An official for President Joe Biden called the president’s nomination of Tracy Stone-Manning to lead the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a “massive vetting failure” amid revelations about her past role in an ecoterrorism plot, according to a report from MSNBC on Friday.
NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman told Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that while the White House has publicly stood by Stone-Manning’s nomination, an administration official told him her nomination was a “massive vetting failure.”
Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), who has been outspoken about his opposition to Stone-Manning, shared a clip of the report Friday morning:
MSNBC: Biden Official Calls Stone-Manning Nomination a “Massive Vetting Failure” by the White House. pic.twitter.com/HdsbQODKRG
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) July 9, 2021
A partial transcript is below:
BRZEZINSKI: Josh, you also have new reporting on a nomination battle for a key Interior Department post. Tell us about it.
LEDERMAN: That’s right, Mika. Biden’s nominee to run the Bureau of Land Management under growing scrutiny for her role in a tree spiking plot in the early 1990s and early 1980s. Republican Sen. John Barrasso accusing her of collaborating with ecoterrorists.
Though the Biden administration, they are standing behind her nomination with an Interior Department spokesperson telling us that she would be an important addition to the team. But a Biden administration official described this to me as a massive vetting failure by the White House to allow this nominee to go forward despite knowing the headache it would create, while Biden still has so many key vacancies across his administration to fill that are so critical to carrying out his agenda, Mika.
As Breitbart News has reported on the tree spiking case:
In 1989, Stone-Manning mailed a letter to the U.S. Forest Service on behalf of John P. Blount, an individual in her “circle of friends,” crudely warning federal authorities that trees in Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest that were scheduled to be cut down had been sabotaged with metal spikes to prevent them from being harvested. Tree spiking, as this form of sabotage is called, is both a crime and, according to the FBI’s definition, an act of ecoterrorism that can be fatal to loggers or millworkers processing the spiked trees.
After the Forest Service received the warning letter, Stone-Manning and six other individuals in Missoula were the target of a 1989 grand jury investigation for which they were subpoenaed and required to submit finger prints and hair samples. However, the 1989 grand jury did not uncover enough evidence to charge Blount or anyone else with the crime. The case was not solved until Blount’s ex-girlfriend reported him to authorities two years later, and in doing so, also named Stone-Manning as the person who mailed the letter for him. In exchange for immunity, Stone-Manning testified in the 1993 trial against Blount, who was convicted for the tree spiking crime and sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Former BLM Acting Director William Perry Pendley references interviews in which Stone-Manning admits she did not come forward about her knowledge of Blount’s 1989 tree spiking until her 1993 testimony. Stone-Manning later filled out a questionnaire for her Senate confirmation hearing with inaccuracies related to the tree spiking case.
Barrasso accused Stone-Manning of covering “for those eco-terrorists, setting back the investigation by years,” adding in a statement to Breitbart News that “she only cooperated with authorities when she was caught.”
The Biden nominee had her confirmation hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June, but a committee vote for Stone-Manning has not been scheduled.
Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has remained silent on his position on the matter, as have most other Democrats.
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