Filegate Debate

Did the Clinton's do anything wrong in the Filegate matter ? 


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Did the Clinton's do anything wrong in the Filegate matter ?


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In 1996 the White House pulled  files from the FBI on hundreds of Republicans
-- ostensibly for security clearance, but hundreds of former Ronald Reagan and George Bush appointees never being considered for jobs were included. Some, like Linda Tripp, were holdovers, but at least 400 were not -- from James Brady to James Baker, John Whitehead to James Carville. (Some White House snoop probably said merrily, "Let's see what they've got on Carville.")


CON 1.1

There are only seven prominent Republicans: Baker, Blankley, Brady, Duberstein, Fitzwater, Brent Scowcroft from the National Security Council and Joseph Whitehouse Hagin. If you have any others please let us know.



Some say this was an organized conspiracy in the White House to obtain these files and use them for political espionage


CON 2.1

A civilian employee from the Criminal Investigation Division of the U.S. Army, Anthony Marceca, was detailed to the White House Personnel Security Office from mid-August 1993 to March 1994. When Marceca arrived at the PSO, the security office was struggling with a number of security problems, among them the responsibility for providing permanent White House complex access badges to the all of the people working in the complex. Marceca claimed he had inherited his new job "from a longtime White House employee who had done similar work for the Reagan and Bush administrations. When he first arrived in the PSO, he obtained what he later said he thought were up-to-date Secret Service pass lists from Nancy Gemmell who then retired from the White House staff. These lists, in fact, were out-of-date lists going back into the Bush administration. According to his later deposition and testimony before congressional committees, Marceca was systematically working through the alphabet from "Aa" and had reached the beginning of the letter "G" by the time he left the job. The initial FBI count on the files he requisitioned from early December 1993 to early February 1994 was 407. Having just acquired a copy of what is evidently the final FBI list, I can tell you the list now contains 475 names, in alphabetical order from Aarhus to Goldberg, Catherine. A list of names from the letter "A" to the beginning of the letter "G" probably contains about a fourth of the names in a complete alphabetized list. This indicates that the total list must have numbered about nineteen hundred to two thousand names.


PRO 2.2

The list, still growing, is up to 900 names.


CON 2.3

Marceca's job was so large he had to break it into two parts. He had to deal with the records of over two thousand long-term White House personnel and the frequent visitors to the White House complex. The bulk of these people, possibly as many as nineteen hundred people, included the frequent visitors and the long-term employees not working in specific White House elements. According to the notes Marceca made to himself on his computer, and which were later made public, he decided to begin Project Update with the three or four hundred people in the smaller elements of the White House staff. This included the ushers, servants and kitchen personnel in the White House proper, the extensive staff of groundskeepers, the staff members of the National Security Council, and the employees of the General Service Administration and private contractors working in the White House complex. He sent memos to the head of these staffs and asked for an alphabetized list of the names of people CURRENTLY working in each element. According to press accounts, Marceca then prepared a standard form requesting that a copy of the completed background investigations on file at the FBI be furnished the PSO. These requests and the copies of the background investigations most likely also went through the White House FBI unit. It is believed that these files are being added to original number to increase the impact.



There is a very good reason that all the Republican investigations and Starr haven't come up with anything. This was nothing but White House security trying to update security passes.



It is the collective experience of those FBI personnel with the responsibility for conducting name checks and background investigations that transitions between administrations tend to be chaotic and unpredictable. This is especially true, we have learned, when a different political party is taking control of the White House. In these cases, the outgoing administration typically removes all of its records, leaving the incoming administration to totally reconstitute the entire collection of personnel records for all White House personnel, including the non-political staff who have remained. The three analysts with responsibility for the White House desk at the time of the Clinton transition had each been in EASU through six different presidential administrations and were experiencing their third change in party (Ford-Carter; Carter-Reagan; Bush-Clinton). Accordingly, the increased volume of requests received from the White House was not unexpected. Report of the FBI General Counsel on The Dissemination of FBI File Information to the White House



Although the increase in the overall volume of requests was not unexpected, the analysts did notice that an unusually large number of requests were arriving for copies of previous reports only. They recall that someone contacted the White House Security Office to ensure that its relatively new occupants understood that when such requests were made, the FBI did not conduct a complete name check. They are unable to recall who from the FBI made this call, and our brief inquiry has not yet succeeded in identifying that individual. They do recall learning that personnel in the White House Security Office understood the procedure and expressed no concern about it.

The analysts with responsibility for the White House recall quite clearly, however, that in late 1993 a large number of such requests seeking copies of previous reports were received from the Office of Personnel Security. One analyst in particular bore the brunt of the increased volume, and was compelled to work a significant amount of overtime to keep up with the incoming requests. That analyst remembers being surprised by the volume of such requests, all of which, she notes, covered names in the first several letters of the alphabet and were sought for purposes of "access." To assist in processing these requests, SIGBIU was enlisted to check their separate database to ascertain the file numbers for the previous background investigations.



There was nothing on any of the forms (or in available FBI databases) to indicate whether the individuals about whom information was sought were new employees, holdovers from the previous administration, or persons in need of only temporary access.



Among the unquestionably unjustified acquisitions were reports relating to discharged Travel Office employees Billy Ray Dale and Barnaby Brasseux. (31) The request for Dale's previous reports was received by the FBI on December 28, 1993, and a response enclosing 11 letters and 11 memoranda was returned to the White House OPS on January 6, 1994. The request for Brasseux's records request was received on December 16, 1993. It too sought copies of previous reports, and four letters and memoranda were provided to OPS on December 27, 1993. Nothing on the face of either request stood out to either of the experienced research analysts who were involved in the processing, nor did the documents collected for return to the White House in any way attract attention. Because these requests were for previous reports only, general FBI indices were not queried, so a pending criminal case involving or relating to either of these men was not, and in the general course of business would not have been, discovered.


CON 9  MARCH 17,2000

Independent Counsel Robert Ray concluded there is no credible evidence of criminal activity in the White House's improper gathering of hundreds of FBI background files. Ray also said there no credible evidence that former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum lied to Congress regarding the controversy in 1996. White House officials have said an Army detailee, Anthony Marceca, made a bureaucratic blunder in collecting the FBI files based on an outdated Secret Service list of White House passholders.







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