Mister Big behind the scandal of George Bush's firing of US Attorneys is
not a 'mister' at all. The House Judiciary Committee has released White
House e-mails indicating that the political operative who ordered the hit
on prosecutors too honest for their own good was Harriet Miers, one-time
legal counsel to the President.
But this is not the first time that Miers
has fired investigators to protect Mr. Bush.
In 1999, while investigating Governor George Bush of Texas for the
Guardian papers of Britain, I obtained an extraordinary, and
extraordinarily confidential, memo to the US Attorney's office in Austin.
It disclosed that, in 1997, Governor Bush secretly suggested to the
chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission that she grant a contract to
the client of a Bush ally.
The Governor's back-door demand to the Lottery chairwoman was not so easy.
Bush wanted the Lottery to grant a multi-billion dollar contract to GTech
Corporation. But GTech hadn't even bid on the contract -- and a winner was
There was only way for the Chairwoman to carry out the fix: fire the
director of the Lottery who had discouraged GTech from bidding because of
its history of corruption.
The Chairwoman, Harriet Miers, did the deed: fired the Lottery director;
Miers then ignored the winning bid -- and gave Bush's favored company the
contract, no bidding, in perpetuity.
Miers and the Draft
Neither Miers nor President Bush have ever denied the contents of the memo
[posted here] despite repeated requests from the Guardian and
Bush's attempt to appoint Hit-woman Harriet to the US Supreme Court in
2005 surprised many. Not me. Miers, personal and governmental lawyer for
George Bush, had quite a file on her boss, and he must have been grateful
for her discretion.
Most crucially, she knew why Bush so desperately needed to give GTech the
lottery contract. The heart of the matter was the then-successful cover-up
of the Bush family's using its influence to get young George Bush into the
Texas Air National Guard and out of the Vietnam war draft.
The memo to the US Attorney reads:
"Governor Bush thru [name withheld] made a
deal with Ben Barnes not to rebid because Barnes could confirm that Bush
had lied during the '94 campaign [for governor of Texas]. Bush was asked
if his father … had helped him get in the National Guard. Bush said no he
had not, but the fact is his dad call then-Lt. Gov. [Ben] Barnes …."
Lt. Governor Barnes, through a cut-out,
called the Texas Air Guard commander and got Bush into the 'top gun' seat
and out of the war.
You may recall that in 2004, years after we reported this story in
Britain, Barnes confessed to the draft-dodge fix on 60 Minutes.
[That was the report that brought down Dan Rather; but the Barnes
confession was never challenged.]
What 60 Minutes missed is the creepy Miers involvement. Barnes,
after he left the post of Lt. Governor, became a lobbyist -- for GTech,
the lottery company. By using his influence to get and keep the lottery
contract for GTech, Barnes picked up quite a nice fee: over $23 million.
With those millions in his pocket, Barnes kept a happy and lucrative
silence about his saving little George Bush from the draft.
According to the memo from the US Attorney's office, Barnes met with Bush
about GTech and the lottery. Then,
"The Governor talked to the chair of the
lottery [Miers] two days later and she then agreed to support letting
GTech keep the contract without a bid."
Note something else here: this information
was sitting in the hands of the US Attorney. Yet, no action was taken in
1997 though we now know that, from Barnes' confession in 2004, the
accusation about his putting in the fix for young George Bush is true.
An insider told BBC TV that the US Attorney's office and Justice
Department, though under Democratic control, never acted because they
discovered that Barnes, a Democrat, had not only manipulated the system to
get George Bush into the Texas Air Guard, Barnes did the same for the sons
of Democratic big wigs including Congressman (later Senator) Lloyd Bentsen
and Governor John Connolly.
In other words, control over a US Attorney and what is called their
"prosecutorial discretion" is worth its weight in gold to politicians.
They can provide protection for cronies and exact punishment on enemies.
And no one knows that better than "Justice" Harriet Miers and her boss,
fighter pilot George W. Bush.
Greg Palast is an investigative
journalist. This report is adapted from his New York Times
Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and
Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. New edition to be
released April 24.
Other Articles by Greg
Bush's New US
Attorney a Criminal?
* How They
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* The Year the
* Loser Nation
Election Spoiled Rotten
* The Real
Lt. Col. Burkett in His Own Words to BBC Television
* The Grinch
That Stole Labor Day
Unreported: The Pay-off in Bush Air Guard Fix
Discovers Black Voters!
Million Black Votes Did Not Count
* Bush Spiked
Probe of Pakistan’s Dr. Strangelove, BBC reported in 2001
* BBC At War:
Hutton Blesses Blair's Attack on BBC's Investigation of Iraq War Claims
* No Child's
Behind Left: New Educational Eugenics in George Bush's State of the Union
Jessica Lynch Captures Saddam: Ex-Dictator Demands Back Pay From Baker
The Grinch that Stole Labor Day