In an article in a Washington newsletter, The Hill, on Nov. 4, the publication’s editor, Albert Eisele, and writer Jeff Dufour claim to debunk the story of Bush’s mystery bulge during the debates, claiming that unnamed “sources” in the Secret Service had told them the president was simply wearing body armor under his suit. (Go to The Hill )
The White House, Bush campaign and the president himself all had said it was not body armor, the two wrote, because they didn’t want to give away any secrets about the president’s security protection while he was “out” campaigning.
There are a couple of big problems with this alibi story, however.
First of all there is the matter of the unidentified sourcing. The Secret Service is very like the CIA in not giving out information. It doesn’t confirm or deny where presidential or vice presidential security is involved–something everyone who covers that agency well knows, myself included.
When such a leak does come out, as with the CIA, it is not out of the kindness of some spook or T-man trying to help out a poor reporter–it is to advance some agenda in the agency or the government. Eisele and Dufour certainly should write their story, but they ought to raise the question of why someone or several people (they used the plural of source) would have wanted to put out this story.
This is particularly true since the explanation given as to why the president and his staff would have lied about the bulge being armor was that they supposedly didn’t want to disclose his security arrangements when he was campaigning in public.
Don’t they care about his security any more now that he’s elected? Is the president done visiting with the public? Will he be withdrawing entirely like a box turtle into the White House for the next four years? Has he decided not to campaign for members of Congress in 2004?
Something is automatically fishy here.
But there are other problems too.
Now that NASA scientist Dr. Robert Nelson has shown us the shape of the object under the presidential suitjacket, it would behoove anyone who claims it is a flak jacket under there to show us how it clasps, because that would be some piece of hardware.
In fact, all the bulletproof armor I’ve been able to find on the market that is meant for hidden use under jackets fastens on the side or the front, and uses smoothly attaching Velcro, not heavy-duty clasps which could, in any event, be blown open by a first shot, rendering the suit useless. There are no vests that I’ve seen with a clasp remotely like that shape shown by Dr. Nelson’s photo enhancement work.
Then too, there’s that wire, so clearly visible snaking up to the presidential shoulder in debate 1 pictures. That has nothing to do with a armored vest. Likewise the wire seen peeking out from the left side of the presidential tie in a picture from debate 2.
No, this story still has legs, whatever the cover story “sources” at the Secret Service may be planting at The Hill. (The Hill’s own willing role in purveying this weak alibi story must also be questioned, given the jocular way the article dismissed stories about the Bulgegate as “conspiracy theories”–a choice of wording that attempts to disparage the serious efforts some journalists have been making to examine this issue of possible presidential misconduct and deceit.)
It remains to be seen whether investigators can prove that Bush stole the election, but so far, the evidence strongly suggests that he at least tried to cheat in the debates, and that he certainly lied prodigiously about what the bulge was under his jacket.
DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Information about both books and other work by Lindorff can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org