Bush Appoints Silberman

Bush appointed Laurence Silberman to head the “independent” investigation of Iraq intelligence. This might be the one person even less independent than Kissinger.

He first shows up as one of the people from the Reagan campaign who met with the Iranians in the Iran Hostage Crisis:

“In September 1980, Allen got a call from Robert McFarlane, then an authority on Iran for the Senate Armed Services Committee. McFarlane told Allen that he knew a representative of the Iranian government who might be useful. `McFarlane wanted us to meet him; he was emphatic,’ recalls Allen. `And against my better judgment, I agreed.’ Allen asked another campaign advisor, Laurence Silberman, to accompany him.”

Then he’s one of the judges who let Ollie North off the hook on a technicality.

Later he shows up as one of the main behind-the-scenes Clinton-haters:

Laurence Silberman, appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist to sit on the review panel, is known by many as an ally of the Federalist Society and the judge who overturned Oliver North’s convictions.

In “Blinded by the Right,” David Brock suggests Silberman was a driving force behind the conservative muckraker’s “The Real Anita Hill,” which trashed the woman who challenged Clarence Thomas, and of the “troopergate” articles that eventually produced Paula Jones.

According to Brock,

though he was a sitting federal judge who would rule on matters to which the Clinton administration was party, Larry strongly urged me to go forward. By now, after his almost daily dealings with me as I wrote “The Real Anita Hill,” Larry must have known I always deferred to his judgment. He also had keen psychological insight. He wrapped his advice in an appeal to my ego. The trooper story would be much bigger than the Anita Hill book, he predicted. Clinton would be “devastated,” and therefore the story could only greatly enhance my reputation. Sitting in his favorite tan leather club chair, scotch in hand, the judge told me he felt sure that if the same story had been written about Ronald Reagan, it would have toppled him from office. Clinton, he surmised, might be toppled as well. Of course, the liberal media might ignore the story to protect Clinton, but in conservative circles, I would be king. When I heard that I was over the fence.

Later, as Brock indicates, Silberman ruled on Clinton matters, including whether Clinton’s bodyguards could be compelled to testify in the Lewinsky case. He famously asked in an opinion, “Can it be said that the president of the United States has declared war on the United States,” when he disagreed with the administration’s tactics. His court also backed the leaks to the media from the office of his friend Ken Starr.

[. . .] Brock’s account also alleges that Silberman was good at moving dirt behind the scenes, acting as a source, both on and off the record, for “The Real Anita Hill.” Brock relates the story of his finishing a chapter alleging Sen. Paul Simon leaked confidential papers on Hill to the press. After Brock drops it through Silberman’s mail slot, the judge and his wife call their young cub reporter.

“They were passing the phone to each other, marveling at my ‘genius’ at the top of their lungs,” Brock says. “‘You got him. You nailed him. You fucked him. You killed him,’ they sang. The state of manic euphoria that gripped the Silbermans that evening is impossible to describe to a normal person.”

This appointment says all we need to know about the “independence” of this commission.