bureaucracybusters

A REMEDY FOR BLACKMAIL

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on June 10, 2015 at 12:03 am

On May 28, Dennis Hastert, the former Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives (1999-2007) was indicted for violating federal banking laws and lying to the FBI.

He had tried to conceal $3.5 million in hush-money payments over several years to a man who was blackmailing him.

Dennis Hastert

The source of the blackmail: A homosexual–and possibly coerced–relationship with an underage student while Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School, in Yorkville, Illinois–long before Hastert entered Congress in 1981.

Hastert wasn’t indicted for having had a sexual relationship with an underage student. The statute of limitations had long ago run out on that offense.

He was indicted for trying to evade federal banking laws and lying to the FBI.

According to the indictment, the FBI began investigating the cash withdrawals in 2013.

The Bureau wanted to know if Hastert was using the cash for criminal purposes or if he was the victim of a criminal extortion.

When questioned by the FBI, Hastert said he was storing cash because he didn’t feel safe with the banking system: “Yeah, I kept the cash. That’s what I’m doing.”

Thus, irony: By giving in to blackmail, Hastert:

  • Lost $3.5 million;
  • Unintentionally engineered his arrest and indictment; and
  • Ensured that his darkest secret would be revealed.

There is a lesson to be learned here–one that longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover well understood: Giving in to blackmail only empowers the blackmailer even more.

As William C. Sullivan, the onetime director of the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Divison, revealed after Hoover’s death in 1972:

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator, he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter.

“‘But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”

“Boy, the dirt he [Hoover] has on those Senators!” John F. Kennedy–a former Senator now President–gushed to his journalist-friend, Benjamin C. Bradlee.

Kennedy soon came to know that even Presidents could be targeted for blackmail.

In May, 1962, Hoover privately informed Kennedy that the FBI had learned that Judith Campbell, the mistress of Chicago Mafia boss Sam Giancana, had another bedmate: JFK himself.

John F. Kennedy, J. Edgar Hoover and Robert F. Kennedy

Hoover had feared being retired by the President’s brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. It had been RFK who had ordered Hoover to attack the Mafia as he had long attacked the Communist Party USA.

Now, as a result of that anti-Mob effort, the FBI had picked up evidence linking the President with the mistress of a top Mafia boss.

Hoover’s tenure as FBI director was thus assured–until his death on May 2, 1972, of a heart attack.

Narcotics agents have their own methods of blackmail in dealing with informants.

When a drug-abuser and/or dealer is coerced into becoming a “snitch,” the narcotics agent orders him to call another user/dealer he knows.

The agent then tapes the call–and makes sure his new informant knows it.  From that moment, the “snitch” knows there’s no way out except cooperating with his new master.

The only effective way of handling blackmail was demonstrated by Arthur Wellesley, known to history as the Duke of Wellington.

The Duke of Wellington

In 1815, he had defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, ending France’s longstanding threat to England.  With that victory came the honors of a grateful nation.

Then, in December, 1824, Wellington found himself the target of blackmail by Joseph Stockdale, a pornographer and scandal-monger.

“My Lord Duke,” Stockdale write in a letter, “In Harriette Wilson’s memoirs, which I am about to publish, are various anecdotes of Your Grace which it would be most desirable to withhold….

“I have stopped the Press for the moment, but as the publication will take place next week, little delay can necessarily take place.”

Wilson was a famous London courtesan past her prime, then living in exile in Paris.  She was asking Wellington to pay money to be left out of her memoirs.

From Wellington came the now-famous reply: “Publish and be damned!”

Wilson’s memoirs appeared in installments, naming half the British aristocracy and scandalizing London society.

And, true to her threat, she named Wellington as one of her lovers–and a not very satisfying one at that.

Wellington was a national hero, husband and father. Even so, his reputation did not suffer, and he went on to become prime minister.

Click here: Rear Window: When Wellington said publish and be damned: The Field Marshal and the Scarlet Woman – Voices

Dennis Hastert, former Speaker of the House, might now wish he had followed the example of the Duke of Wellington.

His reputation might have been trashed, but he wouldn’t now be facing prosecution.

As matter now stand, his reputation has been trashed, and he is facing prosecution.

  1. How did Dennis Hastert go from being a high school coach to the House of Preventatives and have enough money to be able to make that kind of payoff in the millions and still stay so well over fed? Scary that people of his nature can be in a position of public influence, violate their trust and skid by the statute of limitations of his crimes.

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