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Stop hiding, Mr. Ray
Posted By Larry Klayman On 02/19/2000 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
In the last week, major front page stories were published by Jerry
Seper and Andrew Cain of The Washington Times recounting the obstruction
of justice witnessed by White House whistleblower and Judicial
Watch client Sheryl L. Hall. Ms. Hall is
the former manager of Computer Operations in the Clinton White House.
Her public testimony confirmed reports first published by Paul M.
Rodriguez, managing editor of Insight Magazine, last Jan. 3, 2000.
Ms. Hall recounts how she witnessed the suppression of over 100,000
pages of e-mail evidence in legal proceedings involving Filegate,
Chinagate, and the Monica Lewinsky scandals. This e-mail evidence,
which an independent contractor of the Clinton White House called
“incriminating,” was sought under subpoena by Judicial Watch, two
congressional committees, and the Independent Counsel.
Following the front-page headlines in The Washington Times,
typically, congressional committees and the Office of Independent
Counsel claimed to be taking an interest in this massive obstruction of
justice. Interestingly, however, Ms. Hall had already informed them of
her observations over one-and-a-half years ago. Now, with the impetus
of front-page headlines to get them off their “derrieres,” she was
contacted by staff for Chairman Dan Burton of the House Government
Reform Committee and Chairman Fred Thompson of the Senate Government
Affairs Committee, as well as staff counsel and investigators for
Independent Counsel Robert Ray, the successor to Kenneth Starr. To
ensure that these government investigators would not again “deep six”
Ms. Hall’s crucial evidence and that action would indeed be forthcoming,
I required as a precondition for her voluntary appearance that she meet
with the heads of each investigative body; namely Chairman Burton,
Chairman Thompson and Independent Counsel Robert Ray.
Thus far, a meeting has occurred only with Burton, who promised
immediate action. Specifically, he told Judicial Watch that he would
immediately issue subpoenas to the Clinton White House and other
involved parties — to avoid destruction of the evidence. To date,
almost three days later, typically no such subpoenas have been issued.
However, while the Clinton White House likely destroyed evidence in the
interim, Burton has moved at “lightening speed” when compared with
Thompson, who has thus far not made himself available.
Most disturbing, however, was the reaction of the Office of
Independent Counsel. When I stated our desire that Mr. Robert Ray be
present to hear what Ms. Hall had to say personally — Mr. Ray refused.
This non-response was typical during the “Starr era” — when the “judge”
could not find the time to even meet with his “Starr witnesses,” Monica
Lewinsky and Linda Tripp. (Judicial Watch depositions in our Filegate
suit have shown that Starr’s staff never interviewed, much less called
before the grand jury, most major witnesses.)
During the conversation with Mr. Ray’s staff, I pointed out that Ms.
Hall had offered to tell them about this obstruction over one-and-a-half
years ago and that nothing was done. I added that one of the reasons
that Ms. Hall would talk only to Mr. Ray — obviously in the presence of
other Office of Independent Counsel attorneys and investigators — is
because Judge Starr obviously had been either ill-informed or not candid
when he told the House Judiciary Committee during its impeachment
proceedings that he effectively possessed no evidence on Filegate.
Accordingly, this is why a meeting with Mr. Ray was required.
In response, the staff of the Independent Counsel failed to offer an
explanation as to why Mr. Ray was not available and threatened, instead,
that Ms. Hall must comply with their wishes, or alternative methods to
get her to speak would be pursued. At this point, I interjected that
calling her before a grand jury was fine — since at least then we would
know the Independent Counsel was doing something!
Judicial Watch suspects that the reason why Mr. Ray does not want to
meet with Ms. Hall is because he is afraid to appear to be conspiring
with the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Indeed, over the years, Judicial
Watch had sent several letters to Judge Starr offering its cooperation
(i.e., the production of the records of James Carville) but never heard
back from his “Highness.” The imperial, disorganized and nonsensical
approach of both Starr and Ray — whereby they are apparently afraid to
appear to be cooperating with a conservative, public interest
anti-government corruption watchdog group — underscores why the
Independent Counsel has acted, from the start, as mostly a political
entity which has accommodated the desires of Republicans in Congress,
but is not terribly interested or adept in getting at the truth or
prosecuting officials at the highest levels of the Clinton
administration. Ironically, in this respect only, one can agree with
Ms. Hall will not meet with the Independent Counsel voluntarily
unless Mr. Ray makes himself available. Otherwise, she looks forward to
appearing before a grand jury, so at least then her testimony will be
transcribed and made “of record,” and the Independent Counsel can be
held accountable, if, as usual, he does little to nothing.
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