White House Denies Threats to E-Mail Team

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

Washington (CNSNews.com) - Several subcontractors, who discovered a glitch in the White House e-mail system that may have prevented thousands of messages regarding several Clinton Administration scandals from being searched, testified before a House committee on Thursday that they were threatened with jail terms by administration officials if they discussed the matter with anyone. However, those same officials then appeared before the same committee and claimed to have "no recollection" of issuing the threats.

"The selective memory loss of people that come before us from the White House just mystifies me," said House Committee on Government Reform Chairman Dan Burton (R-IN) after presidential assistant Mark Lindsay claimed to have no memory of a conference telephone call he allegedly had with several employees of sub-contractor Northrop Grumman about the "top secret" nature of the problem.

Lindsay and fellow White House staffer Laura Crabtree were supervisors working with a team of software engineers from Northrop Grumman who were contracted to provide computer information services for the Executive Office of the President.

Robert Haas, a member of the Northrop Grumman team, testified that, after he discovered the computer glitch, he told his NG direct supervisor Betty Lambuth about the problem.

Lambuth testified that she then took the matter to Crabtree, who, according to both Haas and Lambuth, ordered them not discuss the situation with anyone, including their spouses and their bosses at NG, or they would be jailed.

"Crabtree told me that if I did talk about the e-mail problem, I would lose my job, be arrested and jailed," Lambuth told the committee.

Haas told the panel that, when he asked Crabtree what would happen if he told his wife about the e-mail problem, she said "there would be a jail cell with my name on it."

Crabtree denied issuing threats to either Lambuth or Haas. She also said that she "never heard Lindsay make any threats", either.

However, she did not deny the nature of some of the e-mails pertaining to scandalous White House situations such as the Monica Lewinsky affair, Chinagate, campaign fund raising irregularities and Commerce Department trade missions.

Crabtree, Lambuth and former White House employee Sheryl Hall all claim that Haas perused many of the e-mails, and he allegedly told them that they dealt with White House scandals.

Haas denied reading the e-mails, saying that, in his task of recovering them, he did not have to read them.

Hall told CNSNews.com that Haas routinely would "drop in and out" of her office to discuss the e-mails and told her that they concerned "Filegate, Chinagate," and Vice President Gore.

"He offered to let me see the Lewinsky e-mails, which I declined because of privacy issues," said Hall.

Lambuth also told CNSNews.com that Haas told her about the e-mails and that they concerned the same Clinton Administration scandals.

Crabtree told the committee that Haas was extremely excited about the e-mails. He was "like a kid on Christmas day," she said.