Gannon — Who Else?

I don’t usually read Maureen Dowd anymore, but this was recommended, and it’s good:Bush’s Barberini Faun:

“I know the F.B.I. computers don’t work, but this is ridiculous. After getting gobsmacked by the louche sagas of Mr. Guckert and Bernard Kerik, the White House vetters should consider adding someone with some blogging experience.”

In case any readers don’t know what we’re talking about, Gannon is the alias used by a fake “reporter” for “Talon News” whose day job was a “military prostitute.” He was given access to the White House, the President and secret CIA documents that identified the person in charge of keeping terrorists from obtaining nukes. (Think how much some countries and terrorists would have paid for that information! And a PROSTITUTE has access to it!)

The Bush Administration refuses to look into this or explain how it happened. The Republicans in Congress, of course, refuse to look into this – and they have the power to block the Democrats from effectively looking into this. The Republican Justice Department, of course, won’t look into this. And, except for some columnists, much of the mainstream press is avoiding this. Dowd writes,

With the Bushies, if you’re their friend, anything goes. If you’re their critic, nothing goes. They’re waging a jihad against journalists – buying them off so they’ll promote administration programs, trying to put them in jail for doing their jobs and replacing them with ringers.

Meanwhile the Right’s noise machine is trying to deflect the story and make Gannon out of be a victim of “liberal bloggers” who are invading his “personal life.” (I’m not sure someone’s day job is their personal life…) This seems to be providing effective cover for those who don’t want to look deeper into what is going on in this “Party over country” White House.

And it keeps growing. It now turns out that this guy Gannon was already working in the Press Room BEFORE “Talon News” even existed! Representative Louise M. Slaughter just released a press release titled, “Rep. Slaughter Demands Answer: Why was Jeff Gannon in the White House Before Talon News Even Existed?”, asking

“It has been a week since I wrote President Bush seeking answers in this matter. I have not yet received a reply. With each new revelation it becomes more and more clear that the relationship between the White House and Jeff Gannon was anything but typical,” said Slaughter. “It is time for this Administration to stop the stonewalling and come clean with the American people,” she added.

UpdateFrank Rich writes in the NY Times,

By my count, “Jeff Gannon” is now at least the sixth “journalist” (four of whom have been unmasked so far this year) to have been a propagandist on the payroll of either the Bush administration or a barely arms-length ally like Talon News while simultaneously appearing in print or broadcast forums that purport to be real news.

And, did I mention, it looks like Gannon was in the White House BEFORE Talon News even existed. Was Talon set up to give him a cover?

Imagine a scenario where a spy penetrates the highest levels of our government by pretending to be a right-wing ideologue. Wait — looks like that has happened, too. More than once! But how many times has it happened? Who else? We asked “Who else?” about the first reporter being paid taxpayer dollars to spread right-wing propaganda, and that turned out to be only the tip of an iceberg. The Gannon story demonstrates that there are a number of things going on about which we should be asking, “Who else?”

And, finally, Digby hints at the emerging question.