Skip to comments.The Book on Ben-Veniste (a few timely facts about him)
Posted on 04/08/2004 8:00:19 PM PDT by Cedar
The Book on Ben-Veniste
9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste, who grilled Condoleezza Rice on Thursday as if she were a criminal suspect, is usually identified in press reports as merely a former Watergate prosecutor.
But as the leading finger-pointer in the 9/11 probe, a few other details in Ben-Veniste's background might be deemed relevant.
The Washington super-lawyer's last high-profile roll came in 1995-96, when he served as lead Democratic counsel for the Senate Whitewater hearings. His chief mission: Defending Bill and Hillary Clinton for all he was worth.
A review of press reports from the period shows that he'd been auditioning for the job since at least 1993, when he stepped up to the plate to assure reporters that there was nothing untoward about the Clintons dispatching White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum and other top aides to rifle Whitewater lawyer Vince Foster's office on the night of his death.
"Novelists aside and skeptical Washington journalists aside, I don't hear anything involved in this tragedy that leads me to suspect either Bernie Nussbaum, who himself has an impeccable reputation, or anybody else associated with the White House has done anything that is not on the up-and-up," Ben-Veniste told the Associated Press at the time.
The next year, when Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was appointed to look into Whitewater, Dr. Rice's griller was troubled, telling CBS News that the move would "inevitably . . . create an impression that this decision was in part politically motivated."
Of course, Nussbaum, Ben-Veniste and Hillary Clinton were by then already old friends, having worked shoulder-to-shoulder on the Watergate committee two decades earlier.
When the Clintons' fundraiser extraordinaire Terry McAuliffe got into legal hot water in the campaign finance scandal of 1997, Ben-Veniste was readly to take his case.
Speaking of the allegations that swirled around his client at the time, Ben-Veniste told the Legal Times that McAuliffe "has been advised that he is not a target of any investigation. And on the basis of what I know about the matter . . . the conclusion will be that there's nothing there."
The Clinton Justice Department decided that Ben-Veniste was right and McAuliffe was off the hook. Three years later, the Clintons installed Ben-Veniste's client as head of the DNC.
The Democratic legal ace's most unusual case by far, however, didn't take place in Washington - but instead in Arkansas.
Ben-Veniste's client, a flamboyant pilot named Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal, was said to have flown guns out of Arkansas' Mena airport at the CIA's direction. On the return trip his plane was allegedly loaded with cocaine.
Still, the high powered lawyering didn't do much to protect Seal. Ben-Veniste's client was assassinated in 1986 after he began cooperating with a federal probe into the Mena drug ring that flourished while Bill Clinton was governor of the state.
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Oil of Ben-Venasty. An old family recipe.
What I would like to say though is about one Diane Feinstein (Senator). She is on old Larry's show. Fortunately I am able to directly quote King from many years ago. "I am a liberal democrat and we want to get rid of them". He meant republicans.
Now to the lady herself- DF. She virtually said she sort of knew something terrible was going to happen, along with "many". This before 911.
Move over Sylvia Brown- Di is here.
One thing that was pointed out was Ben-Veniste's connection to mob-connected figure Nathan Landow:
The Washington Weekly (http://www.federal.com) 5/4/98 " . So successful was this formula, that in 1992 Bill Clinton used it to reach the highest office, the office of the U.S. Presidency. In return for large campaign donations, the crime families would be represented in the Clinton administration. The New York Mob paid $56 million  and won the slot of Deputy Chief of Staff for its lawyer Harold Ickes. The Dixie Mafia paid an undisclosed amount and obtained slots for Patsy Thomasson and Buddy Young. The Chicago political machine sent Rahm Emanuel and David Wilhelm. Harold Ickes proved his value to the Mob when he held his hand over Mob puppets Arthur Coia and Ron Carey who were under separate RICO investigations by the Justice Department. Patsy Thomasson, in charge of White House drug testing policy, saw to it that criminal figures on the White House staff would not be bothered about past and current drug use. Peripheral Mob figures Nathan Landow, Richard Ben-Veniste, and their associates Terry Lenzner and Paul Begala became part of the secret police that would keep Clinton in office despite multiple revelations of criminal offenses. Ironically, the only member of the Clinton enforcement team who has threatened the use of Mafia methods in public is James Carville. He said on television that Kenneth Starr was just one mistake away from not having any kneecaps. "Kneecapping" is a Mafia specialty. Yet the only link between Carville and the Mafia that we have been able to find so far is his partnership with Paul Begala, who admitted in a recent deposition for the Filegate trial that he was in close and frequent contact with his friend Richard Ben-Veniste, a Mob lawyer and friend of Mobster Alvin Malnik . Richard Ben- Veniste has defended several drug traffickers and money launderers for the Mafia and for the DNC. Ben-Veniste also defended Bill Clinton on the Senate Whitewater panel in 1995. ........."
After Carter's victory, Landow's daughter, Harolyn, got a job at the White House, and top presidential aide Hamilton Jordan started hanging out at the Landows' Eastern Shore vacation house. For a while, it looked as if Carter might appoint Landow as ambassador to the Netherlands. But in 1978, The Washington Post printed a front-page story revealing that Landow had hired Joe Nesline, a Washington illegal-gambling kingpin, as a consultant in an unsuccessful effort to build a casino in Atlantic City. At the time, Landow admitted that Nesline was a friend but denied knowing about his friend's criminal past. Now Landow says, "There were a lot of inaccuracies in that article."
Involved in a proposed hotel/casino project with Joe Nesline, Edward Cellini and a Miami representative of the Gambino organized crime family Anthony Plat
See Wash. Post, January 26, 1978: DC Gambling Kingpin is
Linked to Prominent Investors' Casino Deal, January 26, 1978: Two prominent Washington investors [Nathan Landow and Smith Bagley] with connections to the Carter administration were involved in a proposal to build a hotel and gambling casino in Atlantic City, with Washington gambling kingpin Joe Nesline as a consultant. Nesline's involvement with the casino venture became known Jan 14 when federal and local police raided Nesline's Bethesda apartment... FBI agents seized a file containing and memoranda spelling out a proposed $85 million deal involving Bagley and Landow... [It] was not the only gambling venture in which Nesline had been involved with Landow... Involved in the St. Marten venture were Landow and Edward Cellini, a brother of Dino Cellini, a former associate of organized crime figure Meyer Lansky... In November... [t]he party at [the] Landow home was observed by Montgomery County plainclothesmen, who took down license plate numbers of guests' cars. Officers of the county's organized crime section have had Landow under surveillance for nearly a year. They learned from Florida police that Landow had an interest in a now defunct corporation whose concealed owners allegedly included an identified member of the Carlo Gambino Mafia "family." Secret Service agents who were at the party to protect the president's son, questioned the Montgomery County plainclothesmen who explained their interest in Landow. *** Landow said the meeting actually took place in the hallway outside the Senate Appropriations Committee chamber... [T]he committee's chairman [was] the late Sen. John L. McClellan... *** [The] business involvement of Landow that originally attracted the attention of Montgomery County's organized crime unit was an investment in Quaker Masonry... Florida law enforcement authorities reported to other police agencies in October of 1973 that Anthony Plate known to them to be an associate of the Gambinos, was believed to have a 25 percent interest in Quaker.
Rats like to hang around other rats.
Is that the same publication offered here?
It got hard for me to keep up with, too! I have so much archived that I'm still working through and trying to organize.
The reason Ben-Veniste's connection to Landow jumped out at me was because I had previously noticed Landow's connection to Carter, Mondale, Clinton, and Gore; and to Joe Nesline, whose name pops up repeatedly in just about every major scandal from the JFK administration on. A number of authors have connected Nesline to the Ward-Keeler ring:
[Christine] Keeler was at the centre of the scandal as the "call girl" who bestowed favours on Britain's secretary of war, John Profumo, at the same time as she had sex with Soviet naval attache (and spy) Eugene Ivanov, at the behest of osteopath Stephen Ward, who laid on orgies for the Establishment. . .Keeler's astonishing revelations insist the case was about espionage and treason -- covered up by the late Lord Denning, who headed the inquiry and who, says Keeler, "lied for his country." She notes the head of MI5, Roger Hollis, and Anthony Blunt attended Ward's get-togethers. She says Ward was "running" Ivanov as a spy for Moscow, rather than the reverse. Mrs. Thatcher eventually cleared Hollis of treason; Blunt was eventually identified as a Soviet spy. Both were Moscow's men, and Keeler recalls she delivered clandestine documents to the Soviet embassy on Ward's orders.
The Ward-Keeler ring included a prostitute named Mariella (Maria) Novotny who claims to have had sex with JFK and RFK. The Ward-Keeler ring was also linked--through links between London clubs and Nesline's mob operations--to John Dean's lover and future wife Maureen Biner:
Here is the Colodny-Gettlin thesis that is rarely mentioned when Watergate is discussed in the press or on TV. In 1972, the FBI searched the office and home of a Washington attorney named Philip Bailley and seized address books which listed the names, nicknames and phone numbers of hundreds of women. One of them was Maureen Biner, whose nickname was listed as "Clout." She was given that nickname because she was the live-in lover of White House Counsel John Dean. On June 9, 1972, Bailley was indicted on Mann Act charges, and a story about the discovery of a call girl ring run by Bailley and staffed by government employees was on the front page of The Washington Star. John Dean immediately called the U.S. Attorney, saying he was calling for the President. He demanded that he be shown all the documentary evidence so he could tell whether anyone in the White House was involved. The U.S. Attorney complied and even allowed Dean to photocopy the address book. Three days later, Liddy was ordered to organize Watergate break-in of June 17, 1972. Colodny and Gettlin claim that this order originated with John Dean and that the main target was the desk of a DNC employee who, they believe, kept names and photos of the call girls for the convenience of important Democratic visitors. This would explain why one of the burglars, Eugenio Martinez, had the key to that employee's desk when he was caught. The idea was to remove any evidence that could be used to embarrass John Dean and his wife to be. G. Gordon Liddy is enthusiastic about "Silent Coup," saying that for the first time he understood who was really behind the Watergate break-in and why.
Biner's roommate Heidi Rikan was the madam of a prostitution ring operating in Washington, D.C. and was also the girlfriend of Joe Nesline:
Most interestingly, the Watergate madam, Heidi Rikan, was a girlfriend of mobster Joe "the Possum" Nesline, whose alleged connection to the Capitol Hill gay sex scandal a decade late aroused the suspicions of Washington detectives. Assorted boyfriends and former husbands of both Rikan and her sometime roommate, Mo Biner (who married key Watergate figure John Dean, which makes Mo a pivotal character, according to scandal revisionists), were associated with the Quorum, an early 1960s "swingles" club run by Bobby Baker, a former aide to Lyndon Johnson. Scott surmises that all roads led to Baker's club for a reason: the Quorum functioned a lot like the mob-and-intelligence-infested sex traps of the 1970s. It was Bobby Baker who introduced President Kennedy to an East German bombshell named Ellen Rometsh, whom JFK, true to form, promptly bedded. Scott speculates that J. Edgar Hoover leaked word of this international indiscretion to the press. Whether or not Hoover was behind the leaks, they nearly ignited a global scandal. That's because JFK's nubile Valkyrie also happened to be sleeping with a Soviet diplomat, a coincidence that, if revealed, wouldn't have served Kennedy well at the height of the Cold War.
In light of the above, I find the association between Nesline's partner Landow and Ben-Veniste interesting, especially considering Ben-Veniste's role in defending Clinton during yet another sexual scandal in Washington.