OIS Cases FileGate-Exhibits-03
Number of Pages:5
Date Created:August 16, 1999
Date Uploaded to the Library:July 30, 2013
Autogenerated text from PDF
-----------... -- -- -----------. ---- - - ----- --------- --------------------------- --- ----- STATEMENT BERNARD NUSSBAUM BEFORE THE COMMITTEE GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES 104TH CONGRESS, SESSION June 26, 1996 Mr. Chairman, Ms. Collins, members this Committee: you all know, was Counsel the President the United States, from January 20, 1993 April 1994. Let begin telling you something, that goes the core who am, and what believe --that the heart the values which live. The very idea obtaining FBI files for the purpose digging dirt political opponents --the very thought creating enemies list and using secret and private gov- ernment information against those individuals --is abhorrent me. contrary every bone body. contrary every ideal have. contrary the way have lived entire life. let clear. the Clinton White House knew, there was enemies list --there was deliberate misuse private government information --there was digging dirt from government files use against political opponents. anyone had committed such reprehensible act this White House, and had come attention, the attention the President, the First Lady, the individual responsible would have been thrown out his ear, and worse. Now, realize full well, that, recent weeks, you and learned --and both learned this the same time -that during tenure Counsel, serious mistake --a very serious mistake --was made the White House Personnel Security Office, which reports the Counsel's Office. Apparently, because inaccurate White House access list was provided employee that Security Off ice, FBI summary background files, which should never have been requested, were obtained that employee. That employee has sworn that the error was innocent one; that the information obtained was not disseminated anyone outside his office; that was not used for any improper purpose. the time this error was being made, 1993 and 1994, did not know was Nor, did anyone the Counsel's Office know was happening. know the quality Counsel staff. Bill Kennedy individual the highest integrity, ability and judgment. have the greatest respect and regard for him. anyone the Counsel's office --particularly Mr. Kennedy --had discovered that this error was being made, would have been halted immediately. But saying that does not excuse us. does not excuse any the Counsel's Office. especially does not excuse me. This happened watch, Counsel the President. was the responsible senior official. bear full responsibility and accept that responsibility. When testified before the Senate other matters, spoke about certain principles tried live when held public office. Those principles are: the right thing; realize that, times, your actions will misunderstood; that you will involved confl ict; that you will get bad press; acknowledge your mistakes when they occur, but you acted correctly, defend yourself, defend yourself publicly, and defend those around you, open, honest and forthright manner; principled, consistent and strong; and, most important, worry less about tomorrow's headlines, than about the judgment history. made bad mistake here and that mistake must acknowledged. Those whose files were wrongly obtained, have every right agitated, angry, knowing that even one person reviewed their private FBI files, when should not have done so. know would agitated that happened file. know would angry. was serious breach privacy. And, so, each those individuals, whose file was examined, deserves apology. And, while know will not eliminate the hurt they feel, apologize --to each and every one them. Mr. Chairman, since are talking about errors, know another err9r that was made --in connection with this matter. June 1996, three weeks ago, you held press conference, which you handed out printed form with name --a form had never seen. You called truly startling document from President Clinton's former White House Counsel, Bernard Nussbaum.11 Minutes after your press conference ended, story went out over the Associated Press wire. That story was national all day, and newspapers all over the country, the next day. This was the way that story began: WASHINGTON (AP) Then-White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum asked for and received FBI background material fired travel off ice chief Billy Dale six months after Dale was kicked out his post, congressman disclosed today. Nussbaurn's written request, turned over last week House committee, incorrectly states that the presidential lawyer was asking for the material that Dale could gain "access" the White House. U.S. Rep. William Clinger, R-Pa. suggested the written request might false statement that could prosecuted felony. your press conference, which was widely reported, you were quite direct your remarks about me. your open ing statement, you said: White House counsels are expected paragons propriety. the very least, there strong implication President Clinton's counsel acted unethically requesting confidential background checks former employee. the very worst, the request may have violated the Privacy .Act, which protects against improper disclosure confidential records and information about current and former federal employees. So, the basis printed form, you told the country, Mr. Chairman, that, best, was unethical White House Counsel; worst, was felon. The form you relied on, Mr. Chairman, has been use for over years. the FBI's recent report this matter says: "FBI staff have long understood the name the form was typically not the actual requester the information.11 You could. have called the FBI before your press conference find out that easily ascertainable fact. You could have called me. not know you called the FBI before your press conference, Mr. Chairman. But you did not call me. You did call Billy Dale. You called ask him whether ever requested access the White House after was let go. And, then, you had him stand the hall outside your press conference --so Mr. Dale could immediately tell the press that never requested such access. And Mr. Dale's attorney could say --and r quote from the story that emerged from your press conference that 11Nussbaum's written request 'very easily could be' added the Whitewater criminal investigation Prosecutor Kenneth Starr. know each other, Mr. Chairman. had cordial dealings when was White House Counsel. And you have reputation for decency and propriety. But you had member your staff call me, ask simple question --did ever request Billy Dale's FBI files six months after was fired? Was really trying dig dirt Billy Dale when was being investigated the Justice Department? Those notions are absurd their face. They are false. But one called ask. Nonetheless, you stood before the cameras suggest the country that was using the FBI dig dirt Billy Dale --that was making false statements the FBI -that could probably prosecuted for felony --that was not the paragon propriety that White House Counsel should be. Everything you suggested about me, Mr. Chairman, your press conference, was reckless falsehood. know, believe know all too well, that live age where the politics personal destruction reigns supreme. know live age where, late, dear friend, Vincent Foster said poignantly his last note, rUining people COnSidered SpOrt. Well, Vince gone, does not have bear any more. think, certainly hope, the American people are becoming tired vicious, unwarranted, baseless personal attacks --that they are becoming tired the politics personal destruction. But whether they are not --I am. Enough enough. So, this day, Mr. Chairman, when errors should acknowledged and apologies are order --will hear you acknowledge your error, Mr. Chairman? Will hear your apology? Thank you.