OIS Cases FileGate Exhibits-29
Number of Pages:3
Date Created:August 16, 1999
Date Uploaded to the Library:July 30, 2013
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FIVE PRESIDENTS AND THE LEGACY WATERGATE BOB 32.6 SHADOW reason continue have access the White House complex: 1'his explanation sounded innocuous Sherburne. But why would have pulled Billy Dale's file after Dale was fired? "I've figured out," Livingstone reported later phone. "I've figured out. Let come over and show you this list I've got" soon crune barreling in, sweaty but enthusiastic that had explanation. "Look, here is," Livingstone said, pointing Billy Dale's iname multi-paged list. "There's his name. This the Update Project." Sherburne glanced some the other names the first page.James Addison Baker. Was that the former secretary state ti..., Bush administration? Anthony Blankley. The same Tony Blank-press secretary House Speaker Newt Gingrich? Why would these former officials, prominent Republicans, need regular access the Clinton White House? "Wait minute," she said, "did you get all these?" "Yes." "You mean this administration asked the FBI for all these files?" "Yes." "You mean have them?" looked like there were several hundred the list. "Yes." Livingstone said they were archived records man :BILL CLINTON know. Bernie Nussbaum name peared the request for Billy Dale's file time when NllSSba.um had been counsel, the lawyers his office explained. There was form sent the FBI liaison. Quinn had never heard seen the form. "You mean that requests the FBI out name counsel that never see?" Yes. "That ends today," Quinn said. Quinn also suggested that Sherburne cill the FBI general counsel, Howard Shapiro, and send the :files back. Sherburne reached Shapiro. "I'll send someone over tomorrow;" Shapiro said. ''No, no, now," Sherburne said. really don't WID.lt these here, now that know they exist." Next, Sherburne called Paxton, who reported the files were :five six boxes. "Don't touch it," she said, "don't open them." The FBI was the way. crwe're going wait until these guys get here." The records management people. were nonpolitical civil servants, she noted. "Make sure those records management people never leave the room when.you're it." The FBI agents came, put rubber gloves and did inventory the records. The records personnel signed affidavits, and the boxes were carried back the FBI. The next morning, Panetta, Ickes, Stephanopoulos and Sher agement the top floor the Old Executive Office Building. Sherburne went upstairs find Ickes. This screwup was bad, burne went infonn the president. had mistake, she thought. Who would ever stupid? She explained the situation Ickes, who started laughing the absurdity.. After Sherburne's report, Ickes marched her down chief staff Panetta's office, grabbing Stephanopoulos the way. Sherburne had not been top the situation. She didn't know the first year and half his administration. months, joined the criticism. WP"t they had sent Clinger, who was now clobbering them Billy Dale. From Panetta's office, Sherburne called one the lawyers, Sally Paxton, ask her the old records management office and get the boxes, make sure that fact they did exist, that the White House had hundreds FBI files Republicans. Paxton soon reported that they did. The files were detailed bureaucratic summaries for all the FBI information that might be.relevant. They included derogatory allegations that might come only from one source, neighbor co-worker, times unnamed, raw and unverified allegations. Who had made these requests the FBI? Quinn wanted Sherburne said she didn't have one. Clinton interrogated her. Why didn't they know what happened? The only way stop his anger was blunt. "IfI had answer, Mr. President," she said, "I' give you, but can't make up." They discussed what the president's public response might be. Because the uproar, was going have say something. Stephanopoulos had already sought frame bureaucratic blunder. The president was scornful ofthat approach. Sherburne still thought was too fantastic for anyone lieve had been done intentionally. SHADOW No, no, Clinton said. This file-gathering was going ness, another big mess. Mark Fabiani was worried that they didn't have nailed down, tot even close. refused make statement his name. But the 1ressure say something was intense, and Sherburne issued the tatement .in her name later that day, June "We believe "Mr. Dale's ecords may have mistakenly been sought," she said. Sherburne informed Hillary about the discovery the FBI iles. "You know," the first lady said, "before this over I'm going responsible for this too." "Oh, come on! You're not anywhere near this." "Just wait," Hillary said, "they'll :find way." one White House meeting, the president asked, "Why aren't investigating this?" again wanted know what had hap.ened. But White House self-investigation was longer possible, the travel office fiasco had proven. Attorney General Reno immediately announced that her leputy, Jamie Gorelick, would coordinate review how Billy )ale's FBI file was sent the White House long after his disnissal. Gorelick had been white-collar criminal defense attorney years the firm Jack Miller, private attorney for Richard ixon. Prior becoming deputy attorney general 1994, Goreick had served for year general counsel the Defense Departnent. the Pentagon she had found that the principle civilian :ontrol was ingrained even the most crusty and hidebound generls and admirals. One her jobs deputy the Justice Departa.ent was liaison with the FBI. Unlike the military, the FBI viewed tself independent power, the neutral investigative arbiter. in. badly the Watergate investigation when Nixon and his iVluu:: House had manipulated and attempted control the bureau, FBI bristled direction from the Justice Department the IVhite House. FBI Director Louis Freeh regularly proclaimed that had institutional interests and had protect the FBI scrupuously from the slightest appearance political taint. Freeh asigned his general counsel, Howard Shapiro, investigate, and eam set out try figure out what happened. Freeh presented his findings Friday, June 14. Gorelick read report, and showed, conclusively her opinion, that there was political motive. Gorelick was surprised hear Freeh was issuing accompa- BILL CLINTON nying statement the inquiry. She hadn't known the FBI director was going comment publicly. She read the statement. "Unfortunately, the FBI and were victimized," Freeh said. promise the American people that will not happen again watch." The Republicans were already having field day with the issue. Now the FBI was proclaiming had been "victimized." The White House was stunned, and Mike McCurry said publicly did not understand the FBI statement. Gorelick, who has bad temper, was furious when she reached Freeh. She pointed out that his statement about being "victimized" was inconsistent with his own report. "Tbis not right!" she yelled the director. Freeh said did not know about the statement himself. Someone the bureau press office had drafted and released it. "Fixitl" Gorelick shouted. Within hours, Freeh issued clarifica.ti.on. "The FBI and fell victim lack vigilance," said, talcing responsibility. Because Suirr had jurisdiction the travel office investigation since the Watkins memo had been found six months before, had his deputies prelimfoary study the Billy Dale FBI file issue. Suirr decided didn't want further and issued statement that someone else should assigned. had enough work. Reno and Gorelick concluded that the solution was quick, credible and thorough investigation that would made public. But everyonewas hopelessly compromised. The FBI couldn't investigate itself. The White House was the center, and the Justice Department also would have zero credibility investigating its own bureau the White House. "This impossible," Reno told Gorelick. Experts the criminal division noted that many the witnesses the FBI files were already being interrogated Starr his probe the travel office. They didn't want two prosecutors stumbling over the same witnesses. a.m., Gorelick called John Bates Starr's office. would impossible for anyone else, she said. Reno needed Starr take full jurisdiction investigate the entire FBI :files question. Starr found hard say the attorney general on June 20, Reno made application the three-judge panel, requesting that the FBI files assigned Starr. The next day the three-judge panel agreed and issued the order. Once again, the third time that year, Starr was obliged change his structure and increase his staff.