Filegate Bill Clinton aided and abetted by Hillary Gore Reno Brown conduct or plan designed to delay impede and obstruct the investigation of bribery, Cover up conceal and protect those responsible, Conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities, December 1998
Filegate Bill Clinton aided and abetted by Hillary Gore Reno Brown conduct or plan designed to delay impede and obstruct the investigation of bribery, Cover up conceal and protect those responsible, Conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities, December 1998
"IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON __________ THE EVIDENTIARY RECORD PURSUANT TO S. RES. 16 VOLUME VII Transcript of October 5, 1998 presentations of David Schippers and Abbe Lowell, and debate on H. Res. 581, beginning an impeachment inquiry. Committee Print, Ser. No. 8, December 1998"
"Mr. Barr. Mr. Chairman, I also ask unanimous consent to insert the Judicial Watch Interim Report dated September 28, 1998. Mr. Hyde. Without objection."
"Judicial Watch Interim Report on Crimes and Other Offenses Committed by President Bill Clinton Warranting His Impeachment and Removal from Elected Office" "INTRODUCTION The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. United States Constitution, Article II, Section 4 In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that: Beginning around the Fall of 1994, William Jefferson Clinton, his agents and subordinates engaged in bribery through the sale of taxpayer-financed trade mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions. Subsequent thereto, President Bill Clinton, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close agents and subordinates, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede and obstruct the investigation of such bribery; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities. Throughout his terms of office, William Jefferson Clinton has repeatedly engaged, personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, breaching the national security, impairing the due and proper administration of justice, and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies. In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.(1) Judicial Watch, Inc. respectfully submits to the United States Congress its Interim Report on Crimes and Other Offenses Committed by President Bill Clinton Warranting His Impeachment and Removal from Elected Office. As the United States House of Representatives considers whether to launch impeachment proceedings against President William Jefferson Clinton over his conduct relating to the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit and resulting criminal grand jury investigations, we ask that it also consider this additional evidence, developed over the last several years through Judicial Watch's civil lawsuits, Freedom of Information Act requests, and other investigations of government corruption.(2) Judicial Watch has uncovered evidence that President Clinton and his agents have violated a number of federal laws relating to bribery, campaign fundraising, the theft of government services, privacy, corruption of federal law enforcement, abuse and misuse of federal agencies (including the Internal Revenue Service), perjury, civil rights violations, obstruction of justice, graft and likely breaches of national security. The evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch overwhelmingly indicates that President Clinton condoned, directed and effected this lawbreaking. It also shows that he was aided and abetted by, among others, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Albert Gore, late Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown, Attorney General Janet Reno, and other key White House personnel, including Leon Panetta, John Podesta, Harold Ickes, Bruce Lindsey, Bernard Nussbaum, and Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. For example, Judicial Watch has uncovered key evidence in the massive political espionage, witness tampering and intimidation operation popularly known as ``Filegate.'' In ``Filegate,'' the Clinton White House, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (``FBI''), Hillary Rodham Clinton, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, and Clinton appointees Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca, illegally obtained and misused the FBI files of former Reagan and Bush Administration staffers and others to gain sensitive information on perceived political opponents and material witnesses for use in its smear campaigns. Judicial Watch represents the victims of ``Filegate'' in a civil lawsuit. The ``Filegate'' political espionage, witness tampering and intimidation operation, a horrendous violation of the Privacy Act and other laws, continues to this day. It represents the means by which the Clintons defend the various scandals which threaten their hold on power. The evidence indicates that the Clinton Administration, with the direct knowledge and participation of the President, continues to illegally compile, maintain and disseminate sensitive information on perceived adversaries from confidential government files. Contrary to previous Clinton Administration explanations, Judicial Watch discovered that it was a high-level Clinton political appointee who illegally ordered the release of Linda Tripp's confidential information from her Pentagon file in a clear effort to intimidate her from telling what she knew of Clinton White House illegal activities, and to destroy her credibility. Judicial Watch also uncovered evidence indicating that President Clinton authorized the illegal release of Kathleen Willey's letters, stored in a White House filing system subject to the Privacy Act, in an effort to intimidate and smear her. Like Ms. Tripp, Ms. Willey is a material witness in on-going criminal grand jury investigations and civil lawsuits. Part of the pattern of ``Filegate'' is President Clinton's use of private investigators, the Reno Justice Department, the FBI, the IRS, and political operatives such as James Carville to obstruct justice, silence witnesses and intimidate investigators. For example, Judicial Watch has uncovered evidence that President Clinton personally participated in this operation by threatening ``to destroy,'' and then defaming one witness, Dolly Kyle Browning, if she dared to tell the truth about their 30-year friendship and sexual relationship. President Clinton's political appointee and former IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson also illegally used the IRS to audit public interest groups thought to be hostile to the Clinton Administration, including the Western Journalism Center. Through discovery in its civil lawsuit against the Clinton Commerce Department, Judicial Watch also has found evidence that President Clinton condoned and participated in a scheme, conceived by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and approved by the President, to sell seats on U.S. Department of Commerce trade missions in exchange for political contributions. Bribery is specifically highlighted in the U.S. Constitution as an offense warranting impeachment. In President Clinton's push to sell taxpayer-financed government services to raise money for his political operations, national security likely was breached by his Commerce Department appointees and those involved in his fundraising scheme, such as John Huang. While Judicial Watch is at an interim stage of investigation in this sensitive area, the breaches of national security uncovered at the Clinton Commerce Department raise real questions of treasonous activities by the President and members of his Administration. To cover-up this illegal fundraising and likely national security breaches, President Clinton's top two staffers, then-Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta, ordered late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown to obstruct justice and defy federal Court orders. The evidence also indicates that Secretary Brown personally consulted with President Clinton in furtherance of this cover-up. In addition to the illegal sale of taxpayer-financed services, such as seats on government trade missions, for political contributions, the President and Mrs. Clinton have illegally solicited and received monies directly from private citizens and others. The creation and use of legal defense funds is not only prohibited under federal law, but they have proved to be a means whereby lobbyists, influence peddlers and foreign powers have tried to influence the Administration, contrary to U.S. national security interests. This President's Administration has also misused government lawyers to obstruct investigations into his wrongdoing. His Commerce Department lawyers obstructed Court-ordered discovery into the illegal sale of taxpayer-financed trade mission seats for political contributions. His Justice Department lawyers threatened investigators with criminal prosecution, timed the indictment of a major whistle-blower witness to try to force her into silence, and consistently obstructed Court processes to cover-up Clinton-appointee wrongdoing, perjury and destruction of evidence. In sum, Judicial Watch has uncovered a pattern of conduct by this President and his agents that indicates he has run, in effect, a criminal enterprise from the White House to obtain and maintain hold on the Office of the President of the United States. Indeed, he is likely in violation of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a charge recently filed against him by Dolly Kyle Browning in federal court.(3) This pervasive corruption, flowing from the Oval Office, is the common thread throughout the various ``high crimes and misdemeanors'' outlined in this interim report. part i FILEGATE Crimes and Other Offenses Relating to the Misuse of FBI and other Government Files that Warrant Impeachment and Removal from Office of President Bill Clinton I. Introduction. Judicial Watch has been investigating the misuse of information in government files since September 1996, when it filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of eight (8) former Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees whose FBI background investigation files were improperly obtained by the Clinton White House. That lawsuit is pending before The Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.(4) In the course of its investigation, Judicial Watch has uncovered substantial evidence of unlawful misuses of information in government files, abuses of power and violations of the Privacy Act. The substantial evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch's investigation links key presidential advisors such as James Carville, Harold Ickes, Lanny Davis, Kenneth Bacon and even the President himself, to this unlawful conduct. The obvious purpose behind the unlawful misuse of this information is to discredit, if not destroy, perceived adversaries and critics of the President. Importantly, the evidence uncovered during the course of Judicial Watch's investigation, which still continues, goes beyond acquisition of the over 900 FBI background investigation files on former Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees. It also includes evidence of misuse of information in government files, and attempts to discredit or destroy the credibility of key witnesses in Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr's investigation of the Monica Lewinsky matter, including Ms. Linda R. Tripp and Ms. Kathleen Willey, if not Judge Starr himself. It also includes attempts to discredit and destroy congressional adversaries and other perceived opponents. At times, information in government files is released directly to the media by Clinton Administration officials. Other times, information is leaked to members of the media, such as The New Yorker magazine's Jane Mayer, Salon Magazine and Geraldo Rivera, so that it can be disseminated to the public without it being associated directly with, or coming from, the Clinton Administration. Most recently, this tactic of attempting to discredit and destroy the credibility of perceived adversaries has manifested itself in revelations about the personal lives of Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde, and Representatives Dan Burton and Helen Chenoweth, coupled with threats broadcast by Roger Clinton and published in Salon Magazine and other publications and news outlets. For example, in what can only be described as a thinly-veiled threat against perceived adversaries and other critics of the President, Salon Magazine has ``reported'' that: [D]ie-hard Clinton loyalists are spreading the word that a long- ignored but fearsome tactic has now resurfaced as an element in the president's survival strategy: The threat of exposing the sexual improprieties of Republican critics, both in Congress and beyond, should they demand impeachment hearings in the House.(5) Jonathon Broder, the editor of Salon ``reports'' ``one close ally of the president'' as saying that ``[t]he Republicans with skeletons in their closets must assume everything is known and will come out. So the question is: Do they really want to go there?''(6) ``Sources in the Clinton camp say they are focusing their attention not only on issues of marital infidelity but also on issues of character,'' according to Mr. Broder.(7) Mr. Broder ``reports'' that his ``sources'' say ``among those under scrutiny'' are House Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Majority Leader Richard Armey, Chairman Dan Burton of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee and Chairman Henry Hyde of the House Judiciary Committee.(8) Salon is not alone in reporting details of Clinton's sexual scorched-earth plan. Insight Magazine reports that: [It] has learned from a variety of sources--lawmakers and Hill staffers, journalists and dirt-diggers themselves--of several active gumshoe probes into GOP figures, including a governor suspected of a series of office romances and a House member. An entrapment bid was launched recently on a prominent Republican senator, claim private investigators. It failed.(9) As further revealed by Insight, one Democratic member of Congress, who had the courage to call for President Clinton's resignation, was subsequently hit by the Clinton ``smear machine:'' Clinton aides also demonstrated their readiness to play dirty in the last week of August when they ``reminded'' TV talk-show hosts of the highly dubious ``controversy'' surrounding Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Paul McHale's military record. The White House prompt-- McHale was said to have misrepresented what medals he'd been awarded-- was apparent punishment for the Pennsylvanian calling on the president to resign. It was so clearly dishonest that even Geraldo Rivera apologized for picking it up from a source close to the White House.(10) Representatives Burton and Gingrich were hit about a month after Salon's ``scorched-earth'' article. Faced with imminent publication of details about his family life, Chairman Dan Burton, who is conducting campaign finance investigations of President Clinton, recently was forced to admit, in the face of an imminent smear campaign against him, that in the early 1980s he fathered a child out of wedlock and provided continuing child support payments to the mother.(11) Salon itself recently committed an act of self-fulfilling prophecy by publishing articles detailing allegations about the sex lives of House Speaker Newt Gingrich(12) and House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde.(13) Thus, as more revelations about the Lewinsky matter become public and the President comes under increasing threat of impeachment and possible indictment, the White House and its allies are increasingly resorting to scorched-earth tactics to avoid impeachment or resignation. Indeed, given the Clintons' proclivities for controversy, if not scandal, it is likely that they ordered the gathering of FBI files and other information early on in their Administration for later use--whenever it became necessary. II. Applicability of the Privacy Act. Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' lawsuit is premised on common law invasion of privacy claims and the Privacy Act, a federal law enacted in 1974 as a result of misuse of information in government files and other abuses of power during the Nixon Administration. The protections afforded by the Privacy Act take effect whenever a federal agency maintains a ``system of records'' containing information on individuals ``from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol or other identifying particular assigned to the individual.'' 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(a)(5). Importantly, agencies must ``maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or by executive order of the President.'' 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(e)(1). They also must maintain only information that is accurate, timely and complete. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(e)(5). Agencies are specifically prohibited from maintaining records that describe ``how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.'' (14) 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(e)(7). Each agency maintaining records on individuals must publish, at least annually in the Federal Register, notice of the existence of each system of records it maintains. By law, this notice must also include information about the system, including its name and location of the system, categories of individuals on whom records are maintained in the system, categories of documents maintained in the system, each routine use of records contained in the system, policies and practices regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retention and disposal, the title and business address of the official who is responsible for the system of records, procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request if the system contains a record pertaining to him, procedures whereby an individual can be notified at his request how he can gain access to any record pertaining to him contained in the system and how he can contest its contents, and categories of sources of records in the system. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(e)(4). There is to be no disclosure of any record about individuals maintained in a system of records ``except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of,'' the subject. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(b). Importantly, a disclosure need not be public to be unlawful; an ``intra-agency'' disclosure may also violate the Privacy Act where the disclosure is made to officers or employees who have no need for the record in the performance of their official duties. Parks v. Internal Revenue Service, 618 F.2d 677 680-81 & n.1 (10th Cir. 1980); 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(b)(1). There are limited exceptions to this general rule of non- disclosure, the most important of which is the ``routine use'' exception. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(a)(7). Each type of ``routine use'' must, however, be published at least annually in the Federal Register. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(e)(4)(D). Agencies are required to keep an accounting of disclosures. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(c). Finally, the Privacy Act provides for civil and criminal sanctions. Any officer or employee who willfully discloses subject material in any manner to a person or agency not entitled to receive it, shall be guilty of a crime and fined not more than $5,000. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(i)(1). Any officer or employee of any agency who willfully maintains a system of records without meeting the notice requirements of subsection (e)(4) also shall be guilty of a crime and fined not more than $5,000. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(i)(2). FBI background investigation files, such as those at issue in ``Filegate,'' are admittedly maintained in a system of records by the FBI. Consequently, it cannot be questioned that they are covered by the Privacy Act. In fact, the FBI admitted as much in Judicial Watch's lawsuit. In response to the lawsuit, however, the Clinton White House claimed that the Privacy Act did not apply to it. In a Memorandum and Order dated June 12, 1997, the Court rejected this claim and confirmed that the Privacy Act did, in fact, apply to the White House.(15) However, the Privacy Act also makes clear that any time a federal official maintains records on individuals that can be accessed by reference to an individual's name, the protections of the Privacy Act come into play. It does not matter what information is stored in the file. To release anything from a covered file--even a press clipping--violates the Privacy Act.(16) III. Factual Background. The origins of the Clinton White House's misuse of information in government files predate 1993. Former presidential advisor Dick Morris admitted that the 1992 Clinton campaign used private investigators, at U.S. taxpayers' expense, to obtain private and embarrassing information to coerce and extort the silence of women sexually involved with President Clinton while he was Governor of Arkansas. The effort was run by Betsy Wright, who, at crucial and relevant times, Secret Service logs show later visited Craig Livingstone, one of the key players in ``Filegate,'' at odd hours in the White House.(7) Unknown to the public, in 1993 the Clinton White House obtained the FBI files of Billy Dale, the former head of the White House Travel Office, and Barney Brasseux, a White House Travel Office employee.(18) Apparently, these FBI files were obtained by the Clinton White House shortly after Mr. Dale, a twenty-year veteran of the White House Travel Office, Mr. Brasseux, and several other employees of the White House Travel Office were fired by the Clinton White House to allow their replacement with personal friends of the President and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mr. Dale was subsequently indicted on trumped-up charges of fraud. Later, Mr. Dale was completely exonerated of any wrong-doing. He even received an award of attorneys' fees for having to defend himself against the baseless charges brought against him. It is likely that the reason for indicting Mr. Dale was to avoid the appearance that he was fired simply to allow the Clintons to bring their personal friends into the White House Travel Office. It is also likely that the reason Mr. Dale's and Mr. Brasseux's FBI files were obtained was to try to find damaging information about them to avoid the appearance of political cronyism in firing them. About this same time, numerous press reports were circulating about illegal drug use and improper sexual conduct among White House staffers. Apparently to counter these and possibly other charges, or to retaliate against Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees for the release of information about President Clinton's passport during the 1992 election, the Clinton White House also obtained over 900 FBI background investigation files on former Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees. Surely, this information could also be very useful to discredit and destroy perceived adversaries, or simply to intimidate them. Among the FBI files unlawfully obtained by the Clinton White House were those of some prominent individuals, such as former Bush Secretary of State James A. Baker (who, not coincidentally, had been involved in the Clinton passport controversy), former Bush Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater,(19) Kenneth Duberstein and Tony Blankley, a former aide to Speaker Newt Gingrich.(20) The FBI file of Ms. Linda R. Tripp, a Bush Administration ``hold-over'' who was apparently perceived to be a potential threat at that time, was also obtained. Ms. Tripp would later be transferred to the Department of Defense and suffer yet another violation of her Privacy Act rights. The evidence shows that the Clinton White House knowingly requested the FBI files of Republicans ``who were no longer working there.'' (21) Mari Anderson, Craig Livingstone's assistant, testified to Judicial Watch that she, Livingstone and Anthony Marceca were aware that Republicans, such as James Baker and Marlin Fitzwater, no longer had access to the White House, but that their FBI files were obtained anyway.(22) Anderson also testified that Livingstone regularly left their office with FBI files in tow.(23) A log, which was to have chronicled any removal of the FBI files to other areas in the White House, mysteriously developed a six-month gap, reminiscent of the eighteen-minute gap in Richard Nixon's oval office tapes.(24) While working for Clinton White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, whose name appears on the requisition forms for the FBI files, Ms. Tripp was in a bird's-eye view position to witness the unlawful conduct that would later become known as ``Filegate.'' In discussions with Judicial Watch, Ms. Tripp admitted to having witnessed FBI files on former Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees ``stacked up to the ceiling'' in Assistant White House Counsel William Kennedy's office.(25) As reported by Ms. Lucianne Goldberg, Ms. Tripp's literary agent and friend, Ms. Tripp also ``witnessed a White House secretary loading up FBI files on a computer'' in the White House Counsel's Office.(26) Ms. Tripp also told Tony Snow, a nationally-syndicated columnist for The Detroit News and commentator for the Fox News Channel, that: [S]he was shaken by White House dishonesty during investigations of Vince Foster's death, Filegate, Travelgate, and reports of drug abuse among administration employees. ``It's chilling,'' she says, ``to watch high government officials lie under oath.(27) (Emphasis added). Finally, Ms. Tripp reportedly saw a document evidencing Mrs. Clinton's direct involvement in the firings at the White House Travel Office.(28) In the course of Ms. Paula Corbin Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit, President Clinton, through his lawyers, David Kendall, Esq. of Williams & Connolly and Robert Bennett, Esq. of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, hired Terry Lenzoer's private investigation firm, Investigative Group International, Inc. (``IGI''), apparently to obtain information for use in that lawsuit and elsewhere.(29) Lenzner and IGI were later retained to provide similar services for other matters involving the President, including the Lewinsky matter. When Judicial Watch deposed Lenzner on March 13, 1998, he revealed that Larry Potts, a disgraced senior FBI official who allegedly gave the ``shoot on sight'' orders at the Ruby Ridge massacre, is ``virtually a partner'' of his in running IGI.(30) In addition, Lenzner testified that Howard Shapiro, Esq., the former General Counsel of the FBI who also left the Bureau in disgrace because of the ``Filegate'' matter, serves as IGI's principal attorney.(31) Indeed, Lenzner, a former Department of Justice lawyer, has worked closely with the FBI. Thus, Lenzner, Potts and Shapiro all had close ties to FBI personnel and were in a position to solicit information from inside the FBI. Significantly, on March 3, 1998, FBI Director Louis Freeh issued a warning to all FBI personnel against providing information to FBI alumni and others about the various investigations involving the President.(32) Obviously, Director Freeh must have been concerned that information in FBI files had been and was being leaked to individuals with close ties to the FBI such as Lenzner, Potts and Shapiro. At his deposition, Lenzner confirmed that he had investigated perceived Clinton adversaries, including members of the media, public interest groups and even members of the judiciary.(33) However, he selectively invoked the ``work product'' doctrine to avoid having to answer specific questions about who IGI had investigated.(34) Hiding behind the ``skirts'' of David Kendall and Robert Bennett, Lenzner asserted the ``work product'' doctrine in response to some questions, but tellingly failed to do so in response to others. For example, Lenzner testified that he had not been asked or retained to investigate Kathleen Willey, but refused to state whether he had been retained to investigate Linda Tripp: Plaintiffs' Counsel: Have you been approached or retained to investigate . . . Kathleen Willey? Lenzner: No. Plaintiffs' Counsel: Linda Tripp? Lenzner's Counsel: Same privileged objections. Same instruction. Lenzner: I will accept my instruction on that.(35) The clear implication behind this selective invocation of the work- product doctrine, however disingenuous those invocations are, was that Lenzner, in fact, has been investigating these perceived adversaries of the President. A report in the San Francisco Examiner directly linked Lenzner to the recent dissemination of private information smearing House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde.(36) Rather than let his private investigators, Lenzner and Potts, answer questions in Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' lawsuit, incredibly, the President has sought to intervene personally to prevent this questioning.(37) When the most recent Clinton scandal involving Ms. Lewinsky broke in late January 1998, the Clinton White House again reverted to releasing information in government files--and threatening further releases--in order to silence and discredit its perceived adversaries. During a February 8, 1998 interview, George Stephanopoulos, a former top adviser to and continuing confidante of President Clinton, and other top advisors in the White House, told a national television audience on ABC's This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts that there is an ``Ellen Rometsch'' strategy by ``White House allies'' to attack perceived adversaries of the Clinton Administration: Sam Donaldson: We know what the White House tactics are. I mean, they've been almost open about it. Attack the press--and perhaps with good reason--attack the [I]ndependent [C]ounsel-- perhaps for some good reason--and stonewall on the central issue, which is the President of the United States. And if he has nothing to hide, why is he hiding? George Stephanopoulos: I agree with that. And there's a different, long-term strategy, which I think would be far more explosive. White House allies are already starting to whisper about what I'll call the Ellen Roemech (sic) strategy. . . . She was a girlfriend of John F. Kennedy, who also happened to be an East German spy. And Robert Kennedy was charged with getting her out of the country and also getting John Edgar Hoover to go to the Congress and say, don't you investigate this, because if you do, we're going to open up everybody's closets. And I think that in the long run, they have a deterrent strategy on getting a lot of . . . [FBI files]. Sam Donaldson: Are you suggesting for a moment that what they're beginning to say is that if you investigate this too much, we'll put all your dirty linen right on the table? Every member of the Senate? Every member of the press corp? George Stephanopoulos: Absolutely. The President said he would never resign, and I think some around him are willing to take everybody down with him.(38) Historically, the ``Ellen Rometsch'' strategy refers to the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's successful efforts to collect and use FBI files to blackmail Republican members of Congress to prevent an investigation into President John F. Kennedy's affair with an East German spy, Ellen Rometsch.(39) Judicial Watch deposed Stephanopoulos to learn the identities of the ``White House allies'' about which he spoke on ABC's This Week.(40) However, Stephanopoulos asserted his privilege as a ``journalist'' not to reveal confidential sources.(41) Judicial Watch recently filed a motion with the Court to try again to compel Stephanopoulos to release this information. Pursuant to this ``Ellen Rometsch'' strategy, the Clinton Administration apparently orchestrated the release of confidential information from Ms. Tripp's Department of Defense (``DOD'') personnel file. On March 23, 1998, The New Yorker magazine published an article by Jane Mayer stating that Ms. Tripp had failed to disclose information about a twenty-year old arrest on a security clearance form.(42) As such, forms are themselves confidential, Privacy Act records. Questions thus arose concerning how Ms. Mayer had obtained this information. In a March 17, 1998 article entitled ``Bill's Secret Police,'' Dick Morris questioned the release of this information and the implications it had for the Clinton Administration's claim that ``Filegate'' was an innocent bureaucratic mistake: [N]o journalist questioned how Tripp's confidential file ended up in The New Yorker. Instead, all the papers dutifully reported on her arrest and her lack of candor in disclosing it. . . . The White House secret police have struck again. Desperate to discredit Linda Tripp, President Clinton's most damning accuser, the president's men are most likely the ones who delved into confidential Pentagon files to dig up and dish out dirt on Tripp. . . . The release of the Tripp file lends a new credibility to the Republican allegations that the White House's possession of confidential FBI files on GOP leaders and potential adversaries was no ``mistakes'' as the president's men piously claimed. Is Linda Tripp the latest victim of a file dump?(43)(Emphasis added.) Accordingly, Judicial Watch began an inquiry into the circumstances behind the release of this information, as it was obviously relevant to its ``Filegate'' investigation. On April 30, 1998, Judicial Watch deposed Clifford Bernath. Bernath, Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, had been publicly portrayed by the Clinton Administration as the ``career'' Department of Defense official responsible for having released the confidential information in Ms. Tripp's personnel file to reporter Jane Mayer. The Clinton Administration also portrayed Bernath as having acted alone. At his deposition, however, Bernath testified that he was directed to obtain and release the information by his superior, Kenneth Bacon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, a Clinton political appointee.(44) Bernath testified he told Mayer that Bacon ``has made it clear it's [the release of the Tripp information] a priority,''(45) because Mayer ``was on deadline and whenever a reporter is on deadline, we call that a priority.''(46) As the Court later noted, Bernath's revelation that he was told to release the Tripp information by a Clinton political appointee was understood by the Court as conflicting with the Clinton Justice Department's statements to the Court that the release was made by a career official.(47) Judicial Watch then deposed Bacon on May 15, 1998. Bacon testified that Mayer initially contacted him about obtaining the information from Ms. Tripp's personnel file,(48) and that he then told Bernath to search the file to find out whether Ms. Tripp had disclosed information about her twenty-year old arrest on her security clearance form.(49) Bacon also testified that he ``was very aware of what Mr. Bernath was doing and . . . did nothing to stop it.''(50) Thus, it was a Clinton Administration political appointee, not a career civil servant, who was at the heart of this obvious violation of Ms. Tripp's privacy rights. This stands in marked contrast to Secretary of Defense William Cohen's public statements that Bernath had acted on his own in releasing the information.(51) Although Secretary Cohen said the release of Ms. Tripp's information was ``certainly inappropriate, if not illegal,''(52) neither Secretary Cohen nor the White House told the public about the involvement of Bacon or others.(53) Secretary Cohen said Bernath ``was responding to an inquiry from the press'' without mentioning that a Clinton political appointee, Bacon, had directed Bernath to do so.(54) Bacon testified that, after Secretary Cohen made his statement on Fox News Sunday, he told the Secretary that the statement should be corrected.(55) Yet Bacon testified that he was unaware of Secretary Cohen ever correcting his statement; nor was he aware of either the Department of Defense or the Clinton Administration ever acknowledging publicly he was involved in the release of information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file.(56) When Judicial Watch questioned Bacon about Secretary Cohen's involvement in the matter, Clinton Justice Department lawyers instructed him not to answer.(57) Judicial Watch has moved the Court to compel answers. Judicial Watch also learned that, after Bernath's role in the release of information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file became known publicly, Bernath apparently attempted to destroy evidence of his wrong-doing. Specifically, Bernath testified that between April 1-10, 1998, he deleted all of the files on his computer's hard drive.(58) Yet Bacon testified that, by March 17 or 18, Bernath told him he ``had asked for a legal review'' of the circumstances behind the release.(59) This was confirmed by a March 18, 1998 New York Post article in which Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dick Bridges is quoted as stating that Bernath had ``requested a Pentagon inquiry to examine the propriety of his actions.''(60) Therefore, Bernath had deleted potential evidence from his computer at a time when he obviously knew that his role in the release of information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file would be investigated, if it was not being investigated already. In commenting on Bernath's deletion of files on his computer, the Court stated that ``cause for concern should exist when an upper- level government employee completely deletes his hard drive when this hard drive may have information relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation, let alone the instant case,''(61) and ``it is highly unusual and suspect for such an action to have been undertaken by Bernath when matters relating to Tripp are being investigated by the Office of the Independent Counsel.''(62) Judicial Watch also discovered that after information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file was released, Bernath was given a new job at higher pay with, ironically, responsibility for teaching about the Privacy Act. Bacon testified that ``sometime during the week of March 16th,''(63) he selected Bernath to run the American Forces Information Service, which entitled Bernath to grade and pay increase.(64) It is reported that in his new job, Bernath ``has direct control over the Fort Meade school that teaches privacy regulations to public affairs officers.''(65) Bacon testified that ``I offered him that job because I thought he was the best of the three candidates.''(66) It appears far more likely that Bernath was being rewarded for his improper conduct. Throughout this controversy surrounding the release of information in Ms. Tripp's confidential, Department of Defense personnel file, an unknown factor was whether there had been White House involvement in the release. The key role of Bacon, a political appointee, made that link very likely. Judicial Watch then uncovered the release of a list of over 1,000 individuals whose FBI background files were unlawfully obtained by the Clinton White House.(67) Among the names on the list was Ms. Tripp. Consequently, her FBI background file also had been obtained by the Clinton White House. As an FBI background investigation file would likely contain information on prior arrests, this would seem to answer the question of how Jane Mayer, a former colleague of Sidney Blumenthal and close friend of the Clintons, knew to ask Bacon the precise question of whether Ms. Tripp had disclosed any arrests on her security clearance form. Finally, when Judicial Watch deposed Clinton advisor Harold Ickes on May 21, 1998, it also learned that Ickes had dinner with Bacon and discussed Ms. Tripp and Ms. Lewinsky during the period leading up to the release of the information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file. This indicates a direct link between the Clinton White House and the release of information in Ms. Tripp's confidential personnel file in violation of her Privacy Act rights, obviously in an attempt discredit and intimidate her. Importantly, Ms. Tripp's FBI file was obtained about one (1) year after she began to work in the White House Counsel's Office Bernard Nussbaum. Did the White House know then that Ms. Tripp had the potential to be a whistleblower and thus began gathering information to use against her, if necessary? At a press conference on the courthouse steps on July 29, 1998, after her Starr grand jury testimony, she stated: As a result of simply trying to earn a living, I became aware between 1993 and 1997 of actions by high government officials that may have been against the law. For that period of nearly five years, the things I witnessed concerning several different subjects [at the White House] made me increasingly fearful that this information was dangerous, very dangerous, to possess.(68) It also appears that, soon after the Lewinsky story became public, the White House Counsel's Office requested information from White House files on Ms. Tripp, Ms. Willey and Ms. Lewinsky. On June 30, 1998, Judicial Watch deposed Terry Good, Director of the White House Office of Records Management (``ORM''). Mr. Good testified that, upon request of the White House Counsel's office, his office searched its computer database for records concerning Ms. Tripp, Ms. Willey and Ms. Lewinsky, and retrieved records on all three (3) individuals.(69) With regard to Ms. Tripp, Good testified as follows: Q: Has any office of the White House or person made a request with regard to information or documentation concerning Linda Tripp? A: I believe the counsel's office probably did, yes. Q: Who made that request? A: I do not know. Q: What was that request about? A: Again, if I don't remember the request, I can't tell you what it was about. All I can say is it probably was about anything and everything that we might have in our files relating to Linda Tripp.'' (70) At about that same time, Representative Gerald Solomon wrote a letter to President Clinton asking whether anyone had pulled Ms. Tripp's White House files. However, Representative Solomon did not receive a response.(71) Representative Solomon cited Good's deposition and the President's failure to respond in a recent letter to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, referring to the matter as a ``potential obstruction of a Congressional investigation'' and ``intimidation of a federal witness.'' (72) With regard to Ms. Willey, a witness in the Lewinsky investigation, evidence indicates that President Clinton was directly involved in the violation of her Privacy Act rights in an effort to discredit her and harm her reputation. In testifying before the Lewinsky investigation grand jury, Ms. Willey accused President Clinton of making an improper sexual advance towards her in the White House. Ms. Willey then repeated these accusations during a March 15, 1998 television appearance on ``60 Minutes.'' At his deposition, Good testified that, in response to a request from the White House Counsel's Office, ORM searched its files for documents concerning Ms. Willey and obtained a handwritten letter(s) Ms. Willey wrote to the President.(73) The letter(s) was then provided to the White House Counsel's Office, as were documents concerning Ms. Tripp and Ms. Lewinsky.(74) The letter(s) was then released to the media.(75) According to White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry, ``I'm sure the President knew that we were putting the letters out and I'm sure that he approved.'' (76) In fact, James Carville was forced to admit at his March 16, 1998 deposition in Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' investigation that President Clinton sought his advice about Ms. Willey's letters prior to their release: Q: When was the last time you talked to the President? A: Saturday. Q: Was that in person or by phone? A: By phone. Q: Who called who? A: The President called me. Q: And how long was the conversation? A: Not very long. Maybe five minutes or so. Q: What was discussed? * * * A: He said that there were some--there was a Kathleen Willey, and what he said was there was some letters that she had written, and they were--his lawyers were considering--I think were considering about making them public, and what did I think about it? Q: And what did you tell him? A: I'm not sure if I know what's in there, but if it was something that was past the time that she made this allegation, it was probably a pretty good idea. Q: Did he ask you to help make them public? A: No, sir.(77) Former White House Chief of Staff Thomas ``Mack'' McLarty also testified in Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' case that he and the President discussed Willey's credibility ``a day or two'' after her interview on ``60 Minutes'': A: . . . After her ``60 Minutes'' interview, I believe the President commented to me that he thought a mutual friend had made a remark about her credibility was not that high in Richmond. I didn't know the mutual friend. He thought I did. . . . Q: Who is the mutual friend? A: I don't recall his name. I didn't know him. I think the President thought I did know him, and I just don't--I don't remember who it was. I didn't know the person.(78) During his grand jury testimony, the President admitted that Ms. Willey's letters were taken from White House files.(79) He also admitted that he authorized their release,(80) and testified that the letters ``shattered Kathleen Willey's credibility.'' (81) Thus, the Good, Carville and McLarty depositions, and the President's grand jury testimony directly implicate President Clinton in this violation of Ms. Willey's Privacy Act rights in order to discredit and harm her reputation, and thereby undermine the accusations she had made against the President. Carville appears to have played a significant, if not central role in misusing information in government files against perceived adversaries of the President.(82) When Judicial Watch subpoenaed Carville to appear for a deposition in its ``Filegate'' investigation, it also required him to produce documents in his possession, custody and control.(83) After a prolonged Court fight over obtaining the required documents, Carville finally gave in and produced voluminous quantities of information in his possession and in the possession of his business entity, Education and Information Project, Inc. (``EIP''). Included among the documents produced to Judicial Watch were facsimiles to Carville from the White House--the Chief of Staffs Office the White House Counsel's Office in particular-- enclosing documents on perceived adversaries of the President. These documents included information on Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, former FBI Agent Gary Aldrich, philanthropist Richard M. Scaife and Republican strategist Donald Sipple.(84) The White House Chief of Staffs Office even faxed excerpts from Sipple's divorce proceedings to Carville.(85) Judicial Watch's review of documents and other materials provided by Carville and EIP revealed evidence of other likely attempts to destroy and obstruct members of the staff of the Independent Counsel, and Judicial Watch has delivered to the Court tape recordings made by James Carville in this regard. These Carville tape recordings show that Carville was probing into the sexual and personal backgrounds of investigators. As the tape recordings evidence potential obstruction of justice and other criminality, Judicial Watch informed the Independent Counsel of their existence. The Independent Counsel has yet to issue a subpoena for the tape recordings. Also included among the documents Judicial Watch subpoenaed from Carville and EIP was an EIP ``target list'' identifying Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, Speaker Newt Gingrich (indeed, in the September 27, 1998 edition of NBC's ``Meet the Press,'' Carville admitted he was targeting Gingrich), Representative Dan Burton, Senator Fred Thompson and former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett as ``Individuals to Target'' for ``expos[ing] the motives and methods behind Republican partisan attacks against the President and the Democratic Party.''(86) At his deposition, Carville also was forced to admit that he stays in regular contact with David Kendall, who hired Terry Lenzner as the President's private investigator.(87) Moreover, former Carville aides and employees--Tom Janenda and Glen Weiner--are now staffing the White House opposition research office.(88) Based on all of the direct and circumstantial evidence obtained thus far, as well as Carville's own repeated threats to destroy Clinton adversaries, he appears to be the ``ringleader'' of President Clinton's smear operations--in violation of the Privacy Act and other laws. Carville is apparently not the only Clinton advisor or aide misusing information in government files against perceived adversaries of the President. Lanny Davis, a ``Special Counsel to the President,'' testified at his deposition in Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' investigation that he was hired by the Clinton White House Counsel's office and worked closely with that office.(89) That office, which helped to orchestrate the unlawful transfer of hundreds of FBI files, and, according to Linda Tripp, loaded them onto White House computers, is at the very center of egregious violations of privacy rights and other unlawful conduct. Davis' testimony shows, at the very least, that he unlawfully maintained a system of records on notable Clinton adversaries without fulfilling the proper notice requirements as mandated by the Privacy Act. Davis testified that during his tenure at the Clinton White House, he personally maintained files containing information about prominent Clinton adversaries, such as Judge Kenneth Starr,(90) Senator Fred Thompson,(91) Representative Dan Burton,(92) Senator Henry Hyde,(93) Monica Lewinsky,(94) Kathleen Willey,(95) and David Hale.(96) Davis also maintained files containing information about Larry Lawrence, Roger Tamraz, Doris Matsui, Webster Hubbell, Nora and Gene Lum, John Huang, Pauline Kachanalak, Johnny Chung, and Charlie Trie.(97) Many of these files were identified, either in whole or in part, by the individual's name, such as ``Starr,'' ``Monica Lewinsky,'' ``Kathleen Willey'' and ``John Huang.''(98) Davis also testified that he was ``eclectic'' in his judgment as to what to put in such files, and that he would generally include any document that he might need to use at some point.(99) Such documents included public statements and stories by the media.(100) Yet, Davis admitted that the media ``frequently does not'' publish accurate information, undoubtedly thanks to his assistance.(101) Davis admitted that he maintained these files so that he could disseminate information to the media and thus help them write ``good'' and ``bad'' stories.(102) Yet before Davis released information from any of these files to the media, he never consulted with anyone referenced in the materials, never sought their permission, and knew of no one at the Clinton White House who did so.(103) Davis, Ickes and Carville continue to advise the Clinton White House on impeachment and other issues,(104) and it is likely that they continue to receive information from government files. Judicial Watch also plans to question others in the White House suspected of participating in these unlawful smear operations such as Sidney Blumenthal, Rahm Emanuel, Ann Lewis and Mike McCurry. In the course of its investigation, Judicial Watch has uncovered evidence of possible crimes involving obstruction of justice and abuse of power. During his deposition in Judicial Watch's ``Filegate'' investigation, Harold Ickes implicated himself, President Clinton and others in possible obstruction of justice in the Independent Counsel's ``Filegate'' investigation. After it was publicly reported that Dick Morris had told Sherry Rowlands that Mrs. Clinton was the ``mastermind'' of ``Filegate,'' Mr. Morris lamely tried to recant in having any independent knowledge of Mrs. Clinton's role. Rather, he claimed that his comments were based on polling data which reflected a public perception that Mrs. Clinton was behind the ``Filegate'' scandal. Consequently, the Independent Counsel staff subpoenaed the polling data. At his Judicial Watch deposition, Mr. Ickes testified to an effort to delay production of this polling data until after the 1996 elections.(105) Finally, Judicial Watch is submitting this interim report for Congress' consideration at this time because it has uncovered substantial, additional evidence of unlawful conduct in the Clinton Administration, and because it appears that, while Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has been given the responsibility to investigate the ``Filegate'' matter, unfortunately his efforts apparently have been devoted almost exclusively to the Lewinsky and Whitewater investigations. In fact, it would appear the Independent Counsel's investigation of ``Filegate'' is still at an early stage, if indeed any real investigation is being conducted at all.(106) Key ``Filegate'' witnesses recently deposed by Judicial Watch have yet to be questioned by the Independent Counsel about the matter. Thomas ``Mack'' McLarty, the White House Chief of Staff during the time period the FBI files were obtained unlawfully, incredibly testified that he was never questioned about ``Filegate'' before a grand jury: Q: But you never answered questions concerning Filegate before a Grand Jury, to the best of your knowledge. A: To the best of my knowledge and memory, that is correct.(107) Likewise, ORM Director Terry Good, who stored FBI files for Craig Livingstone for several months, testified that he has ``never been interviewed by anybody'' from the Independent Counsel's office.(108) Earlier this year, the Independent Counsel staff questioned Defendant Hillary Rodham Clinton for only about nine (9) minutes on the subject of ``Filegate.'' According to Mandy Grunwald, one of the Clintons' friends and media advisors, even Mrs. Clinton remarked about the conduct of the Independent Counsel staff in questioning her so briefly. Ms. Grunwald testified that Mrs. Clinton thought the Independent Counsel staff ``came to the White House for what was very little business.''(109) Judicial Watch sought to take the deposition of Ms. Tripp on September 4, 1998, but the Independent Counsel intervened to try to convince the Court to postpone the deposition temporarily. In light of the fact that the Independent Counsel's investigation of ``Filegate'' appears to be in its preliminary stages only and that no meaningful report will likely be forthcoming any time soon, Judicial Watch hopes that the Independent Counsel will withdraw its objection and allow Ms. Tripp's deposition to go forward without further delay. Judicial Watch believes that it is important for the American public to learn what Ms. Tripp witnessed while working in the Clinton White House precisely because the Independent Counsel's report on ``Filegate'' will not be issued any time soon--particularly since Judicial Watch depositions confirm that its investigation is seemingly still in an infant state. It is also important that the full facts of ``Filegate'' be made public at this time because the ``Filegate'' strategy of misusing information in government files concerns not just the unlawful acquisition of FBI files of former Reagan and Bush Administration appointees and employees, but is part of a continuing campaign to smear witnesses and obstruct justice in the numerous on-going investigations of the President. By smearing, or at least threatening to smear its perceived adversaries and critics, the Administration hopes to intimidate them and gain their silence. This reaction is most typified by the response to Pennsylvania Representative Paul McHale's recent call for President Clinton's resignation. When Representative McHale subsequently appeared on Rivera Live,(110) one of the prime mouthpieces of the President, he was confronted with claims that he had misrepresented his military credentials. This type of information concerning military credentials would almost surely have come from government files, and Judicial Watch will seek discovery on this matter. The misuse of information, obstruction of justice and abuse of power apparently has become the last line of defense for a severely weakened Administration. Judicial Watch is thus providing these preliminary results from its ``Filegate'' investigation so that Congress can be fully informed at this critical time as it considers the future of the Clinton Presidency.(111)" https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GPO-CDOC-106sdoc3/html/GPO-CDOC-106sdoc3-7.htm
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