FBI agent who alleged Bill Clinton sexual escapades reemerges in tea party
Gary Aldrich, a former FBI agent whose widely discredited expose of the Clinton White House launched him into a second career on the margins of the conservative movement, is reinventing himself yet again - this time as a player in the grassroots tea party movement.
Aldrich in recent months has aggressively worked the tea party circuit, advising activists how to avoid liberal media attacks, seeking support from some of the movement’s most prominent leaders, throwing himself into inter-movement skirmishes – and even boasting of using his FBI-honed skills to investigate rivals of a group he endorsed.
His own obscure non-profit group, launched as a whistleblower protection outfit in the wake of his attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton, has re-branded itself as a tea party sponsor and, in the last couple weeks, has made a play to increase its market share.
But when it was revealed last week that Aldrich’s Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty was in talks about potentially taking over a more prominent tea party group started by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, it raised eyebrows among tea party leaders – and gave opponents another reason to brand the tea party as extreme.
Some people, like Red State’s Erik Erickson, had barely heard of Aldrich.
“I knew that I knew the name Gary Aldrich but I had to Google to find out why,” said Erickson. “Considering that he’s been around for a while, I’m guessing that this is one of those things where he is trying to revitalize his group.”
Aldrich, 65, established the Patrick Henry Center after retiring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he handled background checks of Bush and Clinton White House staffers, and after he published a 1996 book called “Unlimited Access: An F.B.I. Agent Inside the Clinton White House.”
Rife with explosive – but unsubstantiated – accounts of sexual promiscuity and immoral or unprofessional behavior by the Clintons and their aides, the book became a best seller and made Aldrich a name for himself among conservatives.
But the Clinton White House disputed his allegations and Aldrich himself acknowledged that one of the most oft-cited passages of the book – alleging Bill Clinton routinely sneaked past his Secret Service detail for trysts at a downtown Marriott hotel – “was not quite solid. It was hypothetical,” though he alleged he was “totally misquoted.”
The fallout from the book – which the Patrick Henry Center’s website characterizes as “a vociferous maelstrom from the hard left” that threatened Aldrich’s “livelihood, his family’s security, his hard-earned good reputation, and his very life” – spurred Aldrich to start the center.
Pre-tea party, the primary mission of the Patrick Henry Center, created in 1997 as a “human services” non-profit under section 501(c)3 of the tax code, was supporting “whistleblowers famous and not well known, who were dragged through the mud or worse, for blowing the whistle on corruption.” But it was seen in the conservative movement mostly as a platform for Aldrich.
They’re crawling out of the woodwork. In recent years, Aldrich has been best known as one of the regular hacks at World Nut Daily, with a few appearances at townhall.com.