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November 2, 2010

The Iceman Cometh

Norman M. Covert

17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. (Romans 16:17-18, The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version)


In the grand scheme of things this writer is pretty small potatoes, but if you measure a man in part by his enemy, one might evaluate me on a grander scale.


One recent afternoon, I noticed a car parked in front of my house. I had a thought that the Feds had decided to have me account for disputing their decision that the late Bruce Ivins was the anthrax letter bomber. Nope, not the G-Men, I decided.


The vehicle was one of the many versions of the smaller sport utility vehicles on the market, not the signature black Cadillac Escalade.


I ignored the vehicle, returning to preparation of a memorial narrative and eulogy for a close friend. The knock at the door interrupted my concentration. I opened the door to a man dressed in suit and tie, “Yes?” I said cheerily.


“I’m Randy White,” he said, perhaps expecting a strong reaction. I had a personal reaction only that I have never had anyone who opposed my Fort Detrick work or writings come to my home to confront me.


I stuck out my hand, “I’m Norm Covert, nice to meet you.”


“Why are you writing those things about me?” he said in an even voice.


(Mr. White was probably given a copy of the article (Aug. 19, 2010;


“Because they are true, aren’t they?” I responded.


He didn’t like my characterization of him as a “charlatan,” so I suggested the moniker “entrepreneur,” which he agreed was probably accurate.


(“Even as a young man, Vito Corleone became known as a ‘man of reasonableness.’ He never uttered a threat. He always used logic that proved to be irresistible….” The Godfather, (©1969, Mario Puzo), G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.)


I didn’t invite Mr. White into the house, explaining my time constraints. We discussed the gamut of his allegations about Fort Detrick and Area B. His eyes glazed over as I gave him an overview of the origins of Area B ground water testing and the public outreach, including my obtaining approval for the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB). Citizens would receive first-hand information – no secrets, which is still the case.


Regarding the Maryland Department of Health’s determination that no cancer cluster exists in the vicinity of Fort Detrick, Mr. White contended the department used antiquated and irrelevant procedure. This is the third such determination.


He passively listened to my remarks about Agent Orange and the inappropriate connection to Fort Detrick.


I refuted any charge that Fort Detrick had killed anyone’s cows, including the last crop of heifers that roamed the overgrown fields leased at Area B.


He detailed – in dramatic fashion – the death of his daughter Kristen Renee “in my arms” and said his former wife Paula’s death is imminent from cancer. He expressed doubt that I understood the gravity of the emotional scars he suffered. I do. I learned he is related to the late Mrs. Lena Dinterman and her husband Buddy, plus a couple other Camp Detrick employees.


He blurted, “Did you know that Fort Detrick conducted tests on the public without their knowledge?”


“Yes,” I said, and related tests including the Washington, D.C. airport, The Pentagon, New York City subway, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and other tests.


He was surprised, offering no response.


I asked him why he didn’t just sue the Army and Fort Detrick if he truly wanted some acknowledgement that the Army and Fort Detrick caused the deaths of local residents. He said “You know what I’d have to go through to do that? … and they wouldn’t allow it.”


“But you know,” he added, “I’m going to sue you.”


Wow, how do you respond to that possibility? Was it liable I committed? Slander? I guess he could sue me just to put my feet to the fire for objecting to his campaign.


But, like Vito Corleone, I guess Mr. White wanted to make me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Somewhere Luca Brasi is available to help me out. I could be sleeping with the fishes, too.


So, let me see what words I need to restate, rephrase or even apologize for in hopes that he won’t sue me and cause problems for my creditors, or cut the head off my prized race horse.


It would seem I complimented Mr. White comparing him to author Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry. After seeing Mr. White, he certainly isn’t Mr. Gantry, and I apologize for the comparison.


I admit, I may have taken a step too far saying Mr. White was a “disgraced former pastor.” Those were my words. The St. Petersburg (FL) Times and Tampa (FL) Tribune describe the circumstances about his resignation from the pulpit of his mega Without Walls Church, International.


I wrote he was sent off to “Purgatory” last year. That was a mischaracterization. Mr. White doesn’t believe in Purgatory; he resigned and left the church, according to news reports.


I identified Mr. White as a “self-anointed bishop” and commented he was “defrocked.” I meant only to be accurate. I should have recalled that fundamentalist Christian churches which have no national headquarters cannot restrict the bestowing of titles.


I found no reference to Mr. White having been ordained by any established church or holding any college degrees. He may give himself any title he chooses.


Writing for makes me an opinion writer, so facts may be my own reality. Mr. White did ask if I believed everything written in newspapers. “No,” I responded, but research is not hard these days.


Mr. White is a public persona and vulnerable to scrutiny as that done by the newspapers in St. Petersburg and Tampa. Therefore, I will refrain from harsh adjectives describing Mr. White and leave him to his task of trying to build a case against the U. S. Army. Fort Detrick certainly won’t cough up any money if Mr. White does sue me. I will stop the personal attacks on Mr. White and the Kristen Renee Foundation.


In all fairness to Mr. White, his son Brandon and his foundation, I would ask you, dear reader to use any search engine you desire using the key words: Without Walls Church, International; The Rev. Randy White; Kristen Renee Foundation; Rev. Paula White; Westboro Baptist Church; and especially this url:


Look for them at your nearest church soon; they have blitzed the religious community. You are on your own.


Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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