. He had an intimate acquaintance with banking wire transfers, bank computer operations, and banking-intelligence connections, as well as detailed insights into current hidden money-laundering channels.
Hayes was already familiar with my article The End of Ordinary Money. He said he had gotten his copy from the CIA library. The CIA had apparently either downloaded it from the Internet, or perhaps had obtained it through Robert Steele. Eric Bloodaxe, a.k.a. Chris Goggans, an ex-Legion of Doom member who edited a hacker publication called Phrack, had suggested I sent copies to Winn Schwartau of Information Warfare fame, and to Robert Steele, whose company Open Source Solutions, Inc., published a newsletter entitled OSS Notices, which advocated some radical changes to the process of intelligence collection. Steele had reviewed them as follows: "J. Orlin Grabbe has produced the first two in a series of three papers on digital cash, and I found them both educational and provocative. . . . He approaches the matter from a civil libertarian/civil disobedience perspective, and I find his perspective on the history of U.S. policy and technology, as well as the alternatives, well-worth review. This is a thoughtful popular perspective on issues of electronic privacy which bears on both the protection of intellectual property and electronic civil defense" (OSS Notices, vol. 3, issue 5, May 31, 1995).
Chuck and I had some differences, to be sure. Hayes was spending much of his time tracking drug-money laundering through the U.S. financial system. I looked at the War on Drugs from an economic perspective: supply restriction leading to vast profit margins, with concomitant political payoffs and political corruption, while in the meantime prisons were being over-crowded with casual drug users. It was an exercise in insanity. Nor was I a fan of the DEA, with its record of civil rights violations. Hayes, by contrast, liked the DEA for their street smarts, which contrasted with the desk-level bureaucrats he was somewhat contemptuous of at the CIA. But Hayes was gunning for the people at the top of the drug-dealing and money-laundering pyramid, and this was fine with me. There was a close association between those administering the War on Drugs, and those profiting from it. In the case of money-laundering, it was even more blatant: it was hard to differentiate the money launderers from those that administered the money-laundering laws. I did not approve of the money-laundering laws themselves with their invasions of personal financial privacy. But on the other hand, hoisting government junkies on their own petard did not perturb me. Over a period of time, Hayes and I developed an information-sharing arrangement.
Hayes was at the moment following the financial flows through Arkansas financial institutions, as well as through Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. Also involved were New York banks, some members of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and at least one important official at the Federal Reserve. On the Arkansas front, Hayes was quite open in telling me he was going to nail Jim Guy Tucker to the wall, and over the following year I watched him do just that. One might assume from such a statement that Hayes was a Republican, out to get Democrats. But in fact Hayes' father had been a local Democrat party official, and Hayes had been a friend and admirer of John Kennedy. Hayes was not political in that sense, any more than I was.
Some people have a strange habit of trying to interpret everything in political terms. When I first spoke to Sarah McClendon, she asked me, "Why are people saying all these things about Clinton, and they aren't saying anything about George Bush?" I refused to bite. I told her I didn't give a shit about the difference between Republicans and Democrats -- that this was about criminality, not about partisan politics. Some people -- Republican or Democrat -- are honest, and some are not. Sarah herself kept referring to the Clintons (Bill and Hill) as "virgins," which amused me to no end. But my interest was not partisan, and never has been.
In a contrary vein, Jack Blum, who recently joined Jim Leach's House Committee on Banking as an investigator (and who quickly recommended they drop their Mena investigation), told Marianne Gasior that I was a right-wing nut because of what I had written about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Marianne said, "I don't think so," and read off my resume. Blum's response: "You're kidding." Gasior was politically a liberal Democrat, and when she was pursuing a case against Kennametal, which had done business with Iraq during the Gulf War, she received some support from Democrat politicians, because the issue was embarrassing to Republican interests. Time Magazine did a write-up of her efforts ("A Matter of Honor," June 21, 1993). But when she began to ask questions about what Hillary Clinton was doing on the board of Lafarge Corporation, which was part of the same smuggling network, Democrat support for her research quickly evaporated (see "Whatever Happened to Iraqgate?", The American Spectator, November 1996.) To the average political hack, partisanship always takes precedence over the search for truth.
In Wierzynski's case, while supposedly investigating money-laundering for the House Committee, he seemed to be actually serving other interests -- perhaps the Pentagon's, perhaps someone else's. Hayes had come up with financial records showing that fifty to seventy million dollars a day of drug-related money was being laundered through the institutions he was looking at. Wierzynski couldn't understand how such a thing was possible. He wanted "proof" in a neat little package, say a memo entitled "Today's Money-Laundering Report". He seemed to expect to ask a few questions, and then voila! -- the darkest secrets of American political life would be exposed. So it is not surprising that Wierzynski's investigation had gone nowhere before Jack Blum arrived to call the whole thing off. Meanwhile, Wierzynski's son, in school in England, had been indicted for supplying information to a group of Russian hackers in St. Petersburg, who had pulled off a heist of Citibank funds.
Both Wierzynski and Stephen Ganis, the Counsel for the House Committee on Banking and Finance, were in touch with a San Francisco attorney named Charles O. Morgan. Systematics (now a subsidiary of Alltel) had hired Morgan to lie about its relationship to the NSA, and Morgan proceeded to do just that. In an April 5, 1995, letter to Michael Geltner, an attorney for Agora, Inc., Morgan wrote: "None of ALLTEL's operations or subsidiaries has ever had any connection in any capacity with the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, or any other similar agency in the United States Government; . . ." But recent documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Washington Weekly from NSA show that, for example, that "The Arkansas-based security contractor Systematics Inc. on September 14, 1990 was awarded a $166,000 NSA contract to build a 'Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility' (SCIF) in Ft. Gillem, Georgia" (The Washington Weekly, Nov. 11, 1996).
Morgan similarly denied any connection between Web Hubbell and Systematics, writing, "Webster Hubbell never served as an attorney or in any other capacity for ALLTEL Corporation, or for any of its operations or subsidiaries, other than a single instance in 1983, when Systematics, Inc., engaged Mr. Hubbell to pursue a competitor that was using Systematics, Inc.'s propriety software without authorization; . . ." But it is a matter of public record that when in 1978 Jackson Stephens tried to take over First American bank (later acquired by BCCI), that the bank sued Systematics along with BCCI, Bert Lance, and Jackson Stephens. Filing briefs for Systematics were Webster Hubbell, along with C.J. Giroir and Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Hubbell subsequently went to the Justice Department, and then to jail, after receiving a $500,000 payment for unspecified legal services from Indonesia's Lippo Group. C.J. Giroir left the Rose Law Firm and set up a consulting firm to arrange deals between the Lippo Group and Arkansas-based firms. Hillary Clinton recently declared her friendship for ex-Lippo employee and Democrat fund-raiser John Huang, and was also indicted by grand juries in Little Rock and in New York in October 1996. These indictments have not yet been made public.)
But the non-pursuit of the drug-money laundering trail by the Leach Committee was not surprising. It stepped on too many toes. Hayes and I agreed that the U.S. was being rapidly transformed into a narco-republic. The drug cartels had penetrated the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI, elements of the intelligence community, and were additionally bribing a broad assortment of state and federal government employees and politicians. Even more alarming, the cartels were now making inroads into the White House. And the Clinton administration, with lax security stemming largely from a variety of drug-related issues, along with a pre-existing legacy of political corruption in Arkansas, had created a free-for-all playground for foreign agents. Everything was for sale, from trade policy to nuclear codes. Moreover, Bill Clinton (or perhaps those he surrounded himself with, while he partied on the side) was making rapid progress in turning the FBI and the Secret Service into a private political police force -- a Gestapo whose duty was to investigate and harass (and even kill) his political opponents, and to cover up evidence of his own bad deeds.
Extraordinary times required extraordinary measures. Enter the Fifth Column.
The creation of the Fifth Column to deal with official corruption was necessitated by a confluence of several factors.
1. First of all, there is the corruption of the Justice Department itself. One couldn't simply turn over the fruits of a lot of hard investigative work, involving both financial and other information, to the Department of Justice, and expect to see justice done. The Justice Department is part and parcel of the same corrupt system. Nowhere is this more in evidence than the theft by "trickery, deceit, and fraud" (in the words of a federal bankruptcy judge) of the PROMIS software. The Justice Department is bent on discrediting, ruining, or indicting anyone who is harmful to the government's case. The Department's carrot-and-stick method of operation can be seen from the following paragrahs found in an affidavit of Michael J. Riconosciuto (March 21, 1991):
"In February 1991, I had a telephone conversation with Peter Videnieks, then still employed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Videnieks attempted during this telephone conversation to persuade me not to cooperate with an independent investigation of the government's piracy of INSLAW's proprietary PROMIS software being conducted by the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House of Representatives.
"[Carrot:] Videnieks stated that I would be rewarded for a decision not to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation. Videnieks forecasted an immediate and favorable resolution of a protracted child custody dispute being prosecuted against my wife by her former husband, if I were to decide not to cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee investigation.
"[Stick:] Videnieks also outlined specific punishments that I could expect to receive from the U.S. Department of Justice if I cooperate with the House Judiciary Committee's investigation.
"[Stick #1:] One punishment that Videnieks outlined was the future inclusion of me and my father in a criminal prosecution of certain business associates of mine in Orange County, California, in connection with the operation of a savings and loan institution in Orange County. By way of underscoring his power to influence such decisions at the U.S. Department of Justice, Videnieks informed me of the indictment of these business associates prior to the time when that indictment was unsealed and made public.
"[Stick #2:] Another punishment that Videnieks threatened against me if I cooperate with the House Judiciary Commitee [sic] is prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice for perjury. Videnieks warned me that credible witnesses would come forward to contradict any damaging claims that I made in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, and that I would subsequently be prosecuted for perjury by the U.S. Department of Justice for my testimony before the House Judiciary Committee."
2. Secondly, there is the corruption of congressional investigative bodies. "We tried in the early 90s to take the evidence to all the appropriate legislative committees," Chuck Hayes told me. "We ended up with egg all over our faces." For how do you get members of the House and Senate to investigate illegal drug-dealing, arms-dealing, and money-laundering, when many of these same people are on the take from drug dealers, arms dealers, and money launderers? Before this route would work, you would have to first root out many of the same corrupt members of Congress. One way to do this would be to get them to resign, or to agree to not run for re-election, by presenting them with evidence documenting their corruption. (You would also hope for, eventually, an honest Justice Department, so these same legislators could also be prosecuted.) Over the past year, a number of Capitol Hill residents, not to mention state government officials and corporate executives, were visited by a very large man bearing a package containing 200 to 300 pages of financial and other documentation. They subsequently resigned, usually "to spend more time with their families."
3. Finally, there is the general inattention of the news media, and their unwillingness to do any serious investigation on their own. The media is often content to relay the content of government handouts, or to get quotes from each of two opposing sides. To actually go on a search for evidence and to subject it to hard analysis is foreign to them. The New York Times, for example, is not that keen on pursuing corruption in the Clinton administration. Nor has the media shown a great propensity for independent analysis of the circumstances involving the death of Ron Brown, the downing of TWA 800, or the political funding scandals associated with the Lippo Group.
The Fifth Column was organized in the matter of a carefully thought-out intelligence operation. There were layers within layers. But at heart the Fifth Column is essentially a mobile computer, and the people who program it, tend to it, and run it. The computer is very powerful, necessary to do the work of correlating data from many sources. The computer must remain mobile to avoid detection and ransacking by corrupt FBI agents who are themselves targets of the Fifth Column investigation. Communication is handled by a variety of methods, including use of an earth-to-satellite signal.
Bill Clinton's political Gestapo has invested considerable time and effort in an attempt to trace the computer-carrying truck. The Washington, D.C. office of the FBI sent out two cars to Kentucky that were specially equipped to vector in on a ground-to-satellite signal. They ran into problems with the local wildlife, however, including a bobcat who ripped out the interior and panel wiring in one car. (This bobcat is now alleged to be on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.) On another occasion, hearing that the truck was returning from Little Rock, the Department of Transportation, along with the FBI and the Secret Service, for a time stopped and searched every truck leaving Arkansas on Interstate 40. (Do you ever wonder why truckers don't love the Feds?) On a third occasion, someone started a rumour that the truck was traveling under the guise of Frito-Lay -- with the consequence that every truck departing the company was stopped for inspection. The only public representative of the Fifth Column is Chuck Hayes himself.
The pursuit of corruption is a deadly business. I went to Kentucky and spent a week with Hayes, and his last statement to me at the airport was: "Watch yourself. I don't want another Casolaro on my hands." Danny Casolaro was one of the few journalists Hayes respected. Hayes and Casolaro had slowly developed a relationship, and Hayes had become an important source of information for Casolaro. Hayes had tried to dissuade Casolaro from going to his final, fatal rendevous. On August 9, 1991, the last day of his life, Danny Casolaro said he had arranged a meeting with Peter Videnieks and Robert Altman to trade them some documents in which they were interested for further documents regarding the sale of the modified PROMIS software. Robert Altman was a former attorney for Bert Lance who became President of First American Bank after it was taken over by BCCI. Peter Videnieks was the Justice Department official mentioned above in Riconosciuto's affidavit, as well as a former Customs official who had cleared the PROMIS software for export. The meeting had been arranged by a covert intelligence operative of the U.S. Army Special Forces named Joseph Cuellar.
A friend of Danny's had been keeping two sealed envelopes. According to a signed affidavit (which I will call the "F Affidavit," for his protection), the friend says, "On August 9, 1991, I delivered two packets of documents that I had kept for Mr. Casolaro to him in Martinsburg, W. Va. . . . Danny had told me that [the] meeting had been arranged by Joseph Cuellar. That he was to meet with someone from Sen. Byrds office and from the I.R.S., plus Peter Videnieks and Robert Altman. He was to exchange some documents that was to their interest in order to get more info on Promis. He had told me that Altman only agreed after he was told papers would be sent to Robert Morgenthau."
Casolaro was found dead in Room 517 in the Martinsburg Sheraton Inn about 12:30 the following day. A person was seen leaving his room shortly before he was found dead, but the FBI never interviewed the eyewitness, nor showed her pictures of likely suspects. They were in a hurry to close the matter as one more "suicide" (much as in the later case of Vince Foster). Documentary evidence also shows that Earl Brian, the person who marketed the PROMIS software to intelligence agencies around the world, was in Martinsburg that same day. (Brian was subsequently indicted for, and convicted of, financial irregularities while he was head of three separate companies: Infotechnology, Financial News Network, and United Press International.)
When the Clinton administration came into office, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Webster Hubbell to handle the Inslaw case, as well as questions concerning Casolaro's death. Hubbell's assistant on the entire matter was Stephen Zipperstein, who was subsequently appointed to a position in the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, with a mandate to sit on the indictment of Earl Brian. (Brian was indicted by a grand jury in June 1994, but the indictment was not made public until September 1995.) That is, the Justice Dept. attorney appointed to oversee the Inslaw case and the issue of Casolaro's death, was the same person appointed to protect Earl Brian -- who was a principal target of the Inslaw case, and very possibly a member of the group that killed Danny Casolaro. Hence the old equation: "investigation" = cover-up.
At the time of his death, Casolaro had computer printouts and documents he had received from a National Security Agency (NSA) employee named Alan Standorf. These included "wire transfers (copies) of monies paid to Earl Brian and sent to shell companies in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland that came from accounts held by foreign agents and governments at the World Bank and BCCI" (F Affidavit). Some of the documents received from Standorf "were classified Top Secret and some had letters SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Intelligence]" (F Affidavit). Some time after Casolaro's death, Alan Standorf himself was found dead, having been stuffed into the trunk of a car at the National Airport in Washington, D.C.
No, I would say I didn't want another Casolaro on anyone's hands any more than Hayes did.
But I am getting ahead of the story. When I first talked to Hayes, we had agreed to meet in Las Vegas at Defcon -- a strange convention of computer hackers that is also sometimes well attended by computer security personnel and a few present and former intelligence operatives. In the meantime, things began to heat up.
I had started to probe the counter-intelligence investigation of Vince Foster that was underway at the time of Foster's death, as reported by Jim Norman in Fostergate. And I had come across some evidence that said that one of the things stolen through White House channels were Presidential authentication codes (generated daily by the NSA), by which the President identifies himself in the event of nuclear war. There was also a notebook giving all the global and regional nuclear options -- a menu of pre-arranged military scenarios -- that the President could select. This information had been sold to Israel.
Sources were reluctant to talk, on the one hand, because of national security oaths and the highly classified nature of the subject; but, on the other hand, they were even more alarmed and angered by the total trashing of national security on the part of the Clinton administration. Some of these sources went out of their way not to blame Bill Clinton directly, and I gradually came to believe this was correct. Basically, no one was in charge at the White House, and a variety of sub-figures did pretty much whatever they wanted to. Bill himself was too involved giving speeches and chasing women and, as I learned later, snorting cocaine, to actually pay much attention to what was going on around him. And what a lot of those around him wanted to do was make some money, according to the principle that "a politician who is poor, is a poor politician indeed." Substitute "government official" -- whatever.
Hayes and I had not, to this point, really talked about Vince Foster. As much as we had discussed money-laundering and political corruption, Hayes became wary when I brought up Foster, and would change the subject. But then I put out "Part 7: Allegations Regarding Vince Foster, the NSA, and Banking Transactions Spying." The CIA had taken note of the long phone conversations of Hayes and myself, and John Deutch, CIA Director, called Hayes up and accused him of discussing classified matters with me, after the post appeared on the Internet. Hayes told Deutch to fuck off, then called me up and asked for a copy of the article.
"It's on the Internet," I said. "Well, I would have to ask someone," Hayes said. So I faxed him a copy, even though his statement puzzled me. I understood, later, when I visited Hayes at his place in Nancy, Kentucky. There were no computers around except for a lonely micro in his living room. This microcomputer with no modem connection seemed as out of place as the Christmas tree in the corner that remained there year-around. Moreover, I knew about the statement of a judge in a court case, who had declared that Hayes knew nothing about computers. Hayes was obviously delighted with that judicial confirmation of his ignorance. But, on another occasion, I went to another location with Hayes and saw more operational used and surplus computer equipment than I had ever seen in one location in my life. Even the bathroom was wired and crammed with equipment. One could sit on the john and easily believe one was inside mission control for NASA. As I recall, there was also a large sign -- reflecting someone's weird sense of humor -- that read: "Absolutely no PROMIS software allowed on the premises."
I followed Part 7 with a post (Part 8, naturally), which reported what Israeli newspapers had to say about Israel's nuclear spying in the U.S. Much of this information had emerged at the time of the "Inman Affair" -- involving former NSA director and Secretary of Defense nominee Bobby Inman. (I also mentioned a Swiss account number that had Caspar Weinberger's name on it. At the time, I thought there was an Israeli connection to the account, but this turned out to be incorrect. Weinberger's Swiss account was related to illegal arms deals, not to espionage.) But Part 8 apparently created a storm in certain circles in Washington. And again, the operational assumption was that Hayes was responsible for the content of my post. But, in fact, much of the information had come from an Israeli chemist named Israel Shahak.
One consequence of Part 8 was that Bert Lance made a trip to Nancy, Kentucky. He was acting as emissary for a fellow Georgian -- namely, Newt Gingrich. It was a curious sort of contact. Gingrich had sent Lance with a sealed packet of documents, because Gingrich knew Lance knew Hayes, but Gingrich and Hayes did not know each other. (Hayes knew most of the Carter people, since he had been good friends with Billy Carter. Hayes held Billy Carter's memory with a level of respect and affection equal to the contempt he voiced for Jimmy Carter.)
"Why would Lance agree to be emissary?" I asked Hayes.
"He probably thinks there is something in it for him," Hayes replied. Then laughed. "That fellow is amazing. He could fall off the top of the Empire State Building in a straight jacket, and before he hit the ground, he would have found two parachutes, a bottle of champagne, and a gourmet meal."
The top page of the sealed package was a request to Hayes to check that the seal hadn't been broken -- and to make sure that Lance didn't see any of the contents of the package. Gingrich obviously didn't trust Lance. Lance, for his part, was supposed to ensure that each page, after Hayes' reading, was fed into a paper shredder. The documents mostly concerned money laundering. It was some stuff Gingrich had been saving for a rainy day. Gingrich was sending it as an overture to Hayes, and additionally wanted to arrange a meeting.
Hayes agreed, but he was suspicious of Gingrich's motives. "If you can think of any reason -- other than the stated one of discussing money laundering -- that Gingrich might want to talk to me, or any hidden agenda he might have, you call me and let me know," Chuck said.
But I was annoyed. I was annoyed at those who thought that Chuck Hayes was the source of anything I had written (he hadn't been, not yet). I was annoyed at the people who had been following me around the past few days in Reno. And I was annoyed at some footprints that had appeared on the hillside outside the fence behind my house. "To hell with them all," I thought to myself, and took a circuitous route to hear some live music and to hang out on the town late at night.
But the next morning, I got up and began to prepare a fifty-page background report on Newt Gingrich.
"The political process is moving onto the Internet. Both within the United States and internationally, individuals, interest groups, and even nations are using the Internet to find each other, discuss the issues, and further their political goals" (Charles Swett, "Strategic Assessment: the Internet," Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, Room 2B525, the Pentagon, 17 July 1995).
"I don't know where you get your information, but it's better than the Company's," Hayes said over the phone.
"Maybe you should tell the CIA they should learn to use the Internet," I replied.
"I did." Hayes' tone was matter-of-fact.
My report on Newt Gingrich (to aid Charles Hayes in his preparation for their meeting) had focused on motivational issues -- what makes Newt Gingrich tick. Like the time when, as a graduate student in history at Tulane University in New Orleans, Gingrich served as the spokesman for a student activist group which was condemning censorship of the campus newspaper, the Hullaballoo. (The administration had judged as obscene nude photos which the group considered artwork.) But I had also reported on one of Gingrich's little-known financial relationships -- one that had apparently been missed by the CIA or, perhaps, the Fifth Column.
Hayes spent two days getting ready for his meeting with Gingrich. Gingrich had done his homework equally well, apparently obtaining a good bit of information from Hayes' highly-classified file at the CIA. "He reminded me of things I had forgotten myself," Hayes said.
They came to an agreement, of sorts. "Can you trust Gingrich," I asked Hayes. I had a few doubts, myself, but it wasn't my problem. "We'll see," Hayes said. "I told him the agreement was over the first time he lied to me."
Among other things, it was agreed that the Fifth Column would become a resource to Kenneth Starr. Gingrich would act as intermediary. (This arrangement lasted until Hayes and Starr eventually established their own direct relationship. Shortly after the agreement with Gingrich, the Fifth Column came across a $286,000 wire transfer to the bank account of Lisa Foster, the wife of Vince Foster, that had been made four days prior to Vince Foster's death. The transfer -- made out of a bank account at Mellon bank -- had been effected by Sheila Foster Anthony, Vince Foster's sister and the wife of Beryl Anthony. Sheila Anthony was at the time Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. The records of the payment were turned over to Gingrich, who then turned them over to Starr.) Starr was having his problems at the time. He wasn't able to find the financial and other records he needed for his investigation. And, as he soon enough discovered, some of the FBI agents assigned to him were running their own agenda, by intimidating certain witnesses or generating prejudicial reports about them to influence the Special Prosecutor's use of their testimony. (By a curious coincidence, the wire transfer to Lisa Foster was made on July 16, 1993, the same day Bill Clinton had a two-hour meeting with Louis Freeh, preparatory to naming him FBI Director the following week.)
Gingrich agreed to a number of things, for his part. He agreed to reopen the investigation into the death of Vince Foster. (Shortly thereafter, Gingrich ridiculed the Foster suicide conjecture, and ordered William Clinger, Chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, to reopen the investigation into the circumstances of Foster's death. The Committee, however, later deferred to the Starr investigation into the same topic. Gingrich's statements were followed by a reading of evidence against the Foster suicide conjecture on the House floor by Dan Burton of Indiana. Burton soon will be replacing William Clinger as Chairman of the House Government Committee.)
And Gingrich agreed to write a letter to Alan Greenspan on certain money-laundering matters -- including dealing with the fact that a highly-placed official in the Federal Reserve was part of the national money-laundering network. (Gingrich sent a six-page letter to Greenspan. Although I was somewhat familiar with the information in the letter, I attempted to get a copy directly from either Greenspan or Gingrich, but failed to do so. Gingrich explained his denial that the letter existed with the statement that "half of politics is lying, anyway." Someone later relayed an account of a meeting he had with Gingrich, in Gingrich's office. Gingrich said he had "never heard of Orlin Grabbe." After a while, this individual noticed a copy of my textbook on international finance on Gingrich's bookshelf. "I guess, with you being a politician, people send you a lot of books that you don't get time to read," the person said to Gingrich. "I bought every one of these books myself, with my own money," Gingrich supposedly declared, "and I've read them all." Well, perhaps Gingrich has a touch of Alzheimer's.)
Gingrich had flown into Somerset, KY, by helicopter, landing near the former Holiday Inn. Afterward, Hayes and I always referred to Gingrich as "Helicopter Boy" in conversation.
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