Former President, and Nothin' But a Houndog, Bill Clinton is outraged:
And still, [there's] not any example of where I ever disgraced this country publicly. I made a terrible public-personal mistake, but I paid for it, many times over. And in spite of it all, you don't have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job, where I ever let the American people down...
Let's take a walk down memory lane:
White House officials obtained FBI background material on Billy Dale seven months after he was ousted as head of the White House travel office, incorrectly asserting they were considering giving him access to the building.
The Clinton administration said it mistakenly sought the information in renewing White House passes. But Rep. William F. Clinger Jr. (R-Pa.), chairman of a House oversight panel that is looking into the travel office affair, suggested the White House was looking for negative information about Dale that might justify its controversial decision to fire him in May 1993.
....Clinger questioned whether the White House violated Dale's rights as a private citizen and lied to the FBI about why it wanted information on him. "We can't conjure up any legitimate reason why they would be requesting this information, except to find some material they could leak or float to build their sense that they did the right thing in firing Billy Dale," he said.
"I must assume that they wanted the FBI background checks to see if there was anything in Billy Dale's past that could be exploited for political advantage."
....The White House form, sent to the FBI on Dec. 20, 1993, asked for results of routine background investigations of Dale, who had worked at the White House for 32 years before he was fired and escorted from the White House complex seven months earlier. It said the information was needed because Dale was being considered for "access."
The top of the document says "To: FBI liaison, From Bernard W. Nussbaum." Nussbaum, who was then White House counsel, said in a statement yesterday he had "absolutely no knowledge of any request being made by anyone in the White House to the FBI for any report concerning Billy Dale."
"I made no such request. Nor did I authorize anyone to make such a request. Nor did I ever see any FBI reports concerning Billy Dale," Nussbaum said.
The FBI gave the White House 11 letters and 11 memos it had compiled on Dale. According to evidence presented at Dale's criminal trial, FBI background interviews with neighbors and acquaintances turned up nothing negative.
....The firing of Dale and his colleagues in the early months of the administration spawned enormous controversy. The first Whitewater independent counsel, Robert B. Fiske Jr., found the furor over the firings was a factor in the suicide of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster in July 1993.
The White House was accused of pushing out veteran workers to make way for friends of the Clintons, and of bringing in the FBI to trump up criminal charges to justify their actions. Dale was tried and acquitted of charges he embezzled money from the travel office.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
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