The Bushites constantly remind us that we now live in a new world of hyper-security. You can't get on an airplane without removing your shoes, the mildest citizen protest is greeted with a phalanx of police in riot gear, and even the presidential inaugural was a locked-down affair conducted within an iron circle of soldiers, police, secret service agents, spies and other authoritarian forces. In a dangerous world, the Bushites tell us, extra-ordinary security measures are essential.
So here's my question: How did a loose cannon like "Jeff Gannon" get to sashay around the White House so freely for two years?
Gannon turns out to be the nom de plume of a guy who now says his real name is James Guckert. He claimed to be a reporter for a Web site that is really a partisan PR front for an outfit called GOPUSA. He has no journalistic credentials. Yet despite using a fake name and posing as a reporter for a "news" outlet that's really a political operation, Gannon/Guckert was routinely allowed by the security-conscious Bushites into the White House press room for daily briefings and presidential press conferences. This ringer was called on regularly by press secretary Scott McClellan and by George himself, obviously because he invariably tossed up marshmallow questions that denigrated Bush's opponents and hailed George as a glorious leader.
Aside from his alias, Gannon/Guckert also is linked to several sex-for-hire Web sites with names like HotMilitaryStud.com. Yet the White House, which requires Secret Service clearance for all reporters, now claims it had no clue about this guy's background, with McClellan dismissively saying: "People use aliases all the time in life."
Hogwash. Imagine their outrage if Democrats tried to plant a guy like this in the press corps! The real fraud here is not by Gannon/Guckert, but by Bush & amp; Co., who knowingly used a party stooge to try to manipulate our news. And now they're lying about it.
Publication date: 03/03/05