Editor’s note: This is the conclusion of an in-depth interview
with former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich by WND’s Washington
Bureau Chief Paul Sperry.
Part 1 focused on what Aldrich calls the “national security meltdown” presided over by President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
By Paul Sperry
© 2000, WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
WASHINGTON — In an exclusive interview, former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich said a chief handler for the Gore 2000 campaign was a foot soldier in the White House “scandal patrol” that worked “night and day” to discredit witnesses against the president.
Aldrich would know. He was smeared as a “liar” by White House aides trying to discredit his best-selling book, “Unlimited Access.”
|Gary Aldrich, former White House FBI agent|
One such aide was Chris Lehane, now a strategist with the Gore campaign, he says. Another was George Stephanopoulos, now with ABC News.
“The man’s a liar,” a testy Aldrich said of Stephanopoulos, who he says is still part of the White House’s “truth-killing machine.”
Aldrich also had some choice words for the rest of the old “left-wing” media who he says bowed to White House pressure and begged off his story during the last election.
Not until the “sex-obsessed” media fixated on the Lewinsky scandal did they pay any mind to his charges about the president’s reckless behavior, leveled more the two years earlier, he said. Even then, they “back-burnered” the important aspects, such as security risks.
The attention was still enough to earn Aldrich humble praise from some big TV-news talent who first cast doubt on his story. He said NBC’s Tim Russert and ABC’s Sam Donaldson sought Aldrich out to say he’d been “vindicated.”
And now Hollywood is calling, he says. Several studios are interested in turning his book into a movie.
The retired Aldrich, 55, talked at length about his media run-ins and shared his insider knowledge on a range of White House scandals, from missing e-mails to laundered Chinese money, in a recent interview with WorldNetDaily. He spoke at his Virginia office, where he runs a government whistle-blower’s clearinghouse called the Patrick Henry Center.
WND: I recall the media elite handling you pretty roughly in 1996 when you made your charges against the White House. Many of them, including NBC’s Tim Russert, refused to book you on news shows to tell your story. What’s their attitude toward you now?
Aldrich: In 1998, after the Lewinsky story broke, I received a call from Russert at my residence. Don’t know how he got my number. But he said, “Gary, congratulations. It looks like you’ve been fully vindicated. I don’t know anyone who could now claim your book wasn’t true.”
Q: What was the connection between Lewinsky and your book?
A: That Clinton was reckless and a security risk.
Q: Has anyone else come up to you since then?
A: During the Lewinsky flap, ABC (News) booked me. At the ABC studio, Sam Donaldson came walking through the lobby and saw my wife and me standing there before I was to go on.
He said, “Well, this Lewinsky matter is amazing. Remember this, Gary, justice delayed is not always justice denied.” And he was part of the three-judge panel that kneecapped me that day (in 1996) on “(This Week with David) Brinkley.”
Q: “This Week” has changed a lot since then. How do you feel about former top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos working on the news program as an analyst and correspondent?
A: Stephanopoulos’ presence on the ABC Sunday show is media corruption at the highest level.
A: Because he’s a liar. The man’s a liar and he worked inside the Clinton White House and he knew what I wrote was true and yet he went on national TV and said I’m a “pathological liar.” Who’s a pathological liar now?
Q: Isn’t there always the danger that he could be using ABC to still send out messages, however veiled, for the president? I mean, his former boss is still in power.
A: Yeah, it’s not OK. It’s not OK for the media to be used as a tool of government. There’s something very wrong with that.
The White House should never be used as a hammer to destroy the truth. That should be a big, big no-no. The only time the president of the United States can tell a lie, as far as I’m concerned, is during a war. And yet Clinton has turned the White House into a truth-killing machine.
But you know, you can’t hide the truth. It eventually comes out. Sometimes too late. But it does come out.
Q: Any renewed interest in your book?
|Aldrich’s book, “Unlimited Access”|
A: In fact, there is. There are five major Hollywood studios looking at it as a possible movie.
Q: Have any optioned it?
A: Not yet, but they’ve shown great interest. So we’ll see.
Q: What prompted you to write it? You had to have known they’d come gunning for you, and that your life would never be the same. I mean, what was the defining moment for you in that White House?
A: My epiphany was when they went off on (former Travel Office director) Billy Dale to make room in his office for their cronies. They tried to use the full power of the federal government, including the FBI, to send an innocent man to prison. (Dale was acquitted of plainly trumped-up charges he “embezzled” money from the Travel Office.)
Q: You must have been crushed when more agents didn’t step forward with you.
A: I was shocked. I thought that, when I came forward, if just five others (in the FBI or Secret Service) had come forward and said, “Gary’s telling the truth,” that would have done it, that would have broken down the wall and he (President Clinton) would have been gone.
But they won’t break their code of silence. Now when any of these guys comes up to me and says how disgusting this guy (Clinton) is, I just want to vomit. Their phony outrage makes me that sick. I consider every one of them a sunshine patriot.
But that’s why I started the Patrick Henry Center. I didn’t want this to happen to anyone else. You know, there are probably 10,000 formerly and presently assigned FBI agents who are thoroughly disgusted at this administration.
Q: Is the fear of retaliation — losing their jobs and pensions — why more whistle-blowers don’t come forward? I mean, it’s not like this White House won’t punish people for speaking out. Energy intelligence and security officers have been fired. A Pentagon expert who refused to certify China as a nuclear nonproliferator was threatened with his job. White House computer contractors were even threatened with jail. And on and on.
A: A lot of federal employees have no notion of their rights, so they’re scared to death. You don’t lose your retirement simply because you’re fired. The only way you can lose your retirement in the federal service is if you’re charged and convicted of treason. There’s no other way you can lose your pension. You can be convicted of bank robbery or murder and still retire.
A lot of federal employees don’t know that. They think, “Well hell, if I’m fired for blowing the whistle, I lose everything.” So they don’t come forward.
Q: What do you make of all these gaps in White House e-mail records under subpoena? Now a year’s worth of the vice president’s messages are permanently lost.
A: I don’t think they had any intention to follow any rule to properly provide any historical record of their activities in the White House.
One of my problems with folks (in the press) who follow the White House is that each of these events are looked at as if they’re in a vacuum, as if they’re a stand-alone circumstance.
But if you go back and look at the pattern of conduct — and hell, that’s why we have federal laws called the continuing criminal enterprise and RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) — because when you look back at the pattern of the Clinton administration, they have done everything they can possibly think of, and more, to obstruct justice or to hide their trail.
Q: Former Chinagate prosecutor Charles LaBella’s deputy said in one of her memos, “This is a classic white-collar (crime) scenario.” With your background investigating white-collar crimes and having worked in this White House, would you agree with her?
A: Very much so. It wasn’t initially apparent that folks were acting like white-collar criminals in the Clinton administration. They were acting paranoid and they had a posture that reminded me very much of being around defendants. And they had a distrust and hostility toward law enforcement, which are all signs that something drastically is wrong here.
But later, when it became clear that they had a disdain for rules and regulations and laws, and (they) thought that they were an impediment to their political agenda, we had a deep concern that there was corruption there. And we warned them that there would be a collision (between the corruption and the law) coming, with lots of fallout. And we’ve seen some of it.
Q: Some of it. When’s the big collision coming?
A: Unless and until the collective media, most of whom are biased to the liberal side, condemn this administration, it won’t be condemned. Unless the media becomes hysterical about an issue, the nation doesn’t respond.
Q: Like the feeding frenzy over the Lewinsky affair?
A: The reason the nation obsessed over the sex between Clinton and Lewinsky is because the media obsessed over it. It was the media that focused in on the sex. And then everything else was basically small potatoes, like the China matter. It was all back-burnered in favor of scintillating information about where Bill did it in the Oval Office.
And it’s not the public that’s obsessed with this, it’s the left-wing media. And they drive the agenda. They weren’t using this sex thing as a diversion. They truly want to know and talk about it.
Q: Come to think of it, they’re still talking about it. On one hand, they all say we need to get past the Lewinsky scandal and move on. On the other, they keep publishing books with more sex details. One is Jeffrey Toobin’s book, “A Vast Conspiracy,” which identifies Clinton’s “distinguishing characteristics.” Now comes this “sexposé” on Starr’s team by “Friend of Hillary” Tina Brown of Talk Miramax Books, the manuscript of which Drudge has outed.
A: Toobin’s book was an outrage. It was incredibly sloppy and inaccurate. Yeah, this is a wave of books about Clinton.
Q: Shifting to Filegate, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, at the request of the White House, excluded your name from the list of terms Judicial Watch can use to search White House archives for e-mail relevant to its Filegate lawsuit. He also agreed to exclude the term “reinvestigation.” Are you surprised by this?
A: I am surprised. I did not know of it. This is very important to investigators. The White House was conducting reinvestigations of employees they considered to be possibly disloyal. In other words, they were misusing the resources of the FBI — and the FBI was allowing it. These investigations, whether it’s an IRS audit or an FBI audit of your personal background, are intrusive and they’re punitive, if misused.
And also, if the White House was seeking information about people they considered potentially disloyal, this would be a perfect way. Instead of contracting the job out to (Clinton’s private investigator) Terry Lenzner, they simply call up their buddies at the FBI. “Hey, we want to investigate Chris Emery (the White House usher who was fired after taking calls from Barbara Bush, who sought computer tips).” And the FBI would say, “Wait a minute — we just did that one last year.” “Never mind, do it again.” You see? Something’s wrong with that.
And I resisted that when they, over at the FBI, asked me to do this — to investigate people out of order, reinvestigations. And so my FBI supervisor said to me, “Well, never mind then.” Well, all he did was, he took the case and he gave it to another agent and he told the agent, “Don’t tell Aldrich you’re doing this.” So my agency participated in this kind of nonsense. The whole business with the investigations was not to qualify someone for a security clearance or access, but it was to dig up dirt on people they felt were disloyal.
Q: Was no one investigated for security reasons?
A: Look, the Secret Service wasn’t even allowed to know the results of these background investigations for more than a year, and the White House did not exclude anybody based on their character flaws that we discovered during our investigations. We didn’t clear anybody. They didn’t care about security. They just wanted to test the political loyalty of employees. There’s no provision in the law to allow for that. It’s nuts. It’s a misuse and an abuse.
The other thing is, there had to have been an enormous amount of e-mail going back and forth about me and my book and what was in it. So interestingly, the White House has moved to exclude me from discovery, which is an outrage. I might file a lawsuit of my own to see what those e-mails say.
Q: You worked closely with the White House counsel’s office. What do you make of the army of lawyers the Clintons have hired?
A: It’s incredible that this president and his people have been able to get money out of Congress to hire 36 full-time attorneys, plus staff, at the White House to do nothing but fend off the 40 or so scandals that are ongoing at any given time down there.
Not only that, but they take the people who work in the so-called scandal patrol, who work day and night to discredit witnesses like me, and they promote them up the chain.
Take Chris Lehane. He was the deputy over at the Old Executive Office Building who was assigned by Harold Ickes to discredit any witnesses like me who came forward to give testimony about Bill Clinton. He’s now handling the Gore campaign. What does that tell you about Al Gore’s campaign?
Q: Why do you suppose that you and the other FBI agent in the White House, Dennis Sculimbrene, were treated with such hostility — apparently right off the bat?
A: Early on in the staffing of the Clinton administration, they discovered that the FBI (background) investigations could be an impediment to the appointment of people they really wanted to have. And these people don’t want to be denied, frankly. Hillary Clinton in particular does not want to be told, “No,” when she wants to bring somebody into the White House.
There are two examples I can think of right off the top of my head that were both publicly discussed. One is Vernon Jordan, the other is Harold Ickes (who is now running Hillary’s Senate campaign). Ickes was supposed to come right away to the White House and take the deputy chief of staff position. But an FBI investigation which was being conducted of him was … for some reason … holding up his appointment. I don’t think that went down well with Hillary Clinton.
The other matter was Vernon Jordan, who was running the transition office. He was supposed to be coming over to take a high-level position in the White House. But even Vernon Jordan didn’t come — because of matters that surfaced in his FBI background investigation.
Q: Like what?
A: We’re in an area here that gets into the Privacy Act.
Q: But you’re retired from the bureau. What are you still liable for?
A: I can’t be held responsible for Privacy Act violations. If I sit here and tell you something out of an FBI file, there’s no prosecution of me, personally. The law says you go after the agency. The individual’s not held accountable. The agency certainly can terminate an individual, but there’s no penalty for me.
Q: Exactly. So what’s holding you back now, especially given how, as you say, they smeared you, tried to ruin your reputation?
A: The fact that I haven’t violated the Privacy Act is my own ethics. I have a ton of material I could tell you about Clinton appointees because of my insider knowledge of their background investigations. But I can’t do it. If someone wants to get that information lawfully, in Congress or in front of a grand jury, I will tell the truth.