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Jeff Gannon: Credentials

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The matter of the White House press credentials obtained by discredited Talon News correspondent Jeff Gannon has both raised questions and sparked a call for investigation.

Issues

But, how could and did this all happen? Bruce Bartlett writes February 10, 2005 [posted from Romenesko]:

"Having worked in the White House, I can assure everyone that not only would it be impossible to get a White House pass using an alias, it is impossible even to get past the gate for an appointment using an alias. Thorough FBI background checks are required for the former and a picture ID is necessary for the latter. Therefore, if Gannon was using an alias, White House staff had to be involved in maintaining his cover."

The Daily Kos opines, February 16, 2005:

  • Earlier: "What exactly were those obstacles [to getting a press pass], and how did Guckert overcome them? ... Remember, Guckert wasn't with Talon News when he first got into the press pool. Who was he with?"
  • Later: "Heck, even Guckert admitted that getting these passes isn't easy. Yet somehow there he was, every day, asking covetted questions of the president and his spokespersons.
"GannonGuckert had a patron. And that patron helped him circumvent security protocols (which should've unearthed the fact he was a tax cheat, was lying about his name, and was probably a prostitute). Then, that patron made sure he had access to classified CIA memos." (Emphasis added.)

The day before, February 15, 2005, Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote in her 'Editor's Cut' column for The Nation:

"Despite the ease with which the blogosphere was able to uncover Guckert/Gannon's true identity and even though Guckert/Gannon had been denied credentials to enter the House and Senate press galleries, Bush spokesperson Scott McClellan claims post-9/11 security measures failed to detect a faux-journalist operating inside the White House under a pseudonym.
"If you believe that, I have some Iraqi weapons of mass destruction I'd like to sell you," she quips.

Maureen Dowd adds in the February 17, 2005, New York Times:

"Who knew that a hotmilitarystud wanting to meetlocalmen could so easily get to be face2face with the commander in chief?
"It's hard to believe the White House could hit rock bottom on credibility again, but it has, in a bizarre maelstrom that plays like a dark comedy. How does it credential a man with a double life and a secret past?"

As this particular story continues to unravel, Doug at Griffin Edition Blogspot adds February 17, 2005:

"This guy Jeff Gannon/James Guckert (hereafter called Jimmy-Jeff – has a bit of Texas flavor doesn’t it?) has to have something on someone extremely high up in our government. Why else would a former/possibly current male prostitute with no journalistic experience whatsoever be allowed access to the White House press room for 2 years – on day passes, no less? Why else would he have been given access to the West Wing? Why else would he have information about the Valerie Plame memo? Remember, this guy was denied a permanent pass and also denied access to cover the Capitol because of his questionable credentials as a journalist. Jimmy-Jeff is the skeleton in someone’s closet. (please be Karl Rove… please be Karl Rove… please be Karl Rove…)."

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