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.
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