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Convicted Cocaine Smuggler Posed With Mrs. Clinton, Gore


From Correspondent Terry Frieden

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 23) -- The Justice Department has released photographs showing a convicted Miami drug dealer posing with first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and with Vice President Al Gore at a Florida fund-raising dinner last December.

The man -- Jorge Cabrera -- also was invited to the White House last year after sending a $20,000 contribution to the Democratic National Committee.

Cabrera's attorney, Stephen Bronis, said the $20,000 was not intended to buy protection for drug smuggling.

"He had a lobster and stone crab fishery in the Keys and felt that contribution might promote that future course," Bronis said.

The DNC returned the $20,000 last week, and Bronis said his client has cashed the check.

Cabrera was arrested in January during a Miami drug bust that netted nearly three tons of cocaine. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to one drug count. He was also imprisoned in the 1980s on narcotics charges.


A report that the picture of Cabrera and Gore had been impounded by the Justice Department prompted an angry reaction from Republicans, including Bob Dole's presidential campaign, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Republicans sent letters to Attorney General Janet Reno and the directors of the FBI and the Secret Service seeking information about Cabrera and the campaign contribution.

Livingston asked the federal agencies for a complete accounting of the facts relating to the story within three days: whether Cabrera had dined at the White House, details of his relationship with Clinton and Gore and, if he did dine with them, how he passed Secret Service scrutiny to gain access to them.

Feds cite privacy issue

The U.S. attorney's office in Miami would not provide ABC News photographs of Cabrera and Gore in Florida or at the White House when the network requested them on Monday. The Justice Department cited a privacy law in turning down the request.

The agency said that under the Privacy Act of 1974 the photo could not be released without the consent of the protected party -- in this case, Cabrera. The agency said Cabrera gave such consent today.

The Justice Department issued a written statement, saying, "Contrary to certain public statements, the Justice Department has received no guidance whatsoever from the White House or the vice president's office on whether to release this photograph."

The agency did not comment on the other allegations.

"Every parent in America should be outraged that Bill Clinton is selling White House access to convicted drug smugglers -- the very people we're trying to protect our children from," said Scott Reed, campaign manager for GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole.

There has been no indication that Clinton or Gore knew of Cabrera's drug activities.

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