Has John Murtha (D-Cut&Run) overstated his war wounds over the years? And did Murtha cut a deal to avoid prosecution and ethics charges in the Abscam case? These are questions being raised by Cybercast News Service, a respected internet media source.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 12, 2002, reported that "Marine Corps casualty records show that Murtha was injured in 'hostile' actions near Danang, Vietnam, on March 22, 1967, and May 7, 1967.
"In the first incident, his right cheek was lacerated, and in the second, he was lacerated above his left eye. Neither injury required evacuation," the Post-Gazette reported.
But an Oct. 26, 1994, article in the Herald-Standard quoted Murtha as describing two different injuries.
"I was wounded in the arm with shrapnel from a bullet that hit the motor mount of a helicopter. In the other, my knee was banged up and my arm was banged up when a helicopter was shot down from a very few feet," Murtha told the Herald-Standard.
A June 1, 1967 report in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat quoted a letter that the newspaper indicated was sent by Murtha to his wife that same year. The letter apparently detailed yet another version of how Murtha qualified for one of his Purple Hearts. According to the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Murtha's injuries involved his being "struck in the ankle" by a "shot that ricocheted off the helicopter."
However, another source, World War II Navy veteran Harry M. Fox, previously indicated that Murtha in 1968 personally asked Fox's boss, then-U.S. Rep. John Saylor (R-Pa.), for assistance in obtaining the Purple Hearts, but was turned down because Saylor's office determined that Murtha lacked sufficient evidence of wounds. Murtha later challenged Saylor for his House seat in 1968 and lost. Fox said he personally viewed Murtha's military records in 1968 as Saylor's aide.
But, a videotape of a Jan. 7, 1980 Abscam-related meeting involving Murtha shows that the congressman's rejection of the offered bribe was less than definite. "I'm not interested. I'm sorry," Murtha told the FBI agent, but added that he meant "at this point.
"You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't," Murtha said on the FBI videotape.
A July 30, 1981, article in the Washington Post quoted a committee source as saying that several allegations of misconduct against Murtha were rejected on a "near party-line vote." Since the panel was made up of six Democrats and six Republicans, seven votes were needed to file any charges.
Just hours after the July 1981 House Ethic Committee vote sparing Murtha from charges, E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., special counsel for the panel's Abscam investigation, abruptly resigned. At the time, Prettyman refused to discuss with the press his reasons for stepping down.
When contacted by Cybercast News Service regarding the investigation, Prettyman called the Murtha situation "very interesting," but declined further comment, citing the need to maintain attorney-client privilege.
Similarly, when Prettyman was interviewed by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call in 1990, the former special counsel declined to comment on why he had resigned. But when pressed on whether the resignation was due to the Ethics Committee's vote on Murtha, Prettyman said that would be "a logical conclusion."
The amazing response from the Left to the two articles Cybercast News Service published on Friday, Jan. 13, regarding the military and political record of U.S. Rep. John Murtha leaves me wondering whether the Democratic Party and its liberal followers are paranoid or just plain mean.
First, let me say to the Lefties out there who will read this -- it's unfair that the authors of the articles, CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer Marc Morano and Staff Writer Randy Hall are being pounded so viciously on your liberal blogs. These two terrific journalists, who by the way can handle anything you can dish out, were assigned to the stories and did their jobs very well. But, don't blame them. Blame me. I assigned the stories. Nobody else suggested the idea. Nobody else twisted my arm.
If I read the blogs, and by now you know that I have, I'm amazed at the circle of friends and conspirators that I have suddenly developed over the last three days. Judging by the Left's paranoid rants, I'm about to get an invitation to a White House State Dinner, where I'll be able to regale my best bud Karl Rove about my latest journalistic efforts, before attending to my private chat with President Bush about who to target next for a "hit job."
But the problem -- well it's only a problem if you subscribe to this conspiratorial nonsense -- is that I've never met, spoken on the telephone or exchanged emails with Karl Rove. He doesn't know me from a hole in the wall. I haven't spoken with President Bush since he was the governor of Texas and I was a television reporter for the Republican National Committee following him around in Amarillo more than ten years ago. And I'm pretty sure the president doesn't remember me.
I am, however, impressed that our news organization has been recognized by the likes of U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House minority leader, who labeled our articles on Murtha "despicable." This raises a crucial question for Ms. Pelosi and the Left, regarding our news coverage. They can take their best shot because we can take the hit. But can they say the same thing?
Posted by: Greg at
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