- Text smaller
- Text bigger
WASHINGTON — The White House has tightened its control over a court-ordered project to restore hundreds of thousands of subpoenaed
e-mail missing from archives for the offices of the president and vice president, WorldNetDaily has learned.
White House officials have separated an e-mail whistle-blower from high-level talks about the project.
And, obeying strict guidelines set by the White House, a project contractor has gagged its workers, even threatening pink slips for
those who talk.
The moves come as a federal judge, sensing White House stonewalling, has signaled he may take the project away from the White House.
“After 20 weeks, the EOP (Executive Office of the President) has not made one concrete step towards producing any of the
(unarchived) e-mail,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth scolded lawyers for the White House in an opinion filed earlier this week.
Lamberth has set a fact-finding hearing for Thursday to determine the best way to restore and search the e-mail. He says he’ll rule
after the hearing on government watchdog Judicial Watch’s request for a “special master” to handle the project.
White House insiders say e-mail whistle-blower Howard “Chip” Sparks has been “moved out” of his office on the fifth floor of the New
Executive Office Building. His office is within earshot of meetings between White House officials and contractors on the e-mail
He was recently ordered to pack up his office and move to “the other end of the wing,” one source said. Officials don’t want him to
“overhear their plans.”
Sparks is the career White House computer network specialist who exposed problems with Vice President Al Gore’s e-mail
records-keeping. He said in a sworn affidavit that former Gore aide Mike Gill, known as the “Mad Deleter,” told him and other
computer support personnel to “get lost” when they offered help.
At least a year’s worth of Gore’s e-mail is permanently lost.
Meanwhile, the private Virginia contractor the White House hired to restore the trove of e-mail has threatened to sack workers on
the “sensitive” project if they talk about it outside the job.
A project worker says that the head of SRA International Inc. warned him and other employees that they would be “fired” if they didn
‘t keep quiet.
Asked about it, an SRA executive insists no one has been threatened.
“We are not Neanderthals,” said Renny DiPentima, president of SRA government-sector projects. “We do not go around firing people.”
He admitted, though, that technicians have been warned about the “sensitivity” of the project. He says the White House’s contract
sets strict confidentiality rules.
“At our meetings, we’ve made it absolutely, perfectly clear the sensitivity of this job,” he told WorldNetDaily.
SRA chief executive Ernst Volgenau also has attended the meetings, DiPentima confirmed.
How would the company deal with a worker who talked about the project outside the job?
“If someone leaked information, we would probably have to let them go,” DiPentima conceded.
As first reported in WorldNetDaily, SRA employs two former White House officials who had close contact with political appointees
accused of threatening workers and other contractors with jail if they talked about e-mail gaps. The problem was so secret the White
House called it “Project X.”
Dotti Cleal and John Dankowski both joined SRA within the past 10 months. DiPentima assured that they are being kept off the e-mail
“John and Dotti are a million miles away from this project,” he said. “I would never let them near it.”
Another Clinton administration official, Mary Ellen Condon, recently joined SRA. She managed the Justice Department’s computer
system. But she’s not involved in the White House project, either, DiPentima said.
All three are working on other government-sector projects, he says. Cleal on Navy projects, Dankowski on business development and
Condon on “critical-infrastructure protection.”
Why is SRA so far behind schedule after nearly five months on the job?
DiPentima explains the tape-copying process is slowing things down.
Before workers can restore the e-mail back-up tapes, they have to make two sets of copies of the originals. One they’ll use to
reformat the data to perform keyword searches for relevant information under subpoena by various criminal investigators. The other
they’ll put under “lock and key,” along with the original. There are some 3,400 back-up tapes.
The White House insists on copying them in large batches, or not at all, but it says it can’t do that until it gets new equipment.
It says existing equipment would allow it to copy only two tapes a day.
Lamberth called the White House’s logic “preposterous,” noting that about 200 tapes could have been ready for searching by now.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the White House is stalling in an attempt to “push the production of evidence past the
Several White House insiders say the unarchived e-mail contain messages related to various White House scandals, including the
Lewinsky impeachment case, Filegate, Democratic National Committee trade junkets and Chinagate. The trove may also contain e-mail
related to the Project X cover-up.
DiPentima insists no one’s stalling.
In fact, he says he’s “added technical people” to the job to move it along. He says 20 SRA employees are now assigned to the
project — and they’ll stay with it until it’s done.
“I’m not taking anyone off this project,” he said.