White House's loyal reporter once worked as gay hooker

Click to follow

Washington is abuzz with speculation. The chattering classes can barely control themselves. A gay prostitution ring within the White House? Can it be true?

Such an unlikely possibility emerged this week after a right-wing reporter who used an alias to obtain a White House press pass was revealed to possess something of a saucy past. Bloggers revealed that Jeff Gannon, real name James Guckert, had previously worked as a $200-an-hour gay prostitute who advertised himself on a series of websites with names such as hotmilitary stud.com. Mr Guckert has resigned from his job as a reporter for the conservative online news site Talon News, owned by a Texas Republican.

It was not Mr Guckert's past that initially attracted attention but rather his habit of asking soft questions of the President or his spokesmen and rewriting White House press releases almost verbatim and posting them as stories. On one now notorious occasion, Mr Guckert, 32, asked Mr Bush how he was going to be able to work with the Democrats leadership which "appear to have divorced them- selves from reality".

He has also found himself at the centre of a major controversy over the outing of Valerie Plame, the undercover CIA operative and wife of ambassador Joseph Wilson. During an interview with Mr Wilson, the reporter suggested he had seen a classified CIA memo which detailed the minutes of a CIA meeting at which it was decided Mr Wilson would be asked to go to Niger to investigate claims Iraq was seeking to buy uranium. His visit concluded that, contrary to what Mr Bush claimed in the State of the Union address, Iraq was not trying to buy uranium from Africa.

In a city where access to information is everything, Democrats have demanded an investigation into why Mr Guckert, with almost no background as a reporter, was provided with White House credentials, and how he received access to a classified CIA report. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has filed a request for all information relating to Mr Guckert's security clearance. "By his own implication 'Mr Gannon' has had access to classified documents that contained the identity of an undercover agent for the CIA," she said. "The American people deserve to know how this man was able to get access not only to the White House briefing room but also to these very sensitive documents."

Some reports suggest Mr Guckert was the source of several stories that may have originated from the White House. Was Talon News, some have asked, simply a convenient and conservative-friendly outlet for stories? But some are speculating that Mr Guckert's previous incarnation may have been what secured him preferential treatment from one or more officials within the White House. Given the apparent antipathy towards the gay community - Mr Bush backed moves to introduce a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage - the blogsphere has been quick to fill in the blank spaces with speculation about Mr Guckert's obtaining special access.

Comments