CIA gives Clinton officials evidence of upcoming attacks by al-Qaeda on US targets involving hijacked airplanes
- September: The CIA presents the Clinton administration with evidence that al-Qaeda's next attack will involve hijacked planes being flown into US targets. (CCR)
- September: In their book A World Transformed, Brent Scowcroft and George H.W. Bush state, "We should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability." (International Herald-Tribune)
- September 3: Conservative Democratic senator Joseph Lieberman becomes the first Democrat to openly condemn Bill Clinton. Lieberman's statement, given on the floor of the Senate, gives tremendous legitimacy to the Republican's claim that their attack on Clinton is more than merely partisan politics, severely undercuts the Democrats' attempts to defend the president, and is widely seen by Democrats as an unforgivable backstabbing of the leader of their party. Lieberman calls it "the most difficult statement I have made on this floor in my ten years in the Senate," and says he reacted to Clinton's admission of a sexual liason with Monica Lewinsky with "deep disappointment and personal anger." Calling Clinton's behavior "disgraceful," he condemns Clinton for both having the affair and lying about it to the public and says Clinton's transgressions have done "damage...to the proud legacy of his presidency," and demand "an accounting of the impact of his actions on our democracy and its moral foundations." Echoing many Republican talking points, Lieberman says he believes that "our society's standards are sinking, that our common moral code is deteriorating, and that our public life is coarsening. ...And now because the President commands at least as much attention and exerts at least as much influence on our collective consciousness as any Hollywood celebrity or television show, it is hard to ignore the impact of the misconduct the President has admitted to on our children, our culture and our national character."
- He says that Clinton's conduct "sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family, particularly to our children, which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture. If you doubt that, just ask America's parents about the intimate and often unseemly sexual questions their young children have been asking and discussing since the President's relationship with Ms. Lewinsky became public seven months ago. I have had many of those conversations in recent days, and from that I can conclude that many parents feel much as I do, that something very sad and sordid has happened in American life when I cannot watch the news on television with my ten-year-old daughter any more. This is unfortunately familiar territory for Americas families in today's anything-goes culture, where sexual promiscuity is too often treated as just another lifestyle choice with little risk of adverse consequences. It is this mindset that has helped to threaten the stability and integrity of the family, which continues to be the most important unit of civilized society, the place where we raise our children and teach them to be responsible citizens, to develop and nurture their personal and moral faculties."
- He accuses Clinton of "undercut[ting] the efforts of millions of American parents who are naturally trying to instill in our children the value of honesty." He attacks Democratic efforts to accept Clinton's apology and move on, and demands a public accounting, along with a resolution of reprimand or censure from Congress. He backpedals from the Republican demands of immediate impeachment and resignation "at this time." Republicans seize on Lieberman's remarks and use them to browbeat both Clinton and the Democrats who defend him; many Democratic insiders feel that Lieberman's remarks will pave the way for impeachment proceedings to begin. (Australian Politics)
Clinton critic Dan Burton admits to his own sexual transgressions; evidence of fraud and political scandal abound
- September 4: Republican representative Dan Burton, one of Clinton's most vociferous critics about the Lewinsky affair and other "scandals" plaguing the administration, admits to fathering a child out of wedlock during an extramarital affair in the early 1980s. Burton says he is stepping up to take responsibility for his actions, but only does so after he receives word that Vanity Fair is preparing an article which will reveal his secret (the magazine later chooses not to run the article). Burton says his wife is aware of the child, but Burton has never publicly acknowledged the child as being his. The boy has no father listed on his birth certificate, and does not use Burton's last name. Ironically, in light of his moralistic criticisms of Clinton, Burton claims that his fathering of the child is no one's business but his own and the families involved. "I have never perjured myself. I have never committed obstruction of justice," he says. "I have been as straight as an arrow in my public duty. But this is private." Burton also issues a challenge to reporters to find anything else in his public or private life: "As far as peccadilloes and all that stuff, man, they could go from dawn till dusk digging around trying to find out stuff about that... There's nothing else to learn."
- Reporters take Burton up on his challenges, and find plenty to write about. Journalist Russ Baker, who wrote the original Vanity Fair article, finds what Salon calls "a Capitol Hill potentate who has apparently abused his power by using strong-arm and unethical campaign finance practices and by preying on female lobbyists, staffers and constituents." In September 1995, just after Republican Bob Packwood resigned his office over scores of admitted incidents of sexual harassment and predation, Burton thundered, "[W]hy, I ask, are we excusing or ignoring similar behavior [referring to Clinton]? No one, regardless of what party they serve, no one, regardless of what branch of government they serve, should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties, and yet it is obvious to me...that a double standard does exist." Burton is prone to lecture reporters and colleagues alike on morality; his Web site proclaims in large type, "Above all, Dan Burton believes the people have a right to principled leadership and that character does matter," and boasts that "Dan Burton is the leader in the Congress fighting against all odds to get at the truth on all the Clinton Scandals." He has publicly called Clinton a "scumbag" and is well remembered for his attempt to persuade a federal investigator that Clinton associate Vince Foster, who committed suicide, was murdered by demonstrating his theory of the "murder" by shooting a watermelon in his back yard. Burton's moralistic pronouncements clash harshly with his actual behaviors, and prompted the Chicago Tribune to editorialize, "Dan Burton is a crude, crass man who is a disgrace to his district, his state, his party and the House." Burton is not slow to issue his own accusations; he once opened a set of House finance committee hearings with a raft of unfounded allegations against the Clinton administration, saying, "Is it any surprise to find Chinese arms dealers, drug dealers and fugitives from justice attending Democratic National Committee events at the White House with the president?" In 1995, he even demanded an investigation into whether taxpayers were footing the bill for stationary and postage for the fan club dedicated to Socks, the Clinton family cat. (They were not.)
- Burton fails to meet his own high moral and ethical standards. He has repeatedly fought accusations of campaign fraud, including charges from a lobbyist that Burton threatened him with the loss of his job if he didn't make contributions to Burton's campaign. Worse, evidence shows that Burton is guilty himself of the illegal use of congressional offices by Burton and a member of his committee staff for campaign fund-raising -- the very charge that has been leveled by Republicans, including loud accusations from Burton, at Clinton and Gore. He was forced to return campaign contributions from a lobbyist for Zaire dictator Robert Mobutu. As for the story of the "love child" that Burton fathered 15 years ago, journalists and political insiders have heard rumors of that story for years. They have also heard scores of allegations of sexual harassment and groping, including a complaint by a Planned Parenthood lobbyist that he fondled her in his Congressional offices. Numerous sources confirm that Burton has had numerous affairs with women on his staff. Baker writes, "The portrait of Burton that emerged from a seven-month investigation is that of a man much like his nemesis, President Clinton: Both rose from troubled, violence-plagued, working-class childhoods to political prominence, and both have put their careers at risk with sexual indiscretions. But unlike Clinton, Burton has made a career of attacking people who are most like him, and lionizing those whose values he himself cannot live by."
- A former Indianapolis Star reporter, Harrison Ullman, says, "All of the important people know the truth about Burton and pretend he's upstanding." After Burton's admission that he had fathered an illegitimate child, Dick Cady wrote in the Star, "During part of the 1970s and '80s, Dan Burton was known as the biggest skirt-chaser in the Indiana legislature. ...Privately, some of his fellow Republicans expressed embarrassment. Lobbyists whispered about the stories of Burton's escapades. Statehouse reporters joked about him. Yet no one ever wrote about, or probably thought about writing anything. To the people who sent him first to the legislature and then to Congress, Burton was Mr. Conservative, the devout husband and father who espoused family values." Cady dug up a report from 1980 of the Indianapolis Press Club's "roasting" of Burton, which included the following jokes about the then-state senator: "He wants to become the District of Columbia's first senator. Why, you ask? Because someone told him that three-quarters of a million people in Washington go to bed each night without a senator." "For a man who claims to be such a moralist, Danny does have a reputation as a ladies' man. He is all for life, liberty and the happiness of pursuit." "He likes to get out there and see sin up close." "Everybody who was around him at the Statehouse and everyone who knows him at all says the same thing: God, how did Dan Burton get away with this?" recalls a female statehouse lobbyist. "None of the [female] staff wanted to be caught in a hall with him," recalls retired Indiana legislator Hurley Goodall, a Democrat who served with Burton until 1983, when Burton left for Washington. "Then, when he ran for re-election and they had a picture of his family in the paper, everybody wanted to puke."
- There are plenty of sources who can confirm Burton's sexually predatory nature. One woman, a former staff attorney for the Indiana legislature, recalls being with Burton one day after hours: "He put his hand on the back of my neck and said, 'Would your husband, your boyfriend, be upset about you being here late with me tonight?'" Just then, she says, a male staffer appeared -- "bless his heart," the woman added. A former GOP worker says Burton propositioned his daughter when she was a secretary there. "she was very upset," he recalls. "I said to him, 'Dan, I would appreciate it if nothing more like that happened.'" Virginia Blankenbaker, a former Republican state senator, says that her late husband, who was director of public safety for Indianapolis, told her of numerous Burton problems, and she recalls one of her own. "One of my interns -- I don't remember if she also worked for him -- was flattered when he invited her to dinner at the end of the session in 1981 or 1982, and then was most embarrassed when he propositioned her," she remembers. "It's bizarre he's so outspoken on moral issues."
- Other Hoosier women seethe with anger over Burton's hypocrisy. "I know wise men who in political life have had affairs," says Beth Green, a retired civil servant for the Indiana legislature who knew Burton. "There are many whom I think handle those relationships with respect. Perhaps there are mutual benefits. And, yeah, it's OK what they do. But I do care when they're up there preaching family values. My feeling is that [Burton] is not sincere about anything." One woman who worked for an Indiana government agency and saw Burton frequently at political events remembers that when she was in her early 20s Burton came on to her in a "friendly" way by inviting her for a drink. They did not have a relationship, only a "one-night stand...at my place," because "I suspect that he was worried that I was going to say something to somebody else in politics, and I didn't," she recalls. "It has been a source of both irritation and amusement to me over the years to hear him campaign and tout himself as having such strong family values and being such a defender of the conservative point of view, because I think, 'This is so much bullsh*t. What a hypocrite!' Even though I am a registered Republican and have been all my life and have worked both formally and informally on political campaigns, my favorite candidate is whoever is running against him."
- Former Burton staff member Rebecca Hyatt has said that Burton pressured her into having sex with him when she baby-sat for his family. Her former boyfriend, James Rutledge, recalls, "she said, 'I've got a problem at work. Dan wants me to have sex with him. He keeps bugging me every day." After Hyatt and Burton began an affair, Rutledge remembers, "He took her up there [to Washington]. He promised her a job, everything." Hyatt's ex-husband, Byron Hyatt, says she told him of the affair with her boss. Jeannie Blair, a registered Republican, recalls still another Burton episode, in the mid-'80s. The woman in question was Blair's next-door neighbor, for whom Blair baby-sat. On one occasion, Blair accompanied the woman to Louisville, en route to picking up the children elsewhere, and, she says, Burton followed in his car. Blair says she took a motel room, while Burton and her neighbor took the one next door. On another occasion, while at a bar with the couple, Blair said Burton "brought some other guy along [because] maybe I might like him," even though the congressman knew she was married. She declined the opportunity. (The neighbor denies the affair.) Bill Smith, who served as Burton's chief of staff in the 1980s and now runs the Indiana Family Institute, a conservative "family advocacy" organization dedicated to discouraging divorce, says that while canvassing door-to-door in Burton's 1982 congressional campaign, he met a woman who told him that she would not vote for Burton because he was a "womanizer." Smith says he immediately approached Burton and asked him about it. Burton, he recalls, replied: "Well, you know, a few years ago Barb and I separated. There was a good chance we were gonna get divorced. And during that time, I dated." Smith says that he accepted Burton's explanation until three years later, when a pastor in Washington approached him "along the same lines. And my response to him was, 'Oh, I've talked to Dan about that. And here's the situation.' But just hearing it again troubled me and I went back to Dan." Burton claimed that it was just the same story being recirculated.
- In the early 1990s a Planned Parenthood delegation visited Washington to lobby members of Congress and paid a courtesy call on Burton, even though they knew he was unsympathetic to their cause. They expected to meet with a staff member. Instead, Burton himself bounded out and escorted the three lobbyists into a tiny inner office. "This was almost a closet," says one participant, a middle-aged Republican woman. "There was a lot of junk around...and there was maybe one chair, and he pulled in another chair, and there was the sofa that sat practically on the floor. It was uncomfortable for all of us. And he came in and was talking to us about his years at the seminary." Soon thereafter, the trio took their leave, with Burton standing in the doorway so that each had to pass him. As she tried to exit, "he grabbed my arm and pulled me back. I thought that he was just angry [about our discussion]. I was there maybe 30 seconds, and he had his hands up my skirt so fast I didn't even know what was coming." The woman says she was able to stop Burton's hand before it reached its target. All three lobbyists remember being shocked to interrupt one of Burton's male staffers under a desk aiming a camera up a young female staffer's skirt. When the lobbyists expressed their astonishment at the scene, the staffers explained that they were merely checking to see whether an unscrupulous person could take photographs up a woman's skirt undetected. One male lobbyist adds that he heard Burton make inappropriately graphic sexual remarks to one of the young women staffers.
- A serious issue for Burton is his close relationship with his former campaign manager, ex-model Claudia Keller. Keller carried out her duties from her home in Indianapolis, outside of Burton's congressional district. Burton has helped Keller pay the rent on her house since 1991. He also pays her a hefty yearly income, including salaries, bonuses, and payments to a business called "Buttons & Bows" that is apparently run from Keller's home. He also pays over $10,000 a year to Elizabeth Keller, Claudia Keller's sister, who lives a block away. Burton's campaign has also made payments to Claudia Keller's daughter, aunt and ex-husband. In addition to the full-time campaign salary, Keller has also received a salary for part-time employment in Burton's congressional district office. Last fall, a Burton spokesman had trouble explaining what Keller's job entailed; he said he would need to look into it. Burton's frequent visits to Keller's home were ostensibly to discuss business, though he often arrived dressed as if he were headed to the golf course, according to Denise Range, a neighbor, and was sometimes greeted at the door by Keller wearing a teddy. Melissa Bickel, another neighbor, recalls that Keller would often send her daughter over to their house when Burton came calling, which she says was as often as three or four times a week. According to Keller's neighbors, when Burton arrived, Keller would move her car so Burton could pull into the driveway, after which she would pull in directly behind him, as if to block the license plate. This struck them as odd because there was abundant street parking in the residential area. In a recent conversation, Bickel says, Keller's daughter told her that Burton "was worried about all this stuff with Clinton, that he would get people to start investigating him. And I said, 'He's done the same things, so he should be worried about it.'" Keller now works out of Burton's Washington office as his "scheduler."
- For the past decade, Burton has exhibited an unusual pattern: Though he has had no serious opposition, he has paid campaign salaries every single month, even in non-election years, to two people: Claudia Keller and Sharon Delph. Delph knew Burton back in high school, and served as secretary to Burton when he was president of the Young Republicans in the 1960s. When Delph's ex-husband, who maintains regular contact with her, was asked what she did for her regular Burton campaign salary, he expressed amazement she was being paid at all, noting that she has a full-time job in a bank. Her son, Michael, whom Burton recommended for graduate school and hired onto his Washington staff as a key aide immediately upon his graduation, also said he was unaware that his mother received a regular paycheck from Burton's campaign. Delph herself refused to comment on what she does for the Burton campaign. An extensive review of Burton's campaign reports for recent years reveals frequent reimbursements to Burton himself, totaling many thousands of dollars, for unidentified expenses for travel, meetings, hotels and the like. A US attorney in Indiana is contemplating an investigation of Burton's "ghost employees."
- Burton describes himself as highly partisan, and often delights in angering Congressional colleagues with his procedural antics; others among the Indiana delegation privately call Burton a "flake." Yet sometimes his party loyalties can be undone by personal feelings: in 1992, he moved to cut $1 million from funding for breast-cancer and cervical screening programs, plus $20 million from the National Cancer Institute. After his wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with breast cancer, he reversed course and wrote to a House subcommittee, "You have my complete support to make sure that women have the opportunity to get mammograms as early as possible." But, almost everything else he has done in Congress has been partisan to the extreme. As chairman of the House Finance Committee, he has led numerous investigations into the Clinton administration and the Clinton campaign's finances, sometimes coming across as, in Baker's words, "confrontational and sometimes clownish." Democratic colleague Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the committee, says, "There has never been an investigation that has been so plagued by mistakes, raw partisanship and wrong judgments." Even some Republicans began expressing dissatisfaction with his missteps and grandstanding. Burton's own fundraising is far more rife with fraud and unethical behavior than anything he has been able to prove against Clinton, particularly in his fundraising among Florida's Cuban-American communities and, oddly, among American Sikhs, who he has supported in their efforts to create a separatist state in India and Pakistan. In 1997 Burton was forced to return two campaign contributions from Sikh temples -- the same kind of illegal contributions that he has, without evidence, repeatedly accused the Clinton administration of taking from American Buddhists. His cozying up to corporate donors, particularly AT&T, is well-documented, including one campaign bash sponsored and funded by the corporation while his committee was awarding the company a $10 billion government contract. Burton's unethical and possibly illegal fundraising tactics are currently under investigation by a grand jury.
- Burton's investigation of Clinton's campaign fundraising suddenly stop when it was revealed in May that Burton's staff doctored audiotapes of former Clinton advisor Webster Hubbell to try to smear Clinton (see above). After the revelations of his own sexual promiscuity, his own campaign crimes, and his attempts to doctor evidence against Clinton, Burton will retire into relative obscurity, though as of 2005 he still retains his seat in Congress. (CNN, Salon/Russ Baker, Wikipedia, Hilton and Testa)
- September 11-18: The "starr Report" is released to the public. The documents are filled with licentious documentation of intimate conversations between Clinton and Lewinsky, some true and some false, along with raw interview material and charges and allegations that were never investigated or unsubstantiated. There is no mention of any evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the Whitewater or Madison Guaranty investigations; while the word "sex" 581 times and the word "Whitewater" appears a mere four times, usually in the phrase "Whitewater Independent Counsel." The actual Whitewater land deal is mentioned twice. The supposedly heinous Filegate matter is mentioned not at all. Neither is Travelgate, which was so blown out of proportion in the press to drive Vince Foster to take his own life. The report is so salacious in its details of Clinton's private life that it briefly becomes a best-seller. (Clinton Impeachment Timeline, H.R. Clinton, James Carville, Hilton and Testa)
- September 14: George H.W. Bush publishes his memoirs of his presidency, A World Transformed, in which he writes of Iraq, "We should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war, it could only plunge that part of the world into ever greater instability." (George Bush, quoted by Maureen Farrell/Buzzflash)
- September 16: Republican congressman Henry Hyde, one of the most loudly sanctimonious critics of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, is outed as having had an affair that destroyed a family. In 1965, Hyde carried on an affair with a married woman, Cherie Snodgrass, which lasted until her husband confronted Mrs. Hyde in 1969. The Snodgrasses divorced in 1967, and both say that Hyde's affair permanently damaged their relationship with each other and with their children. Hyde kept Mrs. Snodgrass in a lavish apartment, showering her with jewels and cash; her ex-husband, Fred, calls her "a kept woman." Attempting damage control, Hyde dismisses the affair as a "youthful indiscretion," though Hyde was 41 when the affair began, and characterizing the five-year affair as "a friendship."
- "I watched [Hyde] on TV the other night," Fred Snodgrass tells a reporter. "These politicians were going on about how he should have been on the Supreme Court, what a great man he is, how we're lucky to have him in Congress in charge of the impeachment case. And all I can think of is here is this man, this hypocrite who broke up my family." Mrs. Snodgrass, remarried and living in Texas, would not speak to the press herself, but her daughter says, "My mother originally didn't want me to say anything to the press. But she's just so fed up with [Hyde], with how two-faced he is. She knows she wasn't his first [mistress] and she wasn't his last. She hates his anti-abortion stuff, and all the family values stuff. She thinks he's bad for the country, he's too powerful and he's hypocritical." Fred Snodgrass, now retired and living alone in Florida, says, "Of course, it takes two to tango and maybe I wasn't the best of husbands. But he [Hyde] got away with it. He doesn't deserve all this ovation, this respect." Before the article outing his affair, which appears in Salon, is published, Hyde, getting wind of the imminent publication, warns the press that he considers any reporter trying to gather damaging personal information on anyone on the House Judiciary Committee to be guilty of a federal crime, and threatens any such reporter with jail. Naturally, Hyde has no authority nor legal backing to make such threats, and when Salon publishes the article anyway, Hyde takes no legal action. (Hyde is no stranger to scandal; in 1981, Hyde got away with bilking millions out of a failed savings and loan, Clyde Federal, which cost taxpayers $67 million, and manages to dodge responsibility for the failure of another S&L directed by both himself and his son; this failure cost taxpayers $111 million.) Hyde, one of Congress's staunchest anti-abortion advocates, will announce his retirement from politics in 2006. (Wikipedia, Salon, Hilton and Testa)
- September 23: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1199, demanding a cease-fire and end to hostilities between Serbians and ethnic Albanians in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo. This, and another resolution in October, will be ignored. (Ministry of Defence)
- September 24: The House Judiciary Committee announces its intention to open hearings on the possible impeachment of Clinton for perjury (his denial of a sexual relationship with Lewinsky in the Jones case, even though the material related to Lewinsky was thrown out of the case) and obstruction of justice (his alleged efforts to coerce Lewinsky into lying about the affair under oath). (Clinton Impeachment Timeline)
- Late September: US District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson issues a court order, specifically citing twenty-four media stories, which had allegedly resulted from illegal grand jury leaks provided by Kenneth Starr's Office of the Independent Counsel. Earlier, in a June 19 decision about the leaks, Judge Johnson had ordered Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and members of his OIC staff to appear for a show-cause hearing to defend at least 24 alleged leaks that violate Rule 6E of federal statutes prohibiting release of grand jury information to the public. Of the 24 stories (all which are listed on Dan Moldea's Web site), 5 were originally presented on NBC News, 2 in Newsweek, 5 in the New York Times, 4 on CBS News, 1 in the New York Daily News, 2 in the Washington Post, 2 on ABC News, 1 on CNN, 1 in the Boston Globe, 1 on Fox News, and 1 in Brill's Content. (This does not include the dozens, if not hundreds, of other media outlets that have repeated these stories.) Of all the reporters involved in promulgating Starr's leaks, only Stephen Brill made the leaks public. (Dan Moldea)