- Fall: The ex-wife of CNN reporter John Camp, Patricia Byrd, warns Camp that a private detective working for the anti-Clinton Arkansas Project is engaged in efforts to smear him. The detective, Rex Armistead, had called Byrd looking for dirt on Camp. "I said I didn't know anything derogatory," Byrd tells Camp, "but he still persisted and kept trying to ask me questions." Armistead's report on Camp, which apparently alleged that Camp was a closet homosexual, finds its way into the files of Jim Leach's House Banking Committee, though a Leach spokesman denies that Armistead had provided any information to the committee. Camp has drawn the ire of Armistead and the Project members by airing several reports attacking the credibility of the Whitewater allegations. Camp once told a National Press Club audience of his experience in tracking down one Whitewater story: "I emerged with a huge dilemma. Was I going to believe the New York Times, or was I going to believe my own lying eyes? And my choice...was to believe my lying eyes, because the documentary evidence did not support the premise of the initial story in March of 1992." Camp's reporting had debunked the Whitewater investigation and the attempts to besmirch Arkansas securities commissioner Beverly Bassett Schaffer, and the swirl of stories surrounding the Mena airfield and Clinton's connection to a CIA drug-running operation running out of that airfield during the 1980s. (Joe Conason and Gene Lyons)
- September 4: Susan McDougal, sentenced to two years in prison over her conviction in the Madison Guaranty trial, goes to jail rather than cooperate with Kenneth Starr's investigation. She refuses to testify in front of Starr's grand jury, insisting that she first be allowed to read a statement that the OIC lawyers and jury foreman do not allow her to read. The OIC tells the media falsely that she gladly answered questions until the subject turned to Bill Clinton, at which time she refused to talk any longer (in reality, she is asked only three questions, all of them about Clinton; she refuses to answer any of them). Days later, she appears on Larry King Live, where she discusses the true nature of the Whitewater deal and lambasts the OIC for asking her to lie about the Clintons in order to save her own skin. On September 9, she is sentenced to jail for contempt of court. She is paraded in front of the cameras in handcuffs, waist chains, and leg irons. McDougal will later state that Starr will ensure her prison stay is extraordinarily stressful as part of his ongoing efforts to compel her testimony: McDougal will be placed in solitary confinement for the bulk of her term, she will be handcuffed and shackled any time she was taken from her cell, and will be subject to frequent interrogations by Starr investigators without benefit of attorney. According to the law, persons found in contempt of court are to be jailed until either they agree to testify or it becomes obvious that they are not going to testify. The maximum length of time to be jailed for contempt is 18 months. The judge presiding over the case, Susan Webber Wright, refuses to release McDougal even after it becomes transparently clear that she is never going to testify.
- Her attorneys file numerous motions to have her released, which are all strongly challenged in court by the OIC and turned down by Judge Wright. After two months in federal prison in Conway, Arkansas, she is moved to Carswell Medical Prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is confined with prisoners being observed for possible mental illness. She protests, and is finally told that she is considered at risk for possibly being rescued by helicopter -- a laughable excuse to lock her up with deranged and violent prisoners. Two months later she is transferred to Los Angeles, where she is incarcerated in the Sybil Brand Institute for Women, one of the worst women's jails in the country. She is placed with the most dangerous and violent prisoners in the jail. Further, she is kept on lockdown status, where she will remain for eight months. Defense lawyer Mark Geragos later volunteers to represent her in both the Mehta and Whitewater cases. Starr repeatedly promises her that as soon as she agrees to testify against Clinton, she can walk out of prison a free woman; McDougal will refuse, saying that she refuses to lie for Starr. The ACLU will later label McDougal's treatment "barbaric." (Washington Post, Susan McDougal, Joe Conason and Gene Lyons)
FBI stymies investigation into Muslim terror fronts in US
- September 11: An FBI investigation into two relatives of bin Laden, begun in February 1996, is closed. The FBI wanted to learn more about Abdullah bin Laden and his ties to suspected terrorist front the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, or WAMY. Abdullah was the US director of WAMY and lived with his brother Omar in Falls Church, Virginia, a town just outside Washington. The coding on the document, marked secret, indicates the case involved espionage, murder, and national security. WAMY has its offices at 5613 Leesburg Pike. Four of the 9/11 hijackers lived at 5913 Leesburg Pike at the same time the two bin Laden brothers were there. WAMY has not been put on a list of terrorist organizations in the US, but it has been banned in Pakistan. A high-placed intelligence official told a London paper, "There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis. There were particular investigations that were effectively killed." An unnamed US source tells the BBC, "There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government." The Bosnian government later says a charity with Abdullah bin Laden on its board had channeled money to Chechen guerrillas with the tacit approval of the CIA. The investigation into WAMY is only restarted two days after 9/11, and after the bin Laden family has left the US. (CCR, Project Censored, Greg Palast)
- September 27: The Taliban take Kabul, essentially establishing their control over Afghanistan as a whole. Pakistan's ISI is instrumental in helping the Taliban achieve this objective. What was not widely known at the time was the depth of involvement by Unocal. The oil conglomerate supported the Taliban due to its hopes that the Taliban would stabilize the region and allow the construction of the pipeline across its territory. In fact, a deal between Unocal and the Taliban had been struck months before. Oil industry insiders believe that Unocal's deal with the Taliban is one of the main reasons why Pakistan so strongly supported the Taliban, why Afghanistan was not listed as a supporter of terrorism by the US, and why the US tacitly agreed to such support. One of the brokers of the deal, Zalmay Khalilzad, is now one of President Bush's top advisors on Afghanistan. (CCR, Albion Monitor/AlterNet, Salon)