Skip to content

Get Judicial Watch Updates!


Judicial Watch • OIS Cases FileGate-Exhibits-10-13

OIS Cases FileGate-Exhibits-10-13

OIS Cases FileGate-Exhibits-10-13

See Generated Text   ∨

Autogenerated text from PDF

should undertake the investigation. Director Freeh assured Shapiro that should conduct the investigation.o 
Generally, the Office Professional Responsibility would investigate allegations wrongdoing within the FBI. The FBI Office Professional Responsibility investigates allegations criminal ethical misconduct employees the FBI. The FBI also has Inspection Division. The Inspection Division charged with ensuring that the FBI conducts its business according the law and regulation. 441 addition, the Department Justice Inspector General would available investigate the circumstances surrounding the improper release Billy Dale's file. The Inspector General enforces criminal and civil laws, regulations and .ethical standards within the Department Justice investigating individuals and organizations who allegedly are involved financial, contractual criminal misconduct Department Justice programs and operations. Director Freeh did not believe that the Office Professional Responsibility the Department Justice Inspector General were capable conducting investigation "properly'' "swiftly." chose his friend, Howard Shapiro, conduct the investigation.442 Howard Shapiro takes over the investigation the afternoon that Shapiro was instructed undertake investigation the events surrounding the specious request the White House already dismissed employee's FBI background file. Shapiro watched video tape Chairman Clinger's June press conference the discovery the White House request for Billy Dale's FBI background file way acquaint himself with the issues.443 
According Shapiro, Paul Cignoli, chief the FBI's Civil Discovery Review Unit, took the initiative determine whether not the background files other fired Travel Office employees had been disseminated the White House. 444 Shapiro learned that the background file Brasseux had also been obtained the White House. Shapiro advised Director Freeh this fact and the Director advised Chairman Clinger.445 FBI REPORT June 14, 1996, the FBI released the Report the FBI General Counsel the Dissemination FBI File Information the White House. The report found that the White House had sought and received hundreds FBI background investigations, ''without justification." Director the FBI Louis Freeh stated that the White House's actions constituted, "egregious violations privacy." 446 
440 Id., 29. 
441Deposition Thomas Kelley, pp. 43-44. 
442 Shapiro deposition, 28. 
443 Shapiro deposition, 25. 
445ld., 24. 
'"6 Howard 

Report the FBI General Counsel on. the Dissemination FBI File 
Informat on. the House, June 14, 1996. Statement Louis Freeh, Director, Federal Bureau Investigation. 

The report also summarized the previous practices that led these violations. There was unusuably large number requests for FBI background investigations from the White House. The FBI report recounts the dramatic increase requests from the White House during the years 1993 through 1996.447 The rise number requests attributed several factors.448 the end each administration, all files are removed from the White House for placement the Presidential library the retiring President. Therefore, order reconstruct the files necessary accommodate access for career civil servants the White House, new administrations must obtain previous reports filed those civil servants. 
According the FBI report, when administration has change party, the number files must order greater than when the preceding and succeding parties are the same political party. The FBI could provide evidence that the cal party the administration produced background files than change administration within the same political party. Particularly since the request for files issue were mostly people the political offices where there were very few holdovers, there should have been few requests for files White House Office staff. 
Director Freeh criticized the Clinton administration's abuse the FBI the accumulation FBI background files. the occasion the release the report, Freeh, promising prevent future abuse, said: 
The prior system providing files the White House relied good faith and honor. Unfortunately, the FBI and were victimized. should have known before last week about decades old system that failed. The FBI and fell victim lack vigilance, and this failure exercise proper management controls also affected the privacy rights many persons. deeply regret those problems and pledge that they will not occur again watch. Like the report which based comments, have not reached any conclusions regarding the motivation any White House employee.449 response Freeh's statement that the FBI was "victimized," White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said, not understand those statements. There has been abuse the information the files." 450 This statement came soon after the White House Chief Staff, Leon Panetta, apologized national television the "hundreds people whose classified FBI personnel files were obtained the Clinton administration and reviewed Army security officer." 451 

lessened the demand placed the FBI's White House desk. 
-s Statement Louis Freeh, Director, Federal Bureau 
June 14, 1996. "50Tim Weiner; Request for Files "Victimized" FBI, It's Director New York Times, June 
15, 1996. 451McGrory, Boston Globe, June 10, 1996. 

According the FBI report, several offices the White House can request name check background investigation: the Executive Office the President, the National Security Council, the Counsel the President, the Office Personnel Security. The requests from the Office Personnel Security, the office headed Craig Livingstone, were sent under the name the White House Counsel. signature was affixed the forms sent the Office Personnel Security.452 
The report explains that the forms are picked FBI courier and delivered the Special Inquiry and General Background Investigations Unit the FBI's Personnel Division. The forms that 
are the subject this controversy sought "copies previous request for copy previous report submitted the 
Agencies Sub-Unit the Executive Agencies, Personnel and Administrative Support Unit the Information Resources
vision. That office has staff 36: research file assistants; and clerks typists.453 Two members staff are assigned the "White House Desk." 
When the White House Desk receives requests for previous reports, obtains the FBI file number the subject the request. Once the file number found, all background investigation files are obtained the White House Desk. According Shapiro's report, these files contain 
all raw data used 
compile summaries and comply with request for the alyst confirms that the files are for person for whom the White House has requested information. Then, the analyst determines what information send the White House. Memoranda, interviews, and other documents previously prepared conjunction with the file are copied, are any letters prepared 

for the transmittal this information. The original documents are copied are listed "pull card," and stamped the back with the initials the analyst the back the file. Then, the copies the documents are sent the White House with the request.454 
Those office managing the White House 
for background files saw significant rise the number requests. Congresswoman Morella questioned Peggy Jean Larson, Supervisor the Executive Agencies Dissemination Unit, Sub-unit, the FBI. 
Mrs. MORELLA. Did there come time late '93 and early '94 when you began r.eceive large amount
quests for copies previous reports? Ms. LARSON. Yes, Ma'am. Mrs. MORELLA. your years experience with your 
unit, can you recall another instance when you received more than 400 requests for copies reports within 2-to 3-month period? 
Ms. LARSON. Probably not within 2-to 3-months period. not unusual that would have received that many requests over longer period time, but can't recall that short period time. 
452 Howard Shapiro, Report the FBI GeMral Counsel on. the Dissemination. FBI File Information the White Hause, June 14, 1996.
4.6a Id., 16. 
454.[d., 18. 

Mrs. MORELLA. Did you report the unusual number requests your supervisor? 
Ms. LARSON. made Mr. Thornton aware the fact that did have increase the number request for prior backgrounds only. 
only brought his attention because was have get some overtime. believe the 
that one employees, her husband was ill and the other analyst was rather backed up. Mrs. MORELLA. Did indicate that would follow this? wondered what his response was. 
Ms. LARsoN. His response was, did have enough help, and how much overtime did need, and were there any problems. said no, that just because one them being out, that the other analyst was need overtime. said that was fine. But far the nature the request, there was problem with that. 455 his deposition, Bourke stated that those 

the requests would not the names people for 
background investigations requested. 
Ms. OLSON. But anything that comes with the first 
two boxes, previous report name check, would 
the Name Check Unit? 
Mr. Bourum. Correct. 
Ms. OLSON. Regardless who the individual is? 
Mr. BOURI{E. Correct. mean, the who open those 
packages wouldn't know James 
you, me. Well, they would know him from me. They know from him.466 
People that office, however, did recognize the name James Baker. 
Ms. REMINGTON. late 1993, early 1994, would you 
know who Baker was? 
Ms. GEORGE. remember when got the name check 
in, Sherry Canter did it. 
Ms. REMINGTON. Did she know who runes Baker was? 
Ms. GEORGE. Yes.467 clear that there were FBI officials who recognized the high number and unusual nature the requests for background investigations coming the FBI, but they apparently relied upon the "good faith and honor" the White House. ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO REFERS THE MATTER 

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr wrote the Attorney General Janet Reno June 18, 1996, stating his reservations about the Independent Counsel conducting the investigation the dissemination FBI files the White House, because felt bis mandate lacked the scope.458 Mr. Starr had begun preliminary August 1996, pp. 71-72. 34. 
Press, Reno Orders FBI File Probe, June 19, 1996. 
inquiry the first day the Dale file became public. Mr. Starr had heretofore conducted the investigation into the White House firing seven employees the White House Travel Office. Mr. Starr sought evidence regarding the White House retrieval Dale's file, because was evidence that the White House sought damaging information with which tarnish Dale's image. the same day that Starr wrote his concerns Reno, Shapiro was notified that would tasked with conducting complete investigation both FBI and White House involvement this affair.459 a.m. June 20, 1996, Attorney General Reno made request the U.S. District Court for the District Columbia that the issue the White House retrieval FBI background investigations former Bush and Reagan administration officials added the jurisdiction the Independent Counsel.460 her public statement, Reno said, have concluded that would constitute conflict interest for the Department Justice itself investigate matter involving interaction between the White House and the FBI, component the Department Justice. Therefore, have decided today seek expansion Mr. Starr's jurisdiction from the court, that may conduct that further investigation." 461 
Once matter put within the jurisdiction Counsel, then specifically outside the jurisdiction FBI. Title the U.S. Code,  597, states that "[w]henever matter the prosecutorial jurisdiction independent counsel has been accepted independent counsel under  594(e), the Department Justice, the Attorney General, and all other officers 

and employees the Department Justice shall suspend all
and proceedings regarding such matter "The FBI, within the Department Justice, governed this provision the U.S. Code. The FBI should have suspended its investiij'ation any involvement the FBI files investigation. Mr. Shapiro was clearly without any authority investigate this matter. FBI CONTACTS THE WIIlTE HOUSE .AFrER RENO'S REFERRAL June 20, 1996, the investigation the release FBI files the White House was referred Attorney General Reno Inde
pendent Counsel Kenneth Starr. that time, the only entities 
rightfully investigating the matter were the Independent Counsel and the Committee Government Reform and Oversight. 	Freeh requests that Chairman Clinger review background investigations rather than question agents part its investigation, the committee sought learn why personnel with largely political backgrounds were placed sensitive positions the White House Office Personnel Security. Additional concerns were voiced regarding allegations impropri Shapiro l? 120. Mr. Shapiro also testified that met with the Office Independent and received briefing the Independent Counsel's investigation. 
"60 Notification the court pursuant U.S.C.  592 (a)(l) the initiation preliminary investigation and application the court pursuant U.S.C  (c)(l) for the expansion the jurisdiction Indepenent Counsel; June 21, 1996. Statement Attorney General Janet Reno, June 20, 1996. 

ety the part Livingstone and Marceca. The committee heard testimony regarding Livingstone's and Marceca's suitability for the positions they held.462 The committee initially sought interview those agents who conducted the background investigations Livingstone and Marceca. July 10, 1996 letter, Director Freeh wrote that had "grave concerns about having line Agents subjected congressional inquiry about specific investigations and respectfully ask that your committee use other means obtain the information needed for your inquiry."463 Freeh was concerned that such interviews conducted congressional committee could have "chilling effect the vigor with which our Agents conduct investigations." 464 the same letter, Freeh wrote, respectfully ask that you allow the FBI provide [the background files] you through knowledgeable managers that the Committee pursue 
acceded Director Freeh's request regarding the review Livingstone's and Marceca's background files. Barbara Olson, chief investigative counsel, arranged view the files FBI headquarters. July 15, 1996, FBI Congressional Affairs 
Director Margaret Owens spoke with Steve Colleton the IndeCounsel's Office ensure that the Independent Counsel objections making the files available the chairman and staff the Committee Government Reform and OverMr. Colleton said the office the Independent Counsel had objections the release the files the committee.466 	Shapiro notifies White House Counsel's Office, whom referred "affected parties," potential incrimination Nussbaum's statement preparation for that visit, Owens had the files retrieved. Paralegals the Civil Discovery Review Unit analyzed the files, ostensibly redact names those the files who had provided information the condition confidentiality. July 15, 1996, Paul Cignoli, Chief the Civil Discovery Review Unit, brought document Livingstone's file the attention Tom Kelley.467 Mr. Kelley realized its importance. 
The document was portion memorandum interview with Bernard Nussbaum. Nussbaum, the former Counsel the President, was interviewed Special Agent Sculimbrene conjunction with the background investigation Livingstone. the memorandum. that interview, Sculimbrene wrote March 1993: 
Bernard Nussbaum, Counsel the President, advised that has known [Livingstone] for the period time that has been employed the new administration. stone] had come highly recommended him CLINTON, who has known his mother for longer period time. [Nussbaum] was confident that the appointee lives 
462 Reneghan deposition, pp. 62-65.
4es 10, 1996 letter from Director Freeh Chairman Clinger. 

466 ld. 

29, 1996 interview Howard Shapiro the Senate Committee the Judiciary. deposition, pp. 85-86.