The Jorge Cabrera Scandal

First Lady Photo-OP with Convicted Cocaine Dealer

                 Star The Economics Section - Page A4 Star
                              October 24, 1996
First Lady Photo-OP with Convicted Cocaine Dealer Inside White House Secured
            by Staff Journalists, The Daily Republican Newspaper
     [INLINE] WASHINGTON DESK - The Justice Department released on
     Wednesday photographs showing a convicted Miami cocaine trafficker
     who is seen standing next to and posing with vice president Al
     Gore. The two were attending a party in Florida last December.
     Apparently, Cabrera was asked to make a large donation to the
     Clinton-Gore campaign in exchange for perks like hob-nobbing with
     Al Gore and the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
     Jorge Cabrera's cash contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign
     were so generous, that Cabrera was also invited to the White House
     and gained entrance there without any FBI & Secret Service security
     [INLINE] CNN reported Wednesday that Cabrera's attorney, Stephen
     Bronis, said $20,000(given to the Clinton-Gore campaign) was not
     intended to buy protection for drug smuggling.
     'He had a lobster and stone crab fishery in the Keys and felt that
     contribution might promote that future course,' Bronis said.
     The Clinton-Gore campaign only returned the $20,000 last week after
     the full story had reached ABC News, and the Clinton administration
     had been asked for comment by the media.
     Cabrera was arrested in January during a Miami drug bust of nearly
     three tons of cocaine. Cabrera was arrested and pleaded guilty to
     one drug count. He was also imprisoned in the 1980s on narcotics
     A report that the picture of Cabrera and Gore had been impounded by
     the Justice Department prompted an angry reaction from Republicans,
     including Bob Dole's presidential campaign, House Speaker Newt
     Gingrich and Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, chairman of the
     House Appropriations Committee.
     Republicans sent letters to Attorney General Janet Reno and the
     directors of the FBI and the Secret Service seeking information
     about Cabrera and the campaign contribution.
     Livingston asked the federal agencies for a complete accounting of
     the facts relating to the story within three days: whether Cabrera
     had dined at the White House, details of his relationship with
     Clinton and Gore and, if he did dine with them, how he passed FBI &
     Secret Service scrutiny to gain access to them.
     The U.S. attorney's office in Miami was contacted by reporters.
     Justice said it would not provide photographs of Cabrera and Gore
     in Florida and at the White House when reporters requested them on
     Monday. The Justice Department attempted to claim that Cabrera's
     story is covered by the Privacy Act law in turning down the media
     request for information on the arrest for cocaine possession of
     tons of the illegal drug and dealing.
     Janet Reno put out information that the photo of Cabrera with Gore
     and Clinton could not be released without the consent of Cabrera.
     Later, the Justice Department did release the photographs after
     Cabrera submitted written authorization.
     The delay by the Justice Department appeared to be an effort to
     distance itself from accusations that are mounting from the
     American public that the Justice Department is receiving guidance
     from the Clinton White House and the vice president's office on the
     timing of Janet Reno's investigation.
     Justice says it is looking into the breach of National Security by
     Cabrera's ready access to secured areas of the White House and its
     grounds when he entered as an invited quest of president Clinton
     for dinner and photo-ops.

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