Well, here’s the first name in the “D.C. madam” probe that has Washington in tizzy:
Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias.
Make that former Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias.
Here’s the State Department statement:
Ambassador Randall Tobias informed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today that he must step down as Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and US Agency for International Development Administrator (USAID) effective immediately. He is returning to private life for personal reasons.
First as the administration’s Ambassador for the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS relief (PEPFAR) then as USAID Administrator and Director of Foreign Assistance, Randy has been a leader in helping the most vulnerable populations around the globe whether it was by acting to alleviate hunger or preventing the spread of infectious disease or directing assistance to victims of natural disasters. Under Ambassador Tobias’ leadership at PEPFAR, the United States supported delivery of life-saving antiretroviral treatment to hundreds of thousands of people and saved countless other lives through AIDS prevention programs. As the State Department’s first Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance, Randy helped lead one of the Department’s most far reaching reforms in recent memory, resulting in better matching of policy goals and delivery of international assistance. The lives saved and made better around the globe by Randy’s work at the State Department constitute a rich legacy on which he can look back with justifiable pride.
AIDS Czar and Dep. Secretary of State Randall Tobias resigned today; apparently doofus was using the services of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the soi-disant “D.C. Madam,” to acquire the services of masseuses. Mr Tobias claims that no sex was involved, and that he is now using another firm that uses “Central Americans”. This is an impressive answer, inasmuch as it pretty much torpedoes any chance of sympathy from either side: the Left won’t believe that he wasn’t having sex, and the Right won’t believe that Tobias checked his new service providers for green cards…
…What, you think I should be taking this more seriously?
Dude, it’s Washington DC. At least he wasn’t doing lines off of assorted hooker backsides. Or, worse, smoking tobacco on federal property.
Cracks another commenter:
Central Americans? If it isn’t bad enough that our highways are filling up with Toyotas and Hondas, our politicians have started out-sourcing their sex scandals. What’s the world coming to?
And on a serious note, this Redstate commenter writes:
[T]his is a pretty big deal. He is a deputy sec of state. He had access to sensitive and classified material. The use of soiled doves to obtain information is as old of time…even if he didn’t succumb to pillow talk it does put him in a position to be blackmailed.
He also should have been very well aware of the history of the use of such services in that town. I will observe that what is now the IRS building used to be a red light district. ([H]ow little things change[.])
There’s a good cross-section of conservative reaction at Lucianne.com, too. Many commenters point to these paragraphs in the Washington Post’s article on ABC News’s plundering through the D.C. madam’s list:
Palfrey’s attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said yesterday that he has been contacted in the past few days by five lawyers asking whether their client’s phone numbers are on Palfrey’s list of 10,000 to 15,000 customers from 2002 to 2006. Some have also asked about whether an accommodation can be made to avoid identifying their clients, which Sibley said he is not able to promise. ABC’s “20/20″ is mining that database of phone numbers, Sibley said, for a news report on the more notable of Palfrey’s customers.
“I presume ’20/20′ crews running around with cameras has led to this flurry of activity,” Sibley said. “That may cause some people to worry.”
ABC reporters interviewed Palfrey last week, Sibley said, and asked her about specific customers by name. Sibley declined to identity them or speculate about Palfrey’s clients whose identities may be revealed in coming days. He said that in many cases, he and Palfrey did not have the investigative resources to identify them from their phone numbers, but that ABC did.
ABC is grappling with the question of whether to air a report or identify some of those on the list. “We can’t comment on ongoing reporting,” ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said.
Snarks commenter Richdet:
The article claims that ABC “is grappling” with the issue of deciding which of Palfrey’s list of 10,000 to 15,000 customers to expose (that’s quite a range — you would think a careful reporter could nail down a more approximate number, but that’s how reporting goes these days). Obviously what ABC is engaging in is a gotcha game, political blackmail, and winnowing out and redacting the names of prominent Dems on the list must be an exhausting process.
Well, we’ll see. Keep an eye on ABC. Meantime, several other L.com commenters, like the RedState ones, are making no excuses for Tobias:
Reply 23 – Posted by: nightvision, 4/28/2007 8:02:12 AM
I don’t care that this guy is supposedly working for ‘OUR side’.
This kind of behavior is NOT appropriate, particularly for an individual in such a high-level position.
He HAD to know that it could ‘get out’, and there really is no excuse for this kind of sleazing around, Bill Clinton notwithstanding.
His ‘defense’ is pathetic:
‘Tobias said he contacted the escort service ”to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage”…’
Legitimate masseuses are NOT generally referred to as ‘gals’.
I’m just sorry Condi and W had to suffer an embarrassment they don’t need right now.
Reply 45 – Posted by: jerseycitysteve2, 4/28/2007 10:47:09 AM
The bottom line is that Democrat voters don’t mind graft (Jefferson) or sodomy (Frank) but Republican voters do. Saying “Democrat politicians do it, too!” is no excuse. Has anybody here ever had a security clearance? Do you think you’d keep your clearance and be a regular customer of an escort service, too?
Reply 30 – Posted by: mc squared, 4/28/2007 8:58:56 AM
Good riddance. We can’t beat up the Clintonistas for the same stuff but give this guy a pass.
Reply 33 – Posted by: retiree, 4/28/2007 9:16:21 AM
We are all responsible for our own actions.
He is no better than anyone else.
He should go.
And so he has.
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