Look What's Turned Up: Computer Disk Contains Subpoenaed Lewinsky E-Mails
July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM
(CNSNews.com) - The Monica Lewinsky scandal is back in the headlines today, with a Washington Times report that says the White House has in its possession a computer disk containing e-mails Lewinsky wrote to White House employees while her affair with President Clinton was under investigation.
The Lewinsky e-mails disclosed in the Washington Times report are among thousands of messages subpoenaed between 1996 and 1998 by a federal grand jury and three congressional committees -- but never turned over.
The newspaper reports that Lewinsky wrote the e-mails to Betty Currie, Clinton's personal secretary, and to her friend Ashley Raines, who also worked in the White House. Both Currie and Raines testified before Kenneth Starr's federal grand jury during Starr's probe into the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
The Washington Times reports that U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth was told Monday about the existence of the Lewinsky e-mail disk by a Justice Department lawyer. Judge Lamberth will decide when and if that e-mail disk will be released, and to whom, the newspaper reports.
The Lewinsky e-mails are contained on a "zip disk," described as a sophisticated floppylike disk with expanded storage space. The disk was compiled after a manual search of the Lewinsky e-mail file by a Northrop Grumman contract employee named Robert Haas. (Haas worked at the White House under a computer contract.)
Making this story all the more complicated - Haas denied the disk's existence under oath last week, when he testified before the House Government Reform Committee. He most likely will be called back before the committee to explain.
The Washington Times reports that Robert Haas gave the disk containing the Lewinsky e-mails to Northrop Grumman's corporate counsel, who passed it on March 17 to Charles Easley, the security chief for the Executive Office of the President [EOP].
"EOP has not yet reviewed the contents of the disk, but has been advised by counsel for Northrop Grumman that it contains copies of e-mails from Monica Lewinsky to Betty Currie and Ashley Raines," said Justice Department lawyer James Gilligan, who represents the Executive Office of the President. Gilligan said the White House has "no knowledge or information whatsoever" on exactly what the Lewinsky e-mails say.
Betty Currie helped arrange clandestine meetings between the president and Lewinsky, and Ashley Raines was one of the friends in whom Lewinsky confided details of her sexual affair with the president.
The case of the missing e-mails came to light last month, when it was revealed that a glitch in the White House computer system prevented thousands of subpoenaed e-mails from showing up during a computer search. Later, when Northrop Grumman workers discovered the glitch, they testified that White House staffers threatened them to keep quiet about it.
White House staffers apparently didn't want anyone to know they'd discovered a mistake that kept potentially relevant e-mails out of investigators' hands.
The Justice Department says it is looking into the White House response to the e-mail snafu, and the House Government Reform Committee last week opened hearings into the alleged White House coverup. Those committee hearings will resume tomorrow, with White House Counsel Beth Nolan scheduled to testify.
Committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.) this week called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate obstruction of justice allegations centering on missing White House e-mails.
Clinton was impeached in December 1998 for lying about his affair with Lewinsky. The Senate acquitted him two months later. What we need to learn now is whether the disk containing the Lewinsky e-mails may shed new light on the impeachment case.
Meanwhile, the question remains - what's on the thousands of other e-mails that never turned up during a White House computer search? They reportedly contain information on everything from Filegate and Chinagate to campaign fundraising.