Tag Archives: Scapegoat

Henry Vinson: Scapegoat – Part 4

Given the onslaught of erroneous press I’ve received over the years, I’m reluctant to ascribe inordinate intelligence to many in the media, but common sense would dictate that a veteran CBS correspondent could distinguish a bug from a “button-release” on a table. But, perhaps, because of the skeptical guest’s expertise on “architecture and furnishings,” he or she was able to provide the Post with the definitive truth?

And once more, the Post relayed the unequivocal truth from the perspective of the skeptical guest: “Spence confronted them later that night. ‘I heard every word you said,’ Gordon recalls Spence saying. ‘You’re conspiring against me. I’ve got this corner bugged.’ And then he pointed to the ceiling. ‘There was never a bug hanging over Professor Gordon’s head,’ says the same skeptical guest, who was also at that party. Another person there says that it was so obvious that Gordon and Trotta were gossiping about Spence all night he would not have needed bugs to guess what they were saying.”

After the Post deployed the skeptical guest and “another person” to debunk the fact that Spence’s house was bugged for blackmail, it descended into a rather absurd commentary: “Some believe that Spence may have been up to something with the electronic equipment that friends observed in the house. But Spence’s clairvoyance, it seems, was strongest when his bodyguards were present and within earshot of the supposedly bugged conversations.”

So now the Post acknowledged that Spence had “electronic equipment” in his home, even though in the preceding paragraph it had asserted that the bug uncovered by Trotta was, in actuality, a button-release on a table. The Post wanted to have its cake and eat it too by conceding that Spence had electronic equipment in his home, but ridiculing the fact that his home was bugged for blackmail.

And the Post’s remark about Spence’s “clairvoyance” being heightened when his bodyguards were within “earshot” was rather disingenuous too. The Post doesn’t question why Spence had a need for bodyguards. But in all likelihood, Spence needed constant protection, because he was the point man for blackmailing some of the most powerful men in the country—powerful men who almost certainly had access to their own thugs. Given Spence’s penchant for blackmailing the powerful, I think his longevity had the potential to be violently curtailed if his private Praetorian Guard didn’t vigilantly safeguard him.

Later in the article, the Post described Spence’s bodyguards as “clean-cut college guys who also tended bar, parked cars and drove Spence around. Spence later started hiring Army men and Marines, especially large, well-built ones.” I’m aware of Spence collecting bodyguards from the military, but the article made no mention of Spence’s bodyguards being pulled from the ranks of the Secret Service, even though the Washington Times had been meticulous about nailing down that Spence had Secret Service agents moonlighting as his bodyguards.

The Post’s “The Shadow World of Craig Spence” portrayed him as a high society bottom feeder who was more of name-dropper than a powerbroker with high powered connections, and the article also attempted to dispel the notion that he was affiliated with the CIA. The article caricaturized Spence by having his friends discuss his rants of self-importance and name-dropping, which wouldn’t be too difficult because he was a coke-head and megalomaniac. After the Post made Spence appear as a mere cartoon character it dropped in the following paragraph: “Like the tales of espionage, the allegations about bugging were a regular subject of discussion among his friends. And again, they got their information from him [Spence].”

A week after the Washington Post demolished the Washington Times’ reportage on Spence’s illicit activities, I found myself in the Post’s character assassination crosshairs. The Post reported a series of lies that made me appear as a conniving villain who had conspired to cartelize D.C. prostitution as if I were the Richard III of gay escorts.

A later article by the Post conscripted the Los Angeles Times and New York Times to jump on its bandwagon. “’We checked into it; we sent reporters out when they raided the house in February and again when they had the eviction,’ said the Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. ‘We never did turn up with anything that looked like a national story.’”

After the Post quoted the Los Angeles Times bureau chief, the New York Times’ D.C. bureau chief endorsed the Post’s spin. “’I don’t take the Washington Times seriously as a journalistic entity, so I view with suspicion almost anything that they do,’ he said. ‘I don’t deny a raid on this house and that there’s obviously some kind of investigation going on. But so far I haven’t seen any evidence that it means what they say it means.”

In addition to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post buttressed its propaganda campaign with sources that were delighted to reinforce its disinformation—government sources. The Post wrote of its first government source: “…a key law enforcement official came to lunch at the Post and assured the staff that the investigation was primarily on credit card fraud.” As I recall, several administration officials, including the U.S. attorney general, were telling the media that Watergate was much ado about nothing, so I find it perplexing that the Post was all ears about non-existence of Spence’s blackmail enterprise, but it was vehement when contesting the administration’s official position about Watergate.

The Secret Service, the Justice Department, and the Washington Post did a masterful job of making me a scapegoat for all the illicit activities committed Craig Spence and his cronies. In retrospect, when that much power is deployed to obfuscate the truth, I didn’t have a chance of being anything other than a scapegoat.

Henry Vinson: Scapegoat – Part 3

As the Washington Times bore deeper and deeper into the enigma of Spence, I was astonished to read about the eddies of his sordid life in black and white—on the front-page of a newspaper. The levy of lies that had suppressed the truth about Spence for years was starting crumble, and I pondered its implications for me. I felt that it would be difficult for the government to cover up Spence’s illicit activities now that the toothpaste was out of the tube. I also had a tendency to think that the government wouldn’t take a chance on indicting me, because a trial would only publicize Spence’s complicity with high-ranking federal officials and his connections to the Secret Service and perhaps even the CIA.

The Washington Post commenced a counteroffensive against the Washington Times. The first blast of disinformation perpetrated by the Washington Post was a protracted article, “The Shadow World of Craig Spence,” published about two weeks after the Washington Times began to expose Spence’s blackmail operation, and it was a concerted effort to dismantle the Washington Times reportage on Spence. The article mocked the earlier headline floated by the Washington Times—”Power Broker Served Drugs, Sex at Parties Bugged for Blackmail”—by providing the veritable, unadulterated truth about Spence’s get-togethers: “People sat around in a perimeter after dinner discussing trade policy, where American policy makers were ushered into circles of foreign visitors to make serious talk; parties to which Koppel would sometimes send a stand-in; parties so dull that even Dossier magazine wouldn’t run the photographs.”

The Post’s “The Shadow World of Craig Spence” also dismantled the idea that Spence’s house was bugged for blackmail, but its hatchet job was transparently disingenuous. The Post deployed a contrivance it coined the “skeptical guest” to debunk the notion that Spence’s home had clandestine surveillance. The Post’s “skeptical guest” was an unnamed source, and the Post even neglected to mention the source’s gender or his or her relationship to Spence.

According to the Post, the “skeptical guest” was in attendance at a party in Spence’s D.C. home when a friend of Spence’s, CBS correspondent Liz Trotta, “got down on her hands and knees in the living room and found wires and cables all over the room at floor level. She also found metal fasteners that could have been listening devices, she says, clipped to the bottom of a coffee table. A skeptical guest who witnessed this—who was familiar with the architecture and furnishings—said that one of the so-called bugs was a button-release on the table and that to his knowledge, there were no bugs.”


Henry Vinson: Scapegoat – Part 1

Scapegoating is often defined as a hostile discrediting by which people move blame and responsibility away from themselves and towards a target person or group. The scapegoat target invariably receives misplaced vilification, blame and criticism. Scapegoating always includes a distortion of the facts. As a DC madam, I was privy to the blackmailing of our country’s power elite and also to a pedophile network that provided children to the rich and powerful. These sinister machinations had to be covered up at all costs, and I was the convenient scapegoat. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

My scapegoating started when the Secret Service raided my house. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Jay Stephens, told the media that Washington D.C.’s Metro Police learned of my escort service, because a “local hotel” complained about suspected prostitution activities, and the Secret Service only became involved in the case to assist D.C.’s Metro Police Department in its investigation of credit card fraud. In reality, Secret Service agents were part and parcel of the blackmail operation that had ensnared various powerbrokers and also me, so the Secret Service spearheaded the investigation as a means of damage control. U.S. Attorney Stephens’ remarks would begin the distortions of reality that made me the scapegoat of a sprawling government cover up.

The next phase of me becoming a scapegoat was perpetrated by the Department of Justice when it convened a grand jury to “investigate” my escort service and me. Although “grand jury” has an authoritative ring—like the gods on Mount Olympus have sent down a decree—the grand jury process is notoriously susceptible to manipulation. Unlike a standard trial, grand juries aren’t open to the public, and the identity of the witnesses who testify and their testimony are never disclosed. The special prosecutor of a grand jury calls the witnesses, questions the witnesses, and selects the evidence that is shown to the grand jurors, who are everyday citizens who have shown up for jury duty and have been funneled to a grand jury. A former Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals once quipped that prosecutors have so much control over grand juries that they could convince grand jurors to “indict a ham sandwich,” and the federal grand jury investigating me was a ham and Swiss on rye.

The grand jury that investigated me didn’t indict the architects of the blackmail operation and pedophile network, nor did it indict the Secret Service agents who participated in the blackmail operation. Instead the grand jury walloped me with a 43-count RICO indictment. When all the RICO indictments were tallied up, I was staring at 295 years in a federal prison. The grand jury walloped me with a lifetime behind bars, so it could ultimately leverage my silence, because I had witnessed events that could have jeopardized the George H.W. Bush administration and ultimately the Bush dynasty.

Trick & Treats of the Famous & Infamous Part 2

The Infamous Donald Gregg and His Shadow Life

Donald Gregg was a frequent flyer of my escort service. He was fond of young men with minimal body hair and swimmers’ physiques. When I received those kinds of requests, the customer often hinted that they desired underage children, but that was a line I wasn’t willing to cross.

Although few Americans have heard of Donald Gregg, he certainly wasn’t a run-of-the-mill government pawn. Gregg had been a CIA agent for 31 years, and he played an integral role in the Phoenix Program, a nefarious CIA initiative that slaughtered over 25,000 South Vietnamese who were in many cases mistakenly thought to be collaborating with North Vietnam.

When Gregg was soliciting gay escorts from me, he served as Vice President George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor. He and Bush I were very close friends. And when Bush I ascended to the presidency, he made Gregg the U.S. ambassador to South Korea.

I think Gregg may have suffered from the “in closet syndrome” that affected the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and Larry Craig, because he was truly a nasty piece of work. In 1983, Gregg had a secret meeting with CIA agent Felix Rodriguez and Vice President Bush in the White House, where the trio hatched a covert scheme to provide military aid to the Contras in Nicaragua, which ultimately morphed into Iran-Contra. So given Craig’s involvement in the Phoenix Program and Iran-Contra, his hands were undeniably drenched in blood. And I should mention that the Phoenix Program and Iran-Contra are merely a couple of the activities in Gregg’s history that have come to light. I feel fairly confident in surmising that Gregg bloodied his hands from a myriad of other shadowy enterprises that have never been exposed in the mainstream media.

Unbelievably, Gregg had the hubris to use his government-issued MasterCard to purchase escorts from me, a sign that seemingly demonstrates he felt above the law. In January 1989, I received a puzzling phone call from a woman who worked for the Government Accounting Office, and she inquiring why Donald Gregg had racked up recurrent credit card charges for funeral accessories with his government-issued MasterCard. In Confessions of a DC Madam, I discuss how I ran credit cards through a merchant account that was set up to peddle funeral accessories, because, after all, being a mortician was my day job.

The GAO employee had numerous questions about the charges. I was caught off guard by her questions, so I was uncertain of the appropriate response. I ultimately advised her that the charges were of a personal nature, and I suggested that she contact Donald Gregg. A statement that was certainly factual! Right after the GAO contacted me, I phoned Craig Spence, one of the principal architects of the blackmail operation who blackmailed me into providing him with escorts, and told him about the particulars of the GAO call. He replied that he would be in touch.

Three weeks or so following the phone call from the GAO, Spence summoned me to his condominium. As I sat down, Spence seated himself on his chocolate sofa next to a man in his late fifties, who had balding black hair and brown, round-framed glasses. He wore a blue, pinstripe suit, white shirt, and a red tie. A miniature U.S. flag was pinned on his lapel. Spence introduced the man to me by his name and also disclosed his title. He was in the cabinet of George H.W. Bush. I feel that the Bush administration had decided to pull out a big gun to eradicate any traces of Gregg’s affinity for gay escorts, because Gregg had been so instrumental in Iran-Contra and because he was en route to becoming the United States Ambassador to South Korea.

Spence had dropped the name of the cabinet member months earlier, when he revealed that he routinely provided him with adolescent boys. At the time Spence dropped his name and his perverse predications, I thought his disclosure was wildly exaggerated, and I was fairly skeptical of it. But on the other hand, the vast majority of Spence’s illicit activities seemed incomprehensible to me until I actually witnessed them.

Our conversation focused on the GAO conundrum, and Spence and his “friend” quickly cut to the chase. They told me to write a letter to the GAO detailing blood studies I had conducted on behalf of Gregg. They explained that my occupation as a mortician would be a satisfactory guise for the letter. I felt that I was potentially being set up for GAO embezzlement charges, and I balked at their demands. I replied that they certainly had the means and wherewithal to cover for Gregg, so the onus of covering up his extracurricular activities shouldn’t fall on me.

The man sitting next to Spence then uttered a question that I will never forget: “I can withstand a background investigation . . . can you?” I responded, “Yes . . . I can withstand a background investigation.” My response essentially concluded the 20-minute meeting. Spence was quite irate with me when I refused to write their letter, and he berated me as he showed me to the door. His threat turned out to be quite real, because that’s when my legal problems started. The Secret Service raided my home shortly thereafter.