More Testimony in White House E-Mail Flap

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

Washington ( A top White House administrator told a House Committee Wednesday that a large volume of e-mail, recently found to have been deleted from White House aide Sidney Blumenthal's personal computer at the height of the Clinton impeachment crisis, was due to computer errors.

The Director of the White House Office of Administration, Michael Lyle, testified in the ongoing hearings that focus on the disappearance of potentially damaging memos that may have been related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Lyle told House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) that an e-mail sent to Blumenthal in December 1998 from the US Embassy in London, "ended in a loop and was sent over and over again." That, said Lyle, resulted in "a large mass of data," which caused Blumenthal's computer to fail. To correct the problem, Lyle said numerous duplicates were deleted, but the original message was preserved, and presumably sent to the committee with other subpoenaed messages.

While Congress has subpoenaed many documents in the case, the White House says it may invoke executive privilege to prevent Congress from seeing some of them.

Also appearing before the panel Wednesday was White House Branch Chief of Systems Integration and Development, Karl Heissner, who was heavily involved in the effort to recover the missing e-mails. He told the committee he knows of no attempts by anyone at the White House to impede the investigation. He added that his responsibilities are mainly technical and he has no knowledge of any communication between White House lawyers and the White House or between the White House and Congress.

"I would not be privy to communication between the White House and this committee. I have no knowledge of information forwarded by the White House to the committee", said Heissner. On Thursday, other former White House officials are expected to testify in the case.