Thank you for having the courage to broadcast this special! I have always felt that any organization, left to itself, would have inherent problems of policing/investigating itself. There HAS to be someone, who is on the outside, to do this - or it won't get done.
You did a #1 job in bringing Mr. Smaltz's courageous efforts to light. As the lawyer for Tyson Foods was replying to questions, I could envision the lawyer's behaviour that were representing gangsters, such as in "The Godfather" - deny, deny and stonewall, even when they know that their client is guilty. I do, very much so, believe that Mr. Clinton will be impeached and found guilty of what is now only an allegation. I do not think that it is a giant co-incident that so many of the people that he has surrounded himself with have already been indicted for corruption. Frankly, I hope that the evidence will show corruption and impeachable offenses against Mr. Gore, as well.
You people at Frontline deserve a real pat of congratulations!
Congratulations to PBS and Frontline for showing the American Public the truth behind the Independent Counsel and how it is truely the "Frontline" protection of our democracy from the corruption that so easily grows and goes unreported by many in the media. Tears at one point welled up in my eyes when Mr. Smaltz explained how our Justice system was so willing to turn their back on the truth. I felt a an enormous chill of fear overcome my soul as I realized all that our Founding Fathers,Veterans and average Americans have fought for, can so easily be undermined and destroyed by a handful of wreckless, unethical people placed in the position of trust and power. We as Americans and voters can only look inward and wonder what have we done and what are we about to do. God help us.
The point you make is very well taken. Who indeed is going to "guard the henhouse"? There appears to be no in the Capital who looks beyond the latest "spin". Since when do we need know the "approval rating" of an special prosecutor?
In this case we are talking about the 5,000 Americans who lose their lives each year from Salmonella poisoning. Poultry is the prime contributor of this infectious organism. Yet the Agriculture Department, under Secretary Mike Espy, mysteriously backed away from the proposal for zero-tolerance regulations for poultry after meeting with Tyson officials and lobbyists. In fact the Mr. Espy's USDA made no inspections of any Tyson processing plant in 1993, none at all. Am I being led to believe that this was just a coincidence?
There are allegations that Tysonís alleged illegal actions altered the USDAís policy regarding food-safety tolerances, which gave the Arkansas poultry giant an unfair market advantage. This cost beef producers as much as $1 billion from 1993 to the present. More importantly, lives were lost here, literally sacrificed on the alter of greed. Truly we have the best government that money can buy.
apple river, il
After watching your show tonight and rereading some of it on the web, I feel that we should get rid of the Office of Special Prosecutor. It appears they cost a LOT of money and have come up with very little concrete wrongdoing of a substantial nature to justify the extraordinary time and expense. For a 4 year investigatrion, to ruin many families and many careers while making LOTS of money themselves, they have come up with very little substance. A football game and party are very little to hang your hat that massive corruption is taking place. Meanwhile, the real money-givers still go to Nixon dinners and Clinton coffees because money buys access. Let's get money OUT OF THE ELECTIONS.
Furthermore, these investigations by the Independent Council promote a very negative view of government. It is an attack on government itself. This can lead to anarchy and loss of any government support for needy issues. I disagree with Sam Dash. These investigations that largely end in trivial UNDERMINE peoples faith in their government.
My thanks to Mr. Michael Kirk and his colleagues for an excellent program this evening. The Independent Counsel Law has taken a beating from all those who ardently supported its renewal. When the Justice Department takes 18 months, and when it seems oblivious to the plethora of press reports of campaign finance violations, it is clear that there is a need for an independent counsel and the continuance of an independent counsel law. The interview done with Mr. Smaltz was splendid. It gave him the opportunity to present the case for his investigation without all the insults that he had to endure from Mr. Lantos when he testified before Congress. I've enjoyed the programs you've done in the past, and after viewing this evening's program, I am delighted that Frontline continues to run such excellent investigations on PBS!
rock island, il
I was astonished to see Frontline's show on the Independent Counsel. It looks like PBS has joined the vast right wing conspiracy out to get Clinton. Giving these viscious, biased, out-of-control zealots the courtesy of a reasonably fair hearing will only intensify their solely personal vendettas. The Clinton Administration was within just a few yards of convincing all Americans that their rectitude was beyond reproach and any minor missteps were just insignificant trivia.
Two questions. Are you braced for the furious pitbull charge James Carville and other apologists will now launch on PBS? Did the cash-filled envelopes Tyson's allegedly had delivered to Clinton when he was governor have any relation to the Tyson's commodity broker who made $100,000 trading for Hillary?
falls church, va
How does a man with no inherited or acumulated wealth afford the favors and high priced laywers that Clinton enjoys? The magnatitude of his problems/support goes beyond a reasonable expectation of business/ideological friendships. What are his most loyal financial supporters recieving in return? His defense has followed a identifable pattern. Delay, Discredit the prosecution/witnesses, cut away at the lowest level possible a fall guy. Support the fall guy quietly. Look innocent without being emotional about anything. Congratulations on a very well done piece of journalism
I was swayed by your story then took the advice of one of your viewers and read The New Republic article. What a different view of the whole investigation! I would urge others to read the story before they jump on the bandwagon for the Independent Council.
el paso, tx
Your splendid offerings on Frontline represent the best of journalism as the fourth estate--an unofficial branch of government representing truth and the welfare of the governed. How rare it is! What you so clearly depict of wheeler-dealers mirrors what we see in state (TX), local and national politics day in and day out. How about joining with Consumer's Union or other citizen'-first organizations to bring government and corruption more nearly to a tolerable level? One allegation from a credible pilot vastly outweighs all that may be true of the President's sex life in my mind. Any bribetaking "gratuity" is the business of the country. Roll on, Frontline!!
Fred K. Paine
I found Mr. Smaltz's righteous indignation disingenuous. Congress is populated with elected officials who junket with corporation ceos and powerbrokers and provide "constituent services" in return for official bribes called campaign donations. Noticeably, a Republican controlled Congress has proven that it is not intent on fixing that canker in the political system.
The American public is not fooled. If Mike Espey were a Republican, Mr. Smaltz's investigation would have been much shorter and much kinder. This late search for the "honest public official" is merely Republicans discrediting the current administration, and after the next election cycle, should the Republicans win both the presidency and retain their control of Congress, Mr. Smaltz will be unemployed as will the slew of other "truth seekers" who are currently wasting our tax dollars.
I am curious. If the Espey matter had taken Mr. Smaltz to Trent Lott's doorstep, would he have been so tenacious? I doubt it.
Throughout the program, I felt that the information being presented was slanted against those who did not support Smaltz's every theory and tactic. The man was clearly bitter and bent on slandering everyone at Justice who did not agree with his investigation's direction. I have come to expect more fairness and balance from Frontline. I do not want you to tell me what to think, just present me with all the facts and I can come to my own conclusions.
Football tickets and a free plane ride, what politician in America hasn't accept this and much more. Quit wasting my money!
I am absolutely amazed and delighted that PBS aired this program. It is like a breath of fresh air, amid all the filth and lies (excuse me, "spin") that is coming from this administration. This case parallels Ken Starr's efforts exactly. Mr Starr has been plodding along, doing his job, unable to defend himself against an avalanche of carefully orchestrated obstruction, lies and stonewalling. No one has the guts to say a word in his favor. Thank you PBS for showing the truth behind the scenes. May God help Ken Starr to find the truth.
merritt island, fl
This is the most articulate and logical discussion in the media concerning govermental corruption that I have seen. Why do the forces protecting the president and his friends look like the ALL Star lineup of lawyers. Who is holding the Justice department responsible for it's conduct on the many investigations it has stonewalled? Keep up the great work.
I'm glad that there are still places where alternative views to mainstream news events are accessible to the American public. It seems a real travesty (of justice, of information, of morality, even) that there are not more places like PBS where you can get real gritty stuff that manages to show more than one side of an issue, in the space of fifteen minutes. Before I saw this program of yours on the independent counsel, I was sorrowfully unaware of the facts. The fact that the justice department seems so hell-bent on the distortion or manipulation of Justice really blew my mind! Occasionally, revelation of this sort manages to filter through the airwaves. But not often. Well done!
Eric Bliman Bliman
At last some support for the Independent Counsel and it is welcome. As a native of AR and now a resident of MS, I feel it is past time that corruption on both the state and national level be investigated before all confidence in government is lost Thank you.