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read here the list of people whose FBI files were improperly obtained by the Clinton White House.
from TPDL 2000-Jul-29, from Capitol Hill Blue, by James Vicini:
Independent Counsel Blames Filegate on a Mistake, Not Political Retribution
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A White House aide obtained confidential FBI background files on Republicans from past administrations by mistake, not to collect derogatory information on political opponents, according to an independent counsel report released on Friday.
The report by independent counsel Robert Ray said the low-level aide, Anthony Marceca, requested the background reports in the erroneous belief that the individuals still were employed at the White House and needed access.
Marceca, who worked for the White House Office of Personnel Security, gathered about 900 FBI files of Republicans and others in late 1993 and early 1994. Marceca's boss, White House security director Craig Livingstone, resigned under fire.
Ray and his predecessor, Kenneth Starr, investigated the FBI files matter, along with other White House scandals including the Whitewater land deal in Arkansas and the Monica Lewinsky affair involving President Clinton.
The report was made public by a panel of three federal appellate judges more than four months after Ray submitted it.
The report concluded there was no substantial and credible evidence that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton or any senior White House official was involved in seeking the reports of former White House employees under Republican presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan.
Ray had announced that conclusion in March when he said the investigation had finished.
Marceca's notations on certain background reports about suitability for continued employment at the White House support the conclusion he did not know the individuals were no longer employed at the White House and did not need access, the report said.
It cited the lack of supervision, training and experience as factors that led to Marceca's requests for reports on individuals who had left the White House.
The sheer number of reports turned over by the FBI to Marceca should have raised concerns, the report said.
Although parts of Marceca's testimony to a House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight were false, the report said the independent counsel decided against prosecuting him.
Concluding that no senior White House official or Mrs. Clinton had been involved in getting the reports, the independent counsel gave Marceca immunity to disclose what had happened, the report said.
It said the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Marceca knowingly made any false statements in requesting the reports.
Also released was a second report concluding that former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum did not lie to Congress when he said he did not discuss Livingstone's hiring with the first lady.
from TPDL 2000-Mar-20:
INDEPENDENT COUNSEL RAY REVEALS HE HAS NOT DONE HIS JOB
Interview on ABC's "This Week" Confirms Judicial Watch's Criticism That He Did Not Question Key Witnesses, And His Refusal To Meet Personally With White House E-Mail Whistleblowers
Ray Also Reveals FBI Files Still In The Clinton-Gore White House Judicial Watch To Sue Ray To Disclose Reasons For Inaction on Filegate
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Robert Ray, the Ken Starr deputy who assumed the mantle of Independent Counsel when Starr left, and a lifelong Democrat until his recent "conversion" to Independent, was questioned on ABC's "This Week" by Sam Donaldson and George Will about his recently "completed" Filegate Report. The responses to the questions confirmed the worst fears of Judicial Watch and the American people.
First, Donaldson asked if it was true, as Judicial Watch had disclosed, that Ray has not spoken with Linda Tripp about her sworn testimony that she observed FBI files being loaded onto White House computers, and overheard conversations linking this to Hillary Clinton. Ray refused to answer the question by giving a non-response.
Second, Donaldson asked if it was true, as Judicial Watch has disclosed, that Ray refused to meet personally with Sheryl Hall and Betty Lambuth, the two whistleblowers who revealed that The White House had suppressed up to 1,000,000 e-mail, [and hidden about 457 disc drives] containing incriminating evidence on Filegate and the other Clinton-Gore scandals. In addition, Hall and Lambuth testified to Judicial Watch and the Court that anyone who spoke about this obstruction of justice was threatened by officials in the Clinton-Gore White House with jail. In response to Donaldson's questions, Ray admitted that he had not spoken with the whistleblowers before precipitously issuing his Filegate Report.
Third, George Will asked if the FBI files of Republicans and others were still in the Clinton-Gore White House. In response, Ray admitted that they are still "in a vault" in The White House.
Tomorrow, Judicial Watch will file suit against Ray to obtain documentation to find out why the Independent Counsel has rolled over to the Clinton-Gore White House, and not done its job. Could it be based on Attorney General Janet Reno's offer not to investigate charges of wrongdoing by Starr, Ray and their fellow prosecutors, if Ray closed out his investigations? As reflected in other recent Judicial Watch press releases, this proposed "quid pro quo" deal was first reported by The Washington Post's Roberto Suro.
from TPDL 2000-Jun-26, from Judicial Watch:
Independent Counsel Robert Ray Never Spoke To Billy Dale!
Ray Establishes History Of Avoiding The Truth
Billy Dale stated that he was never contacted by Independent Counsel Robert Ray regarding his firsthand knowledge of the Travelgate scandal. Ray, similar to his actions in Filegate, has closed the investigation without obtaining all of the facts or interviewing the key players. Also publically disclosed for the first time was the fact that former bar bouncer and Chief of White House Personnel Security, Craig Livingstone, personally escorted Mr. Dale out his workplace after he was fired. The incident occurred one week before Mr. Dale's planned retirement.
from TPDL 2000-Mar-17, from Judicial Watch:
RAY'S QUID PRO QUO?
JUDICIAL WATCH CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF INDEPENDENT COUNSEL
Timing and Circumstances of His Filegate Report Strange and Troubling
(Washington, D.C.) Yesterday's forwarding of a Report purportedly exonerating the Clintons and others in the Filegate scandal, by the Independent Counsel, raises more questions than it claims to answer.
First, why would Robert Ray leak the "results" of the Report, and then issue a press release praising the "substantial cooperation and assistance of The White House" when in fact the opposite has been true? For example, it was recently revealed by whistleblowers who worked in The White House that between 100,000 and 1-million e-mails, containing incriminating evidence about Filegate, and other Clinton-Gore scandals, have been suppressed. Further, these whistleblowers disclosed that the Clinton-Gore White House threatened to "jail" anyone who spoke about the suppression of evidence. In the course of this burgeoning scandal, it was later revealed that about 500 hard disk drive cartridges, containing key documents, were never searched in response to Judicial Watch, Congressional, and Independent Counsel subpoenas.
"Despite offers by Judicial Watch to have these whistleblowers (who are clients) meet personally with Mr. Ray, he refused. This is in contrast with Chairman Dan Burton of the House Government Reform Committee, who found the time to personally investigate the facts," stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.
In addition, based on depositions in its $90-million dollar class action lawsuit, Judicial Watch is aware that the independent counsel has not substantively interviewed, nor called before the grand jury, most key witnesses in the Filegate scandal. These persons include but are not limited to: Linda Tripp (who testified that she witnessed FBI file misuse, ordered by Hillary Clinton), Bernard Nussbaum, Thomas "Mac" McLarty (Chief of Staff during Filegate), and a host of others.
"The only logical explanation for Ray leaking and then sending his Report to the three judge panel, before the independent counsel's investigation is complete, is that he cut a deal with the Clinton-Gore Administration. In an article (enclosed) entitled "Justice Dept. Puts Starr Investigation on Hold, Sources Say," which appeared in The Washington Post on June 6, 1999, Roberto Suro suggests that Attorney General Janet Reno offered to not conduct an ethics investigation of alleged improprieties in the Independent Counsel's office, if its investigations were shut down, as Justice would then lack jurisdiction. It is likely that this explains Mr. Ray's bizarre conduct. As a result, Mr. Ray and his staff should now be investigated," Klayman added.
from TPDL 2000-Mar-17, from NewsMax 2000-Mar-16, by Carl Limbacher and NewsMax.com Staff:
OIC Failed to Pursue Central Issue in Filegate, Say Experts
After closing out Filegate with no indictments on Thursday, the Office of the Independent Counsel admitted that it did not pursue the central issue in the FBI files scandal -- the White House's illegal acquisition of over a thousand confidential background files on Republicans who worked for past administrations.
"The Office did not investigate alleged violations of the Privacy Act of 1974," Independent Counsel Robert Ray said in a press release issued Thursday afternoon, "because such offenses are excluded from the jurisdiction of an independent counsel."
"I'm sure that Mr. Ray feels that he's on firm legal ground," Landmark Legal Foundation's Mark Levin told NewsMax.com, "but I'm not aware that he's affirmatively barred from looking into the Privacy Act. Obviously he was free to seek the Attorney General's permission and if she rejects it, the court's permission to examine Privacy Act violations."
"I don't think any examination of Filegate could be complete without that," Levin concluded.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, the legal watchdog group pressing Filegate in civil court, said he was mystified by the OIC's failure to examine Privacy Act violations.
"This alleged misuse of FBI files pertains to the Privacy Act," Fitton told NewsMax.com. "I don't understand that part of Ray's press release."
Fitton said that Ray's decision would have no effect on Judicial Watch's lawsuit because former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr failed to follow key leads in the case.
"The fact is the evidence is there but Starr and Ray didn't pursue it," said Fitton. "Linda Tripp was never seriously questioned. Bernard Nussbaum testified he was never brought before the grand jury on Filegate. Hillary Clinton was only questioned for nine minutes by Ken Starr."
Tripp, a longtime employee in the White House counsel's office, saw what she believed were FBI files being misused inside the White House. Former White House counsel Nussbaum was the subject of a criminal referral from Congress, requesting that Starr investigate him for possible perjury in Filegate.
Contemporaneous notes taken by former FBI agent Dennis Sculimbrene indicate that Mrs. Clinton had recommended the hiring of Craig Livingstone, the former bar bouncer who, once he became director of White House security, collected the FBI files.
from TPDL 2000-Mar-17, from United Press International 2000-Mar-16:
Clintons Officially Exonerated in FBI Filegate
WASHINGTON -- Whitewater independent counsel Robert Ray Thursday exonerated first lady Hillary Clinton and other officials in the investigation of FBI file summaries on Republicans obtained by the Clinton White House.
In fact, Ray said the FBI files investigation, and a separate investigation on whether former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum lied under oath, have been completed and he concluded that "no prosecutions were warranted."
The announcement that the probes were ending had been widely expected, but it could be a major blow to a civil suit filed on behalf of Republicans by Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, accusing the first lady and others of violating the Privacy Act in the acquisition of the files.
The civil suit seeks $90 million.
The independent counsel left open one small avenue for Klayman and his civil suit, expressly saying that his office "did not investigate violations of the Privacy Act...because such offenses are excluded from the jurisdiction of the independent counsel."
One of Klayman's clients, Joseph Duggan, denounced the impending announcement before it was released. Duggan is a Washington public relations executive and a former speechwriter for President George Bush.
"If they fail to prosecute, it's a travesty," Duggan said in a statement sent to reporters. "...Cover-ups may have thwarted the criminal investigation, but thank God we have a civil lawsuit that may uncover the truth and win damages from the culprits."
Ray, who succeeded independent counsel Kenneth Starr, said, "There was no substantial or credible evidence that Mrs. Clinton was involved in the hiring of (White House security chief) Craig Livingstone," the official who obtained the file summaries.
The independent counsel's statement also attempts to undermine a barrage of accusations against the first lady made by Republicans on the floor of the House regarding Livingstone's employment and her alleged involvement in FBI Filegate.
In a prepared statement, Ray said, "In the FBI files matter, the independent counsel determined that there was no substantial and credible evicence that any senior White House official, or first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking...(FBI) background reports of former White House staff from the prior administrations of President Bush and President Reagan."
The White House has been insisting all along that the file summaries were obtained by mistake in late 1993 and early 1994 through the actions of Livingstone, not as the result of a conspiracy to dig up dirt on Republicans.
The file summaries are not raw FBI files, but are summations used for security clearances. The White House has always contended that the new security officer was mistakenly given an old security list by the Secret Service, and had made file requests from "A" through "D" before discovering that the list was a leftover from the Bush administration.
In Thursday's statement, Ray praised White House cooperation in the probe.
"With respect to these two investigations, the White House provided substantial cooperation and assistance, as did the FBI and the United States Secret Service," Ray said. "The president did not assert any privileges and the White House...allowed OIC (Office of the Independent Counsel) personnel substantial access to facilities, documents and witnesses..."
Nussbaum's exoneration was similarly shattering to four-year-old GOP allegations against the White House and the first lady.
In 1996, former Rep. William Clinger, R-Pa., and then chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, denounced the first lady and Nussbaum from the floor of the House. Clinger produced a memo from an FBI agent, which had been placed in Nussbaum's raw FBI file, saying that the first lady had "vouched" for Livingstone's appointment.
Clinger denounced the White House, but Nussbaum later testified that he did not tell the agent, Dennis Sculimbrene, any such thing. Sculimbrene, on medical leave from the FBI after being hit by a helicopter blade, later said he may have been told the information by a different White House aide.
But Thursday, Ray said he had "found no substantial and credible evidence that Mr. Nussbaum lied to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight about his discussions with Mrs. Clinton regarding the hiring of...Livingstone or about...Livingstone's appointment" as White House security chief.
Ray said he has filed sealed reports with the three-judge panel that oversees his investigation on the two matters.
from TPDL 2000-Mar-17, from the Associated Press, by Pete Yost:
Investigation unearths no crime in FBI file flap at White House
WASHINGTON -- Independent counsel Robert Ray said Thursday that there is no credible evidence of criminal activity in the White House's improper gathering of hundreds of FBI background files of former Republican appointees.
There is also no credible evidence that former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum lied to Congress about the files in 1996, Ray said, adding that his office was ending both investigations with no prosecutions.
The prosecutor's office determined that "there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation background reports of former White House staff from the prior administrations of President Bush and President Reagan."
Ray's announcement angered a conservative group and some former Republican appointees, who have filed a lawsuit accusing the Clinton administration of invading their privacy.
Closing out the investigation without any prosecutions is "a travesty," said Joseph Duggan, a former White House speech writer for Bush. "These 'raw' investigative files invariably contain material that is not necessarily true but almost certainly is negative and embarrassing. ... The FBI improperly gave our files to unauthorized and politically hostile individuals."
Ray said he could not investigate violations of the Privacy Act of 1974, which are misdemeanors and therefore are outside the independent counsel's jurisdiction.
Duggan, who said he will now ask the Justice Department to investigate possible privacy-act violations, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a group that has sued the Clinton administration on a wide range of issues.
White House officials have said an Army detailee, Anthony Marceca, made a bureaucratic blunder in collecting the FBI files on the basis of an outdated Secret Service list of White House passholders.
Marceca's boss, former White House security office chief Craig Livingstone, resigned after a congressional committee's investigation uncovered the mass gathering of files on Republicans. Livingstone maintained that he didn't know Marceca had gotten those files.
An FBI interview summary from early in the Clinton administration quoted Nussbaum as saying that Mrs. Clinton had highly recommended Livingstone for his post.
However, Nussbaum said he had been misquoted in the FBI summary, and Mrs. Clinton, who denied recommending Livingstone, said she didn't even know who he was until late in his tenure at the White House.
Ray said he found "no substantial and credible evidence that Mr. Nussbaum lied to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight about his discussions with Mrs. Clinton" regarding Livingstone's hiring "or about his knowledge regarding the circumstances of Mr. Livingstone's appointment."
The prosecutor is sending a report on the FBI files investigation to three federal appeals judges, who will give the people named in it 90 days to respond before releasing the report along with any responses.
The report is to be followed by two others -- one on Mrs. Clinton's role in the purge of the White House travel office and another on the Clintons' Whitewater land dealings in Arkansas. That third report also will deal with Mrs. Clinton's legal work for her Whitewater partners' failing Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association.
from TPDL 1999-Jan-7, by Lawrence Morahan, CNS Staff Writer:
Tripp Saw Billing Records in White House Safe
(CNS) - Linda Tripp, whose secret recordings of Monica Lewinsky triggered the impeachment of President Clinton, said she saw what she believes were the billing records of the Rose Law Firm in the safe of Vincent Foster when she worked in the White House in 1993.
Tripp volunteered the startling testimony Tuesday in her continuing deposition testimony in the lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based legal foundation, against the Clinton Administration and Hillary Clinton, Judicial Watch told CNS.
The safe was located in the office of then-White House Counsel Bernie Nussbaum, Tripp said.
Tripp was a holdover employee from the Bush administration who kept her job at the White House after Clinton became president in 1992. In January of last year, Tripp provided independent counsel Kenneth Starr with tapes she had secretly recorded of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky claiming she had an affair with President Clinton and that he had asked her to lie about it.
Tripp was among hundreds of Reagan and Bush appointees whose FBI dossiers were handed over to former White House employees Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca. Livingstone and Marceca were accused of improperly obtaining the FBI files in late 1993 and early 1994 in order to find potentially incriminating material on Republican appointees.
When Tripp saw pictures in media reports of the subpoenaed Rose Law Firm records, which mysteriously disappeared and reappeared in the White House residence, she recognized them as records she had seen earlier in Foster's safe, Judicial Watch said.
Tripp testified she may have seen on the records First Lady Hillary Clinton's initials or the words "Rose Law Firm" or something else to indicate that they had something to do with Hillary Clinton and Vincent Foster, Judicial Watch said. Tripp further testified that Independent Counsel Ken Starr had not questioned her on this issue.
Clinton lawyers cross-examined Tripp on this and on earlier testimony that said she saw "oodles" of what she was told were FBI files throughout the White House Counsel's office. Tripp believed she saw the FBI files of prominent Bush staffers, former Republican Congressman Bill Clinger, and the name of former Travel Office head Billy Ray Dale.
Under cross-examination, Tripp said some of the files she saw were documents with the Department of Justice seal and lettering. She also testified that Janet Reno and Webster Hubbell were frequent visitors at the White House Counsel's office.
"Ms. Tripp withstood Clinton's lawyers' attempts to undermine her important and credible testimony," said Larry Klayman, Judicial Watch chairman. "Simply put, her testimony on 'Filegate,' 'Travelgate' and Whitewater spells further trouble for Mr. Clinton and his administration."
from TPDL 2000-May-10, from the Washington Times, by Jerry Seper:
Senator demands punishment for leak of Tripp data
The chairman of a Senate Armed Services subcommittee has asked Defense Secretary William S. Cohen to severely discipline department spokesman Kenneth Bacon for leaking information to the media from Linda R. Tripp's confidential file.
Sen. James M. Inhofe, chairman of the Armed Services subcommittee on readiness and management support, said Mr. Cohen should "act swiftly and in accord with the seriousness of this matter."
"Federal employees throughout the government are watching this case," said the Oklahoma Republican in a floor speech Monday. "What will it say to them if someone who has so clearly violated the Privacy Act is not held accountable?
"It will say that no one's privacy can ultimately be protected, that the law is largely meaningless, and that ideal of public service in support of the Constitution and the laws is forever diminished," he said.
Last month, the Justice Department decided not to seek an indictment of Mr. Bacon in the case despite concerns outlined in a July 1998 Defense Department investigation that suggested he had broken the law.
The decision came after the Justice Department had held onto the report for nearly 20 months before ruling there was "no direct evidence upon which to pursue any violation of the Privacy Act."
Acting Defense Department Inspector General Donald Mancuso, who headed the inquiry, told the Senate Armed Services Committee March 3 that investigators concluded Mr. Bacon had ordered release of the Tripp records and they were covered under the federal Privacy Act.
Mr. Inhofe noted in his speech that the Justice Department's decision not to prosecute Mr. Bacon included the statement that he did not intend to break the law when the information was released to the media.
"What this tells me is that the Justice Department knows the law was broken. It is all the more reason why their decision not to prosecute is so outrageous," he said. "The next time I'm stopped by a policeman for speeding, I'm going to tell him I didn't intend to break the law and let's see how far that gets me."
Mr. Inhofe said Mr. Bacon "clearly violated the Privacy Act" and "simply cannot be permitted to escape responsibility."
After the Justice Department's refusal to seek an indictment, the matter was referred to the Defense Department, where Mr. Cohen will determine whether administrative sanctions are warranted.
Mrs. Tripp is the Pentagon official who blew the whistle on President Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Mrs. Tripp has since filed a lawsuit accusing the White House and the Defense Department of using confidential Pentagon records to smear her reputation.
The inspector general's probe focused on accusations that the Defense Department released information to the news media from confidential and required forms Mrs. Tripp filed with the Pentagon. In those forms, she said she never had been arrested when in fact she had - in what later was described as a teen-age prank that occurred 30 years ago.
The Pentagon leak was orchestrated by Mr. Bacon, who later said he was sorry he did not consult the Privacy Act before authorizing the disclosure. The information was passed to Jane Mayer, a reporter for the New Yorker magazine who once worked with Mr. Bacon at the Wall Street Journal. It was used for a damaging story on Mrs. Tripp's background at a time Miss Lewinsky's relationship with Mr. Clinton had become a major public issue.
Mrs. Tripp spurred the sex-and-lies investigation of Mr. Clinton by turning over to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr tapes she secretly recorded of conversations with Miss Lewinsky, who had been transferred from the White House to the Pentagon. Both Miss Lewinsky and Mr. Clinton acknowledged having a sexual relationship, which led to the president's impeachment by the House on charges of perjury and obstruction. The Senate later acquitted Mr. Clinton.
Mrs. Tripp, in her lawsuit, said the disclosures were designed to spread "embarrassing or damaging information . . . for partisan political purposes." She named 11 current or former administration figures, including first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, as having "engaged in communications . . . about Linda Tripp."
from TPDL 1999-Jan-6, from WorldNetDaily, by Stephan Archer:
Judicial Watch report to Senate Includes evidence far beyond sex, perjury scandals
A new report in the Senate suggests the House of Representatives may have been hasty to impeach Clinton on charges limited to the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and raises accusations of political abuse of the Internal Revenue Service, misuse of FBI files, illegal fund-raising activities and more.
The 4,000-page interim report was delivered to all members of the U.S. Senate last week by Judicial Watch, Inc., a non-partisan public interest government watchdog group. In the report, Judicial Watch presents evidence that President Clinton may have been involved in bribery, treason, and other high crimes and misdemeanors in what has become known as Chinagate and Filegate.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the report could bring the harder issues of Clinton's presidency to the forefront.
"They (senators) won't have an excuse to say there's nothing else out there. We've put it right in front of them," he said.
Because the House Judiciary Committee focused entirely on matters surrounding the Lewinsky sex scandal and ignored evidence that links Clinton with the Chinagate and Filegate scandals, Judicial Watch believes that those who have been pushing for a Senate trial may be losing footing.
"In effect, by rushing the impeachment proceedings and keeping it limited to try to placate Democrats, Hyde sowed the seeds of defeat into obtaining justice for the high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the president," said Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman.
Fitton added that many Republicans aren't in a hurry to go after Clinton on the issues surrounding Chinagate and Filegate because further investigations into these matters would uncover illegal activities among some high-profile Republican donors as well.
In a letter that accompanied the interim report, Judicial Watch stated that it had uncovered new evidence that suggests that the president was involved in the Filegate scandal. In sworn testimony on Dec. 14, 1998, key witness Linda Tripp indicated that former members of Congress, high-level Bush administration officials, and other so-called "enemies" of President Clinton had their FBI files illegally obtained and misused.
Tripp had testified that the data from what she was told to be FBI files was to be uploaded on to White House computers so that the information could be shared with the Democratic National Committee. Judicial Watch said the person who requested this to be done was Hillary Clinton.
Also included with the interim report was a list of dead persons associated with the Clinton administration, prepared by WorldNetdaily contributing editor David Bresnahan for his book, "Cover Up." The list was left on Tripp's chair by Monica Lewinsky, according to Tripp's Filegate testimony. Tripp considered the list to be a threat.
More evidence pointing toward the president's involvement in Chinagate came last week when Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Clinton administration had likely destroyed and suppressed documents and potential evidence of wrongdoing.
The initial lawsuit that led to the ruling was filed by Judicial Watch after it met obstacles in obtaining documents from the Department of Commerce through the Freedom of Information Act. Among the destroyed or "lost" documents include those that were shredded in former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown's office following his death April 6, 1996. The court documents say that several Commerce employees said in depositions that the documents were never even searched following Judicial Watch's FOIA requests before being destroyed.
Court documents also said that John Huang, former Democratic National Committee fund-raiser and former deputy assistant secretary for international economic policy at Commerce, may have -- upon leaving the agency -- removed important documents in an effort to hide them from Judicial Watch. However, Huang claimed he was little more than a "budget clerk."
Because the court ruled in favor of Judicial Watch in this matter, Commerce has been ordered to perform a rigorously monitored new search of all documents that may be links to Chinagate.
Fitton said that the court's decision has far-reaching implications for the president.
"What this shows is that the issues of perjury and obstruction of justice are not limited to the Lewinsky affair," Fitton said.
from TPDL 1999-Jan-13, from Insight magazine, by Jennifer G. Hickey:
is having an impact of its own.
More Than Just Girl Talk
her recent testimony about Filegate
from TPDL 1998-Dec-17, from NewsMax 1998-Dec-16, by Carl Limbacher:
Linda Tripp Blows Lid Off Filegate Cover-Up
Tells of Lewinsky's "Death List" Warning
With his Dec. 14 deposition of key White House witness Linda Tripp, Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman obtained the most important testimony to date about the collection of over 1000 confidential FBI files by White House aides D. Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca in 1993 and 1994.
Tripp's bombshell revelations included an account of Livingstone's firsthand admission that he was brought to the White House at the First Lady's direction. "He told me Mrs. Clinton hired him," Tripp recalled, dating Livingstone's comment to "shortly after my arrival in the counsel's office." Tripp was a Bush administration holdover who worked in the Clinton White House from its onset.
Tripp's sworn testimony also implicated Mrs. Clinton in potential Filegate illegality. The Judicial Watch witness recounted a conversation between Associate White House Counsel William Kennedy and Clinton damage controller Marsha Scott, where Scott briefed Kennedy on plans to upload information from the illegally obtained FBI files into the White House computer database. By Tripp's account, the Scott-Kennedy conversation revealed that Mrs. Clinton herself inititated the plan.
In his November depositon to Judicial Watch, Kennedy admitted that he kept stacks of FBI files piled on his White House office desk. In a Tuesday interview with FOX News' Hannity & Colmes, Judicial Watch Chairman Klayman said that Tripp told him one of the FBI files she saw in Kennedy's office was labeled "Clinger". Pennsylvania Rep. William Clinger chaired the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, which conducted extensive hearings into both the Filegate and Travelgate scandals in 1995 and 1996.
In 1994, Clinger also conducted his own independent review of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's death. Though neither Klayman nor Tripp noted the date when Tripp saw the Clinger file on Kennedy's desk, the chronology of Tripp and Kennedy's White House work history suggests that it was the Foster matter, and not later investigations into the other two scandals, which would have prompted White House interest in William Clinger's FBI file.
According to Klayman, White House Counsel Office secretary Betsy Pond confirmed to Tripp that the files she saw came from the FBI.
During her deposition, Tripp also recalled a visit to Vincent Foster's office shortly after a gathering there, which included key Travelgate figures Harry Thomason, David Watkins, and Catherine Cornelius. Tripp said Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, Maggie Williams, was also present. In a memo written months after the Travelgate erupted, Watkins noted that if he and Foster had failed to implement Mrs. Clinton's order to fire the Travel Office staff, there would be "hell to pay."
Tripp said that it was during her visit Foster's office that she noticed a file labeled "Dale".
Billy Dale ran the Travel Office untill May of 1993, when he and his six collegaues were sacked in favor of Cornelius, whose Little Rock based World Wide Travel company ran travel operations for the 1992 Clinton campaign. According to Watkins' memo, Cornelius was installed after Mrs. Clinton told him, "We need our people in those slots."
The Clinger Committee's 1996 discovery that the White House had obtained Billy Dale's FBI file was the genesis of Filegate. Within days of that revelation, it was learned that hundreds of additional confidential FBI files had been illegally shared with the White House.
Tripp also shed light on an ominous threat she got just before the Monica Lewinsky scandal exploded. Tripp says that a two page note was left on a chair in her office, she believes, by Lewinsky. The first page contained the handwritten message, "Linda, just thought you'd find this of interest." The second page was a list of people with connections to Bill Clinton who had died under mysterious circumstances. Tripp told Klayman that the handwrting on the cover sheet did not appear to be Lewinsky's.
Klayman explained to the FOX News audience that lists circulating on the internet and talk radio cite a number of people with links to various Clinton scandals who have died under questionable circumstances Some were witnesses or potential witnesses, including key Whitewater figure Jim McDougal, Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Clinton Whitewater lawyer Vincent Foster, Clinton security chief Luther "Jerry" Parks and Kathy Ferguson, whose husband Danny was named co-defendant in the Paula Jones case just five days before she was found shot to death.
In her taped converstions with Tripp, Lewinsky makes no fewer than four references to the concerns she had for her own safety. In one recording Lewinsky tells Tripp, "See, my mom's big fear is that (Clinton) is going to send somebody out to kill me." In another exchange, Lewinsky explains that the primary reason she filed a false affidavit denying sex with Clinton was - "First of all, for fear of my life. I would not - for fear of my life, I would not - I would not cross these people for fear of my life, number one."
Despite Lewinsky's taped admission that it was fear for her safety that led her into a conspiracy to obstruct justice, investigators have insisted that her perjury was prompted solely by the promise of a job in New York. Lewinsky specifically told Ken Starr's grand jury that no one offered her a job to secure her lies.
Klayman told Hannity & Colmes that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr had concentrated on Whitewater and Monicagate at the expense of Filegate and other serious Clinton scandals. In September, Starr temporarily blocked Tripp's Judicial Watch deposition, claiming to the court that his Filegate probe was at a sensitive stage.
But in his Nov. 19 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Starr announced that he had uncovered no impeachable wrongdoing in Filegate, adding that his investigation showed that White House involvement in the FBI file scandal went no higher than Livingstone and Marceca.
Tripp's sworn statements to Judicial Watch blatantly contradict Starr's conclusions and suggest that the Independent Counsel has overlooked serious evidence that top White House aides, including Mrs. Clinton herself, may have been involved in a conspiracy to violate the 1974 Privacy Act.
Starr has offered no explanation as to why Livingstone and Marceca remain unindicted after more than two years of his Filegate investigation.
from TPDL 2000-Apr-11, from the Washington Times:
Fire Kenneth Bacon
Critics of President Clinton, beware. Anything in your personnel files can and will be used against you by his administration, and the Justice Department will be happy to ignore any violations of your privacy rights along the way.
Last week, Justice officials announced that they would not prosecute Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon and aide Clifford Bernath for the illegal release of Linda Tripp's personnel file to a New Yorker reporter who just happened to be working on a hostile profile of her. The reporter, Jane Mayer, used the information to distort a 30-year-old incident involving Mrs. Tripp, who revealed the president's affair with Monica Lewinsky, in an attempt to undermine Mrs. Tripp's credibility. Notwithstanding the fact that releasing the documents was a clear violation of the law, Justice Department officials said there "was no direct evidence upon which to pursue any prosecution."
The Three Blind Mice could see the evidence. Even Defense Secretary William Cohen said Mrs. Tripp's files were "supposed to be protected by the privacy rules." Let's review the chronology here. In early 1998, Monicagate manager and former White House staffer Harold Ickes met with Ms. Mayer and discussed her plans to write an unfriendly article about Mrs. Tripp. At about the same time, Mr. Ickes also had dinner with Mr. Bacon. Again the subject of Mrs. Tripp and her part in the Lewinsky scandal came up. (For the record, Mr. Bacon is a former journalistic colleague of Ms. Mayer.) She called Mr. Bacon specifically requesting confidential files of Mrs. Tripp to substantiate information she had about her.
Mr. Bacon turned the job over to aide Bernath with instructions to "help Ms. Mayer get the information she needed as soon as possible." Questioned by a Department of Defense official responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the records, Mr. Bernath assured him the request was for official use only. Then he turned the records over to Ms. Mayer, it apparently being an official policy in the Clinton administration to violate privacy rules whenever it is necessary to embarrass a political foe. Ms. Mayer then accused Mrs. Tripp of lying by denying that she had once been arrested in connection with a teen-age prank her friends played on her, a prank that went terribly awry when Mrs. Tripp momentarily ended up in legal trouble. In short, the accusation was false but not easy to refute in the political hothouse of that time.
Mr. Bacon subsequently announced that he was really, really, really sorry about what happened; he hadn't meant to violate the Privacy Act. If only, he said, he had taken the time to consult the law before disclosing Mrs. Tripp's files he would never have done it. Right.
Perhaps not coincidentally, President Clinton is also pleading ignorance of the Privacy Act in connection with his release of letters from Kathleen Willey after she accused him of groping her. He just never thought about the law, he said. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that the president violated the Privacy Act nonetheless.
Mrs. Tripp has filed suit seeking protection of her privacy too. She deserves her day in court. In the meantime, Mr. Cohen must surely understand that if Messrs. Bacon and Bernath are willing to violate the Privacy Act so casually, then they represent a continuing threat to the privacy of others. He should fire them forthwith. Otherwise he risks leaving the impression that he is comfortable with the idea of allowing lawbreakers to speak for him.
from TPDL 1998-Jul-20, from The Washington Times, by Bill Sammon:
Tripp among names on new 'Filegate' FBI list
Linda R. Tripp is among nearly 1,000 people whose secret FBI background files were obtained by the Clinton administration, according to new "Filegate" documents obtained by The Washington Times.
Mrs. Tripp and hundreds of other Bush and Reagan administration appointees -- including top CIA, Pentagon and National Security Agency officials -- were recently named for the first time by the FBI as people whose dossiers were turned over to former White House employees D. Craig Livingstone and Anthony B. Marceca. The new Filegate list, which contains more than twice as many names as were previously disclosed, also includes former FBI agent Gary Aldrich, whose book, "Unlimited Access," savaged lax security practices in the Clinton White House.
"It's outrageous," Mr. Aldrich said of his appearance on the list. "This administration has had a pattern of intimidation of potential witnesses against them."
Mr. Livingstone and Mr. Marceca, both longtime Democratic operatives, have been accused of improperly obtaining the FBI files in late 1993 and early 1994 to find dirt on Republican appointees. Filegate victims are represented by Judicial Watch, a legal foundation that recently obtained the new, FBI-generated list through the discovery process in a $90 million lawsuit against the administration.
The most eye-catching new name on the list is Mrs. Tripp, the star witness in independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's sex-and-lies investigation of President Clinton. The revelation that the White House obtained her secret FBI background file raises new questions about efforts by Clinton-friendly forces to discredit Mrs. Tripp in the Starr probe.
Like many Filegate targets, Mrs. Tripp was a "holdover" employee from the Bush administration. She was kept on by the Clinton administration because White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum argued in June 1993 that Mrs. Tripp was the "substantive, savvy and experienced professional" he "desperately" needed as his executive assistant.
But Mrs. Tripp quickly found herself in possession of damaging information on several White House scandals -- including the suicide of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent J. Foster Jr. and Mr. Clinton's physical encounter with White House volunteer Kathleen E. Willey. At one point, according to New York literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, Mrs. Tripp even witnessed fellow employees copying FBI files into White House computers.
Administration officials became increasingly suspicious of Mrs. Tripp, who felt the Clinton White House lacked the decorum of the Bush White House. One year after agreeing to keep Mrs. Tripp on staff, Clinton officials asked the FBI for her background file.
According to the FBI, the file contained at least one letter and one memo, although the subject matters have not been disclosed. It may also have contained a copy of a security clearance form that Mrs. Tripp filled out in 1987, when she worked for the Defense Department, on which she asserted she had never been arrested.
According to Mr. Aldrich, who in 1994 was responsible for conducting FBI background checks on White House employees, Mrs. Tripp's file also may have contained information on a 1969 incident in which she was detained by police.
In August 1994, two months after her FBI file was obtained by the White House, Mrs. Tripp was transferred, against her wishes, to the Pentagon public affairs office. A few weeks later, Mr. Clinton appointed Wall Street Journal reporter Kenneth Bacon as the Pentagon's top spokesman, which meant he was also Mrs. Tripp's boss.
In January of this year, Mrs. Tripp gave Mr. Starr secretly recorded tapes of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky claiming that she had an affair with Mr. Clinton and that he had asked her to lie about it. As the scandal exploded, White House officials searched their files for "anything and everything" on Mrs. Tripp, according to Terry W. Good, director of White House records management.
In March, Mr. Bacon was asked by a reporter for New Yorker magazine whether Mrs. Tripp had asserted on her security clearance form that she had never been arrested. Mr. Bacon instructed his chief deputy to leak the information to the reporter, Jane Mayer, with whom Mr. Bacon had once worked at the Wall Street Journal.
Within days, the magazine published a story that revealed Mrs. Tripp's teen-age arrest and her denial of it 18 years later. Critics of Mrs. Tripp said the discrepancy undermined her credibility in the Lewinsky case.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen called the Pentagon leak "certainly inappropriate, if not illegal," because Mrs. Tripp's files were "supposed to be protected by the privacy rules." Mr. Bacon apologized for not consulting the Privacy Act or lawyers for either Mrs. Tripp or the Pentagon before authorizing the disclosure.
The leak is under investigation by Mr. Starr and the Pentagon inspector general. Mr. Starr has also investigated aspects of the Filegate scandal, although it is not clear whether that investigation is active.
Other new names on the Filegate list include Adm. William O. Studeman, who was NSA director and deputy CIA director during the Bush administration; Adm. David E. Jeremiah, whom President Bush appointed as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; John C. Whitehead, deputy secretary of state under Presidents Bush and Reagan; and Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, William Casey's top deputy at the CIA and a Clinton nominee for defense secretary before he withdrew from consideration. Previously disclosed Filegate targets include James A. Baker III, secretary of state under Mr. Bush, and Reagan press secretary James Brady. Earlier lists also revealed the White House amassed files on people extremely close to Mr. Clinton, including his secretary, Betty Currie -- who is now a key witness in the Lewinsky probe -- and adviser James Carville, whose own compilation of files is frequently used to attack Clinton adversaries.
It is not clear why the new list omits some names that had been included in earlier lists, such as former Bush Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater. It is also not clear whether the FBI will reveal even more names, pushing the list to more than 1,000 people.
from TPDL 1998-Nov-3, from "Inside Politics: News and political dispatches from around the nation" by Greg Pierce, from the Washington Times:
"It has now been eight months since Clinton appointees at the Defense Department leaked confidential information from Linda Tripp's security file in an effort to embarrass her -- and possibly get her fired," the Weekly Standard notes. "It has been eight months, too, since the Pentagon's inspector general promised a report on the matter. We are still waiting," the magazine said. "One congressman who is particularly exercised about the department's dereliction is Gerald Solomon, the chairman of the Rules Committee who is retiring this year. In a letter to Dennis Hastert, chairman of a House subcommittee on national security, Solomon sought to ensure that Congress would keep an eye on the Tripp case. He said that he was 'extremely concerned' that Clinton officials had committed crimes, adding that the was 'troubled by the actions taken by the office of the inspector general.' That office promised Congress a report in July. It reneged, citing 'external factors' -- probably an allusion to Kenneth Starr's look at the matter and indictments that may ensue from it. "The dirty trick played by the 'most ethical administration in history' on a government employee, Tripp, should not go down the memory hole. Solomon, perhaps alone, seems to understand this."
from TPDL 1998-Dec-16, from the Associated Press:
Tripp testimony sheds light on FBI files
WASHINGTON - Linda Tripp, whose secret tapes of Monica Lewinsky sparked expansion of an independent counsel's investigation of President Clinton, has testified that she saw confidential FBI files ''piled'' on tables and floors at the White House when she worked there, according to a lawyer.
Her deposition was taken Monday by Judicial Watch as part of the organization's $90 million lawsuit against the White House.
''Mrs. Tripp's testimony speaks for itself and puts to rest the lie that Filegate was an innocent mistake,'' Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman said in a statement.
The investigation has centered on accusations that White House officials ordered the FBI to deliver more than 900 background reports on officials from two prior Republican administrations.
The White House has denied any wrongdoing and President Clinton has referred to obtaining the files as ''an honest, bureaucratic snafu.''
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, authorized to investigate the matter, has said he found no evidence that Clinton or other high-
ranking White House officials were involved in securing the files.
Klayman said Tripp testified that what she understood to be FBI files were maintained in various areas in the White House counsel office suite where she worked until being transferred to the Pentagon in 1994.
He said she also testified that she overheard a conversation between former Associate counsel William Kennedy and White House aide Marsha Scott in which the transfer of information from the files to the Democratic National Committee was discussed.
from TPDL 1998-Oct-19, from NewsMax October 18, 1998, by Christopher Ruddy:
Kennedy Admits He Kept FBI Files
Washington--Former White House Counsel William Kennedy admitted in a Judicial Watch deposition last week that his office was a repository for hundreds of FBI background files, NewsMax.com has learned.
According to sources familiar with the videotaped deposition, Kennedy said stacks of FBI files--which he repeatedly referred to as "summaries"-- were all over his office, some lying on his desk and office tables.
Judicial Watch, a public interest law firm headed by Larry Klayman, has filed a class action civil rights suit against the Clinton administration for violating the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act makes it unlawful for any government official to improperly obtain or use personal information held in government files.
In a stunning acknowledgment, Kennedy said that it was illegal for any White House official to disclose information from personnel or other files kept at the White House.
Klayman has argued that the Clinton White House has been maintaining files on opponents and disseminating that information to the press and other Clinton supporters.
Asked point blank if he reviewed Republican FBI files, Kennedy was said to have choked before answering, and then said that he did not "believe" he did so. He declined to give a straight "yes" or "no" answer.
"By admitting to the illegality of what the White House has been doing, Kennedy essentially hung his former colleagues," a lawyer familiar with the case said.
According to Klayman, former Counsel Secretary Linda Tripp will testify she saw large numbers of FBI files of Republicans from previous administrations in Kennedy's office.
Kennedy also testified that their were no written procedures involving the transfer of files from the FBI, and he described the procedure as a simple matter of making a phone call.
Tripp also spoke to Kennedy several times about concerns relating to deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's death and White House activities relating to Foster's office. Kennedy refused to answer most questions relating to Tripp's conversations with him.
Kennedy was a close friend of Foster's. The two had been associates at the Rose Law firm, Hillary Clinton's old firm. Kennedy was said to have appeared visibly shaken on the taped deposition when asked questions about Foster.. Foster died suspiciously in July of 1993 and authorities ruled the death a suicide.
Kennedy came under fire in May of 1993 for improperly summoning the FBI to investigate the Travel office. He resigned under a cloud in November 1994.
Klayman told NewsMax.com he was stunned to learn that Starr's office had done little questioning of Kennedy.
In 1996, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr was given special jurisdiction to investigate the "FBI Filegate" scandal, but there have been no indictments or any report issued.
"Incredibly, " Klayman said, "Kennedy acknowledged he has yet to receive a letter from Starr naming him as either a subject or target of his investigation of the FBI Filegate matter. Kennedy is a central figure in the whole case."
Download the McIntosh-Burton WHODB report here in PDF or view in HTML.
from TPDL 1998-Oct-17, from Insight, By Paul M. Rodriguez:
McIntosh Report Startles Congress
A House subcommittee has issued a report on its probe of allegedly illegal use of the White House Big Brother computer. Will it be a linchpin in any Clinton impeachment? It reads like a prosecutorial memorandum. And like any good crime drama, the narrative carries a punch that knocks the wind out of you. But judge for yourself the opening chapter in the case of the mysterious White House Office Data Base, or WHODB. "The story of the White House Database is one about a White House that disregarded the difference between the official business of the United States government and the political business of reelecting the president. Because the line between official business and campaigning was obliterated, this president and his White House subordinates proceeded to spend at least $1.7 million of government funds on a complex, centralized computer system known as the White House [Office] Database, or 'WHODB.' It was used not just for official purposes; senior White House staff planned and, in fact, used it to advance the campaign fundraising objectives of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). This conversion of government property to the use of the DNC constitutes a theft of government property under 18 U.S.CV. [sec] 641. "Similarly, White House staff, at the president's direction, used other White House resources to translate their new expertise in database development, acquired at government expense, to plan the development and use of databases for the DNC and other political committees in violation of the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. [sec] 7324, which restricts government employee use of government property for political activities. This, too, represents a theft of government property. "The conversion of the White House Database and other government resources to benefit the DNC and the president's campaign in this way was an integral part of the conversion of the nation's White House into the political fundraising tool of the president and the DNC." So begins the exhaustively detailed 93-page summary report of a two-year probe by Rep. David McIntosh, an Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs. The panel's findings, released Oct. 12, wrapped up a probe that began after Insight published an investigative exposé, beginning in July 1996, on a then-secret taxpayer-funded computer system at the White House alleged to have been misused for political and campaign purposes. More than two years later, amid the furor of alleged campaign- law violations by the Clinton White House and the DNC and the continuing fallout from the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the final McIntosh report has received scant press attention. However, according to insider Republicans and Democrats who spoke to Insight, the report on the WHODB computer system may become a critical linchpin for ongoing Justice Department and congressional investigations of alleged wrongdoing within the Clinton White House. In fact, McIntosh's subcommittee already has sent to Attorney General Janet Reno referrals involving potential perjury and obstruction of justice against a senior White House lawyer (see news alert!, Oct. 19) and possibly other administration aides. However, it is page 54 of the McIntosh report, prepared by the subcommittee's majority counsel, that contains what may be the most explosive allegations -- charges that could further entangle Clinton in impeachment issues before the House Judiciary Committee. Whether Henry Hyde, the Illinois Republican and chairman of that panel, will take up McIntosh's report has yet to be determined, House sources tell Insight. However, it may happen. Here's why. Beginning with the second paragraph, the McIntosh report states: "The committee believes that the president's involvement in the conversion of the White House into a fundraising tool represents an abuse of power. The president is entrusted with the conservation of the White House as a national landmark. The scheme to transfer data from the White House Database and other data sources supported the overall objective of using White House invitations to accomplish political fundraising goals." In yet stronger language, the majority report concludes that "the president and the first lady were involved in the unlawful conversion of government property to the use of the DNC and the Clinton/Gore campaign." Without mincing words, McIntosh added in a prepared statement faxed to Insight: "Our investigation revealed evidence that President Clinton used taxpayer resources to benefit his personal and political interest, not the country's interest. There was systematic abuse of government resources to benefit the president's reelection and brazen attempts by the House to cover it up until after the 1996 election." Were this Big John Dingell or Big Jack Brooks, the legendary Democrats from Michigan and Texas, respectively, such explosive charges by a congressional panel would have been headline news across the country. Moreover, under the Democrats, even if lesser committees than McIntosh's had issued so fiery a report -- partisan or not -- it would have made the nightly news and the big-city newspapers. But the press largely has ignored this story even though leads from it have been well reported concerning such fund-raising issues as the kaffeeklatsches and the Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers, both of which were among the embarrassments discovered during Insight's probe of the White House computer. McIntosh, who has been castigated by Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee (see sidebar below), offers no reason why the press has shunned his panel's careful work. Rather than complain, McIntosh and his small staff have assembled a powerful case narrative that they believe shows a reckless pattern of misappropriation of public funds, perjury, obstruction of justice and a conspiracy both to misuse the taxpayer- funded computer system and to mislead investigators -- all of this to protect the White House and the president. The report closely tracks the sequence of revelations contained in Insight's exposé on the WHODB, also known as Big Brother, and the changing stories offered by the White House about what the computer system was used for. These stories variously pegged it as a social Rolodex, a Christmas-card mailing list, an internal tool to keep track of tens of thousands of Clinton supporters including contributors, a now-and-again list shared occasionally with the DNC and the Clinton/Gore campaign. And these tales ran all the way to revelations that the DNC routinely had access to the government system to assist Democrats in fund-raising drives. In the end, the McIntosh report is an account of how a government computer in the hands of people focused heavily on raising money for their president and party can be used to cross ethical lines and legal limits when oversight is lacking.
The Minority Position
In his minority report on the White House Office Database, Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat and the ranking member of the McIntosh subcommittee, strongly disagrees that the White House either misused the WHODB system, caused government property to be stolen or otherwise engaged in a theft of such property. Moreover, Waxman strenuously argues in a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno that she should disregard criminal referrals from the panel involving Cheryl Mills, a deputy counsel to the president whom McIntosh believes committed perjury and obstruction. In the opening paragraph of his 20-page executive summary, Waxman and the Democrats state the minority position as follows: "The majority report accuses the president, the first lady, senior White House staff, and DNC employees of theft of government property. These conclusions are extraordinary. Simply put, the record does not support an allegation of theft. It is not theft to remove duplicate addresses from the president's holiday card list so that recipients do not receive duplicate cards. It is not theft to answer an inquiry as to whether an individual has attended an event at the White House. Yet, at bottom, this is the type of evidence the majority cites as support for its conclusions."
from TPDL 1998-Dec-8, syndicated by Nando Media and Scripps Howard, by Linda Seebach:
Traces of a major scandal
(December 7, 1998 09:45 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) -- In the monumental tapestry of deception woven by the Clinton administration, the scene of the Democratic National Committee helping itself to information from the White House's official database is only a tiny detail in an obscure corner.
But it illustrates as well as larger events that indifference to ethical standards was pervasive, and how White House staff at all levels became complicit in assuring a 1996 Clinton/Gore victory by any means necessary.
You can read all about it in a Congressional report from the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, based on an investigation by the Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs headed by David McIntosh, R-Ind. McIntosh's report is typical in another way. It was released in October, and it has been virtually ignored.
The contention of the report is that the conversion of official White House records to the use of the DNC may constitute the theft of government property, as may the time of government employees and the use of government property such as computer time and storage.
The committee cites the similar case of one Peter Collins, who was convicted of using government office supplies to support the U.S. Amateur Ballroom Dancing Association.
Any administration collects information that would be of enormous value to party fund raising, from White House guest lists to mailing lists for holiday cards. But the principle has been that it can't be distributed in that way.
Early on, that was the Clinton administration's position too. Cheryl Mills, then associate counsel to the president, wrote in a memo dated Jan. 17, 1994, "Once White House employees integrate information provided by any source into the database system, it becomes government property . . . (and) may be provided to a source outside the federal government only for authorized purposes."
But that policy didn't jibe with the DNC's fund-raising efforts. One document objects to the "territorial" nature of the Social Office of the White House and its difficulty in finding out "who has been taken care of to date."
Under the heading "Fund-raising Interference," it complains, "DNC solicitation is subverted due to major donors being invited to high level White House events regardless of the date of amount of contribution. This is a disincentive especially for the trustee level contributor."
Can't have that.
It didn't take long for the White House to come around to the DNC's way of thinking. A June 28, 1994, memo from Marsha Scott, a staff member in the White House Office of Political Affairs, to Harold Ickes and Bruce Lindsey (with a copy to Hillary Rodham Clinton) describes a new White House Database (WhoDB) to be integrated with the campaign.
"By the first of the year (1995) we should have any flaws identified and corrected and the majority of the White House using the system. We will then have a year (until 1996) to fully train and familiarize our folks to its many possibilities and uses," she wrote.
In a draft of another memo, Scott discusses a plan to "identify and contact the key early supporters in all 50 states ... put in WhoDB the names and relevant information about those early supporters ... (and) add to this base group by early 1995, those folks we will be working with in 1996."
She adds, "This is the president's idea and it's a good one."
Why didn't you hear about this in 1996, before the presidential election? Because that same Cheryl Mills held the documents back from the committee investigation, delaying it for months. There was a brief flare of publicity in 1997, when The Los Angeles Times reported on misuse of the official database, but then the story faded into invisibility in the blinding light of the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
And despite McIntosh's thorough and damning report, invisible it is likely to remain.
Linda Seebach is an editorial writer for the Denver Rocky Mountain News. She can be reached at seebach@denver- rmn.com.