Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) who is now out of jail after serving close to three years for Jack Abramoff related public corruption conviction, in a radio interview on Thom Hartmann Show has said that the main reason he went to jail was mainly because of his political push to open relationships with Iran, which the Bush administration strongly opposed. “Sure, I did something wrong, but The Man or The System had it in for me.”
[Thom]: You were prosecuted by the Bush Administration for what Ellen [Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News.] has characterized to me as, you know, one possibly serious crime, one largely irrelevant crime. But mostly something that probably, a number of things that probably many members of congress could be gone after, and she seems to be of the opinion that your prosecution was a political prosecution because you were pushing back on Iran. You want to, can you speak to that, please?
[Ney]: But at the end of the day, you know, I brought a lot of things on myself, let me say it right out front, at the end of the day. And I did some things that were wrong. But I also believe that part of this was fueled in the sense of the Iran issue. It’s been no secret that when I went to prison I gave permission for a secret meeting I’d had with Mr. Guldimann [Tim Guldimann, then Swiss Ambassador in Tehran] who came from Switzerland. He presented a document that was absolutely incredible, where Iran would have recognized Israel and a whole host of other things, would have let our inspectors on their ground; and I sent that to the White House.
I’ll stand by that today; the White House denies it, but Colin Powell’s former assistant admits that that came over to the State Department and the White House wanted no part of it. And I believe that every step of the way, and I think it came more from Cheney’s people, but every step of the way that I attempted to deal with Iran, it got pretty harsh back. And so I think part of this, I made the bullets, I gave them the bullets, but I think some of the force was also involved with, you know, Iran and people that would rather see those countries not communicate, no matter who is head of Iran.
[Thom]: So Iran came to you because you speak Farsi and you are the Iran expert in the House of Representatives.
[Ney]: Ambassador Guldimann, who was ambassador from Switzerland to Iran, he came to me.
[Thom]: Right. Their representative. In other words, they approached you through their legal representative.
[Ney]: And I had participated in the meeting in Stockholm.
[Thom]: And they said that they would recognize Israel and that they would allow UN inspectors into their nuclear sites, and you passed that information along to the White House, it fell down the rabbit hole and immediately you were being prosecuted.
[Ney]: It fell down the rabbit hole, there was a lot of kickback. I know that Guldimann had terrible problems after that, I think with, mainly through Rumsfeld’s people and Cheney’s people. That’s what happened after that agreement.
[Thom]: It so sounds like the Don Siegelman story and the Paul Minor story, and if you’re not familiar with those two stories, I encourage you to do a little Googling. I think that we have political prisoners in the United States now.
[Ney]: Well, I know that the harshness of the administration, and again, I take culpability, I did some wrong things, but when you get in their path, I think they’ve taken bloodsport to a new level in this administration.
[Thom]: “They’ve taken blood sport to a new level’. What a quote! Congressman Bob Ney, thank you for coming on our program and sharing candidly with us your story.”
[Ney]: Thank you.