By Michael Collins
.In 1997, hardworking FBI agents in Miami were
on the verge (they thought) of snaring then-
House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his second
wife, Marianne, in a $10 million bribery scandal
involving multiple ties to key elements of
the Israeli lobby in Washington. However, then-FBI
Director Louis Freeh stepped in, and the impending
sting was called off.
This revelation appeared on page A-2 of The Washington
Post on Dec. 15, but it has not been mentioned
in The New York Times or been given any play in the
major broadcast media.
While the Post downplayed the Israeli connection,
a limited rendition of the story in one brief UPI report — published in only a few newspapers — never mentioned
the underlying pivotal, in-depth role of Israeli-linked
intermediaries in the matter.
Instead, the reports focused on international arms
dealer Sarkis Soghanalian’s ties to the affair, leading
many readers to think Gingrich was involved in arms
trafficking. In reality, it was the arms dealer, a longtime
FBI informant, who was acting on behalf of the
FBI in the effort to nab Gingrich.
The Post story was based on a far more detailed
and revealing exposition of some 6,400 words by veteran
intelligence correspondent Joe Trento, published
on his website at dcbureau.org.
The entire scenario is complex, reflecting events
taking place over several years time. But the bottom
line is that Gingrich and his wife were allegedly attempting
to shake down Soghanalian for a $10 million
bribe and that, from the beginning, operatives for Israel
were on the scene, acting as middlemen for the
Mrs. Gingrich first made a connection to Soghanalian
through her position as a former paid pitchwoman
for the Israel Export Development Corporation
(IEDC) — a front for a group of Jewish billionaires
eager to promote Israeli exports into the United
States. Behind IEDC were such big names as Larry
Silverstein, owner of the World Trade Center at the
time of the 9-11 attacks; Sy Syms of the SYMS clothing
chain; and Lawrence Tisch, who controls the CBS
Soghanalian said he was first approached by Morty
Bennett of Miami, who told the arms dealer he had a
business associate who had an “in” with Mrs. Gingrich
and that it might be possible to use that connection on
Knowing U.S. sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq
were preventing the arms dealer from collecting a
legal debt of $54million owed to him by Iraq, Bennett
told Soghanalian that Mrs. Gingrich could help
arrange — through her husband, then the speaker of
the House — the lifting of the U.S. embargo so the
arms dealer could secure his debt.
Bennett’s associate, Howard Ash — who had
worked with Mrs. Gingrich at IEDC — was a major
fundraiser for the Institute for Advanced Strategic
and Political Studies (IASPS), a Jerusalem-based
think tank headed by Robert Loewenberg, who Mrs.
Gingrich has described as a “friend.” IASPS also included
another close Gingrich friend, former Rep. Vin
Weber (R-Minn.), among its “trustees” — a relationship
Weber now formally denies.
Following the contact from Bennett, Soghanalian —
a longtime FBI informant who had worked
closely with Richard Gregorie, the assistant U.S. attorney
in Miami — reported the overtures from Mrs.
Gingrich’s IEDC-IASPS associates to the FBI. The FBI
expressed interest, urging Soghanalian to maintain
contact with the group.
Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Gingrich visited Paris —
under the auspices of IEDC and at the urging of Loewenberg — in the company of Bennett and Ash, where she met Soghanalian.
Mrs. Gingrich now claims she was soliciting a donation
to IEDC from Soghanalian. However, Soghanalian
told the FBI that Mrs. Gingrich told him in Paris
that she could use her husband’s influence to get the
Iraqi embargo lifted in return for “an understanding.”
Sometime later, Bennett came back to the arms
dealer, saying Mrs. Gingrich wanted $10million to get
the job done.
Soghanalian was told $5 million was for Mrs. Gingrich;
another $1 million was for Bennett. The recipients
of the remaining $4 million were not named, but
those who know how Capitol Hill bribery works presume
this money would be used to help “grease the
wheels” among other members of Congress who would
help Gingrich expedite the operation.
Soghanalian told the FBI he was instructed the
bribe was to be paid to the Washington office of
IASPS, which would, in turn, launder the money to
The IEDC-IASPS connection recurs throughout the
scenario. Not only did another IEDC associate of Mrs.
Gingrich, attorney David Yerushalmi, serve as counsel
for both IEDC and IASPS, but both organizations
also shared a number of employees and mutual funding
The FBI insisted it was vital that Soghanalian seal
the deal directly with Mrs. Gingrich or her husband.
This would clinch the criminal case against them.
As directed by the FBI, Soghanalian insisted he
would not make the “donation” to the IASPS — the
bribe intended for Gingrich — until he could meet
Gingrich and his wife in private.
Pressured by Soghanalian, Ash told the arms dealer
the House speaker would send “his own man” to
Miami to meet with Soghanalian to facilitate arrangements
for the meeting.
Gingrich’s “own man” was Ben Waldman. Closely
tied to Netanyahu circles in Israel, Waldman — an associate
of both televangelist Pat Robertson and the
infamously corrupt pro-Israel Washington lobbyist
Jack Abramoff —had been Ronald Reagan’s liaison to
the Jewish community. But at the time of the bribery
conspiracy, Waldman was chief fundraiser for the
Finally, with everything in place, the FBI set the
trap for Gingrich. A lavish reception was scheduled
for June 8, 1997 in Miami at a luxury home, which had
actually been rented by the FBI for the sting.
Soghanalian was supposed to meet Gingrich there and
solidify the deal under FBI electronic surveillance.
However, at the last minute, FBI Director Louis
Freeh sent down the order that Soghanalian was not
to attend the event — which Gingrich did attend —
and the two-year-long investigation was brought to an
abrupt end just when the FBI might have caught Gingrich
agreeing to accept the payoff.
Journalist Trento quoted one FBI agent, who said:“We got so close, and when the target was in sight, we
were stopped by Washington.”
In fact, both assistant U.S. attorney in Miami
Richard Gregorie and the FBI’s Miami attorney, Martin
King, had wanted to pursue the investigation to
the end, only to be frustrated by the FBI director.
Soghanalian has since died. Bennett, Ash and
Waldman — and Mrs. Gingrich — all dismiss the reported
events as a tissue of lies. Gingrich has yet to
comment. FBI officials now assert there was never
any evidence Gingrich was aware a bribery conspiracy
was under way.
* Considering the revelations from the Gingrich bribery allegations, it
does not seem a coincidence that longtime Gingrich associate Yerushalmi
is today the driving force behind the ongoing, well-financed national Muslim-bashing campaign focusing on the danger Islamic law — sharia — supposedly poses to America. In fact, The New York Times reported on
Dec. 21 that “long before he announced his presidential run . . . Newt Gingrich
had become the most prominent American politician to embrace an
alarming premise: that sharia, or Islamic law, poses a threat to the United
States as grave [as], or graver than, terrorism.” The Times, however, did
not mention the bribery scandal, its links to IEDC and IASPS, or even
Yerushalmi, although it did point out that Gingrich and his ex-mistress —
now his third wife — have produced a Muslim-bashing film.
. . ..
Michael Collins Piper can now be
heard on the Internet at michaelcollinspiper.podbean.com
He is the author of Final
, the controversial
“underground bestseller” documenting
the collaboration of Israeli intelligence in
the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He is
also the author of The
High Priests of War
New Jerusalem: Zionist Power in America
Judas Goats: The Enemy Within
Secrets: Crime, Conspiracy & Cover-Up in
the 20th Century,
GOLEM: Israel's Hell Bomb
These works can
be found at America
He has lectured
on suppressed topics in places as diverse as
Malaysia, Japan, Canada, Russia and Abu Dhabi.
(Issue #1/2, January 2 & 9, 2012,