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 For Immediate Release
Sep 27, 1999 Contact: Press Office


Judicial Watch Uncovered Information At Heart of Lawsuit And Provided It To Tripp's Lawyers

Public Interest Firm Discovered Clinton White House, Political Connection to Illegal Release of Privacy Act-Protected Information

(Washington, September 27, 1999) Judicial Watch, through its prosecution of the Filegate matter, first uncovered the involvement of the Clinton White House and high-level political appointees at the Pentagon in the illegal release of Privacy Act-protected information in order to smear Linda Tripp. This information now forms the basis for a lawsuit filed today by Linda Tripp against the Clinton White House and the Clinton Defense Department. Ms. Tripp is a material witness in Judicial Watch's Filegate lawsuit. Ms. Tripp's case is thus related to the Filegate suit, where she is also a member of the plaintiff class.

The Clinton Defense Department initially blamed a "non-political" bureaucrat, Clifford Bernath, for the release of information relating to Ms. Tripp's arrest record to Jane Mayer of The New Yorker magazine. Through depositions and discovery, Judicial Watch showed that this was a lie that in fact a high level political appointee, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon, had ordered the release. (Bacon gave Bernath a $10,000 cash award around the time Bernath testified.) And just recently, Judicial Watch forced an admission from the Clinton White House that it was involved in the release. The Clinton White House admitted that spokesman Joe Lockhart had "referred" Jane Mayer to the Pentagon for the Tripp information.

Judicial Watch also uncovered Defense Department documents showing that Secretary of Defense William Cohen may have been involved in the initial release of the Tripp information. Other evidence shows Secretary Cohen directly countenanced the cover-up of the true circumstances of the Tripp information release. Judicial Watch is investigating the Tripp Pentagon file release because the Court ruled that any misuse of Tripp's file is evidence of a pattern of conduct by the Clinton White House in its misuse of Republican FBI files.

Judicial Watch had provided all this information and evidence to Ms. Tripp and her lawyers for use in the suit. Judicial Watch has already filed lawsuits similar to Tripp's on behalf of Representative Bob Barr, Billy Ray Dale and retired FBI agent M. Dennis Sculimbrene.

"Linda Tripp's privacy was invaded as surely as those Republicans and others whose FBI files were taken by this Clinton White House. In fact, her FBI file was obtained as well." stated Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman.

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