Among convicted felons, it seems pretty common to rationalize why they went to prison with fantastical mitigating circumstances. Usually this involves an element of personal responsibility, but looming behind it all is a sinister deus ex machina at work. "Sure, I did something wrong," they might say, "but The Man or The System had it in for me."
Now former Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), fresh from a 17-month prison stint for Jack Abramoff-related public corruption, falls into the same trite routine. In a succession of radio interviews, Ney claims he was the victim of a grand conspiracy led by—who else?—Dick Cheney. Because Cheney is a warmonger and Ney held the keys to peace in the Middle East, which would stymie the military-industrial complex and neocon plans for total world domination.
You can check out Ney's delusional interview with Howard Monroe of WVLY radio in Wheeling, W.Va., here (at 14:50 in the first segment). And here's a transcript of Ney's talk with Thom Hartman of Air America Radio:
Thom Hartman: You were prosecuted by the Bush administration for what Ellen has characterized to me as mostly...a political prosecution because you were pushing back on Iran. Can you speak to that? Please?
Ney: At the end of the day, I brought a lot of things on myself 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. Gorman 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 said 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 [document] came over to the State Department and the White House wanted no part of it.
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. So I think part of this, I gave them the bullets, but I think some of the force was also involved with Iran and people that would rather see those countries not communicate, no matter who is head of Iran.
Hartmann: So Iran came to you, because you speak Farsi and you are the Iran expert in the House of Representatives...
Ney: Ambassador Goolaban, who was ambassador from Switzerland to Iran, he came to me.
Hartmann: Their representative, in other words they approached you through their legal representative...
Ney: And I had participated in the meeting in Stockholm...
Hartmann: And they said that they would recognize Israel and that they would allow U.N. 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, it fell down the rabbit hole, there was a lot of kickback; I know that Gorman had terrible problems after that, I think through mainly Rumsfeld's people and Cheney's people. That's what happened after that agreement.
Hartmann: 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 blood sport to a new level in this administration
Hartmann: "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.