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Perjury charges at White House?
Posted By Paul Sperry On 03/29/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
WASHINGTON — A House committee may send criminal referrals for
perjury to the Justice Department on some witnesses who testified last
week about missing White House e-mail, WorldNetDaily has learned.
Several of them made statements that grossly contradict the accounts
of other witnesses and may have been designed to mislead committee
investigators who are looking into possible obstruction of justice by
the White House.
“We are looking at the transcripts, we are going to review the tapes,
and we may prepare criminal referrals for perjury on certain folks,”
said House Government Reform Committee spokesman Mark Corallo.
A former White House official swore March 23 that she never made
threats to computer contractors, who discovered in 1998 that the White
House failed to archive more than two years of e-mail sent to White
House officials, including top aides to the president and first lady.
The e-mail was never searched for compliance with subpoenas issued by
the independent counsel and congressional investigators.
But three of the Northrop Grumman contractors testified that the
official, Laura Crabtree Callahan, threatened them with jail if they
talked about the problem, which they called “Project X”
because of all the secrecy surrounding it. They said she made the
threats in a 1998 meeting in her office.
Mark Lindsay, a high-ranking White House official, claimed in his
testimony that he made no threats, either — though he also said he
could not recall the meeting with contractors.
“Lindsay couldn’t recall squat when it came to the meeting,” Corallo
Yet all five e-mail contractors recalled details of the meeting on
the morning of June 15, 1998, specifically Lindsay and Callahan ordering
them to keep other workers and even their Northrop Grumman bosses in the
dark about the missing e-mail. They were also told not to talk to their
What’s more, they told House investigators in interviews before the
hearing that they were instructed to write down as little as possible
about Project X and not to e-mail anything about it. They were even
banned from using networked White House computers.
In a separate meeting with Lindsay, a Clinton political appointee,
the contractors’ program manager, Steve Hawkins, testified that he felt
“threatened” by Lindsay “the whole meeting.”
“I unequivocally deny that I threatened anyone regarding disclosure
of the e-mail situation,” Lindsay said under oath.
The threats are key because, if true, they show an intent to obstruct
justice through intimidation.
“We may have to call several people back to explain some things,”
Those witnesses include a contractor, who may have held back
information from the committee.
Robert Haas, tasked in 1998 with finding some of the lost e-mail,
denied under oath searching for any e-mail other than ones sent by
Monica Lewinsky from the Pentagon.
But two other White House computer workers said Haas told them he
stumbled onto e-mail relevant to other investigations.
“You’ve got Betty Lambuth and (Sheryl) Hall both saying that Haas
told them that not only was there Monica stuff, but there was campaign
finance and (Commerce Department) trade missions and all sorts of other
stuff in there,” Corallo said.
In pre-interviews with investigators, Haas said he could not recall
all the names of the White House e-mail users whose files he checked.
Investigators suspect he knows a lot more about what’s in the unarchived
e-mail server than he’s letting on. Haas is still working as a
contractor in the White House.
Also, it turns out that Haas was less than forthcoming in answering
questions from committee chairman Dan Burton, R-Ind.
He asked Haas about a so-called “Zip” computer disk for massive
storage of files. Haas swore he didn’t have one, when in fact he did.
But Burton used the word “drive” rather than “disk,” allowing Haas to
technically be safe in denying it.
Whereas Haas may have split hairs to hold back information, Callahan
issued categorical denials.
In the June 1998 meeting, Lindsay joined in by speakerphone. When he
hung up, Haas asked Callahan what would happen if he mentioned Project X
to someone. She replied that there would be “a jail cell with your name
on it,” Haas recalled her saying.
Contractors told investigators in earlier interviews that Callahan
then asked each person in the room, one by one, if they understood the
consequences of speaking out about the problem.
Lambuth testified she remembered the threat. So did contractor Sandy
Golas. Hall, a career worker and manager in the White House computer
unit, swore in affidavits that she recalled hearing about the threat
contemporaneously. Both Lambuth and Hall have left the White House.
Golas is still there.
Contractors John Spriggs and Yiman Salim testified they didn’t
remember the jail threat. But both testified Crabtree told them not to
breathe a word about the e-mail stash to their bosses or their spouses.
And the two conveyed in pre-interviews that they were intimidated. Both
Spriggs and Salim have kept their White House jobs.
Hawkins, the Northrop Grumman manager who said he felt threatened, is
no longer working in the White House.
Callahan had to do some quick backpedaling after her testimony. The
day after, she sent an affidavit to the panel, stating: “I wish to
clarify that I did discuss e-mail issues with the Department of Justice
attorneys in connection with currently pending civil litigation.” She
had denied such contacts at the hearing.
Callahan, who was very soft-spoken throughout her testimony, said
that the contractors who said she threatened them with jail “might have
an overactive imagination.”
But a computer contractor familiar with White House e-mail operations
said Callahan, now working for the Labor Department, was acting out of
character during the hearings.
“She never talks like a chipmunk,” the contractor said. “Hollering
and yelling was her normal mode and here she comes across as Snow White
who wouldn’t intimidate anyone. That was not Laura Crabtree.”
The source said other contractors “laughed” about her “performance.”
Corallo says the committee will first wait to hear from another White
House witness, lawyer Beth Nolan, before preparing any criminal
referrals for perjury. She is scheduled to testify Thursday, alongside
Robert Raben, a Justice Department lawyer.
“We want to get everyone on record,” he said.
E-mail whistle-blower’s office was burglarized
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