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January 21, 2005

Samir Campaign

Today's roundup of news involving Hraka obsession Samir Vincent.

Jimmy Carter and Jack Kemp are both suffering from their past associations with Samir.

The FBI has questioned Jack Kemp about his ties to Vincent on Wednesday, most likely about his 21st-Century Marshall Plan Committee, of which Vincent was a member.

In addition, I also have a passion for a rather huge undertaking I’ve begun with influential private and public-sector people to create a 21st-Century Marshall Plan Committee. The Committee is led by Ted Forstmann of Forstmann Little & Co. and includes Peruvian economist and writer Hernando de Soto, Iraqi-American businessman Samir Vincent, Afghan-American businessman Mahmood Karzai, Former Secretary of State James Baker, Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, Former Trade Representatives Bill Brock and Charlene Barshefsky, Ambassadors Ed Djerejian, Richard Holbrooke, Jim Jones and others who want to work on helping to bring economic freedom and democratic self rule to Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Asia and the Middle East.

In retrospect, I imagine Samir jumped at the chance to be on that committee, if he wasn't directed to join it in the first place. Imagine the money that could be skimmed off a "21st-Century Marshall Plan."

Given the committe membershiip, Larry Davis's statement on the Kemp-Vincent relationship seems at least a bit misleading.

Former White House lawyer Lanny Davis, speaking on Kemp’s behalf, confirmed to The Post that Kemp was interviewed by the FBI in October, but, “as far as we are aware, he is not a target. He is not a subject of any kind of investigation.” Davis, a Kemp pal who was President Bill Clinton's White House counsel, said Kemp never took any money or had any business relationship with Vincent — and was not aware that Vincent was an Iraqi agent.

Vincent, who was charged by the Justice Department with illegally acting as Saddam's secret agent in the United States, had monthly meetings with Kemp to discuss U.S.-Iraq relations.

It was not a "business" relationship, no. But it was a political and personal one. So no money ever exchanged hands. How about gifts? Did Vincent ever present Kemp with a token of appreciation for all his help?

Carter, meanwhile is taking some heat for his meeting with a tour of Iraqi religious leaders organized by Samir.

Contacts with Vincent dated back to 1999, when Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, hosted a delegation of Iraqi religious leaders at their home in Plains, Ga.

The Iraqis were in the country to lobby American religious leaders — including the Rev. Billy Graham — against U.N. sanctions on Iraq, imposed after Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Vincent organized the trip.

Later that year, Carter disclosed that he was trying to send his son, Chip, as well as Billy Graham's son, Franklin, to Iraq to "give publicity to the plight of the people in Iraq who are suffering."

Carter, who was in Washington to attend President Bush's inauguration yesterday, could not be reached for comment.

Aside from the New York Post, media coverage on Samir has begun to dwindle. Unless the mysterious unnamed "U.N. official" that keeps popping up as another recipient of Oil-for-food money is identified soon, that downward trend will likely continue.

God forbid the media pay attention to a story for more than a week. And we're still the only place where one can find an account of Samir's alleged contacts with the first Bush white house, as well as his "escape" from Iraq in the first Gulf war.

Update: The complete text of Atty. Gen. Ashcroft's remarks on Vincent can be seen here.

Posted by Bigwig at January 21, 2005 04:07 PM | TrackBack
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This post represents the "power of the blogosphere."

I really don't know where else in topical, public-consumption media you would find threads so nicely woven.

Posted by: cj at January 21, 2005 07:31 PM
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