A fascinating story in today’s Washington Post details the story of how, in the mid-1990s, the FBI almost carried out a sting operation against Newt Gingrich based on the allegation that he would take a bribe from a major international arms dealer. The sting was called off because there was no evidence Gingrich had any knowledge of a possible deal (or any intent to make one), and Gingrich hasn’t been accused of anything. Instead, according to the Post, talks of a bribe involved the arms dealer and “a man who said he was acting on behalf of Gingrich’s then-wife, Marianne.” The arms dealer was Sarkis Soghanalian, who, as the Post puts it, “told federal prosecutors and FBI agents in Miami that Marianne Gingrich said during a meeting in Paris in 1995 that she could provide legislative favors through her husband”—namely, lifting an arms embargo against Iraq. But just who was Sarkis Soghanalian?
A 2002 article in The Brown Journal of World Affairs says Soghanalian, who was popularly known as the “Merchant of Death” (he died this past October), was considered by the