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Conspiracy Nation -- Vol. 7 Num. 98

("Quid coniuratio est?")


James Norman was featured on a "Hidden Agenda" broadcast, hosted by Gary Null, on WBAI Radio in New York City on May 13, 1996. The following is an abbreviated transcript of that interview:

We will interview at this point a man named James Norman.

James Norman is a journalist. He's been a journalist for many years. He was senior editor, specializing in stories about major companies, for Forbes magazine [and] the Auckland Star in Auckland, New Zealand. Also Business Week: he was a senior writer for them. And he was also bureau manager in Houston, Texas, bureau manager in Minneapolis, and senior writer in Stanford, Connecticut. He worked for the Oakland Press, the Ann Arbor News, and the Daily Telegram.

He came across a story. And it's a story that won't go away. And we've decided to pursue it.

But a little background on this: Normally, when I do a "Hidden Agenda" series, as I just did with Horowitz -- he had to send me hundreds and hundreds of documents. Because the statements he was making, for most people would be considered too extreme. And I can assure you that virtually all the documents, from official and government sources, are there. Or he wouldn't have got on the show.

And similarly, when I first became aware of the story of James Norman, it was about a year ago. And many people said, "Why don't you have James Norman on the show?"

So, I contacted James Norman, went over his information. But because it's not a single story -- it is a story with so many tentacles, it's like an octopus. And I thought, "Well, some of these stories are plausible. Some are not." And I said, "James, you're going to have to supply me with documentation." And I said, "Even with the best of intents, you may have been conned by some people." (Where you take a good part of the story, that you can hold your own on, and next thing you know is, they've discredited you on another; they've planted some misinformation.)

So anyhow, back and forth, over a long period of time, I've met with James Norman; he supplied me with documents. And finally, he supplied me with one of his primary sources. I spent some time interviewing this primary source.

And so I just want our audience to know that I am satisfied that many of the statements that you're about to hear can be corroborated.

It is a rather infuriating cluster of stories, because it's not the kind of thing there is readily [available] documented evidence for. But it's the kind of thing where we've talked to an awful lot of people and had it corroborated verbally. And since this thing broke about a year ago, there's been consistently mounting bits and pieces of corroborative evidence that are cropping up. And unfortunately, the story has been rather predictive of events.

The way it all started: I didn't set out to do some big investigative piece; I was just doing a story on an oil company bankruptcy in Connecticut. But it got into looking at various covert arms financing vehicles used by the government or people connected with it. And that got into the murky realm of computer software, and particularly to bank spying activities by our government. I stumbled onto what actually was a major effort that our country has had underway for about a dozen years to surveil foreign wire transfer traffic. (We've got people coming out of the woodwork now from the early Reagan years who were directly involved in this program; people from the National Security Council who helped set it up, and it's still ongoing.)

What that led to, quite inadvertantly, was a connection to the Vince Foster case -- which a number of journalists have continued to follow. Because there's just so many unresolved issues. There's so many questions about the circumstances of Foster's death.

Here's what we found out: at the time of his death, in July 1993, Vince Foster, who was a Deputy White House Counsel in the Clinton administration, was under some kind of investigation, surveillance, in connection with a counterintelligence investigation. He was suspected of selling secrets to a foreign government. What we were able to determine was, he had been tied in for many years on the periphery of this bank spying effort by our National Security Agency. He had been, for many years, connected as sort of a behind-the-scenes go-between, between the National Security Agency and a company in Little Rock, Arkansas -- a rather curious, secretive, bank data processing company called Systematics. (It's now changed its name to AllTel. They're a wholly-owned subsidiary of AllTel Corporation, the telephone utility in Arkansas.)

But Foster, while he was at the Rose Law Firm, was in effect a sort of "handler" for that company. And that would conceivably have given him access to various sensitive kinds of computer code secrets, encryption stuff, [and] other insight into intelligence activities by our government.

The way that Foster came under suspicion, according to sources that I've dealt with, was that he himself had a Swiss bank account [at] a former affiliate of the Banca Ambrosiana.

(The Banca Ambrosiana had been a key target of "computer spooks" of our intelligence community who were very curious about the activities of that bank. It was closely tied to the Vatican Bank and was suspected of money laundering and other illicit money activities. In fact, when it collapsed there was a great cloud of secrecy about it. The head of the bank was found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge in London. The whole thing was surrounded with intrigue.)

Apparently, from surveilling accounts within the bank, by "hacking" their way into that bank, they had come across many, many, many accounts: coded, numbered, off-shore accounts, belonging to hundreds of high-level government officials -- U.S. government officials, and other governments.

And Foster was one of these people who they came across. He was suspected of selling secrets to the state of Israel because of the $2.73 million that was apparently in this account.

Again: using this wire transfer tracking technology that our government had developed, they had been able to track the money, apparently, back to Israeli sources. And that was what was the beginning of this counterintelligence investigation.

To sell state secrets on the side: that's called "espionage". And that's what we're talking about here, in terms of the nature of the investigation.

We were able to determine that there were various entities of the government, various intelligence agencies, that were taking part in this surveillance.

One of the key sources on this -- which we were able to corroborate various things he said with anywhere from half a dozen, to a dozen, to a couple of dozen sources -- is a fellow who is a retired CIA contractor by the name of Charles Hayes. He lives in Kentucky now. He is part of a small group of retired intelligence community guys who were associated with something that was called "Division D" -- which is actually mentioned in Bob Woodward's book, Veil. This group's job, in the government, had been to break into foreign computer systems, either physically or electronically.

They [now] have access to what are called "back door", coded entryways into the software used in many foreign banks. Which allows them to circumvent the normal security systems around bank databanks. Which has allowed them, apparently, to surveil these foreign banks.

We're not gonna have time to finish this today. I want you to come back on the show tomorrow, so we can do a "part 2".

I want our audience to know that this is just the beginning of his story. There are a lot of "cast of characters", including Hillary Clinton. And it's strong stuff. It seems almost impossible, but the documentation is there for a lot of this.

I'm Gary Null. And if you'd like a copy of this show, just call 212-799-1246 and ask for the program with James Norman. We'll be back tomorrow.

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