The “Triple Cross” ambush interview. My HuffPost on the night Ohio Governor John Kasich did the bidding of an ex-AUSA on “The O’Reilly Factor”

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By Peter Lance ©  The Huffington Post: On Tuesday Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 16th and probably final GOP contender for the White House in 2016. If he makes it onto the ticket, the election will take place two weeks shy of the 10th anniversary of Kasich’s guest host interview on “The O’Reilly Factor” in which he did the bidding of an ex U.S. Attorney I criticized in my HarperCollins investigative book “Triple Cross.” It turned out to be an ambush interview gone wrong for Kasich.  CLICK IMAGE TO ACCESS THE  INTERVIEW.

That O’Reilly “drive-by” was just the latest salvo in an attempt by current and former officials of the Justice Department at the time to suppress my investigation into the stunning FBI and DOJ failures in counter-terrorism in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks and beyond.

“Triple Cross” was an unyielding exposé on the intelligence failures surrounding al Qaeda master spy Ali Mohamed who had succeeded in manipulating the CIA in Hamburg Germany, the Green Berets at Fort Bragg and later the FBI for which he became an informant as early as 1992.

Two of the principal Feds who should have put a short leash on Mohamed, singled out for criticism in the book, were former Asst. U.S. Attorney Andrew C. McCarthy, the man behind the “O’Reilly” attack and then CIA “Leak-Gate” prosecutor and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who later spent 20 months unsuccessfully trying to get the hardcover edition of “Triple Cross” pulped and stop the paperback from ever seeing the light of day.

The story of how Kasich, then host of a Fox News series called “Heartland” allowed himself to be used by these Justice Department heavyweights, should give pause to any voter who might contemplate putting the Ohio Republican in control of the DOJ and the FBI as President.

This piece I wrote for The Huffington Post a week after that Fox News ambush interview describes in detail how Kasich, without ever having read the book (published the day of the “Factor” interview) took McCarthy’s word when he falsely described my findings this way:

That HuffPost, published November 30th, 2006, recounts how The New York Post was forced to kill a review of “Triple Cross” by McCarthy after the tabloid’s editor-in-chief Col Allen learned that my 670 page book (documented with more than 1,400 annotations) hadn’t been in bookstores more than a few hours when McCarthy and his surrogate Kasich rushed to judgement.

What follows in my piece in its entirety: 

By Peter Lance. This is one item guaranteed not to appear in Page Six, the edgy gossip column that is the single reason most educated New Yorkers buy The New York Post. Yesterday, after a Post editor agreed to run a review of my new book TRIPLE CROSS in their Sunday edition, Bob McManus, editor of the editorial page abruptly cancelled the review. This after editor-in-chief Col Allan, an Aussie and close friend of owner Rupert Murdoch, learned that the author of the “review” was none other than Andrew C. McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the SDNY who I indicted in the book for failing to stop al Qaeda’s master spy Ali Mohamed.

McCarthy had already shot from the hip with an attack on TRIPLE CROSS when I appeared on The O’Reilly Factor the night the book hit the stores. The 670-page work had barely been on the shelves of Barnes & Noble when McCarthy fired off the invective, which The Factor featured on screen.

When The Post‘s Books editor Abby Wisse Schachter, confirmed in writing that McCarthy would author a Sunday Op Ed page piece on TRIPLE CROSS, I wrote to Allan and ask for equal space. After all, from a sister News Corp. subsidiary to Fox News – which we know is always “fair and balanced,” a chance to counter McCarthy’s vitriol in the same forum was the fairest way to get a more complete vetting of my findings.

I also noted for editor-in-chief Allan that McCarthy’s invective, aired nationally on Fox News, was not only inaccurate, but met the “malice” definition as enunciated in The New York Times vs. Sullivan — the landmark defamation case that holds writers liable for a “reckless disregard for the truth.” McCarthy was not only stung by my critical coverage of him and the Southern District prosecutor’s office in the book, he was also wrong in alleging that I relied on “terrorists and convicted murderers as sources.” 

As a simple examination of the 32 page Timeline in the middle of the book makes it clear, I interviewed dozens of Government sources including a number of active duty and retired FBI agents. One of the book’s principal sources, in fact, was Jack Cloonan, the Special Agent in the FBI’s Squad I-49 charged with building a file on Ali Mohamed. It was Cloonan who spent hours with the al Qaeda spy de-briefing him after his 1998 arrest following the East African Embassy bombings which Ali planned five years earlier.

The book also contains 50 pages of end-notes and 30 pages of declassified documents from FBI and Justice Department files. I reviewed more than 40,000 pages of trial transcripts for the SDNY’s al Qaeda cases including the “Day of Terror” case prosecuted in 1995 by McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald – the DOJ’s principal bin Laden “brain,” to quote Vanity Fair.

My documentation also includes a treasure trove of al Qaeda-related intelligence documented in a series of FBI #302 memos beginning in March, 1996 which Patrick Fitzgerald and other Feds effectively buried in order to hush up a scandal involving a prominent Supervisory Special Agent named Lin DeVecchio. The move also preserved a series of 60 Mafia cases that were in jeopardy of “unraveling,” to quote Federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein.

After I had documented that story in my last book COVER UP, the Brooklyn D.A. indicted DeVecchio on four counts of second degree homicide. – Many of those FBI #302′s can be accessed at peterlance.com.

One can understand why McCarthy might react to TRIPLE CROSS like a vampire facing a relic of “the true Cross.” These are a few of my findings: 

 

As I concluded in the HuffPost on November 17th,

“If the Feds had devoted as much energy to a surveillance of Sphinx as they had to (John Gotti’s) Ravenite Social Club, they would have been in the middle of the 9/11 plot months before Black Tuesday.”

That’s not the kind of revelation, an ex-Fed like McCarthy, would want to see come out, especially since he now devotes much of his time to slamming the Clinton administration’s national security blunders as a regular contributor to The National Review Online.

Despite McCarthy’s allegation to The Factor that “everything” I said the Feds were “hiding about Ali Mohamed was presented in open court” McCarthy himself had done his level best to make sure that didn’t happen. It is undisputed that in December, 1994, after McCarthy and Fitzgerald added Ali Mohamed’s name to that unindicted co-conspirators list, McCarthy flew to California with an FBI agent and had a personal face-to-face sit down with al Qaeda’s chief spy.

At the time, defense attorney Roger L. Stavis was searching the globe for Mohamed, whom he wanted to testify in the upcoming “Day of Terror” case. With Ali on the stand, Stavis hoped to expose the cozy relationship between the U.S. Government and the ex-Egyptian Army officer turned Green Beret infiltrator and FBI informant.

This is how I described the incident in TRIPLE CROSS:

“Now, with Stavis seeking Mohamed’s testimony, prosecutor Andrew McCarthy was worried. At that point, no one outside the Bureau or the SDNY knew that Ali had been an FBI informant. McCarthy could only guess what the former army sergeant might say if he got on the stand under oath in open court.

“If Ali would have been put on [the stand] at that point in time, [he] would have been viewed as an agent provocateur,” says retired special agent Jack Cloonan. “Maybe there would have been an issue of entrapment raised. It wouldn’t have helped the government’s case.”1 That subpoena became “a huge, huge issue for Ali” as well, remembers Cloonan.

As an al Qaeda spy who was playing two FBI offices off each other by that point, Mohamed had reason to be concerned. If he was compelled to testify in federal court with the national media covering the trial, the truth about his espionage career from Fort Bragg onward would have been exposed by defense attorneys like Roger Stavis. “That would have effectively blown his cover as an FBI informant,” says Stavis, and “shut him down as a spy then and there.”

But rather than helping to get Mohamed in front of the “Day of Terror” jury, McCarthy did nothing to facilitate his testimony and Ali never made it to the stand. In fact, as the book documents… 

No wonder with that kind of reporting Andrew McCarthy would want to see TRIPLE CROSS pulped. No wonder Fox News would be so quick to air his false allegations. And no wonder The New York Post would kill McCarthy’s “review” of the book after I demanded equal space. Already a trio of ex-feds in addition to McCarthy have done their level best to water down the stunning findings in TRIPLE CROSS.

As I reported in the HuffPost on August 29th, last summer, Jack Cloonan, former Joint Terrorism Task Force investigator Det. Tommy Corrigan and McCarthy’s former boss, Mary Jo White all worked to deny me access to the transcripts of interviews they had done for a National Geo Graphic Channel documentary that was based entirely on my work for TRIPLE CROSS.

In fact, after Nat Geo Channel, through Towers Productions Inc. of Chicago, effectively contracted with me to narrate, write and appear as the principal editorial voice in TRIPLE CROSS (the documentary) they cut me out in June and replaced me with Cloonan.

In their review of the doc, The New York Times reported that I had “distanced” myself from it, but in truth, I was summarily excised from a documentary based entirely on my work, when the venerable National Geographic Society folded under pressure from the Feds.

Meanwhile Cloonan (the new surrogate host) appeared on Fox News the weekend before the documentary’s airing (August 28th) to promote the two hour special. Whose program was he on? None other than Heartland, with John Kasich, then the conservative ex-GOP congressman who guest hosted on “The O’Reilly Factor,” on November 21st when he aired McCarthy’s diatribe.

On that program Kasich, called me “a little bit loony” but was put in his place when I handed him a copy of TRIPLE CROSS and asked him to read it first. Now another News Corp. subsidiary — The N.Y. Post – weighs in on the side of hiding the truth behind the gross negligence and obstruction of justice by the two bin Laden “offices of origin” in the nine years Ali Mohamed ate their lunches on the road to 9.11.

All of this recalls Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant retort by the Jack Nicholson character to Tom Cruise’s character in A Few Good Men. While grilling Jack on the stand in the film, Cruise screams “I want the truth” and Nicholson snaps back: “You can’t handlethe truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls.”

It’s ironic. I was praiseworthy of Andrew C. McCarthy in parts of TRIPLE CROSS, principally for his well-placed criticism of former Deputy Attorney General (and 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick) after she issued the infamous “wall memo” which sought to separate FBI investigators probing past al Qaeda crimes with Foreign Counter Intelligence agents seeking to prevent future attacks.

It’s clear from Andrew McCarthy’s reaction to TRIPLE CROSS that he’s hiding behind the wall of deception that prevented the U.S. public from realizing just how betrayed they really were by the FBI and SDNY in their utter failure to stop al Qaeda operatives like Ali Mohamed and keep this country safe. Maybe McCarthy, a former U.S. Marshal, will have the guts to step out from behind the safe confines of The New Corp. and face off with me in the Huffington Post.

Follow Peter Lance on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PETERLANCE_

FINAL AUTHOR’S NOTE: At the end of the “Factor” interview Kasich said “It’s a big thick book. I’ll try to get through it,” suggesting that he’d give my findings a fair reading. But he never got back to me.

CLICK THE IMAGE below to access a pdf of the 32 page illustrated TIMELINE in the updated edition of “Triple Cross,” which Fitzgerald, failed unsuccessfully to kill. It was published in an updated trade paperback edition in June of 2009 followed by Boris Kachka’s report on Fitzgerald’s censorship campaign in New York Magazine. 

 

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