The gang at militarycorruption.com is at it again. A few weeks ago, we reported on the website's attempt to "slime" President Bush's nominee to run the CIA, Air Force General Michael Hayden. In an effort to potentially de-rail the nomination, militarycorruption.com recirculated old rumors that Hayden had a one-night stand with a female Air Force Captain, during a visit to the Balkans in 2001. With the held of an award-winning investigative journalist and a retired counter-intelligence officer, we took a look at the allegations and found them seriously lacking. The charge of infidelity was based on the accusations of the woman's ex-husband, a retired Air Force major. The Air Force conducted an official investigation into the matter, and found no evidence to support the allegation. Case closed, or so we thought.
Now, militarycorruption.com is offering the "inside" story of how Hayden won confirmation by the Senate, despite the infidelity rumors and questions about the surveillance programs he ran as NSA director. If you can believe the website (and that's a stretch), then General Hayden mounted one of the most effective intimidation campaigns in the history of Washington, D.C.
"The primary word was fear," a Congressional source tells MilitaryCorruption.com. "Few senators wanted to make an enemy of the general - President George Bush's choice to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
"There was little chance to stop the nomination anyway. A lot was at risk for needlessly antagonizing such a powerful man. When he took over NSA (National Security Agency) there was a blood purge. Heads will roll at CIA soon enough. Gen. Michael Hayden is not a person you want angry with you, that's for sure."
When the votes were counted, only 15 senators dared to go against the general. Hillary Clinton, re-inventing herself as a "moderate" in preparation for a run for President in 2008, was not one of them. If any senator distinguished themselves by refusing to "rubber stamp" the general, it was Russ Feingold of Wisconsin.
If Hayden turns out to be half as bad as some observers fear, Feingold will have been right.
Naming an active-duty general as head of the CIA sends a chill down the back of many who cherish the Constitution and it's provisions for protection of free speech. Everyone in their right mind knows we must fight terrorism every way we can. But in doing that, the White House should be careful how they curb individual freedoms and try and control or mislead the news media.
Top aides to several senators, including Carl Levin of Michigan, spoke with MilitaryCorruption.com after reading our copyrighted story on Hayden [see "related stories" box below], which included a claim by a former Air Force officer that his young wife confessed to him she'd had an affair with the general when they worked together at NSA.
We can tell our readers that at least one top editor on a newspaper that had a copy of Kevin Furlong's complaint to the Air Force Inspector General's Office, decided not to go with the story after an intensive investigation, for fear of possible retaliation.
The Levin aide had the information before the vote, but in the end, the Democrat senator lined up with the Bush administration and supported Hayden's nomination.
"All we wanted was for Sen. Levin to ask Hayden, under oath, if any complaint against him involving adultery with a subordinate female officer, was ever filed with the Air Force IG," an MCC editor said.
One of the problems the above-mentioned newspaper had in nailing down and publishing the story was the refusal by the Air Force to even acknowledge whether or not they had such a complaint in their files.
At least inquiring about the alleged affair would place Hayden's response on record, but no senator was willing to go there. For whatever reason.
Let's see...if the website is correct, then many--if not most--of the senators voting for confirmation were afraid to cross paths with the prospective CIA nominee? True, the director of that spy agency is a powerful man, but so are the men and women who make up the "World's Most Exclusive Club" a.k.a., The United States Senate. The idea that one nominee could transform most of the Senate into sniveling pansies is nothing short of ludicrous, particularly when you consider the controversy surrounding the Hayden nomination. In today's political climate, opponents of Hayden would have used whatever was available to torpedo the nomination, assuming that the charges had some basis in fact.
And that's where militarycorruption.com runs into trouble. The adultery allegation was filed by the woman's husband, Major Kevin Furlong, who had gone through a bitter divorce with his ex-wife. According to Major Furlong, his former wife (who has refused comment on the matter) confessed the alleged affair during a marital counseling session. However, he could not provide any substantiation for that claim. The Eighth Air Force Inspector General's office (which conduced the inquiry) actually obtained notes from the counseling session, but they provided no record of the infidelity claim from the former Mrs. Furlong.
Militarycorruption.com reports that this "information" was provided to aides to several top senators, including Michigan's Carl Levin. However, Levin and his colleagues decided not to pursue the adultery allegation in the confirmation hearings, for obvious reasons--there was no proof to support the allegations, other than the complaint originally filed by retired Major Furlong. And when a detailed Air Force investigation found no basis for that claim, it became a dead issue. Whatever he may be, Carl Levin is not a dumb politician. Without any evidence to back up the adultery charges, he elected to stay away from the allegations. Smart move.
Even wackier than the "fear and intimidation" charge is the website's claim that a "top" newspaper refused to pursue the story, for fear of retaliation. As with other charges from militarycorruption.com, the allegation is long on sensationalism, short on the facts. Who is this editor? What paper does he or she work for? Obviously, the editor in question doesn't work for The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, or the Washington Times, all of which have published classified "exclusives" for a number of years.
Truth be told, I'll bet that the MSM outlets that looked at this story (and there were more than a few) found it lacking, and without independent confirmation, decided not to publish or broadcast the information. For the record, militarycorruption.com also notes that the paper was unable to publish the story because the Air Force refused to acknowledge that the matter had been investigated. That's rather strange, since the 8th Air Force IG report has been posted on the internet (that's where we found it), so the idea that this unnamed paper couldn't confirm the inquiry is simply bizarre.
Unfortunately, this story will keep reverberating around the internet for years to come. Like the legend of the grassy knoll in Dallas, and the CIA's "campaign" to use crack cocaine to destroy African-Americans, some myths never die, even when obliterated by the truth.
My charge to militarycorruption.com remains the same: put up or shut up. Your original claim against General Hayden could not be substantiated, so you come back with dark stories of fear and intimidation. Once again, your allegations demand clear, unequivocal proof. The ball's back in your court. We won't hold our breath in waiting for a substantive reply.