Land Management

REPORT: ‘Massive Vetting Failure’, Biden Official Says White House Dropped The Ball On Stone-Manning Nomination

Andrew Kerr 

  • A White House official described Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management as a “massive vetting failure” by President Joe Biden’s administration, according to NBC News reporter Josh Lederman.
  • The unnamed official told Lederman that the White House dropped the ball moving forward on Stone-Manning’s nomination knowing that her involvement in an 1989 eco-terrorism case would create a headache.
  • The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported the contents of an anonymous and threatening letter Stone-Manning sent to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of her former roommate and friend warning that a local forest had been sabotaged with tree spikes.
  • Multiple Republican senators and a prominent conservation group have come out against Stone-Manning’s nomination due to her involvement in the incident.

A White House official described Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management as a “massive vetting failure” by President Joe Biden’s administration in light of her involvement in an eco-terrorism incident in 1989, according to NBC News reporter Josh Lederman.

Lederman said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday that an unidentified Biden official said the White House dropped the ball moving forward with Stone-Manning’s nomination “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.”

The White House did not return a request for comment.

Stone-Manning received legal immunity to testify in a 1993 criminal trial that she mailed an anonymous and threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of her former roommate and friend warning that a local forest in Idaho set to be logged had been sabotaged with tree spikes.

“P.S. You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,” stated the letter, which was first reported by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Tree spiking, which The Washington Post and other news outlets have described as an “eco-terrorism” tactic, is a form of sabotage in which metal spikes are nailed into trees to make them unsafe to log. If gone unnoticed, tree spikes can cause serious injuries for workers, such as when a 23-year-old mill worker in California had his jaw cut in half in 1987 when his saw exploded upon striking an unnoticed tree spike.

The anonymous letter Tracy Stone-Manning told a federal court she sent to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of John Blount. (Screenshot)

Stone-Manning told the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee in writing in May that she had never been the subject of a federal criminal investigation, but numerous news reports, accounts of federal law enforcement officials and statements from Stone-Manning herself at the time of the incident and subsequent criminal trial strongly suggest she was a target of the federal government’s investigation into the matter.

And an unidentified retired federal law enforcement official told E&E News in late June that Stone-Manning was considered a target of the investigation during its initial stages, and that her initial refusal to cooperate with law enforcement officials set the investigation back by many years.

Numerous Republican senators have come out against Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management in light of her involvement in the tree spiking incident.

And the Dallas Safari Club, a conservation group that said Stone-Manning was “uniquely qualified” to run the agency in June, sent a letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and ranking member John Barrasso of Wyoming on June. 29 rescinding its support of the nomination.

Since that time, DSC has become aware of information that has made it impossible at this time to continue to back this nominee for the Director of the BLM,” the Dallas Safari Club wrote in its letter, citing Stone-Manning’s involvement with the “extreme environmentalist group, Earth First, which has a history of sabotage, property destruction and creating dangerous work environments for loggers and sawmill operators.”

The White House has remained supportive of Stone-Manning’s nomination amid the blowback.

“Tracy Stone-Manning is a dedicated public servant who has years of experience and a proven track record of finding solutions and common ground when it comes to our public lands and waters,” the White House told Fox News in a statement in late June. “She is exceptionally qualified to be the next Director of the Bureau of Land Management.”

A vote for Stone-Manning’s nomination has not yet been scheduled.

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