Why have the nightly newscasts been completely silent about the recently leaked LaBella memorandum, which suggests that President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and first lady Hillary Clinton may have been involved in criminal machinations with Chinese intelligence agents?
That was the provocative question raised the other day by Bill O'Reilly on his popular Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor." Never, perhaps, has such potentially explosive information been so blithely ignored by those who are supposed to track it down.
Take the Buddhist Temple affair. How many Americans understand that the organizer of the temple fund-raiser (John Huang), the collector of illegal Chinese money from Buddhist nuns (Maria Hsia) and the man Huang selected to sit at the vice president's left hand during the affair (Hsia was on his right) had one striking feature in common: They are all identified agents of Chinese Communist intelligence services.
The Buddhist Temple affair is one small piece of the biggest, most frightening scandal ever to touch the White House. It has ramifications that go far beyond the corruption of a presidential election -- they directly affect the threat of war currently brewing over Taiwan. This is not the first series of Chinese war threats over Taiwan, nor is it the first time that the Clinton-Gore-China network has been implicated in them. In fact, when China last made war noises, accompanied by missile salvos across the Taiwan Straits, Charlie Trie -- a charter member of the conspiracy -- arrived at the White House with a laundry list of instructions to Clinton on how to deal with the crisis.
Trie, a Clinton crony from Arkansas who was convicted of violating U.S. election laws, has been tied to both the Chinese underworld and the Chinese dictatorship by U.S. intelligence agencies. The instructions he delivered to his old friend clearly reflected the views of Beijing.
Yet the major American media have kept the public ignorant of the importance of these revelations. Consequently, even to raise them so bluntly in the midst of the media blackout is to risk being marginalized as a conspiracy zealot. That is because the machinations of the participants are being protected by the most massive coverup in American history. More than 100 subpoenaed witnesses have taken the Fifth Amendment or fled the country, often with the connivance and support of the Clinton White House. This is no less than one would expect when the administration itself is orchestrating the damage control.
Consider how presidential contender Gore has defended his presence at the illegal Buddhist Temple fund-raiser. First, he claimed he didn't know that the temple event was a political fund-raiser, despite the fact that his staff, the Secret Service, the National Security Council, his "friend and supporter" Hsia and his 1996 campaign's chief fund-raiser, Huang, all knew that it was a political fund-raiser.
In fact, speeches at the fund-raiser itself referred to the fact that it was a fund-raiser. And Gore himself sent out an e-mail mentioning a fund-raiser on that date. Yet, when confronted, he still claims he didn't know it was fund-raiser. When it comes to telling the truth about this matter, Gore makes Clinton look like George Washington.
Of course Gore is more brazen than the usual baldfaced liar. He wants not only to ignore the criminal nature of the transactions he has been involved in, but to present them as a conversion experience. Better yet: He wants to use them as a launching pad for his new persona -- Crusader Al -- the born-again champion of campaign-finance reform.
"I have learned from my mistakes," Gore has told the press. "Like John McCain, I bring the passion that comes from personal experience to the battle for campaign-finance reform." Just when is the last time McCain worked with Communist agents to inject illegal Chinese money into a presidential campaign, and conducted the whole tawdry transaction in a temple of God?
The coverup of Chinese Communist penetration of the Clinton-Gore administration is now being conducted by the entire Democratic Party, which apparently believes its electoral life is at stake in the battle. Already, a party line has emerged on the issue. How do Democrats respond to the appearance of the LaBella memorandum, which reveals that a top Justice Department official and the director of the FBI suspect that the president, the vice president and the first lady might be involved in criminal activities? Well, as Energy Secretary and possible Gore running-mate Bill Richardson told Brit Hume on Fox News a week ago, it's old hat and, therefore, trivial.
Hume: Maria Hsia has been convicted of five counts related to [the Buddhist Temple affair]. There were violations of existing law. How does it help for the vice president to propose new [campaign-finance] laws when the event that he's saying he made a mistake at was one in which existing laws were violated?
Richardson: You know, this is a very recycled story -- back and forth and I think it's important that we focus our attention, and the vice president has said this, campaign-finance reform is key for him. And what you're trying to do is just recycle a bunch of old stories without any foundation.
Democrats probably think of this as merely a Clintonesque lie, depending what the meaning of old is. Richardson is well aware that the "old" story is the suppression of the LaBella memorandum by Clinton's coverup chief Janet Reno. The fact that the memorandum has just been leaked is as new as Hsia's five felony convictions. Yet there was Geraldine Ferraro two days later on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes," making the same Orwellian argument ("This has been going on for like three or four years -- the people are fed up with this stuff -- names and instances that nobody cares about.") And other Democratic spokesmen on other programs were repeating the same political mantra.
These new Democratic exculpations for the White House crime suspects bear distinct echoes of last year's charade:
"Everybody does it."
"It's only about sex."
But it was one thing to defend a lying criminal in the White House pretending that he didn't really commit perjury or obstruct the course of justice, if you thought the mess was indeed only about sex. It is quite another matter when the issue at hand is the subversion of the electoral process by the intelligence agencies of a hostile dictatorship, with possible crimes ranging from foreign influence peddling to treason.
Given all this, the continuing silence by the news networks is, as O'Reilly suggests, inexcusable.