In the Clinton White House, What You Know Can Hurt You

Article excerpt

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a scathing editorial about a violent attack by a group identified as Teamsters for Clinton on peaceful anti-Clinton demonstrators in Philadelphia. The editorial suggested a parallel between this Teamster assault and the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett by Henry II's retainers after the king had asked, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

"Now, of course, Bill Clinton did not order the Teamsters to rough up anti-Clinton demonstrators," the Journal said. "Like Henry's knights, they figured this out for themselves after hearing about the `vast right-wing conspiracy' and all that." The Teamsters are not the only ones who understand that the president expects his wishes to be translated into action. On July 28, Linda Tripp told a federal grand jury that she decided to give the Monica Lewinsky story to Newsweek to ensure she was protected when she had to testify in the Paula Jones lawsuit. She said that Lewinsky and her friend Lucianne Goldberg had warned her that the White House would destroy her if she testified truthfully. A juror asked her, "You actually felt that telling the truth would result in your life being threatened?"

Tripp replied, "Not only did I feel it, I was told it." The source, she said, was "Monica, who also feared for her life." She added, "I think that there are ... places on the tapes where she admits that she's fearful of her life, that her mother was fearful of Monica's safety and physical well-being and also says on the tapes that she feels that I am in jeopardy as well." Tripp explained that she feared losing her job and that she wondered "whether it was possible that physical harm could come to me and my children."

A juror asked for some examples of what she had experienced that would make her feel endangered. Tripp, who had been White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum's secretary, responded, "I had reason to believe that the Vince Foster tragedy was not depicted accurately under oath by members of the administration." Broadening that to include first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Travelgate, she added, "I knew based on personal knowledge, personal observations, that they were lying under oath. So it became very fearful to me that I had information even back then that was dangerous."

Asked for examples of physical violence that caused her to be fearful, she said that "the behavior in the West Wing with senior staff to the president during the time the Jerry Parks [murder] came over the fax frightened me. …