WASHINGTON — Top White House aide Mark Lindsay signed off on a 1998
report detailing the “scope” of a gap in West Wing e-mail archives,
WorldNetDaily has learned. Yet he told Congress, under oath, that he
first learned of the size of the problem this year.
Lindsay, assistant to the president for management and
administration, has maintained he was in the dark about the “scope and
breadth” of the so-called “Project X” e-mail glitch.
He has sworn he didn’t know how many White House e-mail accounts were
affected by the glitch and had no idea how many e-mails were unrecorded
until he was first called to testify March 23.
But a June 18, 1998, draft report prepared by Northrop Grumman
computer contractors quantifies the “scope of the problem,” listing the
number of e-mail accounts affected and the type and volume of e-mails
Lindsay’s initials — “MFL” — appear on the document (his middle
name is Frederick).
WorldNetDaily has obtained a copy of the two-page report, titled
“Lotus Notes to ARMS (Automated Records Management System) Interface
(See document, followed by enlargement of Lindsay’s
hand-written note and initials on page two.)
Three Northrop Grumman contractors, in a sworn testimony, say Lindsay threatened them in a June 15, 1998, White House meeting to keep Project X a secret — even from their boss and spouses — or face arrest and jail. Lindsay, who claims not to recall the meeting, still denies the threats.
Lindsay is now monitoring a court-ordered project to reconstruct the back-up tapes of the missing e-mails, which number at least 246,083 and may total as many as a million.
Lindsay meets daily with new contractors hired by the White House. The project has been fraught with technical setbacks and delays over the past three-and-a-half months.
The unarchived e-mails, sent to the White House over the Internet, from government agencies or even from Air Force One, have been under subpoena by federal investigators, a federal court and Congress for years.
Yet the White House never told them about the gap, which spans more than two years, from August 1996 to November 1998. They didn’t find out about it until this February, when a former White House computer manager blew the whistle in a federal court affidavit.
The trove of e-mail contains messages related to Lewinsky, Filegate, Commerce Department trade junkets, Chinagate and various other White House scandals, current and former White House employees have testified.
Independent Counsel Robert Ray and Justice Department Campaign Financing Task Force Chief Robert Conrad are both investigating the White House for possible obstruction of justice in the case. A federal grand jury has been sworn in and is already hearing testimony from White House witnesses.
House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton and U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth also are looking into the matter.
House investigators think Lindsay, at the time Office of Administration’s chief of staff and general counsel, actually penned the June 18, 1998, report himself, after asking Northrop Grumman technicians to plumb the depths of the problem and report back to him.
He then handed it off to a staff lawyer to aid him in drafting a briefing memo for Lindsay’s boss, Virginia “Ginny” Apuzzo, then-assistant to the president for management and administration.
Apuzzo, in turn, gave that June 19, 1998, memo, titled “Technical Anomaly in Automated E-mail Records Management System,” to then-deputy White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and White House Counsel Charles Ruff.
The two-page briefing explains the “anomaly,” or glitch, but curiously leaves out any mention of the number of e-mail user accounts affected or any estimates of the number of unrecorded e-mails that are cited in the June 18, 1998, report.
It’s possible, however, that Lindsay later filled in Podesta, now President Clinton’s chief of staff, with such details.
“Ginny, Please ask Mark to brief me on this. Thanks, John,” Podesta wrote over his copy of the memo.
On June 18, 1998, Northrop Grumman technician Robert Haas began an
audit of White House e-mail accounts affected by the archiving
Part of his findings were incorporated in the June 18 draft report that Lindsay initialed, if not wrote.
Under the heading, “Scope of the problem,” the draft report states “number of users on Mail2 [White House server] affected: 526.”
Then it breaks it down by office:
“White House Office: 464.
“OPD [Office of Policy Development]: 58.
“OA [Office of Administration]: 4.”
Then the report lists the “type of user e-mail traffic that would fail the ARMS scan:
“Internet e-mail (incoming).
“Delivery reports (confirmation notification messages).
“Non-delivery reports (failure delivery messages).
“Return non-receipts (return receipt failures).
“Trace reports (e-mail trace routing hop information).”
Next to “Internet e-mail,” Lindsay drew an asterisk. And over to the right of it, in the margin of the report’s second page, he wrote: “This list does not include ‘regular’ internal e-mail. MFL.”
After that, the report gives a “sampling of the volume of e-mail records” that weren’t archived, as well as when the bleeding started.
For instance, it notes that 1,164 of White House employee Diane Ikemiyashiro’s e-mails weren’t archived starting in November 1996.
Lindsay appears to have known more about the problem — contemporaneously — than he let on to Congress.
In May 4 testimony to the House Government Reform Committee, Lindsay flatly denied knowing about the Northrop Grumman report.
“Did you know this document existed?” asked Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn, referring to the “document provided by Northrop Grumman and prepared by Bob Haas.”
“Prior to my testifying before this group? No, sir,” Lindsay replied.
He also swore he didn’t know who asked Haas to do the audit.
“But you were supposed to assess the problem,” Shays pressed. “Now, this document was prepared on June 18. And this document which you have, lists various names. These are e-mails we didn’t capture. Erskine Bowles. John Podesta. Ira Magaziner. And Ira Magaziner was almost 4,000 — 3,600 more precisely. Charles Ruff, you even have five in here.”
“And this is just a snapshot of one day,” Shays added. “It’s 246,000 potential e-mails. And it doesn’t capture all the e-mails that were lost in June until November (1998).”
Shays continued: “So it kind of blows my mind that you, who work in the office, have never seen this document before, and these are the people who work for you.”
“I can’t speak as to why they did not present that document to me,” Lindsay said.
In the same hearing, Lindsay swore in an exchange with another congressman that he didn’t know the size of the universe of e-mail that escaped the archiving system.
“I did not know then,” he told Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.
In his March 23 testimony before the same panel, Lindsay led Barr to believe he wasn’t aware of the “scope and breadth” of the problem at the time.
“It must bother you tremendously to not only have not discovered the scope and breadth of the problem, but (that) you all haven’t fixed it,” said Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., sarcastically. “Don’t you find that particularly frustrating, Mr. Lindsay?”
“Absolutely,” Lindsay said.
Responding to a question from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Lindsay asserted: “I haven’t seen a technical report from my staff which has defined what e-mail were not included in the ARMS collection system.”
Lindsay did not respond to requests to discuss the June 18, 1998, report carrying his initials.
Lindsay has been promoted twice since riding herd on the Project X e-mail problem, which started in June 1998.
He was elevated to OA director shortly after. Now, as Clinton’s aide, he oversees all management and operations functions of the entire Executive Office of the President — a domain that covers the White House Office, OA and the military’s White House Communications Agency.