Special Reports Personal Collection:
Norris Carden's (www.nuzman.com) e-mail collection of Drudge's Special Reports (5/31/1997 - 1/17/2001.)
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT CODE RED XXXXX WED DEC 03 1997 23:52 EST XXXXX
COMMITTEE: ARLINGTON CEMETERY BURIAL A FRAUD
The DRUDGE REPORT has been told that the House Veteran's Affair Committee
has scheduled a press conference for 12 pm ET Thursday to present the
manifest that shows that Arlington Cemetery-buried Larry Lawrence was not on
the merchant marine ship SS Horace Bushnell as he claimed -- and a casualty
list for the ship does not include his name.
Word of the impending announcement spread violently through media circles
Committee Chair Terry Everett [R- AL] is expected to stun Washington with
Lawrence's name first surfaced last month when Army Secretary Togo D. West
Jr. was forced to defended his decision to grant 58 Americans, including
Lawrence, special permission to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery
after INSIGHT magazine reported allegations that plots were awarded in
exchange for past generosity to the Democratic Party.
At a Pentagon press briefing West denied "categorically, without
qualification, and forcefully" that any burial requests were granted for
political reasons. West defended the exception given to Lawrence, saying
there was "nothing about that case that would have excited suspicion."
"Neither I, and I believe no one operating under my supervision anywhere
within the chain, knew of his role as a contributor," West said. "This is
one of the cases in which everyone along the line, including the [Arlington]
superintendent and staff, recommended approval of that request."
Lawrence, a San Diego businessman once listed in the Forbes 400, was an
early supporter of President Clinton in 1992, served on his national finance
committee and donated more than $200,000 to his campaign. He slept in the
Lincoln Bedroom, flew on Air Force One, was appointed ambassador to
Switzerland, hosted the president at his Coronado Island estate and was
buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Mr. Lawrence was injured at sea on March 29, 1945, when the Liberty ship
Horace Bushnell, laden with war supplies, was torpedoed by a German
submarine in the Arctic, White House special counsel Lanny J. Davis told
reporters. "He was thrown overboard and suffered a serious head injury...
Had he been in the Navy and the same incident would have occurred, he would
have received a Purple Heart."
Administration officials blasted the plot-for-friend story as a "scurrilous
and untrue" hatchet job devised by Clinton's enemies. White House Press
Secretary Mike McCurry berated the story as a classic example of
irresponsible journalism that has "no basis in fact... picked up on the
hate-radio circuit and inflamed."
Press Briefing Replay...
Q Mike, on a different subject, it appears that Larry Lawrence got a waiver
to get buried at Arlington. Is the administration aware of any service other
than giving lots of money to the Democratic Party that would justify such a
MR. MCCURRY: ... Obviously, [Lawrence] died while serving as a U.S.
ambassador overseas, but I believe he also was a merchant mariner and served
during World War II on a ship that was torpedoed or at least suffered some
kind of attack...]
The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that questions of whether Lawrence had
actually ever been aboard any merchant marine ship first surfaced when a
long-time executive assistant to Lawrence told supersyndicated columnist
Arianna Huffington last month that Lawrence once asked her to research names
of torpedoed ships.
Norma Niccols told Huffington that when she was first hired by Lawrence in
1979, the ship incident was not in his bio. It was added later, however, in
1982, shortly after Lawrence instructed her to research names of ships that
suffered damage in World War II.
Huffington passed the information on to congressional sources.
It was also learned late Wednesday night that Lawrence's vetted files have
now disappeared from the State Department.
Filed by Matt Drudge In New York City
The REPORT is issued when circumstances warrant
http://www.drudgereport.com for breaks
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(c)DRUDGE REPORT 1997
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