Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Sunday, September 09, 2007

  Fred Thompson's candidacy has crashed

I've argued that Fred Thompson's shady work as a lobbyist before and after his Senate career was likely to scuttle his presidential campaign once voters learned some details about his work on behalf of foreign countries. And just days after Thompson entered the race, it looks like his campaign has been blown out of the sky.

The NY Times reveals today that Thompson was paid in 1992 to advise lawyers defending Libyan intelligence officials who were accused of masterminding the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Think of that. The Republican's knight in shining armor worked for Libyan terrorists (one of whom is now serving jail time for the bombing).

Thompson was working as a lobbyist at the time for the Washington, DC firm Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn. It was there that Thompson did some of his most notorious work as a registered agent of foreign governments—or in the case of Jean Bertrand Aristide, of a government in exile. So when one of the firm's partners was hired to help the Libyan terrorists avoid extradition for the Lockerbie crime, Thompson pitched in his expertise as a former prosecutor.

A little over three years after Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, Fred D. Thompson provided advice to a colleague about one of his law firm’s new clients: The man representing the two Libyan intelligence officials charged in the terrorist bombing.

The colleague, John Culver, a partner at the Washington firm of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn began advising the two suspects’ Libyan lawyer in February 1992. Mr. Thompson, according to a memorandum from that era written by his secretary, held “discussions with Culver re: Libya” that same month.

At the time, Libya was facing international outrage for refusing to comply with a United Nations demand that the two suspects be extradited to the West for trial in the 1988 bombing, which killed 270 people. Revelations that American firms were representing Libyan interests provoked a furor among the Pan Am victims’ families. Some law firms refused to represent the country or the suspects, while others withdrew.

The involvement of Mr. Thompson, who worked part-time for Arent Fox as a lawyer and lobbyist from 1991 until shortly before his election to the Senate in 1994, never became public.

Odd that Mr. Thompson didn't make a big deal during his Senate campaign of the fact that he had been called in to help on such a high profile case. It would have cemented his reputation as a "serious" and "worldly" candidate in the face of charges that Thompson was merely a Hollywood lightweight.

But, alas, disclosure of the information had to wait until Mr. Thompson entered the presidential race. Should be the end of his campaign, if there is any justice in the world.

The bigger question, however, is this: What does this revelation say about the research skills, not to mention the common sense, of Republicans and others who've been desperately eager for Thompson to ride in and save the Republican Party from itself in 2008? These people, it seems, are never careful about what they wish for.

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  • Of course I am sure that committing perjury before a federal grand jury and accepting political contributions from foreign entities is perfectly ok in your eyes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:36 AM  

  • Your comment is appropos of what, exactly? This post is about Fred Thompson's ties to terrorists.

    By Blogger : smintheus ::, at 3:13 PM  

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