- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2000

A top White House official lied to a federal court about missing White House e-mail messages, making "false and intentionally deceptive" statements in an affidavit prepared by the Justice Department, the chairman of a House committee said yesterday.

Rep. Dan Burton, the Indiana Republican who is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, told U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth in a letter he intends to ask today for a criminal investigation of Daniel "Tony" Barry, computer specialist for the Executive Office of the President.

Mr. Burton said Mr. Barry swore in an affidavit "under the penalty of perjury" that e-mails sent to the White House had been collected in an Automated Records Management System (ARMS), although thousands were missing and the White House knew it.

The July 9, 1999, affidavit was sent to Judge Lamberth as part of a pending "Filegate" case lawsuit.

"Mr. Barry was aware that a large number of e-mails had not been archived in the ARMS system," Mr. Burton said in the letter. "Consequently, tomorrow I will submit a criminal referral regarding this false statement, signed by him and made under the penalty of perjury, to the Justice Department."

Mr. Burton advised the judge that House investigators had been told that Justice Department lawyers who helped Mr. Barry with the affidavit "were aware that the information was misleading."

He also said he was concerned that lawyers in the White House Counsel's Office "were also involved in this deception."

"In short, it may well be that Justice Department and White House attorneys were involved in a conspiracy to commit a fraud upon your court," Mr. Burton said.

In the July 1999 affidavit, Mr. Barry told the court: "Since July 14, 1994, e-mail within the EOP system administered by the Office of Administration has been archived in the EOP Automated Records Management System."

But the White House had been told a year earlier by contract workers from Northrop Grumman Corp. that thousands of e-mails had never been collected including those under subpoena by the Justice Department and three congressional committees.

The Burton concerns are expected to be a focus of hearings today, when White House Counsel Beth Nolan and Assistant Attorney General Robert Raben, who heads the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs, testify on the missing e-mail messages.

Yesterday, President Clinton said at a press conference the White House "turned over everything that had been found" and that e-mails that were not surrendered under subpoena were located "in a different system."

He did not elaborate, saying Miss Nolan was scheduled to appear before the House committee today "to talk about this."

"We're working out how to cooperate with the Congress," he said. "But my counsel will talk about it tomorrow, and I'm confident that whatever is the right thing to do, we'll do."

Last week, the Justice Department began a probe into the missing e-mails. Task force chief Robert J. Conrad Jr., in court papers, said his office was trying to determine if the White House "fully complied with" subpoenas for the e-mails and if Northrop Grumman employees were "threatened with retaliation" to keep the messages from being turned over.

Mr. Conrad said the White House e-mail-management system had "for some period" failed to collect incoming electronic messages sent to several officials, some of which may have included "communications related to various criminal investigations."

• Andrew Cain contributed to this report.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide