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HS 264 – Confessions of a D.C. Madam with Henry Vinson

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Henry Vinson was slapped with a 43-count RICO indictment and was dubbed by the Washington press as the ‘D.C. Madam’. Henry served five years in prison and has recently released the book Confessions of a D.C. Madam – The Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail. He tells Jason his story and reveals the politicians who used his gay escort services in the late 80s.

Key Takeaways:
[1:45] Henry ran the largest gay escort service to have ever been exposed in Washington, D.C.
[4:40] Craig Spence bugged his own house to blackmail politicians with male escorts.
[7:00] In Henry’s court case, he was represented by Greta Van Susteren.
[9:45] The media simply doesn’t report blackmail.
[11:30] Henry talks about Operation Mockingbird.
[14:45] Both Henry and Deborah Jeane Palfrey were dubbed the ‘D.C. Madam’ by media outlets.
[19:00] Craig Spence and other power brokers would consistently pressure Henry to offer child prostitution services.
[24:30] Who was Henry’s clients? Henry shares names.
[27:40] What has Henry been up to since he’s been out of prison?
[30:00] In Confessions of a D.C. Madam, the book shows the reader that blackmail plays a major role in American politics.

Mentioned In This Episode:
http://www.henryvinson.com/

Tweetables:

In my experience, blackmail plays an intricate role in the American political process.

Both Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy never divulged that they’ve been targeted by Hoover for blackmail.

I was consistently pressured by D.C. power brokers to provide child prostitutes to their cronies, but I refused.

Transcript

Jason Hartman:
It’s my pleasure to welcome Henry Vinson to the show, who is author of Confessions of a D.C. Madam and what you will hear today may well blow your mind. So, Henry, welcome, how are you?

Henry Vinson:
Great, thank you and thank you for having me.

Jason:
Yeah, the pleasure is all mine, so what an amazing story, really. Give us a general overview of Confessions of a D.C. Madam?

Henry:
Sure. I ran the largest gay escort service that’s ever been exposed in Washington, D.C. and my ultimate downfall was precipitated by the fact that I provided escorts to a CIA asset named Craig Spence. He used my escorts to blackmail politicians and other power brokers and I ultimately became the fall guy for a sprawling conspiracy whose coverup was engineered at the pinnacle of the Bush one administration.

Jason:
Did you say before you go on, I wanted to just, I don’t know if I heard that correctly. Did you say a CIA asset?

Henry:
That’s right.

Jason:
So, this was basically an undercover, well, a spy. I mean, spys work for the CIA. I can’t say undercover cop, right? Did he actually buy the services of your outfit?

Henry:
Yes, Craig was a client. He spent about $20,000 a month.

Jason:
Wow. Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. By the way, just to talk about money for a moment. Was your average client spending that kind of money?

Henry:
No, the average client was spending about $200 per call.

Jason:
Okay, $200 and were they – do you have generally like a once a week call or more or less often? I’m just curious how that works.

Henry:
Well, a lot of them would actually call almost everyday. It’s sort of like seeing a different movie. They couldn’t find exactly what they were looking for, so a lot of them would call everyday, but Craig Spence, he called, he did a lot of business, because he had some great parties at his house and his house was setup for blackmail. He was a D.C. power broker and a CIA asset and his upscale D.C. home was bugged for audio/visual blackmail and he even arranged midnight tours of the white house for some of the escorts who I employed.

Jason:
Unbelievable. So, basically he was working for the CIA and when you say his house was wired for audio/visual blackmail purposes. I mean, he wasn’t doing that on behalf of the CIA, right? That was his own outside gig, I assume the CIA isn’t blackmailing our own politicians, are they?

Henry:
Well, Craig was a lobbyist. He had been an ABC news correspondent. Craig did quite a few things and apparently he got a lot of leverage to do some great lobbying by the information that he obtained on his clients. He would have lavish parties at his house in upper Northwest D.C. and it would look like a who’s who of Washington, D.C. There would be media personalities, government officials, cabinet members, so it was a pretty interesting place to be.

Jason:
I bet it was and what years did you operate as a madam? So, give us an idea as to what administrations were in office and so forth.

Henry:
In the mid 80s, the end of 1985 to about 1990, in that area.

Jason:
Okay, in that area and so Craig Spence turned you in or what happened there? You said that was your downfall.

Henry:
Well, Craig Spence wasn’t my downfall, but again, Craig Spence was a D.C. power broker and a CIA asset and his house was bugged for audio/visual blackmail and he did mastermind my downfall, but the very fact that I became in mess with Spence ultimately lead to my downfall. I was pretty to Spence’s blackmail enterprise, his collusion with the Secret Service and also his pandering of child to his power broker cronies. So, I ultimately became the man who knew too much. The shadowing network that protected Spence was affiliated with the highest levels of the government and I had become a major liability.

Jason:
Wow, that is just amazing and so what happened to you?

Henry:
I was called to Craig Spence’s house one evening and he wanted me to come meet someone who was a cabinet member and the government accounting office, GAO for the government, had called inquiring about some charges on a government credit card and they were recurrent charges, this was for a cabinet member, and I simply told this credit card company they should inquire with the card holder, because it was a personal nature and they should get that information from him.

So, they called me over, Craig and this individual, and they wanted me to submit a blood studies report, that’s what they came up with that they wanted me to do. I didn’t feel comfortable doing that and the last words I had with them were, ‘I can withstand a background investigation, can you?’ And then within a few hours, the Secret Service, search warrants, and I ended up being indicted on 43-count RICO indictment.

Jason:
RICO? RICO is the racketeering indictment. Oh, interesting, okay. So, what happened after that? Were you arrested? Did you serve time.?

Henry:
I was arrested and eventually I was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and so I did end up entering a plead agreement with the government and I was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison. I was represented by Greta Van Susteren. She was my defense attorney.

Jason:
Interesting. Boy, you got all kinds of famous people around you and so what happened at the trial, did you actually end up serving time?

Henry:
Well, I did end up serving time and Greta was, I was very disappointed with the way Greta Van Susteren represented me, because the government accomplishes two objectives when she was my attorney – that’s my silence and imprisonment. At the onset of my case, she filed an 11-page motion to mandate the release of my clientele list that the government previously seize from me and Greta argued that the names of my patrons should be released, because if the government’s exertion was accurate and my escort service was in actuality a prostitution ring, my clients aided and abetted criminal enterprise.

She said that she felt forcing the government to disclose my clientele would have made a zealous prosecution of me, but the U.S. Attorney for D.C., they opposed that motion and the government, the judge ended up siding with Greta or with the government and they sealed the records. The judge ruled that they didn’t have to disclose it.

Jason:
Wow. So, you kept your story quiet for so long, why did you decide to tell the world now and what did you hope to accomplish with coming out about this story?

Henry:
Well, I have two objectives for telling my story. First, I want to tell my side of the story, because I had been subjected to a 25-year campaign of character assassination by the media and second, I believe the American political system has become a wayward aberration of the ideas that it was build upon and I believe that blackmail has played an integral role in hijacking our political system and so those are the two main reason that I’m telling my side of the story after 25 years.

Jason:
I want to ask you, you know, what are your thoughts about how we can fix the system? I’m sure you have some. You certainty have identified some of the problems. The first question I might ask you about that is, do you think, and I think I know the answer in advance, probably, should prostitution be legal?

Henry:
Well, I think that it should. I don’t, I personally think that it should. I think people should be able to do what they want to do in regards to sex between consenting adults.

Jason:
And other things on fixing the system?

Henry:
I think the biggest problem is America is not aware because the media doesn’t report it and something like (#9:41?), I think that it has to come to light. The media doesn’t report blackmail because 90% of the media is control by six major corporations. So, I think in order to fix the problem, it has to be brought out so people can actually see it and that’s just something that doesn’t seem to happen.

Jason:
That’s the problem. We have this media consolidation. Thank God for the internet, because if it wasn’t for that, people would all really be hearing the same thing. It’ll be almost no alternative news, you know, where you can hear about other stories. And it really boggles my mind, Henry, you know, when I turn on TV, especially when traveling, and I turn on CNN, BBC, Fox, anything, you know, in a hotel room it’s like the same eight stories all day. You’d think there’s nothing else going on in the world. It is amazing how the coverage is so, it’s just so condensed into relatively small number of stories, you know?

Henry:
I agree. I think you’re right and in my story, the Washington Post covered up what the Washington Times was reporting and I’ve spent years thinking about that and I’m just amazed that happened and I’m still amazed that happened, but I’m not a conspiracy theorist and over the years I’ve tried to understand the motivations of Washington Post to cover up – they’ve seem to undermined American democracy.

And what I came up with is shortly after the CIA was formed in 1948, the agency initiated Operation Mockingbird, which was its campaign to influence the media and the CIA Frank Wisner oversaw Operation Mockingbird and Wisner boasted that he was the maestro of a mighty Wurlitzer organ, because he was capable of playing any propaganda tune that he desired.

In the suppressed book, Katherine the Great, journalist Deborah Davis reported that Wisner taped then-Washington Post publisher Philip Graham to be the CIA’s point man to infiltrate the media and Davis reported that Washington Post publisher Philip Graham stocked the Washington Post with writers and editors who had intelligence background and she examine the connections between the CIA and Ben Bradlee and that was the Washington Post’s executive editor when the paper was covering up Spence’s CIA connections and the blackmail actives.

And in Katherine the Great, Davis wrote that Bradlee produced CIA propaganda while he was the press attaché in Paris in the 50s during the Cold War. Bradlee said she was lying and pressured the publisher of the book, Harcourt Brace, to withdrawal the book publication and it was pulled and Davis sent in several Freedom of Information Act requests to the government and State Department and documents confirm that Bradlee churned out CIA propaganda at the behest of the CIA Chief. So, ultimately Bradlee was the one lying about his CIA connections and that’s what I think is a lot of the issue. I think the CIA is much more involved in the media than many of us believe.

Jason:
Yeah, that’s very unfortunate. It really is. So, I gotta ask you about your sexual orientation. Do you think that had a big impact on the way you were treated by the government and the Secret Service?

Henry:
Well, I do. I think that my sexual orientation, because I ran a gay escort service during Reagan and Bush one administration, I think that had a big impact, because many of the politicians and power brokers that I provided with escorts, these were closeted republicans and it would have been a death out of their careers if it came out that they were soliciting the services of gay escorts. So, I think that did have a big impact on it.

Jason:
And you know keeping in mind just to remind the listeners, this was quite a few years ago, so things have changed, obviously, or at least we think so, but I just gotta ask this question. Did you have mostly democrat or republican clients? You know I gotta ask that question, right?

Henry:
Well, I was there during the Bush one and Reagan administrations and we were very, very busy with the republicans, so I think that the republicans, I think they keep gay escort services fairly busy.

Jason:
Right, right. To be fair though to the republicans, there were more of them around because those were the administrations in that day, so you know, there weren’t as many dems around Washington, you know, so on a per capita basis, you know, I’d like to know if that’s true nowadays. I mean, now, they’ve been some other scandals. I was going to ask you about that. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, right, dubbed the D.C. Madam in 2008 to yourself. Are you similar to her or tell us about that? You write about it in the book, right?

Henry:
I do. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, she was dubbed the D.C. Madam in 2008 and the media also dubbed me the D.C. Madam during my story and we both ran escort services in Washington, D.C. and both of us were dubbed the D.C. Madam by the press, but the federal government subjected both Ms. Palfrey and me to a crucible that was designed to ensure our silence and ultimately crush us and Ms. Palfrey was merely running an escort service when the Justice Department smacked her with a 14-count RICO indictment, but it walloped me with a 43-count RICO indictment.

Jason:
Wow. Wow and was Deborah’s service gay or heterosexual or both?

Henry:
No, her service was heterosexual, so she had women.

Jason:
Right, interesting. I mean, what else do you want us to know? Maybe a question I haven’t asked you yet?

Henry:
Blackmail, I think that blackmail is the real focus of the book and kingdoms, empires, syndicates, and unscrupulous groups have deployed political blackmail since time and mortal and, in my experience, blackmail plays an intricate role in the American political process, but blackmailers and their blackmail targets would never divulge such misconduct for the obvious reasons. Blackmailers would be subjected to criminal prosecution and their blackmail targets would be subjected to either prosecution or persecution for the conduct that lead them to be blackmailed in the first place.

So, political blackmail is almost never made public and if it does become public, it’s usually years after the fact. Look at J. Edger Hoover, for example, he blackmailed people for decades and his blackmailing only emerged years after his death and according to John F. Kennedy’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, Hoover had the dirt on Kennedy’s extramarital affairs and blackmailed him into accepting Lyndon Johnson as his running mate in 1960.

Hoover never publicly divulged, but he was a blackmail artist and both Martin Luther King and John Kennedy never divulged that they’ve been targeted by Hoover for blackmail and several accounts have since emerged that the Mafia was blackmailing J. Edgar Hoover, because he was homosexual, which is one of the reasons why Hoover said the Mafia didn’t exist at all and so there was overwhelming evidence of its existence. So, there’s a real prescient for blackmail and I think blackmail is much more prevalent than what many of us believe.

Jason:
Yeah, that’s an interesting point and you see how that can really skew things like Hoover not admitting there’s really a Mafia, right, that’s a dangerous thing! You know? And if he didn’t have to worry about that, yeah, wow. That whole story could have been different, right? The American public seems to like relish these sex scandals, obviously. That’s no news to anybody, right, especially when they involve, you know, famous, powerful people, but how much do we really know, you know, what goes on in the shadowy underworld of the elite that we don’t know that you know?

Henry:
Well, in my experience the government and the media work in tandem to prevent the American people from learning about the unbelievable debauchery (18:10?) sexcapades of our power elite in Washington, D.C. is essentially a present-day Babylon, but Americans are just naive about the depravity of their political and politicians who are endowed with a potent alchemy of power, arrogance, and lust, and I think that, they just don’t know because the media doesn’t report on a lot of it. I think Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer are merely two examples of a numerable politicians who put their careers and families on the line because of their sexual additions or compulsion.

Jason:
You were exposed to, you know, many amazing things, heavy drug use, orgies, pedophilia maybe. Tell us about that.

Henry:
I was consistently pressured by D.C. power brokers to provide child prostitutes to their power broker cronies, but I refused to have anything to do with child prostitution and the federal government was aware of this fact.

Jason:
I’m curious, what ages did these people ask for? That’s disgusting. What ages? I mean, they specifically requested that from you, huh?

Henry:
They specifically requested it and Nick Bryant has written a book, The Franklin Scandal, which goes into great detail. He spent many years researching that and there were very young children 10, 12-years-old and many, many lives were destroyed with Lawrence King and Craig Spence. Craig Spence ran his own underage escort service, if you will.

Jason:
Wow. Unbelievable. Okay, so any of the more sinister things you were exposed to. So you talked about, was there more there? I kind of interrupted you, sorry. I want to make sure you finish.

Henry:
That’s fine. The federal government is always saying with the interstate child prostitution, the federal government was aware of this fact, because I told my government (#20:04?) about an interstate pedophile network that was providing D.C. politicians and power brokers with children, but the Department of Justice and Secret Service and FBI, they covered up that pedophile network, so I think that was the worst thing I was exposed to.

Jason:
Yeah, yeah. Wow. It sure is. It sure is. How do you know they covered it up though? How did you know they didn’t investigate it and try and stop it?

Henry:
Well, The Franklin Scandal, which Nick Bryant has written that book. It’s still not out. It’s pretty much ignored by the mainstream media and there’s grand jury testimonies. There’s many, many – Nick put many years into that book. So, there’s lots of overwhelming evidence and has collaborated by many sources in the media. That, that did occur.

Jason:
Wow. What happened, so Craig Spence died in 1989 and he was found dead in room 429 at the Boston Ritz-Carlton, the city’s most expensive hotel. Do you know what happened to him? I mean, how much controversy is there surrounding his death?

Henry:
Well, at the time, there was quite a bit of controversy and he did die in 1989. He was in the Ritz-Carlton hotel and, you know, he left this note apparently that he hereby resigned. He left some sort of note the mirror, I believe, if I recall correctly, but I don’t want to speculate on whether it was suicide or whatever, but it was rather unfortunate, rather untimely, but Craig did become a very strange creature. He become drug addicted. He was, he certainty had his share of problems the last bit of his life, but the most interesting thing is D.C. grand jury was impaneled and exonerated Craig Spence and hammered me with the 43-count RICO indictment, but he was exonerated.

Jason:
Did it exonerate him posthumously or when he was alive?

Henry:
When he was alive. He was never convicted, nothing ever happened to him.

Jason:
Interesting. Was your life ever threaten while you were a D.C. Madam? I mean, you dealt with some power people obviously and they wanted to keep things hush hush, I’m sure, and would probably go to great lengths to make sure you don’t talk.

Henry:
Well, the threat that I’ll never forget was discharged by someone named Tony. I never knew is last name, but he was affiliated with the blackmail operation run by CIA Asset Craig Spence and as I was saying earlier, Spence pressured me to provide him with child prostitutes, but I refused to pander children and after Spence pressured me a number of times to provide him with children, I decided to quit dealing with him and at that point Tony and two of his thugs paid me a late night visit. They discharged guns outside my window, busted up my apartment, and threaten to kill me and if I didn’t continue to provide escort to Spence and although I did continue to provide escort to him, they never again asked for underage people.

Jason:
You know you quoted the rate earlier and you said people would be $200 per hour and that was in about, what, 1987?

Henry:
That’s right.

Jason:
Yeah, just because I am an economist, I have to share with my audience. I did the inflation calculation on that and today, based on the official stats, not the real inflation rate. That would be $413 an hour, so just wanted to share that little tidbit of trivia. $413 per hour.

Henry:
Wow, that is interesting.

Jason:
I bet you never had anyone do that on an interview, right?

Henry:
No, I didn’t.

Jason:
Okay, there’s a new one for you. Gosh, this is just an amazing story. Can you share any of the names of your clients? You talked about Craig Spence a lot, of course, but have you shared other names or do you want to share any now?

Henry:
Well, I’m comfortable with naming names because I ran an escort service when the Reagan and Bush one administrations were in office and under Reagan, no gay civil rights legislation was passed and indeed Reagan was once, he declared that homosexuals were mentally ill, but perhaps the greatest transgression of Reagan against the gay community was his silence about the AIDS epidemic spreading in the 80s and although it was first identified in 81, Reagan didn’t even mention it, but there are quite a few interesting people.

William Casey, he always come to my attention, because he had a rather unusual interest and he liked escorts to ritualistic anoint him, rub him, with oils and he had erectile dysfunction, so the escort would come back and talk about him and other patrons of my escort service included Donald Gregg, he was the US Ambassador to South Korea during Bush’s Presidency. Charles Dutcher, the associate director of Presidential Personnel under Reagan administration. Paul (?). The Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole, political personnel liaison to the White House, but Larry Craig is a great example of the hypocrisy of closeted republicans that paraded the Reagan administration with regards to gay rights, civil legislation.

Craig developed quite a reputation for voting against gay legislation. Craig voted for constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. He voted against expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. In fact, the human rights campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization, gave him a 0% concerning his stance on gay rights legislation. So, Larry Craig proved to be a major hypocrite. Those are some of the more interesting people that used the service.

Jason:
Interesting and Larry Craig is still alive. Some of the others that you mentioned have passed on now. So, I was kind of looking up the names as you were talking about them, but I didn’t catch them all. You know, it’s too fast for my typing speed, but very interesting, wow, that’s really quite interesting. I think one thing though that maybe you and the listeners have to adjust for a little bit in what you talked about, which is, I’m glad you shared that, is that, that was a different era, right? I mean, do you cut anybody a little bit of slack for it just being a different era? I mean, we’re talking like 30-40 years ago, right?

Henry:
That’s right. It’s almost 30 years ago. It was a different era. It was a different era.

Jason:
I mean, now with things like Bruce Jenner and that’s not exactly on topic, but you know, things are definitely changing. Obviously the supreme court is taking up the legislation now on gay marriage and so forth. It’s certainty a different time, you know, when you talk about these people, how they were in the past, and think today, my gosh, that would be seem incredible that you think that way today, but times, they change, right? And as Obama says, they evolve, you know? So, gosh, the blackmail thing is just amazing. This is an amazing, amazing story. What are you doing now? I mean, what have you been doing all this time? So, you spent about five years in prison, right?

Henry:
That’s right.

Jason:
Yeah, so that was from, what, 1990 to 95? Is that about right?

Henry:
1991 to 1995.

Jason:
And what did you do after that? I mean, when you were out, you know, you just wrote this book now, right, or recently, what did you do all that other time?

Henry:
Well, I think the philosopher Friedrich Nietsche, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” And that quote is near and dear to my hear because I’ve endured a number of tragedies in my life and I’ve been determine not to let it destroy me and in fact, it’s galvanized my will and spurred me to reach for success and Nietsche should have said, ‘What doesn’t kill you often hurts like hell.’ Plus I think living a good life is the best revenge and I’ve managed to forge out a wonderful life. I went back to school. I went back to West Virginia University, got a masters degree integrated marketing communications and even before this happened, I was a commercially-rated pilot for airplanes, since that the helicopter rating, flight instructor, and I went to mortuary school many, many years ago and that’s what I was doing in D.C., working as a funeral director and embalmer.

Jason:
Yeah, fascinating stuff, fascinating stuff. Well, what’s next for you?

Henry:
What’s next for me is just living life, just staying like I am now. Furthering my education and just living a nice life hopefully.

Jason:
Do you live in D.C. now?

Henry:
I don’t. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio now.

Jason:
So you’re out of that whole circle. It would probably be pretty weird for you to be around D.C. Do you visit D.C. very often?

Henry:
Well, I probably go up a couple of times a year, I do, but I don’t have any contact with anyone from my life 30 years ago.

Jason:
Very interesting, very interesting. Well, give out your website if you would, tell people where they can get the book, you know, anything you want people to know, any resources, a Twitter feed, whatever.

Henry:
Sure. You can follow me on Twitter @HenryVinson and the book is available on Amazon and that’s probably the best way to get it, but my website HenryVinson.com and Confessions of a D.C. Madam. It’s a great book. Tells about blackmailing. It’s pretty interesting, I think.

Jason:
Yeah, the subtitle – Confessions of a D.C. Madam, the Politics of Sex, Lies, and Blackmail. Any closing thoughts so we can wrap up?

Henry:
Sure. I like to tell your listeners that they should read Confessions of a D.C. Madam, because it pulls back the curtain on the facet of American politics unlike any other book. It shows that blackmail plays an intricate role in the American political process and it also shows the ruthless lengths the government will take to defile those in the know.

Jason:
Dealing with very powerful entities there. Well, Henry Vinson, thank you so much for joining us and exposing us to this amazing story and your amazing life. Thanks for joining us.

Henry:
You’re welcome, thanks for having me.

Announcer:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

Episode: 264

Guest: Henry Vinson

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