Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 controversies forgotten: Russian spy, bundler who forged documents

Russian spy Cynthia Murphy

Russian spy Cynthia Murphy, according to the LA Times provided financial planning for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign finance co-chair. (Photo: FBI vault)

As Mrs. Clinton makes another attempt for the US presidency, she has largely escaped the wrath of many in media. Despite publicly documented falsehoods, the bulk of gotcha-style reportage has been directed at GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

In 2008 that wasn’t the case for one reason—media’s love affair with Mrs. Clinton’s primary opponent, Illinois’ junior senator Barack Obama.

What many, including the Trump campaign, have overlooked is a very long controversial trail from 2008 when media were willing to vet her because, as we now know, via the Journolist media scandal, they were advocates for Obama.

Most seem to have forgotten in 2008, Mrs. Clinton’s finance co-chair had a Russian spy involved in his financial planning.

Also forgotten is the fact another of her fundraisers—he reportedly garnered about $100,000 for her campaign—“was charged with bank fraud, released on a $25 million bond and placed under house arrest in his New York City apartment.” [Time magazine] 

The scandals, if Mrs. Clinton was a Republican, would likely be in the news cycle right now.

Start with the Russia spy caper. Some media did cover it, but few went into detail. The original page for  the FBI’s Operation Ghost Stories has been removed. Maybe some of those former Bush administration officials and intel spooks supporting Mrs. Clinton looked out for her on that matter. There’s no way to know, and yes, I can see a tinfoil hat from my desk.

There is still a page at the vault. You would need to dig through documents and photos to put it all together.

You can still read the original account of Operation Ghost Stories at the Internet Archives. For now, anyway.

What’s interesting about Operation Ghost Stories relates to Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 finance co-chair Alan Patricof.

The L.A. Times was one of the few media to connect Patricof to the Russian spies who had been planted in the US illegally in a manner worthy of the TV series The Americans. The paper reported on those spies:

“Several were getting close to high-ranking officials,” he said. One had gone to work for a confidant of a U.S. Cabinet member, he added, declining to offer details.

One of the Russians, who identified herself as Cynthia Murphy of Montclair, N.J., provided financial planning for Alan Patricof, a New York venture capitalist and top Democratic donor who was finance chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to news reports.

The agents were known as “illegals,” because they weren’t operating out of Russian embassies or military missions. Instead, they led seemingly normal lives in the U.S.”

Then there was the scandalous case of a man named Hassan Nemazee who became a US citizen during Bill Clinton’s second term in 1996. Nemazee immigrated to the US from Iran.

Nemazee reportedly, according to The New York Times, “pleaded guilty on Thursday [March, 2010] to stealing hundreds of millions of dollars to buy property in Westchester County, donate to charity and give money to political campaigns.”

Even the leftwing activists at Alternet took a dim view of the deep relationships Nemazee had with high ranking Democrats like the Clintons, President Obama, and current secretary of state John Kerry.

In 2009 Alternet published a story including this about those deep ties Nemazee had:

“By 2008, Nemazee was one of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, and was being publicly touted as a top foreign policy adviser. When another major fundraiser, a clothing manufacturer named Norman Hsu, was arrested and unmasked as a swindler, it was Nemazee who was trotted out to defend Ms. Clinton and argue that she knew little about Hsu.

But she should have known plenty about Nemazee. In 2005, Nemazee and his business partner, Alan Quasha, went deep into the Clinton circle to hire Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton confidante and former chairman of the Democratic Party, for Carret Asset Management, their newly acquired investment firm. During the interregnum between McAuliffe’s party chairmanship and the time he officially joined Hillary Clinton’s campaign as chairman, Nemazee and Quasha set McAuliffe up with a salary and opened a Washington office for him.  There he worked on his memoirs and laid the groundwork for Ms. Clinton’s presidential bid.”

I reported on spies in the US in two different stories, including a rapid expansion of spy activity once Obama took the presidency. I was also one of a few bloggers to report on Operation Ghost Stories.

The Trump campaign might put some researchers on opposition research on Mrs. Clinton in 2008 because most Democrats in media didn’t want her to win the Dem primary and went after her more or less like they routinely go after Republicans. Mrs. Clinton is media’s favorite now, but that wasn’t the case when she went up against the astounding orator then-Sen. Obama.

It’s interesting what you find when you take a walk down Clinton Lane. It’s a long, dark, treacherous path.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 19, 2016)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.

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