THE “GANNON” AFFAIR: SHOULD THIS BE SWEPT UNDER THE RUG?
Back during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, there was a sordid intrigue concerning a male prostitution ring doing business at the White House. Articles on the affair briefly appeared in such major newspapers as The Washington Times and The New York Times (see website http://www.thelawparty.com/FranklinCoverup/franklin.htm to view some of the articles that appeared at the time). That affair was rather quickly swept under the rug, without a thorough investigation of who was engaged in the immorality within the White House. A similar sort of intrigue has surfaced in the administration of President George W. Bush surrounding the person of “Jeff Gannon”. Should this matter also be swept under the rug? I think not, and this article will suggest just some of the reasons why.
The website http://rawstory.com/exclusives/byrne/secret_service_gannon_424.htm presents the information which has been disclosed about “Jeff Gannon’s” unusual access to the White House , with links to webpages showing the official documents themselves:
In what is unlikely to stem the controversy surrounding disgraced White House correspondent James Guckert, the Secret Service has furnished logs of the writer’s access to the White House after requests by two Democratic congressmembers. The documents, obtained by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) through a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal Guckert had remarkable access to the White House. Though he wrote under the name Jeff Gannon, the records show that he applied with his real name.
Gannon’s ready access to President Bush and his work for a news agency that frequently plagiarized content from other reporters and tailored it to serve a conservative message may raise new questions about the White House’s attempts to seed favorable news coverage. Democrats have sought to paint Guckert in the context of other efforts by the Administration to “plant” positive spin by paying for video news releases and columnists to espouse their views. Guckert made more than 200 appearances at the White House during his two-year tenure with the fledging conservative websites GOPUSA and Talon News, attending 155 of 196 White House press briefings. He had little to no previous journalism experience, previously worked as a male escort, and was refused a congressional press pass.
Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.
Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.
On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.
The website http://www.dkosopedia.com/index.php/Jeff_Gannon provides background information concerning the relation of “Jeff Gannon” and the Valerie Plame incident, in which a CIA operative was outed by a leak of information:
White House-credentialed fake news reporter "Jeff Gannon" from fake news agency "Talon News" was cited by the Washington Post as having the only access to an internal CIA memo that named Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a covert CIA agent (Plame Leak timeline). Gannon, in a question posed to Wilson in an October 2003 interview, referred to the memo (to which no other news outlet had access, according to the Post). Gannon subsequently has been subpoenaed by the federal grand jury looking into the Plame outing. The precise wording of the question posed in the subject interview is:
TN: An internal government memo prepared by U.S. intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife, a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do you dispute that??
Jeff Gannon is the White House correspondent and 'Washington Bureau Chief' for Talon News. Following an intensive 2-day course of study at the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism, Jeff was able to claim in his bio that he is a 'graduate' of a journalism school. All for the low low price of just $50. The history of how Jeff Gannon and Talon News were able to secure a White House accreditation (which would be issued by the White House Press Office) is still unfolding...
· 2005-Feb-08: More detail from Atrios: "Sources allege that Jeff Gannon's real name is James D. "JD" Guckert, though I have not been able to confirm this."
· 2005-Feb-01: In this interview with fishbowlDC, the man himself made it pretty clear that it was a pseudonym from the way he lamely attempts to dodge the question.
· 2005-Jan-28: Atrios reports that "Jeff Gannon" is a pseudonym, but doesn't cite sources.
The website http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/2/9/191334/0754 offers more extensive information concerning the connection :
(From the diaries -- kos)
There is sufficient evidence presented in these sources to warrant a continuing thorough investigation. This matter should not just be swept under the rug.