Rumored ex-Marine John Murtha, Democrat congressman from Pennsylvania, has become the darling of the cut-and-run crowd for trying to place absurd restrictions on our troops, amounting to withdrawal from Iraq. Were Arab sheiks whispering into his ear?
In case you missed the video on "I Love the ’80s," Rep. Murtha was caught on tape negotiating bribes with Arab sheiks during the FBI’s Abscam investigation in 1980. The Abscam investigation was conducted by Jimmy Carter’s Justice Department, not right-wing Republicans.
On tape, Murtha told the undercover FBI agent: "When I make a f***in’ deal I want to make sure that I know exactly what I’m doing and … what I’m sayin’ is, a few investments in my district …"
It is a profound and shocking fact that Murtha even showed up at this meeting, knowing he was going to be negotiating bribe money with Arabs.
Murtha added that he wanted the investment in his district to look like it was done "legitimately … when I say legitimately, I’m talking about so these bastards up here can’t say to me … ‘Jesus Christ, ah, this happened,’ then he (someone else), in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people and then the son of a bitch all falls apart."
For those of you just joining us, no, this isn’t a scene from "The Sopranos." It’s an actual conversation between a U.S. congressman and an FBI agent posing as an Arab sheik offering a bribe.
Murtha further said that although he was not prepared to accept cash at that time, "after we’ve done some business, then I might change my mind." You know, just what you or I or any American might say when offered a cash bribe by an Arab.
The ever-helpful media exposed the Abscam investigation before it could be completed, and consequently we were deprived of the possibility of seeing Murtha on tape stuffing cash in his trousers like the other Democratic congressmen (and one "moderate" Republican) convicted in the Abscam investigation. Or, as Al Gore used to call such a fund-raising procedure, "community outreach."
But Murtha was willing to trade favors in return for investment in his district — and suggested he might take cash down the line. In other words, Murtha wasn’t calling for an immediate surrender of his scruples and principles, but rather a phased withdrawal of them.
In fact, according to a co-conspirator’s affidavit, it didn’t take long for Murtha to warm to the idea of a cash bribe.
About a month after the taped meeting with Murtha, the co-conspirator, lawyer Howard L. Criden, wrote in his affidavit: "Yesterday, Feb. 1, (Democrat Congressman Frank ‘Topper’) Thompson called and told me that Murtha was ready to go," adding that Murtha had indicated "during January that he was not ready to do business but would be willing to do so in the future."
Criden said: "Congressman Murtha of Pennsylvania would be willing to enter into an agreement similar to that of the other congressmen" — i.e., taking $50,000 cash from the sheiks for legislative favors.
Criden’s affidavit went unsigned, according to his lawyer, Richard Ben-Veniste, solely because of the resulting publicity when the press blew the investigation, leading Criden to believe the prosecutors had broken the deal.
Criden was later convicted and sentenced to six years in prison, along with seven members of Congress (six of them Democrats). Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator. (Would that Patrick Fitzgerald were prosecuting the case!)
As an attorney, let me give you the technical legal description of what occurred: John Murtha was as guilty as O.J. Simpson.
Now Murtha issues high moral pronouncements on the war and denounces our troops, calling the U.S. military "broken, worn out" and "living hand to mouth." Gee, too bad there aren’t any Arab sheiks offering them cash bribes. Sounds like they could really use the money.
Murtha accuses Marines of killing "innocent civilians in cold blood" during an ongoing investigation. Semper Fi, Mr. Dirty Congressman.
Instead of toppling brutal dictators and spreading democracy in the Middle East, Murtha apparently prefers the old way of doing business with Arabs, where he gets juice from the sheiks.
The Democrats’ cheat-sheet on Murtha demands that it be shouted out: "He didn’t take a bribe on tape!" That’s their defense. There is not even a pretense that he didn’t talk to Arabs about a bribe.
He negotiated with a prostitute at the bar, but never consummated the deal. He’s a saint! Let him be my congressman!
It’s the Clintonian "incompetency" defense: Murtha was willing to be bribed; he just never got his act together enough to pick up the cash. I may not be honest, but I’m way too disorganized to actually take bribes!
Fine, Murtha was never convicted. Neither was Nixon. Venal hack John Murtha was willing to sell his country’s interests to Arab sheiks. This is the man Democrats have put up to lead the anti-war charge today, demanding that the commander in chief stop deploying troops against his Arab friends.
If only this whole war thing would blow over, maybe that Arab is still waiting out there with a deal for him.