RUSH: No problem. I mentioned earlier and I’m sure you know that the source of this is a press release from your opponent in the primary, Pat Toomey, and the press release mentions that George Soros is trying to funnel some money to your campaign; and I know the Soros name is not a positive name for Republicans. Is this true, well, what is it that you wish to say about it?
SPECTER: Well, I saw the press report today that a group called the Mainstream Partnership is making an independent contribution to my campaign or buying advertising. I saw figures in the New York Times of $200,000, and I’ve got nothing to do with the Mainstream Partnership. Well they want to make an independent contribution, I couldn’t have any contact, but I (unintelligible). And then I find out that George Soros has given the Mainstream Partnership, or so I’m told, $50,000 or $40,000. I don’t know anything about that. Now, Mr. Soros is a very controversial figure, being opposed to President Bush, who I’m very, very strongly supporting. But to have any suggestion that Arlen Specter knows anything about George Soros making a contribution to Mainstream Partnership or having anything to do with my campaign is just not true.
RUSH: What do people like you, you know, senator in a reelection campaign, something like this happens, is there anything you can do about it other than you’re doing here?
SPECTER: Well, I’m putting out a statement in writing, Rush, because people are calling my offices in Pennsylvania and are saying that they’re surprised to hear that I would be in cahoots with George Soros. And all I can do is stay tuned and call up your people, got through and very appreciative that you were willing to take my call to let me set the record straight. But I’ll tell you, you’ve been in public life for a long time, and you get to be a target if you’re known in public life, and I just have to defend myself. So I welcome a chance to be on your radio show to say two things. Number one, I got no connection with the Mainstream Partnership, and I got no knowledge of any contribution by George Soros to the Mainstream Partnership, and that’s that.
RUSH: Can I, you know, you’ve raised an interesting question here about people in public life who are attacked. Oftentimes with things which are said to be untrue, and there’s always been a debate as to what you do about it. Do you ignore it and not amplify it, or do you defend yourself. You’ve chosen in this case to speak out against it? Did you give any thought to just letting this go away or was it such that you couldn’t?
SPECTER: Absolutely not, Rush. I wouldn’t consider ignoring it. Aside from the political impact, which is problemsome to me, I’m just not going to put up with it. Listen, when you’re a public figure, the Supreme Court has said you’re a target. They have different rules for Rush Limbaugh and Arlen Specter, once you’re a public figure. They have to prove malice in order for you to go to court and to uphold your reputation. So the way to do it is to be very aggressive and speak out to get the truth out. Listen, the American people will listen to the truth and there’s nothing like being on contemporaneously with the event, which again I express my gratitude to you.
RUSH: You’re more than welcome. While I have you, you may not be able to answer this, this is about the 9/11 commission; and you’ve sat, you have been a member of such commissions or Senate committees and so forth. What is your take so far how the committee’s job is being performed vis-?-vis its expressed purpose?
SPECTER: Well, I would wish that the 9/11 commission would spend more time trying to prevent the next 9/11 as opposed to attaching blame for this one. I chaired the Intelligence Committee in the 104th Congress and I’ve done a lot of oversight over the FBI on the Judiciary Committee and I can tell you firsthand that those two agencies have cultures of concealment, and we have not yet structured intelligence so that we can put all the information in one pool. I said on the Senate floor in October of 2002 that if they’d done their jobs and coordinated, that 9/11 could have been prevented. And I’m a little tired, frankly, of seeing all the commissioners on the 9/11 commission all over public view. They ought to have their hearings and they ought to write a report, and if they did it professionally without seeking a lot of publicity, they might have some impact.
RUSH: You chaired the Intelligence Committee. You saw much one half has been thrown around here as smoking gun evidence. Did you think it was smoking gun evidence at the time you saw it?
SPECTER: When I saw it, Rush, I saw that the people in the CIA would not even tell their supervisors what was going on. And John Deutsch who was the director did not have information as to what was going on. The best way to characterize it is a culture of concealment. And when I was involved in the hearings, you remember Colleen Rowley who came in in June of 2002, the big glasses and the 13-page single spaced letter?
SPECTER: And they pigeonholed her in Minneapolis, and when director Mueller came on I confronted him with the fact that they were using the wrong standard for probable cause. I used to be a district attorney, as I think you know. You and I had a long talk one day, and they weren’t pursuing leads they had to gather the information to protect America. And now, although I made the comments on the Senate floor as I say in October of 2002, finally there’s enough pressure so that I’m glad to see the president about to do something about it.
RUSH: You know, you talk about the culture of concealment. What was your reaction yesterday when you learned of the Gorelick memo that Ashcroft declassified that pretty much set up a wall that led to all this concealment based on the legal inability to share information gathered via intelligence in criminal cases?
SPECTER: Well, I thought it’s high time the American public understands that. The Department of Justice has had an artificial wall under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act where you get information with the slightly lesser standard on espionage or foreign activity than you do with probable cause for a criminal warrant. But once law enforcement has that information and you’ve gained it legally, it is ridiculous not to use it. I had real fights with attorney general Janet Reno, you remember the Wen Ho Lee case?
SPECTER: Well, they didn’t get a warrant for him, and we had extensive judiciary committee hearings, and she personally reviewed it and did not allow the warrant to go forward. And I think it’s time that the American people really understood how compartmentalized the Department of Justice was, and I thought when attorney general Ashcroft made that disclosure, it was very appropriate. I’m a little surprised that the former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick hasn’t commented yet. She’s going to have to comment on it, Rush, she’s not going to be able to ignore it. She says she doesn’t want to be a witness. Whether she wants to be a witness or not, what she did is an important point.
RUSH: She did say something last night with Lou Dobbs, just to let you know. She didn’t defend the memo and she didn’t acknowledge it. She said, well, yes, except Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, one of my successors, Larry Thompson, wrote a memo before 9/11 in August of 2001 leaving those policies in place and just reiterating the aspects of them that indeed allow and in fact require sharing of information between the intelligence and criminal side. So she’s trying to defend it by suggesting that Ashcroft didn’t change it.
SPECTER: Well, that was in The New York Times this morning about during Attorney General Ashcroft’s tenure that it was ratified, but that’s a different thing. When you come in and you’ve got a whole ream of regulations and memos, you don’t expect it at that time, look at all the semicolons and seeing all the ramifications. During the administration of Attorney General Reno, this whole issue came into sharp focus. Now, I did not have contact with Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick on this point. I saw her on other points. But everybody is looking for a way to cover a certain part of their anatomy on this, Rush, and the fact is that we made a big focus on getting the search warrant for Wen Ho Lee and the irrationality of once you found out information which constituted the crime, not to act on it, when you got it legally.
RUSH: I can tell you some things about search warrants myself, but I’ll leave myself out of this.
SPECTER: I can tell you some things about search warrants, too, Rush. I was DA for eight years. I was involved in lot of them.
RUSH: I’ve been victimized by one that was illegal.
SPECTER: I followed it and I sympathized with you when you’re a public figure. If you were John Doe, you never would have heard about it. You’re entitled to a little privacy too, Mr. Limbaugh.
RUSH: Well, I appreciate that. By the way, thanks for calling, and I don’t want to say straightening this out, but giving us the skinny on this Soros participation in this organization that contributed to you, because, frankly, it looks like a setup when you look at it. Soros knows that he’s anathema to Republicans. To get his name associated with one is certainly not helpful, and there’s been no indication Soros is supportive of you prior to this, so it sort of stunk.
SPECTER: Rush, I checked the records after this popped up and I found out way back in ’96 he did make a contribution of a thousand dollars which I hadn’t known about, but that was long before he became anti-Bush and a controversial character; but this stuff today really sort of floored me so I’m really glad to have an opportunity to comment on it.
RUSH: Senator Arlen Specter, thanks for the call, sir.
SPECTER: Thank you very much. Thank you.
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