Bush press pal quits over gay prostie link
BY HELEN KENNEDY
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Jim Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, on the web
WASHINGTON - A conservative ringer who was given a press pass to the White House and lobbed softball questions at President Bush quit yesterday after left-leaning Internet bloggers discovered possible ties to gay prostitution.
"The voice goes silent," Jeff Gannon wrote on his Web site. "In consideration of the welfare of me and my family, I have decided to return to private life."
Gannon began covering the White House two years ago for an obscure Republican Web site (Talon-News.com). He was known for his friendly questions, including asking Bush at last month's news conference how he could work with Democrats "who seem to have divorced themselves from reality."
Gannon was also given a classified CIA memo that named agent Valerie Plame, leading to his grilling by the grand jury investigating her outing.
He came under lefty scrutiny after revelations that the administration was paying conservative pundits to talk up Bush's proposals. By examining Internet records, online sleuths at DailyKos.com figured out that his real name was Jim Guckert and he owned various Web sites, including HotMilitaryStud.com, MilitaryEscorts.com and MilitaryEscortsM4M.com.
"The issue here is whether someone with connections to male prostitution was given unfettered access to the White House and copies of internal CIA documents. For a family values administration, that's pretty creepy," said John Aravosis, one of the bloggers chasing the story.
The White House didn't return a call asking how someone using an alias was given daily clearance to enter the White House.
On his TalonNews Web site, Gannon had written that liberals were out to get him because he's a white conservative man who owns a gun, drives a sport-utility vehicle and is a born-again Christian.
Yesterday, however, he abruptly quit, and all of the stories he wrote were erased from the Web site. A great many were on gay issues, including one detailing John Kerry's "pro-homosexual platform" that was headlined mockingly, "Kerry Could Become First Gay President."
Are we nearing the bottom of all this or are we still at the top?
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"