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Smoking gun in the e-mail?

Posted By Paul Sperry On 04/11/2000 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

WASHINGTON — A stash of unrecorded West Wing e-mail totals close to
1 million, not the 100,000 first reported, and includes messages from
the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign,
WorldNetDaily has learned.

The Justice Department’s campaign-finance task force has yet to see
the trove of e-mail. The unit, which is under Attorney General Janet
Reno’s direction, has so far charged 24 people in its three-year
criminal probe — all of them donors and, remarkably, none of them DNC
or White House officials.

The White House has told Congress it can’t possibly know for at least
another six months the content or the volume of the unarchived e-mail
until it’s loaded off of 3,400 emergency computer back-up tapes and
searched by private contractors.

But a former White House computer manager tells WorldNetDaily that
the number of e-mails is at least 10 times the estimate of 100,000
bandied about in the press. The ex-official says they include a steady
flow of messages coming into the West Wing from Democratic National
Committee officials.

Also, WorldNetDaily has reviewed a 1998 Northrop Grumman audit of the
White House e-mail accounts affected by a snafu involving a critical
White House Office e-mail server. The 75-page report shows that much of
the omitted e-mail is addressed to prominent
figures in several White House scandals.

The officials include: Doris Matsui, Marsha Scott, Sidney Blumenthal,
Cheryl Mills, Bruce Lindsey, Erskine Bowles, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy
Hernreich, John Podesta, Ira Magaziner, Ann Lewis, Charles Ruff, Lanny
Breuer and Paul Begala — as well as President Clinton. First Lady
Hillary Rodham Clinton is not in the report.

As previously disclosed, Monica Lewinsky confidants Ashley Raines and
Betty Currie also are among those who received e-mail never turned over
to Congress and other investigative bodies.

Northrop Grumman computer contractor Robert Haas ran the audit on
June 18, 1998, just a few days after he and other technicians discovered
that the White House’s automated archiving system wasn’t scanning and
storing Internet e-mail sent to the server used by the Executive Office
of the President.

In addition to the audit, Haas did sample searches of some of the
unrecorded e-mail on the server. At the time, Independent Counsel
Kenneth Starr had subpoenaed White House e-mail relevant to his
investigation of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Monica
Lewinsky case. Haas was secretly tasked with searching for any messages
coming into the White House from Lewinsky, then at the Pentagon, to see
how many were missed.

He searched Currie’s and Raines’ accounts and found enough e-mail
from Lewinsky to fill an “expandable folder” full of print-outs. Haas
testified March 23 that he searched only for Lewinsky messages.

But that’s not what White House whistle-blower Sheryl Hall recalls.

Hall, a manager in the White House’s Information Systems and
Technology Division at the time, says Haas stopped by her New Executive
Office Building office not long after he did the searches and told her
he saw a lot more than just e-mail from Lewinsky on the
server. In fact, he told her the trove of unarchived messages contained
smoking guns to a host of scandals.

Hall, a seven-year Clinton White House veteran, says Haas was scared
and opened other files during his search to protect himself.

On June 15, 1998, a few days after he told White House officials
about the e-mail problem, a high-ranking Clinton official had ordered
Haas and four other Northrop Grumman contractors to keep it top secret.
Three, including Haas, testified that they were
threatened with jail if they talked to even their spouses about “Project
X.”

Hall, a career civil servant, says Haas unburdened himself during his
visit to her office.

“He told me that if the searches had been redone, that different
people (than he) would go to jail, and that there was a lot of stuff out
there,” Hall recalled in an exclusive interview with WorldNetDaily. “And
I said, ‘Like what?’ And he said Filegate information.
Chinagate. Stuff on (Vice President Al) Gore.”

She added: “He mentioned that there was e-mail coming in from the
DNC.”

Hall says Haas was not vague about his charges.

“He was very specific with me, because it was much more than
Lewinsky,” she said. “And when I asked him, ‘Why are you telling me
this, Bob? There’s nothing I can do. Everybody above me is political.’
He said, ‘I’m afraid. I’m afraid for my life. I want somebody else to
know.’”

How does she know Haas wasn’t exaggerating?

“He had a secret file,” she said. “He had papers.”

Haas, who still works in the White House, denies he was scared for
his life and swears he never looked at any other e-mail besides
Lewinsky’s — although he searched at least two other e-mail accounts
besides Currie’s and Raines’ for Lewinsky-related messages (he can’t
recall those other user files, according to House investigators who
interviewed him).

But his former Northrop Grumman supervisor Betty Lambuth says Haas
was tasked with “other searches” after his June 30, 1998, search for
Lewinsky e-mail.

And Lambuth swears that Haas told her he found e-mail related to
Filegate, Gore’s involvement in Chinagate, as well as Commerce
Department trade missions. Judicial Watch Inc., a public-interest law
firm suing the White House over various scandals, charges that the White
House and the DNC illegally sold seats on Commerce trade junkets to
China and other countries. The group has subpoenaed relevant e-mail.

Hall says she didn’t hear Haas say anything about the Commerce
scandal.

“That came directly from Betty Lambuth, and she had phone discussions
with Haas,” Hall said.

How many e-mails?

To get an idea of the volume of e-mail that resides on that White
House server (which has 100 gigabytes of storage), consider that Haas in
just a few searches for Lewinsky e-mail alone produced enough paper to
fill an expandable file folder nearly a foot thick.

(The 1,000-plus e-mail cache was handed over to the White House
Counsel’s Office in 1998, and its contents have yet to be revealed to
investigators. White House lawyers now claim the e-mail was
“duplicative” of documents already sent to investigators.)

Haas, who recently saved the results of his sample search on an
expanded-storage “zip” disk, says he found 400 to 500 e-mails from
Lewinsky in just one of Currie’s files. Currie is Clinton’s personal
secretary.

Some estimates put the number of e-mails from Lewinsky to White House
officials at about 4,000. But a computer contractor familiar with the
White House e-mail system claims it’s closer to tens of thousands — the
biggest chunk addressed to Raines, a former
White House aide who’s reportedly Clinton’s goddaughter.

“When I heard the number, I couldn’t believe they talked that much,”
the contractor said. “They must have been busy typing all day long. I
don’t know if they did any work.”

Haas’ audit shows that just between May 1997 and June 1998, Raines
got 1,477 e-mails from outside the White House (9,958 total). None of it
was records-managed and searched for compliance with subpoenas.

Currie’s unarchived e-mail includes 811 in-coming messages between
November 1996 and June 1998.

Again, this is e-mail that Starr’s prosecutors never had during grand
jury hearings, and Congress never reviewed during the impeachment
hearings.

So what is the total universe of uncaptured White House e-mail on the
server?

Haas came up with 246,000 messages. But his audit, which took several
weeks of punching up accounts, was limited.

For one, he missed five critical months of e-mail during the Lewinsky
probe. His search of unrecorded e-mail ended June 18, 1998. But the
“bleeding” continued through Nov. 20, 1998. (The full e-mail gap
stretches from August 1996 to November 1998, or about 28 months.)

Also, Haas punched up only 504 accounts. Some 526 were affected.

One White House official not on his master list is Maureen Hudson,
deputy director of presidential letters and messages. She shows up on an
internal White House memo, however, with 284 “rejected ARMS (Automated
Records Management System) messages,” the earliest sent in November
1996.

Hall says the Executive Office of the President gets an average of
more than 20,000 e-mails a day. The number of Internet e-mails sent to
the EOP server over that 28 months works out to close to 1 million, she
figures.

By comparison, the White House has turned over a total of just 7,700
pages of campaign-finance-related e-mail records to the House Government
Reform Committee.

Who got the e-mail?

Of the 526 e-mail users affected, 464 worked in the White House
Office. Another 58 worked in the Office of Policy Development in the
West Wing. The remaining four worked in the Office of Administration.

They include the president and his top aides. The list is a who’s who
of various Clinton scandals.

“Every White House aide whose name has popped up during the parade of
scandals was on that server. And those that helped them do their jobs,”
said the computer contractor familiar with White House e-mail
operations. “So it’s the executive group. I call it the management
group. They’re the ones who decide what happens at the White House, as
opposed to the Office of Administration or Office of Management and
Budget, or any of the others.”

For instance, Bowles, Clinton’s former chief of staff, got at least
161 Internet messages starting in May 1997. All were omitted.

Bowles met with Clinton pal Vernon Jordan during the Lewinsky
cover-up. He and Jordan also met with White House lawyer Cheryl Mills,
who defended Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial. A whopping 3,061
e-mails sent to her starting in November 1996 were never archived, as
required by federal records law.

Investigators have never seen at least 17 in-coming e-mails sent to
top Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey, who is the White House’s chief
damage-control expert.

Marsha Scott, a close confidant of both the president and first lady,
got at least 48 Internet messages that were never archived. Scott is the
architect of the $1.7 million WHODB donor database.

Nearly 1,000 in-coming e-mails are missing from the records of Bob
Nash, Clinton’s director of presidential personnel.

Clinton himself got at least two in-coming e-mails that have yet to
be searched. The first one is dated sometime in December 1997.

The first lady and her West Wing staff are not listed among the 526
e-mail user accounts. Hill investigators say they find it odd that none
of her staff, particularly ex-chief of staff Maggie Williams, are listed
(although her health-care reform czar Magaziner shows up with 3,693
unrecorded e-mail).

“There are some holes here we think,” one investigator said.

Someone who corresponded with the DNC was Clinton aide Phillip
Caplan. He wrote the White House memo during the 1996 campaign that
argued for setting aside $1 million in potential fines for fund-raising
abuses — to which Clinton wrote “Ugh” in the memo’s margin.

It’s not clear if any of his unarchived memos are from the DNC. But
they total 944. The earliest is May 1997, just when the Senate was
subpoenaing White House and DNC officials in its Chinagate probe.

Another White House official in the thick of the fund-raising
scandals is Doris Matsui. It turns out that investigators haven’t seen
at least 3,407 of her e-mails, the earliest from January 1997.

Matsui helped organize Commerce’s DNC-donor-packed trade trips. And
she and her husband, Rep. Robert Matsui, D-Calif., show up on convicted
Clinton-Gore fund-raiser John Huang’s daily appointment book when he was
a Commerce Department official.

Rep. Matsui, moreover, attended Gore’s illegal fund-raiser at a
Buddhist temple in Los Angeles. (In a separate archiving problem, all of
Gore’s office’s e-mail is missing.)

Many of the officials central to the Project X scandal, interestingly
enough, also show up on the audit of users whose e-mail was never
captured by the White House archiving system.

  • Virginia Apuzzo, former director of White House management
    and administration, corresponded in June 1998 with then-deputy White
    House chief of staff John Podesta about Project X. At least 53 of her
    in-coming e-mails are missing, while at least 157 of Podesta’s are
    missing.

  • Sally Paxton (22 missing e-mails) was one of the White House
    lawyers who helped prepare a false affidavit about the status of White
    House e-mail archiving to a federal court.

  • John Dankowski (398 e-mails) is Clinton’s former director of
    White House operations who’s now working for a private subcontractor,
    SRA International Inc., that the White House has in effect hired
    ostensibly to find all the missing e-mail.

  • Terry Good (40 e-mails) is director of White House Records
    Management.

  • Karl Racine (27 e-mails) is one of the White House lawyers in
    charge of making sure records are searched to comply with subpoenas.

  • Dimitri Nionakis, another White House lawyer tasked with subpoena
    compliance, who has worked with Racine. At least 151 of his e-mails are
    missing through November 1998.

Nionakis sat next to Lindsey at the March 30 House Government
Reform Committee hearing on Project X.

Because of a separate archiving “error,” there’s another seven-month
hole in Nionakis’ in-coming e-mail — lasting from November 1998 to May
1999. As it happens, White House employees whose first names begin with
“D” were dropped from the archiving over that period.

The White House had known about the letter “D” problem for the past
year. It finally informed Congress last month.

That such “sensitive” e-mail doesn’t turn up for high-level White
House figures during periods that overlap with White House scandals
looks “very convenient,” the computer contractor said.

“And then it wasn’t corrected when it was discovered by contractors,”
he pointed out, suggesting a cover-up.

But the White House argues that the e-mail records gaps were caused
by “unintentional human error.”

“No one attempted to hide responsive information from any
investigative body,” White House Counsel Beth Nolan told Congress last
month.


Previous stories:

Inside job on e-mail

‘The fix is in’ on e-mail fix?

Firm won’t take hit for Project X fiasco

Memo: More e-mail missing

Gore’s e-mail MIA for next 6 months

More signs of obstruction as judge nears decision

Perjury charges at White House?

E-mail whistle-blower’s office was burglarized

White House killed ‘Project X’ story?


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