George Gombossy got curious after stories began to appear in Connecticut’s media -- 90% of which genuflects and crosses itself before the Dick Blumenthal icon every morning -- concerning Richard Hine’s personnel file.
Hine is the Marine in Blumenthal’s office who released to the media a letter disclosing that Blumenthal had told him in personal conversations that he had served in Vietnam. Not a big deal there, since it had already been established that Blumenthal had lied SEVERAL TIMES concerning his attempts to steal valor from Vietnam soldiers who, unlike Blumenthal, did not spend the war getting deferments.
Those of us who know how the eye-gougers and ear-biters in Blumenthal office operate were waiting patiently for the hob-nailed boot to come down on Hine’s face.
Gombossy filed an FOIA request to secure Hine’s personnel records, portions of which had already been released by Blumenthal’s office to other news outlets after reporters had filed other FOIA requests. The packet, Gombossy discovered, contained what some in the business call “raw information,” documents that had not been certified as true by Blumenthal’s office. Such data should more properly be called raw sewerage.
While other journalists had only requested disciplinary information from Major Hine's personnel file, Gombossy requested ALL the file information, about 500 pages. Hine claims the allegations against him, not anonymous, were redacted when he was told about it. Gombossy was given access to the redacted and unredacted documents, copies having been made for him the attorney general’s office after he had paid for them.
Gombossy was permitted to view the unredacted raw sewerage. Hine had requested that the sewerage should not be given out, since it contained unverified and libelous charges; Hine, unlike Gombossy, was not permitted to learn the name of his accuser.
Gombossy’s story on the sewerage gusher, “Blumenthal’s Office Improperly Releases Sensitive Personnel Document About Staffer Who Claimed Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam,” is well worth a peek.
Gombossy apparently attempted to contact the icon himself but reached a subaltern, who was shocked, SHOCKED, that the sewerage had been inadvertently included in the file.
“Blumenthal,” Gombossy writes, “according to his press aides, would not comment on this issue and that he turned the matter over to his deputy Attorney General because of the obvious conflict of interest.
“’This document was provided completely in error in response to a disclosure request,’ Deputy Attorney General Carolyn Querijero said. ‘We immediately urged in writing and by phone that the document be returned and not disclosed. We continue to strongly urge that the document be returned and not disclosed.’”
So saith the eye-gougers and ear-biters in the attorney general’s office. Even the icon himself might have had a bit of a problem swallowing that big fish in one gulp, had he been available to handle Gombossy’s questions.
Good thing for Blumenthal there was a conflict of interest.
Others in the media beside Gombossy might well wonder at the “mistake” had they been more familiar with the methods used by the eye-gougers and ear-biters.
Then again, what they don’t know won’t bite them.