Archives E-Mail Records Sought

By Seper, Jerry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 25, 2000 | Go to article overview

Archives E-Mail Records Sought


Seper, Jerry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Independent counsel Robert W. Ray has subpoenaed National Archives records to determine whether White House officials hid e-mail messages being sought by a federal grand jury and congressional committees.

The subpoena, issued last week, calls for the archives - the government's official record keeper - to turn over documents "relating to record-keeping practices in the executive office of the president." Archives officials advised the White House on how to maintain its electronic mail.

Spokeswoman Susan Cooper said the agency "intends to comply as required."

Mr. Ray, named in October to replace independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, is wrapping up a six-year investigation of the Clinton administration, including the writing of a final report and a determination on whether President Clinton will be indicted once he leaves office.

The subpoena puts Mr. Ray in the middle of an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department's campaign finance task force and congressional committees into accusations the White House hid the e-mail messages and threatened contract workers to keep the documents secret.

The Justice Department probe began in March. Task force chief Robert J. Conrad Jr., according to papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, said the inquiry is aimed at determining whether subpoenas issued by his office for the e-mail messages were "fully complied with."

He also wants to know whether Northrop Grumman Corp. employees working on the White House computer system were "threatened with retaliation" to keep the messages from being turned over.

Mr. Conrad told the court the task force has learned that the White House's e-mail management system had "for some period of time" failed to collect incoming electronic messages sent to several officials, some of which may have included "communications related to various criminal investigations."

Some of the missing e-mail messages, perhaps as many as 4,000, are said to have involved Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Mr. Clinton admitted having a sexual relationship.

Mr. Ray's office was the lead agency in the Lewinsky probe and took the matter before the grand jury, issuing subpoenas for documents concerning her contacts and conversations with others about the affair.

The independent counsel's office, which is interviewing witnesses in the e-mail flap jointly with task force investigators, wants to know if officials at the archives knew about the missing e-mail messages, when they learned of them and if they had information on whether they were related to the Ray investigation. …

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