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 For Immediate Release
Jan 8, 1999 Contact: Press Office


Says White House's Release of Willey Letters Was "Appropriate"

Judicial Watch Probing Davis' Conduct, Along With Blumenthal and Others In Filegate Class Action Lawsuit

Today, Lanny Davis, the previous Special White House Counsel during the Congressional campaign finance probes, and known for his spin with the media, and undying defense of President Clinton (no matter what the issue), defended Sidney Blumenthal's conduct -- as alleged by Christopher Hitchens and Carol Blue in sworn affidavits -- as totally appropriate. Specifically, Davis defended the White House's release of the Kathleen Willey letters to the media.

During Judicial Watch's Filegate lawsuit, it was discovered that the Willey letters had been stored in a White House filing system, subject to the Privacy Act. It was further found that release of the letters had been discussed by the President and James Carville in advance of their release. In the Hitchens' affidavit, which recounted a lunchtime conversation shortly before the Willey letters were released by the White House, he states that Sidney Blumenthal predicted that Kathleen Willey's high public approval would begin the fall in the near future. Of course, the release of the Willey letters caused this.

During Judicial Watch's deposition of Lanny Davis, he admitted to providing materials on perceived Clinton critics to the media from White House files. See Page 35 of Judicial Watch Interim Report at Could Mr. Davis feel a need to defend Mr. Blumenthal, because his own White House conduct during the campaign finance and other probes might now also be subject to investigation by government authorities, as part of a pattern of similar conduct?

In any event, it is clear that the dissemination of the Willey letters violated the Privacy Act, which carries both civil and criminal penalties. The issue is relevant to the Filegate case because a pattern of violating the Privacy Act would raise an evidentiary inference that the acquisition of FBI files was not an "innocent snafu," as the White House has maintained.

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