"Their names won't mean anything to our audience. They just weren't newsworthy enough." --ABC journalist, Brian Ross last week.
Washington D.C.--ABC has quashed the story for-the-moment, but it isn't going to go-away anytime soon. It's been going on since October of 2006. What most of the public doesn't know is: D.C. madame Deborah Jeane Palfrey only gave them four years of her phone records, covering 2002-2006.
This leaves 9 years of records that cover 1993-2001, the Clinton years, and the years of increased GOP control in Congress. Remember how they said they were "going to clean-up Washington"? Palfrey, the Bush administration, and Mark Foley are putting that myth to bed forever. "The D.C. madame" also has the potential to do serious damage to Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House, and there are certainly interested parties.What's galling about the ABC piece is the assertion that because we don't know the names of everyone involved through instant name-recognition, that it "isn't newsworthy," and so we're supposed to trust the judgments of journalist Brian Ross and his producers at the network.
This writer doesn't buy it, but it's possible that Ross and ABC have decided to release the information slowly. They should be given some credit, however, since they've released the names of at least four prominent-individuals from the records, Randall Tobias and Dick Morris being the biggest fish so far. Ross hinted at some of the strategy, and it's certainly a smart one:
Instead, he said, "what we really wanted to do is demonstrate the range of official Washington" involved with the escort service. Their positions, as described by Ross, made them important, at least by the capital's standards: A federal prosecutor, who recently died. A handful of military officers, including the head of an Air Force intelligence squadron. A senior official at the World Bank [Ed.-my emphasis.]. But their relative anonymity spared them exposure as a result of the decision by Ross, "20/ 20" Executive Producer David Sloan and Senior Vice President Kerry Smith. Ever since Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is fighting federal prostitution-related charges, gave ABC the last four years of her phone records on March 15 (Washington Post, 05.05.2007)No word on whether there were any ABC execs on the list. A "senior official at the world bank" is extremely significant, and begs-the-question of whether there are numerous other faceless "insiders" we should know about. Considering the behavior of the press in the last six years, ABC cannot be taken at their word on this one.
It's likely that Ms. Palfrey is shopping her information around, including outlets on the internet, and she's not concerned about money for the other nine years of phone records. Considering her actions so far, it's very likely that the D.C. madame has a lot more documentation. If she doesn't, she's basically sunk. On the ABC interview, she made-it-plain she has no intentions of serving time without a swath of revelations coming as retribution. Today, Palfrey's defense fund site wouldn't load any of its text present there before Friday's broadcast [Ed.-It could easily be my great dial-up connection!].
Also on this day, Palfrey has been granted a new attorney, after her request to replace federal public defender A.J. Kramer (her court appointed lawyer) with other court appointed representation.
A federal judge has appointed Preston Burton to represent Deborah Jeane Palfrey in her federal racketeering and money laundering case. Burton tells WTOP, "I've just been on the case for 20 minutes so I don't have much to say yet." Burton represented Monica Lewinsky during the President Clinton impeachment, and he's represented the FBI's Robert Hanssen and former CIA agent Aldrich Ames in their spying cases. (WTOP Radio, 05.07.2007)Palfrey probably knew that it wasn't going to be easy releasing the names of her prominent clients, and that class loyalties and careerism were going to be her greatest obstacles in disseminating their identities to aid in her defense. This is definitely the reason she only gave ABC just four years of those records--their assertion that "the revelations are dull" only covers four of thirteen years of her "Pamela Martin & Associates" escort business.
It should be noted that identifying lobbyists (covering both parties), World Bank & IMF executives, and military officers is hardly "dull." It's damage control to cover-up for a system of rewards in Washington, and Palfrey continues to be a threat. It would be unsurprising if she met a convenient "accident," and that anything is possible with this scandal when the stakes are this high. [Ed., 08.24.2008--A contention I no longer stand by, barring the release of new evidence.] Ms. Palfrey is that loose-cannon that Washington insiders have always feared would come along. It doesn't matter if the public knows who these people are (instant name-recognition). The fact is that they're going to slink-away while the prostitutes take the legal bullets, just as they always do under our absurd laws surrounding the profession.
Those on the lists and records should be afraid, she's ruthless about her survival and isn't going to be a victim, as she asserted on last-Friday's 20/20 segment. Consider that her statements almost totally contradict those of Brian Ross and ABC, and you begin to understand that both-sides are lying and telling the truth. [Ed., 08.24.2008--This has proven to be true.] The trick is figuring-out when and where they're doing it, and context is everything in this game of chess.
In case you thought Friday's 20/20 piece was the end of this story, check http://www.wsradio.com/ in the intervening-weeks for new interviews with Ms. Palfrey:
Palfrey and the Internet radio station wsRadio.com will auction tapes of five one-hour interviews with her next week, The Washington Post reported for Friday's editions. The bids will start at $5,000 (euro3,700). The station's president, Chris Murch, would not disclose details of the contract to the newspaper but said Palfrey will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to charity. (AP, 05.03.2007)So, there's more to come. It's entertaining watching prominent individuals sweat in this iniquitous system, and Palfrey seems to understand that the public wants blood at this particular historical moment. It might just be a female "pimp" that brings the behaviors of certain sectors of American public life into-line, making them accountable under the same rules as the rest of us. It would certainly be a bourgeois-hoot (thanks Shawn).
For reasons of Alpha male accountability, feminists should be coming to her aid. Certainly, there are feminists who support her, but it needs to become substantial and visible. Or do they really admire the uberdaddies? ABC isn't telling the whole story, and there has been some very genuine back-peddling. http://www.loftydonkey.com/ are claiming that Grover Norquist is on Deborah Jeane Palfrey's list, and they might be correct. Whatever the case, one should be suspicious of any claims that the story is over, and should be viewed as attempts at shifting-the-focus away from the scandal to keep it from widening as it naturally should.
It should also be noted that in teasers, public statements, and promotion for the 20/20, Brian Ross and ABC have stated "the White House is involved." Of course it is, we just saw Randall Tobias--a Bush appointee--fall over a week ago. Surely, most politicians and lobbyists in Washington D.C. knew of Ms. Palfrey's escort service, and many of them were returning customers. It's hardly over, and neither is the public's hunger for accountability and blood. I can sense the tar and feathers being prepared now...
The Washington Post, 05.05.2007: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070505/LOCAL19/705050521/-1/ZONES04
WTOP on Palfrey's new legal representation: http://www.wtopnews.com/index.php?nid=25&sid=1134534
AP, 05.03.2007: http://www.nwfdailynews.com/article/4197