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"Hastings: American Secrets for Sale?

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"Hastings: American Secrets for Sale?
By Andrew Walden
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 27, 2006


Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s possible pick of Alcee Hastings (D-FL) to become Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence if Democrats win control of the House in the November 7 elections is a sure sign of Democrats’ true attitude toward the War on Terror.  Pelosi is apparently planning to hand leadership and even more dangerous--access to America’s most sensitive secrets--to a man who has shown that he is a criminal who can be bought. 

 

 

The best evidence for that conclusion comes from Hastings’ articles of impeachment.  Alcee Hastings is one of only 13 Federal Judges to be impeached in the entire history of the United States.  In 1988 Nancy Pelosi joined in supporting the 413-3 impeachment vote by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.  Hastings was convicted in a Senate trial the next year —finally forcing him from the bench.

 

 

As Jacob Laskin explained in a June, 2006 Front Page Magazine article: “The case involved two brothers, Frank and Thomas Romano, who had been convicted in 1980 on 21 counts of racketeering. Together with attorney William Borders Jr., Hastings, who presided over the Romanos' case, allegedly hatched a plot to solicit a bribe from the brothers. In exchange for a $150,000 cash payment, Hastings would return some $845,000 of their $1.2 million in seized assets after they had served their three-year jail terms. Taped conversations between Hastings and Borders confirmed that the judge was a party to the plot….”

 

 

The 17 Articles of Impeachment indicate why Hastings would be a perfect choice to implement the Democrat Party post-victory plan.  Article 17 explains Hastings, “(formed) a corrupt relationship” with William Borders.  Hastings “repeated false testimony” and engaged in the “fabrication of false documents which were submitted as evidence at his criminal trial….”

 

 

These are the exact skills Hastings would need to use in order to manufacture the fraudulent intelligence documents which Democrats would need as “evidence” for their planned impeachment of President Bush.  On his campaign website, Hastings prepares the ground for this, denouncing the war in Iraq as “unjustified” and accusing the Bush administration of “pre-meditated fabrication of intelligence.”  Hastings’ knowledge of impeachment procedures—having been on the receiving end--is icing on the cake.

 

 

Hastings is proud of his qualifications.  When he won election to Congress from Florida’s 23rd Congressional District in 1992 he explained, “I bring with me the added notoriety of being impeached and removed by the same body that I now get to serve in.”

 

 

Parts of Hastings’ district were at the center of the 2000 Florida Presidential election recounts.

 

 

Hastings’ proven willingness to sell himself, lie and fabricate evidence are not his only qualifications.  Hastings’ is also willing to reveal secret information in order to undermine law enforcement.  Impeachment Article XVI states:

 

 

“…Judge Hastings revealed highly confidential information that he learned as the supervising judge on the wiretap, as follows: On the morning of September 6, 1985, Judge Hastings told Stephen Clark, the Mayor of Dade County Florida, to stay away from Kevin “Waxy” Gordon, who was “hot” and was using the Mayor’s name in Hialeah, Florida.

 

 

“As a result of this improper disclosure, certain investigations then being conducted by law enforcement agents of the United States were thwarted and ultimately terminated.”

 

 

Hastings has also been reported to be the subject of ethics investigations in 2004 by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, the Florida Elections Commission and the Federal Election Commission.

 

 

Hastings is the number two Democrat on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  He also serves on the Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence Subcommittee and the Intelligence Oversight Subcommittee. Members of the Intelligence Committee are often the only members of Congress briefed by the Administration on classified intelligence operations. 

 

 

While receiving classified information, Hastings has been traveling extensively overseas. 

 

 

The April 2, 2004 Miami Herald explains, “One of the top five world travelers in the past decade was our own Congressman Alcee Hastings, says PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington-based website. The Miramar Democrat spent $152,378 in taxpayer money on 57 trips to 116 countries. (The dollar figure doesn't include costs for staff or use of military aircraft.)”

 

Hastings’ destinations include many where foreign officials may have an intense interest in buying US secrets.

 

''He's not going to garden spots,'' Alcee Hastings spokesman Fred Turner said. ``He is flying back today from a trip to the Middle East that included Baghdad, Beirut and Damascus. . . . I don't think anybody thinks going to those places constitutes a taxpayer-funded vacation.''

 

 

Hastings was elected president of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly in 2004.  He occupied the Presidency for a two year term until July, 2006.  This position offered Hastings an opportunity to meet numerous officials from dozens of countries who might have an interest in US secrets.

 

Hastings defended The New York Times when it exposed the secret US efforts to track terrorist financing through the international banking system.  On “Fox Special Report”, June 29, 2006 he said,Find all of the leakers, prosecute them, put them in jail but let a free press stand in this nation." 

 

 

Hastings was less interested in a “free press” when fascists demanded the death of Danish cartoonists who dared to lampoon Mohammed.  Said Hastings:

 

 

“The cartoons are not only offensive and untrue, they debase the marketplace of ideas in the name of free speech. This is abhorrent and should be denounced as such. A responsible press should report the news, not incite hate or inflame hostility. In this instance, the publishers of these newspapers have failed miserably on both counts. As the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, an organization which has never failed to excoriate xenophobia in all its ugly forms, I reject totally the inferences made in these cartoons and beseech the press to stop running them."

 

If Pelosi goes through with the Hastings appointment, she would bypass Jane Harmon, currently the senior Democrat on the House Intel Committee.  Harmon, who is Jewish, is critical of the Bush Administration but believes America must finish the job in Iraq rather than surrender to al-Qaeda.  She also supports the use of wartime spying against America’s enemies abroad.  This marks her out of the Democratic leftist mainstream and targets her for demotion.

 

 

In contrast, the American Civil Liberties Union feted Hastings in May, 2005 for his opposition to the Patriot Act, the cornerstone of anti-terrorist intelligence efforts.

 

 

Hastings’ trips often include his “staff assistant”, reputed girlfriend Vanessa Griddine, who “earns” more than Hastings’ Chief of Staff.  Griddine is not the only member of Hastings’ staff rumored to be romantically linked.  Another “staff assistant” Patricia Williams is believed to “earn” as much as $129,000 per year.  Williams, who represented Hastings in the impeachment trial, was disbarred in 1992 for “mishandling client funds” – acts which occurred about the time of the impeachment hearings.  She is believed to be owed substantial legal fees by Hastings.

 

 

Hastings’ bio on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website says: “Known to most as ‘Judge Hastings,’ he has had a distinguished career as an attorney, civil rights activist and judge. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African American to serve as a Federal judge in the state of Florida, and he served in that position with distinction and honor for ten years.”

 

 

Here are a few items they left out.

 

 

Although Hastings was not impeached and convicted until 1988-89, his criminal activities began very shortly after his 1979 appointment to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter. In December, 1981 a Florida Grand jury indicted Hastings on the bribery charge for which he was eventually impeached as well as several related felony charges.  These charges made Hastings only the third federal judge to face criminal indictment in the 20th century.  In 1983 he was acquitted even as his co-defendant was convicted. 

 

 

Shortly thereafter, three federal judges took the unusual step of calling on the House of Representatives to impeach Hastings on the criminal charges as well as for claiming that the charges were racially motivated.  In 1985 Hastings revealed the secret wiretap information to the Dade County Mayor.  In 1987 a panel of 27 federal judges recommended impeachment of Hastings.  In 1988 Hastings was impeached on charges including 14 counts of perjury during his 1983 trial.  In 1989 Hastings was convicted by the Senate.  In 1991 Hastings filed suit to overturn his conviction.  In 1992, the conviction was remanded back to the Senate by a federal court ruling on a technicality.  The timing—two months before Election Day-- was perfect for Hastings.  Hastings was elected from the newly-created heavily Democratic and mostly black 23rd Congressional District in November, 1992.  In January, 1993, just before Hastings was sworn in as a Congressman, the Supreme Court ruled that courts have no authority to review Senate impeachment trials--effectively upholding Hastings’ impeachment.

 

 

He “keeps” two female companions—one a disbarred lawyer—on his staff.  He was subject to three different investigations in 2004.  Are we supposed to believe this person who so quickly fell into corruption after being named to the federal bench suddenly changed his ways in 1993? 

 

 

Hastings’ well known criminal record and his choice to travel with a paid female “companion” are unspoken invitations to any foreign intelligence official or anti-American journalist seeking access to American secrets.  His extensive foreign travels give him access to numerous such individuals.  Hastings is already very dangerous to American security as a member of several intelligence-related House committees and sub-committees as well as the OSCE.  But apparently Pelosi believes Hastings is not yet doing enough damage."

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24590

Entry #618

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