Mark Lindsay, a top assistant to President Clinton, has been forced
admit in federal court that sworn declarations submitted by the White
House concerning its e-mail records were false.
“We now have admissions by the Clinton-Gore White House, through a
high-ranking official, that it lied about the e-mail scandal. This,
along with the e-mail threats, must result in people going to jail,”
Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.
The $90 million class action suit filed by the Washington, D.C.-based legal watchdog group is in response to the Clinton White House’s alleged misuse of FBI background files on Republican appointees from past administrations. The White House e-mail computer problems became public in February during testimony forced by the lawsuit.
White House and Justice Department lawyers submitted the declarations that Lindsay identified as false during Wednesday’s testimony. The declarations, made by White House computer specialist Daniel Barry, falsely stated that White House e-mail was being recorded and backed up in response to subpoenas for a wide variety of White House scandals.
Lindsay, who currently serves as assistant to the president for management and administration, also was forced to admit in his testimony that a statement issued by White House spokesman Jake Siewert that the “entire (White House) e-mail system” had been searched was false. Lindsay initially claimed the statement was true, but later admitted it was not. Hundreds of thousands of e-mails, including e-mail from Vice President Al Gore, have not been searched.
Lindsay also repeated the testimony he gave to Congress last spring, denying allegations that he threatened employees. Lindsay specifically denied he had threatened White House contract employee Betty Lambuth.
“Absolutely not true,” responded Lindsay to sharp questioning about the alleged threats from Judicial Watch attorneys.
Lambuth, who left the White House in 1998, still works for the contractor that services the White House e-mail system. In a March deposition, Lambuth said Lindsay forbade her from telling anyone about the e-mail problem, including her contract employer.
According to Lambuth, Lindsay told her that “if I or any of my team who knew about the e-mail problem told anyone else about it, we would lose our jobs, be arrested and put in jail.”
Lindsay has also been accused by several Northrop Grumman employees who worked on White House e-mail computer accounts of threatening them with “jail” and telling the contractors to “take no notes” about the cover-up.
Lindsay directly contradicted the testimony of White House employee and whistleblower Sheryl Hall. Hall is credited with first discovering the White House e-mail problem and questioning contractors about the missing data.
“When the contractors told the White House about the problem, they were threatened, warned not to discuss it,” stated Hall in an earlier deposition. “They were told the documents were classified.”
On Tuesday, Lindsay was instructed by his Justice Department lawyer not to answer questions, citing “executive privilege.” U.S. Federal District Judge Royce C. Lamberth sustained the privilege pending further briefing before the court.
“The executive privilege was improperly asserted,” charged Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “The president needs to issue the executive privilege — not a government attorney. Besides, it simply does not apply here.”
The White House e-mail scandal, dubbed “Project X” by the software contractors involved, covers a wide variety of Clinton/Gore White House legal problems such as Whitewater, Chinagate, campaign fund-raising and Monica Lewinsky. Lamberth is continuing to hold court hearings to determine how to access the missing e-mail messages and pass them to the various investigators.
According to Fitton, the actions of President Clinton are reminiscent of a previous White House occupant.
“Executive privilege is not designed to prevent the public from learning about discussions held with President Clinton concerning matters of a criminal nature such as Project X,” said Fitton. “I think we learned that lesson with Richard Nixon.”