Gore Mole in Bush Camp? Bush Campaign Takes FBI to Task
(CNSNews.com) - Someone in Texas mailed secret information on George W. Bush's debate preparations to the Gore campaign a few weeks ago, and now the Bush campaign is questioning the way the FBI is handling the "whodunit" angle of the case.
Much to the dismay of the Bush campaign, the FBI is focusing its probe on 30-year-old Yvette Lozano, an employee of the advertising firm that does the Bush's campaign commercials.
Lozano was captured on a surveillance tape mailing a package on September 11, the day the Bush debate materials probably would have been mailed from Austin to a Gore ally in Washington. Lozano insists she was simply returning a pair of Gap khaki pants her boss had purchased over the Internet.
Her boss, Mark McKinnon of Maverick Media, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday to set the record straight about Lozano, a woman he's known for ten years and who is like a member of his family, he said.
McKinnon called it "a terrible, unfortunate coincidence" that Lozano happened to mail the package containing the pants on September 11. "We are absolutely confident, absolutely, that she was not mailing [the debate preparation materials]."
"What is an outrage," said McKinnon, is that the FBI "would leak the target -- leak a suspect -- before the investigation is complete. "The other problem is that while they're targeting this young, innocent women, whoever did this, who's trying to help Al Gore, is not being looked at."
"There's no doubt in my mind that she will be cleared," said McKinnon, adding that Lozano has volunteered to take a lie-detector test so she can be exonerated.
McKinnon said he knows of a few Bush campaign workers who had access to the tapes, but who have not been questioned by the FBI, even though some of them have told the FBI they have pertinent information.
"Stuart Stevens, who's a part of our team who had access to the tapes -- who has some information that he'd like to give to the FBI because he has some ideas - he called them on Friday and asked them to interview him, and they still haven't even interviewed him," McKinnon said Wednesday.
"There are a lot of avenues that ought to be looked at that aren't," he said.
On September 13, former Rep. Thomas Downey, a debate coach for Al Gore, received a package with an Austin, Texas postmark containing a copy of a videotape that showed Bush engaged in a mock debate with Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH). The package also contained some debate briefing books used to prep the Republican candidate.
Downey promptly turned the materials over to the FBI, and because he had seen some of the material, he said he would not help Gore prepare for the upcoming presidential debates. Downey had been tapped to play the role of George W. Bush in a mock debate session.
Last week, the story took another strange turn. The Gore campaign announced it had suspended Michael Doyne, a 28-year-old campaign worker in Nashville, who bragged to a friend that the Democrats might have a "mole" inside the Bush campaign.
Doyne now says he made up the story and Gore aides say there is no mole inside the Bush camp.
The Bush campaign seems to think otherwise. On Tuesday, George W. Bush himself said, "Someone working for me did not send the material." Bush said he looks forward to 'finding out the facts."
Bush Communications Director Karen Hughes complained that the FBI is not taking Doyne's report of a mole seriously enough. "I think the more questions the FBI asks, the more nervous people at the Gore campaign are getting," she told reporters Tuesday.
"Only people who support Al Gore are interested in helping Al Gore prepare for his debates," she said.
On Wednesday, McKinnon scoffed at suggestions that Lozano might have something to gain by helping Gore because she once worked for Ann Richards, the former Democratic Governor of Texas whom Bush defeated.
"Well, that's hardly a crime in Texas," said McKinnon. "There's quite a few Democrats who are supporting Gov. Bush, including myself," he said.
As for suggestions that the Bush campaign itself mailed the debate simply to "catch" the Gore campaign in the act - then accuse the Gore people of dirty tricks. -- "That's just absurd," said McKinnon. He called it an "outrageous notion."