Skip to comments.One man's journey: DMC’s link to the 1980 Abscam case
Posted on 03/24/2010 3:35:58 PM PDT by Interesting Times
Del Mar College proved to be an unlikely starting and ending point for an investigation by a citizen investigator and activist that resulted in the downfall of one of the most influential members of the US Congress.
In the early 1980s, Congressman John Murtha and fellow house members were accused of participating in a scam, known as the infamous Abscam affair, a sting operation conducted by the FBI in which two FBI agents posed as advisors to a mysterious sheik named Abdul who was supposedly seeking asylum in the US.
The agents said the sheik was willing to pay large sums of money to legislators who would facilitate the sheiks asylum. The sting proved to be not very difficult to pull off and the FBI caught four legislators, including Murtha.
Murtha was granted immunity and testified against the other members and then moved on to continue his career during which he vied for the position of House Majority Leader in 2006.
However, that goal was blocked by a man who saw the unethical road Murtha took and reminded the American people why this senator should not be in charge of anyone or anything.
The man, former DMC student Ron Kolb, undertook an investigation in which he hunted down a copy of the full tape of the sting meetings from a reliable source and made it public. The tapes appearance weighed down Murthas campaign to the point that he lost in a landslide to his opponent.
Just how did a man with limited connections bring down a corrupt politician? His journey began simply at the DMC Library on Infoweb where Kolb researched information on Murtha as the 2006 election was taking place.
Kolb uncovered the full tape by contacting two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Greene who put Kolb in touch with Throat, an investigator from the 1980 Abscam case. Throat gave Kolb the full tape of the original FBI recordings of the negotiations with corrupt senators and the fictional sheik and his advisors.
This task was not an easy one. It took Kolb six weeks to track Throat down to get the tape. Kolb contacted many of the representatives and former judges and prosecutors from the case to track the source down.
As soon as he received the evidence, Kolb said he forwarded the tape to American Spectator magazine and the Fox News Channel; most of the mainstream media did not pick up on the story right away, Kolb said.
It wasnt until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Murtha for House Majority Leader that heavy coverage by the mainstream media began, which ultimately led to Murthas demise.
When the story of Murthas defeat hit the news, Kolb was in disbelief that the story would have this level of impact. Nevertheless, Kolb said he felt that justice had been served and that this was not a personal agenda.
When Murtha died, Kolb said, I have sympathy that he died, but I do not feel sympathy for how he lived. The tape got people focused on his ethical history and Del Mar played a crucial role in this situation.
In an example of citizen investigation and activism, Kolb, a man with no formal journalism or investigative training and no political ties, said he simply had the patience and the determination to see this through to the end. The little things matter, and it is important not to give up, he said.
Kolbs investigative journey ended when he returned to DMC last month to speak to those attending the screening of Charlie Wilsons War at the Library Film Series.
He discussed how, in the process of exposing the tape and Murthas actions, he also contacted Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, the main character in the movie, about the tape and Murthas corrupt activities.
Kolb noted the discrepancies between the film and the actual events (the Hollywood treatment) for audience members and recounted his experience with the Abscam tape and Murthas eventual downfall.
Thanks for posting this and explaining it. Hopefully it will inspire many others to do likewise.
I was just thinkin’ we don’t have Murtha to kick around anymore, but you proved me wrong. I fondly think of him wearing his chicken hat.
VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR (VVAW)
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
NOVEMBER 12, 13, 14, 1971
INTERNAL SECURITY NEW LEFT
...from link below
The general meeting on Saturday, November 13, 1971, started at 9:00 a.m. and was held in a church, the Institute for Human Studies, near 40th and Main Streets, Kansas City. The first day and part of the second day was spent establishing order. There were numerous interruptions and discussions and very little order during that period.
On Saturday morning MIKE OLIVER, a VVAW national leader from New York, acted as chairman and recognized persons wishing to speak from the floor.
JOHN KERRY, a VVAW national leader from Massachusetts, arrived and spoke to the committee. He resigned from the executive committee of VVAW for "personal reasons" but added he would still be active in VVAW and available to speak for the organization.
Thanks. But what Ron Kolb discovered was that Camil was pushing an earlier version of the assassination plot the previous spring, months before the November meeting Kerry falsely claimed he hadn’t attended.
Thanks...didn’t know that.