TRACY Stone-Manning is the latest curiosity to be drawn from President Joe Biden’s hat. She was named on 24 June as his choice for head of the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
The BLM (No, not that BLM) is charged with managing public lands for a ‘variety of uses such as energy development, livestock grazing, recreation, and timber harvesting, while ensuring natural, cultural, and historic resources are maintained for present and future use’. The agency also manages livestock grazing on 155million acres.
Stone-Manning is an über-woke ‘environmental adviser’ who has served in the office of Senator Jon Tester in Montana and she is, of course, a highly controversial figure, as this appears to be a prime criterion for any Biden appointee.
Tracy loves trees, but people, not so much. Her master’s thesis at the University of Montana includes the legend: ‘We must consume less, and more importantly, we must breed fewer consuming humans.’ She went on: ‘The point is a simple one. Harshly . . . the earth can’t afford Americans.’ She argued that Americans should have no more than two children. She is sceptical about raising cattle and believes that livestock should not be permitted to graze on public land as they are ‘destroying the West’.
In 1989, Stone (the hyphenated Manning came later) was investigated about her involvement in incidents of ‘tree-spiking’, an illegal method of preventing trees from being logged by the insertion of metal spikes into their trunks. This practice creates extreme hazards for sawyers and millworkers and has led to severe injuries, including a 23-year-old worker in California who had his jaw cut in half when his saw exploded on striking an unnoticed tree spike.
Stone was quoted in a 1990 news article expressing anger at how the FBI treated her during their investigation.
‘It was degrading,’ she said. ‘It changed my awareness of the power of the government. Yes, this was happening to me and not someone in Panama. And, yes, the government does do bad things sometimes.’
Investigations were lengthy, but before the case came to trial in 1993 assistant US Attorney George Breitsmater recorded in a memo that all those subpoenaed in 1989, including Stone, ‘were believed to be [directly] involved in the spiking’. He added, however, that the evidence available was insufficient to proceed with cases against them.
In 1993, Stone told the Missoulian, a local news outlet, that she had feared she might have been charged with conspiracy as she had not co-operated with federal prosecutors. In fact, records show that she had been given legal immunity from prosecution to testify against the key suspect, John P Blount, whom she identified in court as her former ‘roommate’.
She said in evidence that Blount had asked her to send a threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 warning them that a forest in Idaho which was due to be logged had been sabotaged.
Before sending the letter, Ms Stone retyped it using a rented typewriter because she ‘didn’t want it on my personal computer’. In the dock, she began to explain, ‘because my fingerprints . . . ’ before being cut off by a defence attorney. She told the Missoulian that she retyped the letter because ‘my fingerprints were all over the original and I was scared’. This is the letter, signed with a fictitious name.
You might think that events that involved typing and retyping anonymous letters, facing potential felony charges, and thwarting FBI investigations into conspiracy might stay with a person, but not nominee Stone-Manning. She has over the past decades developed an idiosyncratic perception that has enabled her to recount multiple versions of what happened.
In 2013, she gave the Missoulian a torrid account of Blount’s ex-girlfriend contacting her out of the blue worried that he was soon to be released from jail on an unrelated domestic abuse matter. Stone-Manning said his ex-girlfriend told her that Blount would be released unless she testified about his involvement in the tree spiking incident.
According to the Missoulian, Stone-Manning agreed: ‘She asked if I would testify, and I said yes, and he went to jail.’ What a heroine.
Neither version of events presented by Stone-Manning is consistent with the timeline in Breitsmater’s pre-trial memo. He noted that federal authorities were first informed that she sent the threatening letter after being contacted by Blount’s ex-girlfriend in December 1992.
On her nomination in May of this year, Stone-Manning advised the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, in writing, that she had never been the subject of any federal investigation. All of this drama had clearly slipped her mind. She did remember that she had testified before a federal grand jury in 1989 and again at Blount’s criminal trial in 1993 when he was convicted of spiking 284 trees in a forest near Powell, Idaho; she just forgot to mention her own suspected involvement.
Senator John Barrasso (Republican, Wyoming), told the Daily Caller News Foundation, ‘It’s clear that Ms Stone-Manning was intentionally trying to deceive the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. She told the committee she had never been the subject of an investigation and yet complained about being investigated in the press’.
He called on President Biden to withdraw her nomination on grounds of her attempted deception and past association with ‘eco-terrorism’.
The White House remains supportive of Stone-Manning’s nomination despite growing criticism. A Biden official told the Associated Press on Friday that before her nomination the administration had been fully aware of Stone-Manning’s 1993 testimony in the tree-spiking case and that she has ‘always been honest and transparent about this matter, which has been covered by the media for decades’.
So, in a country that has an abortion advocate as its Secretary of Health and Human Services and a Marxist behavioural theorist as boss of Homeland Security, why shouldn’t a serial liar who advocates population control, would take cattle off public land and who has sabotaged logging not become the Director of Land Management ? ‘Come on man,’ as the President might say.