Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Remembering ABSCAM and John Murtha

I decided to do some background checking on John Murtha (D-PA) who is calling for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq, and suggesting redeployment to Okinawa.
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In my research I ran across a January story from the Cybercast News Service. Murtha seems totally out of touch with reality and is considered a well-decorated war hero from the Vietnam hero. Like John Kerry (D-MA), Murtha refuses to make is military record public.
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Abscam (short for "Arab scam") was the FBI’s sting operation that led to the arrest of several congressmen for accepting bribes in the late 70’s, early 80’s. John Murtha (D-PA) had a role in ABSCAM as an un-indicted co-conspirator. xxx Murtha has denied any wrongdoing, but one of Murtha's former allies, a Democratic congressman who served on the House Ethics Committee in 1981 and says he lobbied colleagues not to censure Murtha, and now believes Murtha lied to him about his role in Abscam. CNS writes the following: (blue italics used for emphasis). xxx Murtha was one of eight members of Congress lured to a Washington, D.C., townhouse by a team of FBI agents posing as representatives of a fictitious Arab sheik. They handed out briefcases filled with $50,000 in return for helping the sheik gain residency in the United States. Noting that Murtha "is not squeaky clean," the Brattleboro, Vt., Reformer reported that the congressman "did not take the cash" offered by the agents. Instead, "he asked the fake sheik to consider investing some money in his struggling home town, Johnstown." xxx Murtha was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator and testified against two House colleagues. xxx A videotape of a Jan. 7, 1980 Abscam-related meeting involving Murtha shows that the congressman's rejection of the offered bribe was less than definite. "I'm not interested. I'm sorry," Murtha told the FBI agent, but added that he meant "at this point.”
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"You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't," Murtha said on the FBI videotape. The congressman told the undercover FBI agent that he was a member of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and acknowledged: "If you get into heat with politicians, there's no amount of money that can help." A July 30, 1981, article in the Washington Post quoted a committee source as saying that several allegations of misconduct against Murtha were rejected on a "near party-line vote." Since the panel was made up of six Democrats and six Republicans, seven votes were needed to file any charges. xxx Serving on the House panel in 1981 was Rep. Don Bailey (D-Pa.), who told Cybercast News Service that he was responsible for preventing the committee from punishing Murtha. "I saved his (posterior)," Bailey said.
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"I worked hard, and I argued," and members of the committee "agreed with me," Bailey stated. "Part of my argument was that the FBI was overdoing it and there wasn't evidence that [Murtha] was doing anything wrong."
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In 2002, Murtha's ethics again became an issue in the congressional election. Bailey issued a public letter, the contents of which have been published on the Internet and confirmed by Bailey. In the letter, Bailey admits that his opinion about Murtha's involvement in Abscam had dramatically changed by 2002.
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"I was, to be honest, critical about how you misled me about Abscam where you convinced me you had voluntarily told federal agents about the offer of money to you," Bailey wrote Murtha in the letter.
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"I learned later, after I had successfully defeated the ethics charges against you, that you had merely manipulated the system to cooperate with federal agents to avoid prosecution," Bailey added.
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Even more interesting than the ABSCAM issue concerning Murtha is what Bailey has to say in his letter about Murtha's military record.
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You clearly indicated to me in a moment of weakness, that you hadn’t deserved the purple hearts and there was no confusion on that. You may deny that all you wish - but you and I know that that conversation took place. Please apologize now. xxx You may fool a few reporters into believing that merely because you got some perfunctory paperwork made out by a friend, that that means you earned the purple hearts. But even if you were awarded the medals later, there should be affidavits from witnesses. These things should be easy to get - where are they? xxx I bet they don’t exist Jack because you are the one who’s lying. Luckily there’s one easy way to settle all this. Call a press conference. Explain where you were and what you were doing when you got the purple hearts. Explain who was with you and treated your wounds, but most important Jack describe your wounds or the lack thereof, as you did for me, years ago. xxx I am absolutely certain that you won’t do that - because, though you may have manipulated some paperwork that says you were awarded the medals (for political purposes) you can’t produce the witnesses or documents to show any wounds or circumstances under which they occurred. xxx Unless the Marine Corps gives out medals for unsubstantiated non-combat related telltale scratches, procured for use in political campaign - then show me the money Jack - because there should at least be evidence by affidavit, or record of the scratches, that’s what getting a purple heart requires - show me.
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You may be able to take advantage of a few Washington reporters who don’t have sufficient experience to understand - but you can’t fool combat veterans of the Vietnam war by hiding behind “Unit” losses - we’re used to those stories. I have my orders describing my combat awards Jack - to back up my DD-214. Where’s your’s? And Jack - don’t ever call me a liar.

Sincerely,

Don Bailey

Jack (John Murtha) won't release his military records, like John Kerry he won't sign off on SF-180. Kerry and Murtha like to pretend they are war heroes, at the expense of those who died in Vietnam and those who serve and die today.

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