By Ellen Messmer
ORLANDO -- At a security conference in Orlando Tuesday, Col. Oliver
North mocked the plight of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, caught up in a
prostitution-ring scandal that may end his political career.
North, who first gained the national spotlight because of his
involvement in the Reagan Administration-era Iran-Contra affair and who
is now a news commentator for Fox News, told security managers attending
the Infosec World Conference that Spitzer "apparently forgot everything
he knows about information security." As has been widely reported,
Spitzer is under federal investigation linking him to a high-priced
prostitute service called Emperors Club VIP through wiretaps, text
messages, e-mail and wired money transfers.
In his keynote address, North said Spitzer -- a zealous investigator as
attorney general of New York before becoming governor -- is being
investigated by federal authorities using the same technologies he has
used to crack crime cases. North poked fun at Spitzer's alleged link to
prostitution, saying "it helps to have an electronic warning on your
belt before you take off your pants."
North also lambasted newspaper and television media that he thinks
portray an inaccurate, negative picture of the War on Terrorism,
particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chiding in particular Newsweek and the Washington Post, which he called
"Washington Compost," North said, "I've made a dozen trips to the war.
The information being given to the American people is not fairly
presented." He said he knew of instances where networks in America are
buying videotape from Arab news media, such as Al-Jazeera, a practice he
The American troops today are smart, capable and "operate and maintain
the most sophisticated weapons ever created. That information hasn't
been communicated to the American people," North told attendees at the
conference, which has attracted 1,800 people.
Although the American military today displays "competence, courage,
integrity, loyalty, tenacity and situational awareness," North said,
the "unemployment rate for veterans of this war is nearly 20%. This is
He noted the national unemployment rate in general hovers around 5%.
North encouraged the information security managers attending Infosec to
hire the nation's war veterans. "This is 225,000 young Americans today
that served in the military." "They're coming out, looking for jobs," he
said. "For the good of your business and security of this nation, put
out the help-wanted signs for veterans."
When asked by an audience member whether he supported the idea voiced by
some presidential candidates about a quick withdrawal from Iraq, North
replied, "It would be an unmitigated disaster" for several reasons, one
being that it would result in the "collapse of what has become one of
our best allies in the War on Terror."
He also said the United States needs to find alternatives to petroleum
to meet its energy needs because oil money is a big factor in funding
"the jihad against America."
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