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The spectacular and highly bizarre release of secret FBI wiretap data to the New York Times exposing the tryst of New York state Governor, Eliot Spitzer, the now-infamous "No.9," with a luxury call-girl, had less to do with the Bush Administration’s pursuit of high moral standards for public servants. Spitzer was likely the target of a White House and Wall Street dirty tricks operation to silence one of its most dangerous and vocal critics of their handling the current financial market crisis.
A useful rule of thumb in evaluating spectacular scandals around prominent public figures is to ask what and who might want to eliminate that person. In the case of Governor Eliot Spitzer, a Democrat, it is clear that the spectacular "leak" of government FBI wiretap records showing that Spitzer paid a high-cost prostitute $4,300 for what amounted to about an hour’s personal entertainment, was politically motivated. The press has almost solely focused on the salacious aspects of the affair, not least the hefty fee Spitzer apparently paid. Why the scandal breaks now is the more interesting question.