Take a look at this Editorial from today's Tribune-Review (by the way, it's titled "Ed the terrorist?":
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is so self-serving that he accepted apparently illegal payments for speeches supporting an Iranian-dissident organization that the State Department has listed as a terrorist group since 1997.As always, when you peek into the details you'll see what Scaife's braintrust has decided you don't need to know. From there you can decide for yourself their credibility.
The Treasury Department has subpoenaed records related to payments that Mr. Rendell admits taking in exchange for advocating removal of the People's Mujahedeen of Iraq, aka Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), from State's terror-group list.
He denies wrongdoing and says he and his agent are cooperating. Yet a Treasury spokesman told The Washington Times that "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with or providing services to this group."
NBC had the initial reporting on this story and I want to start from the braintrust's next sentence:
Democrat Rendell and others among the MEK's bipartisan supporters say the group has been nonviolent for two decades and considers Iran its enemy. [emphases added.]See that? Now let's go to NBC's reporting. Here's how it begins:
Speaking firms representing ex-FBI Director Louis Freeh and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton have received federal subpoenas as part of an expanding investigation into the source of payments to former top government officials who have publicly advocated removing an Iranian dissident group from the State Department list of terrorist groups, three sources familiar with the investigation told NBC News.Those are the "and others"? A former FBI Director and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? How many others are there? Luckily the real news gatherers at NBC tell us:
The investigation, being conducted by the Treasury Department, is focused on whether the former officials may have received funding, directly or indirectly, from the People's Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, thereby violating longstanding federal law barring financial dealings with terrorist groups. The sources, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said that speaking fees given to the former officials total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Freeh and Shelton are among 40 former senior U.S. government officials who have participated in a public lobbying campaign – including appearing at overseas conferences and speaking at public rallies – aimed at persuading the U.S. government to remove the MEK from the terror list.And yet the braintrust focuses on Ed Rendell. And wonders whether he's a terrorist. Perhaps they're focussing on the local connection. That among the 40 they chose to look at those with Pennsylvania connections - and who greater than a former Governor of Pennsylvania? But then there's this:
Rendell said that there have been weekly conference calls among a "core group" of former U.S. senior officials participating in the lobbying campaign, organized by Freeh, to talk about ways to prod the State Department to remove the MEK from the terror list and protect its followers at Camp Ashraf. He identified this group as including former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean and Mukasey — all of whom have publicly spoken out on behalf of the MEK and spoken at its rallies.I am wondering if they remember that Tom Ridge is also a former Governor of our lovely state.
Funny how they don't mention that, either. Nor do they wonder whether he's a terrorist, either. There's two others named in that paragraph, too. Howard Dean and someone named Mukasey. Who's that?
That would be former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. He's the guy George W. Bush appointed Attorney General after Alberto Gonzales. Remember?
Here's something else the braintrust decided you didn't need to know:
Sources told NBC that former government officials received fees of more than $30,000 a talk and were flown first class to Europe. The officials claimed that they were told the fees came from wealthy Americans or foreign supporters of the group — but not the group itself.Any hint of that in the braintrust's editorial? Nope.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that this MEK business is as dirty as the braintrust says it is. Wonder why didn't they ask whether Louis Free was a terrorst? Or Michael Mukasey? Or Hugh Shelton? Or Tom Ridge?
I don't have to wonder.