Final Word from Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Nixon White House had a covert unit, known as the Plumbers, whose original brief was to plug leaks. It soon got so out of control that it brought Nixon down. When Miroslav Kalousek claimed in phone calls with journalists last week that he had a secret tape of a newsroom meeting, it gave credence to the rumors that he and Richard Háva have had their own plumber unit for years and have used it in rigging arms deals and funneling billions of crowns into a Liechtenstein bank. Instead of taking this possibility seriously, the media have largely accepted Kalousek's day-after excuse that he was merely bluffing about the tape. Josef Chuchma of MFD said it makes no difference whether Kalousek has a tape. Erik Tabery of Respekt is a notable exception and took seriously the possibility of a wiretap squad, but much of the rest of the Czech media are starting to look like an accomplice in a Kalousek cover-up.

Glossary of difficult words

plumber - (literally) a person who installs and repairs the pipes and fittings of water, sanitation or heating systems;

covert - not openly acknowledged of displayed;

brief - a set of instructions given to a person about a job or task;

credence - likelihood of something being true; plausibility;

Richard Háva - a leading arms dealer;

to funnel - to guide or channel something through or as if through a funnel;

accomplice - a person who helps another commit a crime;

cover-up - an attempt to prevent people’s discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime.


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