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Lindsay 'out-and-out lied' about Project X

WASHINGTON — Don’t talk about it. Don’t take any notes. Don’t keep
any documents.

Those were the instructions the former head of White House computer
operations says she got from a top Clinton aide regarding the Project X
e-mail scandal.

In a June 1998 meeting, Kathleen Gallant says then-White House lawyer
Mark F. Lindsay warned her the discovery of a large gap in West Wing
e-mail records under subpoena was so “sensitive” that “we could keep no
notes about it.”

In her first public testimony, Gallant also said Lindsay denied in a
later meeting ever making the comments.

“That was an out-and-out lie,” Gallant, a Clinton appointee, said
yesterday in a federal court hearing about the missing e-mails. “I
didn’t trust Mark from that point forward.”

Her statements cast further doubt on Lindsay’s own testimony.
He’s now supervising the court-ordered e-mail search project.

Asked under oath in a March 23 congressional hearing if he “attempted
to cover up the problem,” Lindsay replied “absolutely not.”

In the same 1998 meeting, which included Lindsay confidant Laura
Crabtree Callahan, Gallant says she first heard of the e-mail archiving
problem referred to as Project X.

“They told me they were calling it Project X,” she said, to help keep
things secret.

But Lindsay told Congress another story in a May 4 hearing.

Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn.: “Didn’t they call it Project X?”

Lindsay: “I never called it Project X.”

Shays: “Did you ever hear it referred to as Project X?”

Lindsay: “I heard about it here when I heard the testimony of some of
the Northrop Grumman employees.”

Several Northrop Grumman computer contractors have testified Lindsay
also ordered them in other June 1998 meetings to keep the missing
e-mails secret. Three swear he and Callahan both threatened them.

Lindsay and Callahan deny it. Gallant backs the contractors’ version.

She says she sat down with five of the contractors shortly after she
met with Lindsay. “They were all very nervous about talking to me,” she

After some prodding, some of them confided that Lindsay and Callahan
had threatened them to keep mum about the e-mail problem.

They said they were told it was a “classified matter,” and that
they’d be jailed if they told even their spouses, Gallant recalled.

Gallant brings to six the number of witnesses who either say they
were personally threatened or heard about the threats at the time.

Lindsay, along with Callahan, swore March 23 they never made the

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.: “Did you threaten any of these

Lindsay: “Absolutely not. I didn’t, and I’m not aware of any threats
being made by any government employee to any Northrop Grumman

Lindsay also claimed not to remember his June 15, 1998, meeting with
the contractors.

“I’ll be perfectly honest,” he testified, “I don’t have a
recollection of having specific conversations with them.”

He added that he never dealt with the contractors directly because
the “contractors did not report to me. They all went to the technical
staff,” such as Gallant.

So by Lindsay’s own account, the June 15 meeting with the contractors
— which even Callahan recalls — would have been rare. And memorable.

Also, Gallant testified she tried to quickly stop the e-mail-records

But no funds were available for several months, causing still more
e-mails to go hidden from investigators. The main archiving “glitch”
wasn’t fixed until November 1998.

She also tried in vain to restore and search the unarchived e-mail
from emergency back-up tapes.

But again, she couldn’t get funding or the attention from higher-ups
like Lindsay. Memos from Gallant reflect her frustration over the

The trove of potential evidence still sits on 3,400 tapes stored in a
White House basement. A federal judge hearing a Judicial Watch lawsuit
against the White House is weighing how to retrieve the data.

“I was told on a weekly basis that Mark was on top of it,” she said.
“I didn’t understand the delays.”

Gallant says she had several run-ins with Lindsay in 1998. Finally,
after one heated exchange in September 1998 — during which Gallant told
Lindsay “to go to hell” — she quit.

Gallant left the White House Oct. 12, 1998.

Lindsay, on the other hand, was put on the White House fast track
after the e-mail debacle.

He went from Office of Administration’s general counsel and chief of
staff to OA director to his current senior position as assistant to the
president for all White House management and administration.

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