Magazine article The Nation

Gone but Not Forgotten (Iraqgate)(Beltway Bandits) (Column)

Magazine article The Nation

Gone but Not Forgotten (Iraqgate)(Beltway Bandits) (Column)

Article excerpt

One Democrat who truly can claim some credit for Clinton's win--but won't--is Representative Henry Gonzalez, the tenacious chairman of the House Banking Committee. Virtually on his own, Gonzalez brought Iraqgate to the public's attention and handed Clinton a trump card to play against the King of Desert Storm. The scandal involving the Italian-owned Banca Nazionale del Lavoro keeps getting juicier. The C.I.A. withheld vital intelligence on B.N.L. from the Justice Department for two years. In the weeks before the election, Attorney General William Barr sat on information concerning government wrongdoing. What's next?

Some Congressional investigators are betting that there will be indictments. And, believe it or not, the ghost of William Casey may reappear. Capitol Hill investigators are interested in a B.N.L. official named Giuseppe Vincenzino. So far, not a lot is known about him. He apparently worked in the U.S. Consulate in Palermo in the 1960s. In the 1970s he held a job at the United Nations, obtained an M.B.A. from Columbia and returned to Italy, where he joined B.N.L. In the 1980s he came back to the States and opened the bank's Atlanta branch, which, as the source of billions of dollars in illegal loans to Iraq, is at the center of the controversy. According to Christopher Drogoul, the former Atlanta branch manager, Vincenzino was mainly a political lobbyist, a fixer of sorts who collected contacts for B.N.L. One such contact, Drogoul maintains, was Maxwell Rabb, the U.S. Ambassador to Italy for most of the 1980s. …

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