The Jeff Gannon/James Guckert Scandal
For those of you who may not have followed the whole story…
First, On February 9th, Keith Olbermann aired on MSNBC a report about a “reporter” named “Jeff” who routinely sat in White House press conferences and asked questions that were clearly intended to promote a right-wing agenda, even addressing a question a few weeks ago to the President himself. Olbermann aired eight clips of the reporter’s questions, and then revealed that the “reporter” named “Jeff Gannon” wasn’t a real reporter at all, but a writer for Talon News, a website owned and run by the GOP. And what’s more, “Jeff Gannon” wasn’t even the guy’s real name — it’s James D. Guckert.
Second, Guckert didn’t have the press credentials to attend White House Press briefings; having been denied a press pass by Congress because he couldn’t pass their security clearance, he wasn’t eligible for one at the White House either. He was attending all these press briefings by using a more easily obtained “daily” pass each day; one that is intended for temporary use and not repeated attendance for months at a time.
While attending the press briefings, Guckert interrupted questions from legitimate reporters and wrote inflammatory articles on White House critics and opponents of the administration, including articles that were notoriously anti-gay.
On top of that, it’s not clear whether the passes were issued under his fake name of Gannon, or his real name of Guckert. Scott McClellan clearly addresses him by his fake name and has since mentioned that he didn’t know his real name, so the question is, how did he get a pass, and if it was under his real name, why was he getting called on by his fake one?
Wait, it gets worse.
1. Turns out that Guckert was attending press briefings long before the “Talon” website that was his “beat” was even in existence. He’s seen in a press briefing on February 28th, 2003, and the Talon wasn’t online until May 2003. Considering that to get even a daily pass, he would have to show clips from a news source, how did he get one?
2. While Jeff Guckert was sitting in press briefings asking questions of the President and White House staff, he was also involved in a business under his real name where he created websites soliciting male prostitutes, and even had numerous photos and solicitations of himself as a male prostitute online. The guy who wrote inflammatory anti-gay material is gay himself, and involved in illegal activities.
3. Guckert claimed to have seen confidential memos regarding the White House’s exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame, something he had no clearance for whatsover.
4. Guckert knew about the invasion of Iraq four hours before it happened, long before legitimate news sources had access to the information.
5. Guckert bragged about passing on the scoop about Bush’s faked national guard memos, something he couldn’t have known with out White House connections.
6. Guckert also worked with two South Dakota bloggers, again writing as an “independent” news source, to discredit Tom Daschle, who eventually lost his senate race.
7. Guckert’s connections in the White House got him invited to the White House Christmas Party, and at least one other “invitation-only” event; something that only Washington insiders can do, and an invitation would have to come from the president’s press secretary.
Media Matters article
“So what” you say?
Here’s what — this guy got into the White House over and over for months and did so to disrupt regular news reporting. There’s no way he could do that through White House security without someones help, which means he had some special relationship to someone in the White House. He also had access to confidential, privileged information.
How’d he get it? Some folks at Daily Kos have some pure speculation:
But the stuff at the Nashua Advocate seems a lot more plausible.