LOUIE FREEH: KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM CLINTON!

Excerpts from a review of Louie Freeh’s Book, MY FBI: BRINGING DOWN THE MAFIA, INVESTIGATING BILL CLINTON, AND FIGHTING THE WAR ON TERROR , by Joseph C. Goulden…

Oh, let’s cut right to the chase. Your primary interest in “My FBI,” the memoir by the FBI director during the Clinton administration, is not drug-smuggling cases, however interesting they might be, or even the inspiring story of how a kid from Jersey became a star FBI street agent, a federal prosecutor, a federal district judge and, finally, FBI director. So proceed directly to page 245, “Bill and Me,” which recounts Louis Freeh’s side of the most interesting feud I’ve seen in Washington since LBJ squared off with Bobby Kennedy in the 1960s. There is a difference. At its core, the LBJ-RFK conflict was petty personal politics. The Freeh-Clinton conflict involved a president who used his power to short-circuit not only domestic criminal investigations touching him and his close associates, but also international terrorism that cost the lives of American servicemen. If Mr. Freeh is to be believed (and he surely convinced me) the Clinton years posed a graver threat to our system than even the wildest excesses of Watergate.

How Freeh got on Clinton’s bad side?

But Mr. Freeh, who spent years working against the New York Mafia, had the
street smarts not to be charmed. Days into the job, the head of the FBI
criminal division briefed him on an Arkansas situation soon to be known as
“Whitewater.” As Mr. Freeh writes, “I could see us walking down a path that
ended up with a sitting president… as the subject of a criminal investigation, perhaps even the subject of criminal prosecution.” Mr. Freeh made the first of several moves to keep his distance from Bill Clinton. He declined to come to a White House movie viewing and meet actor Tom Hanks (Mrs. Freeh, a Hanks fan, was irked).
Even more infuriating to the president, he refused a personal White House pass
because “I wanted every visit I made… to be part of some public record.” This
refusal, he heard, “offended Bill Clinton mightily.”

How Clinton got on Freeh’s “keep your distance from list”?

Then the president made a mistake. In an offhand remark to the press, he claimed
that had the FBI briefed the White House, he would have ensured that there was
no “undue influence” involved. But as Mr. Freeh writes, two FBI agents had
briefed Rand Beers, a senior National Security Council staff member. To Mr.
Freeh, it was “inconceivable” that such explosive material would not have
reached the president. He writes, “It’s not in my character to lose my temper.”
So he vented his anger by helping to “draft a press statement that said, in
effect, the White House was lying.” But to Mr. Freeh, the most striking instance
of malfeasance came in Bill Clinton’s attempt to stifle the investigation into
the 1996 terror attack on the Khobar Towers military housing project in Saudi
Arabia, killing 19 Americans. Mr. Freeh saw the carnage first-hand and he vowed
to bring the killers to justice. But the Saudis, despite soothing assurances,
feared offending other Arab neighbors, so they stalled.

Clinton appeases the enemies of the US instead of avenging the deaths of
Americans.

To summarize a complex situation: Whether the FBI would have access to evidence
required that the president make a direct request to the Saudi ruler, Crown
Price Abdullah. According to information reaching Mr. Freeh, “Clinton briefly
raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he certainly understood
the Saudis’ reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit
Abdullah up for a contribution for the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential
library.” Gore, Mr. Freeh said, barely mentioned the subject.

Bill Clinton stinks!

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