Sen. Vitter's Foreign Relations Committee oversight role examined in DC sex scandal
Two federal officials charged with overseeing American foreign relations have acknowledged they were customers of a Washington-based escort service. Senator David Vitter (right), of the Foreign Relations Committee, is one of them. Sen. Vitter's committee was also responsible for oversight of USAID's Randall Tobias, also caught on the DC Madam's phone list.
Now a federal court has been told to expect to hear evidence deemed 'Classified' by the U.S. government.
As Sen. David Vitter attempts to weather a sex scandal, and deflects attention away from his committee oversight failures, new questions arise about the U.S. government's alleged procurement of prostitutes for foreign diplomats.
So who's watching the Chicken Shack?
By Bill Keisling
Posted September 2, 2007 -- Amid charges that the U.S. government has facilitated the procurement of prostitutes for foreign diplomats, two key federal officials overseeing American foreign relations have found themselves at the center of a federal criminal court probe.
Sen. David Vitter (left) and USAID's Tobias:
Sen. Vitter serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has oversight responsibilities of U.S. foreign policy agencies, including Tobias's former office at USAID.
Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and Randall "Randy" Tobias, former Director of Foreign Assistance, and Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have admitted to using Deborah Jeane Palfrey's call girl service.
USAID head Tobias resigned on April 27, 2007.
Calls continue to mount meanwhile for a U.S. Senate Ethics Committee investigation of Sen. Vitter.
Vitter is also currently the ranking minority member of the Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Democracy and Human Rights, which oversees, among other things, the State Department, the U.S. Foreign Service (i.e. the diplomatic corps), and U.S. participation in the United Nations.
Is there a tie-in to foreign intelligence in all this? Public records show that USAID has long been a front for CIA intelligence gathering, as well as a conduit for CIA funding to foreign governments and agencies.
'Is there a tie-in to foreign intelligence in all this? Public records show that USAID has long been a front for CIA intelligence gathering, as well as a conduit for CIA funding to foreign governments and agencies.'
Click here to download pages 607 to 613 of the CIA Family Jewels document describing "joint CIA/USAID training program" (650k)
Right click here to download the full CIA Family Jewels set of documents (702 pages, text searchable, 24mb, external link)
The USAID's infamous Office of Public Safety, for example, received cover and funding from the USAID while directed by the CIA. More information on all this was released in July 2007 with the publication of the CIA's long-suppressed "Family Jewels" set of documents. (Pages 607 to 613 of the Family Jewels papers describe this program as a "joint CIA/USA training program." See sidebar.)
"According to a 1973 document revealed in the Family Jewels CIA documents, around 700 police officers were trained a year (by the Office of Public Safety), including in handling of explosives," Wikipedia summarizes. "The United States has a long history of providing police aid to Latin American countries. In the 1960s the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Public Safety (OPS) provided Latin American police forces with millions of dollars worth of weapons and trained thousands of Latin American police officers. In the late 1960s, such programs came under media and congressional scrutiny because the U.S.-provided equipment and personnel were linked to cases of torture, murder and 'disappearances' in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
"In Washington, DC, the Office of Public Safety had remained immune to public embarrassment as it went about two of its chief functions: allowing the CIA to plant men with the local police in sensitive places around the world; and after careful observation on their home territory, bringing to the United States prime candidates for enrollment as CIA employees. The OPS's director in Washington, Byron Eagle, was close to the CIA."
Former USAID Tobias was believed to have held a Top Secret security clearance, the result of what is known as a supposedly rigorous "Single Scope Background Investigation," or SSBI.
Questions remain as to whether Tobias's background check was shoddy, or whether investigators deliberately looked the other way, or even helped facilitate his behavior.
As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Vitter also holds a high security clearance.
Even while Vitter attempts to weather what he describes as a personal sex scandal, and deflects attention away from his committee oversight failures, more questions are being raised about the alleged procurement of prostitutes by U.S. government agencies and the United States military for foreign diplomats, and others.
At a NATO conference in Washington DC earlier this decade, for example, one well-placed witness says U.S. Army drivers were assigned to chauffeur foreign diplomats on a search for call girls.
'The Justice Department unsuccessfully attempted to suppress Palfrey's phone records, essentially protecting the identities of Sen. Vitter and Tobias, and other Palfrey customers, in the growing DC sex scandal'
All this has implications for the legal defense of Palfrey, who claims that she is the victim of selective prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department.
Earlier in 2007, the Justice Department unsuccessfully attempted to suppress Palfrey's phone records, essentially protecting the identities of Sen. Vitter and Tobias, and other Palfrey customers, in the growing DC sex scandal.
On August 30, 2007, Palfrey filed with the court a "Motion for Pretrial Conference to Consider Matters Relating to Classified Information" under the Classified Information Procedures Act.
The court motion is intended to alert the government that Palfrey's defense will likely involve evidence and identities presently deemed 'Classified' by the U.S. government.
Following his guilty plea after an alleged homosexual liaison in a public rest room, U.S. Senator Larry Craig found himself the target of a Senate Ethics Committee Investigation.
It is not immediately known when the public can expect the appropriate ethics investigation of Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Vitter, who admits to heterosexual encounters with prostitutes.