- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000

The White House sought the secret FBI file of a staff aide four days after she resigned following her 1993 discovery of high-ranking Clinton administration officials looking through the FBI files of ex-Reagan and Bush officials.

White House Counsel Bernard W. Nussbaum's request for the file of Deborah Perroy, a member of the National Security Council support staff who resigned Sept. 5, 1993, is contained in a Sept. 9, 1993, memo to the FBI. The request said the file was necessary because Mrs. Perroy was "being considered" for access to the White House.

But the request came at a time when Mrs. Perroy no longer needed White House access since she had just resigned. In addition, she had been cleared since 1988 for access to most areas of the White House, including the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building.

Nevertheless, the file was delivered to Mr. Nussbaum's office on Oct. 7, 1993.

Mrs. Perroy charged in an affidavit taken earlier this month as part of a pending lawsuit in the "Filegate" scandal that White House officials threatened to "come after me with false charges and allegations in order to smear my good name" after her discovery and later resignation.

In her sworn statement, Mrs. Perroy said the threat came after she witnessed Robert Manzanares, director of NSC administration, and his assistant, Marcia Dimel, reviewing confidential FBI files. She said the files included documents kept in the safe of the CIA's liaison office intended for use by CIA officials to evaluate the suitability of security clearances for White House officials.

Mrs. Perroy, who helped run offices associated with the White House Situation Support Staff and the NSC, said the files included copies of FBI background reports and other information on persons who worked for the NSC and in the West Wing during the Reagan and Bush administrations. She said they contained information on "virtually every top political and NSC aide to Presidents Reagan and Bush."

"Based on my experience working for the Clinton administration, I believe my FBI file was obtained and repeatedly sought in part because of fear I would divulge information about improper activities I witnessed at the Clinton White House and so, if I did go public … confidential information about me from my file could be used against me," she said in the affidavit.

Mr. Nussbaum, who left the White House in 1994 and now practices law in New York, did not return calls to his office for comment. Previously, he has denied any involvement in or knowledge of how the White House obtained more than 900 confidential FBI files.

The new disclosure is not the first time Mr. Nussbaum's name has surfaced as the source of a request for a confidential FBI file. Documents obtained by a House committee in 1996 showed he received the confidential FBI file of Billy R. Dale on Dec. 20, 1993, seven months after Mr. Dale had been fired as director of the White House travel office.

At the time, Mr. Nussbaum denied any wrongdoing, saying 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." Mr. Dale was indicted on embezzlement charges and later acquitted by a federal jury.

Following media reports that the Dale file had been obtained, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh accused the White House of "egregious violations of privacy" in seeking secret background files and ordered sweeping new measures to protect the bureau's sensitive background information. He said the FBI had given "inadequate protection to the privacy interests of persons in FBI files."

Mrs. Perroy is the second former White House employee to come forward with complaints of impropriety at the White House.

Sheryl Hall, a computer specialist who left her job five months ago, said in a separate lawsuit she was forced to quit because of actions "undertaken at the direction of [first lady Hillary Rodham] Clinton and in retaliation" for her "challenging the unlawfulness" of a White House database. In that suit, which named Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, she said when she complained the database violated the law, her duties were withdrawn until they were eliminated altogether.

She said that in November 1993, she "was assigned responsibility for developing the software for a new, taxpayer-financed master database that Mrs. Clinton and the DNC sought to establish for partisan, political purposes, including campaign fund raising for the DNC and the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign."

When she complained about it to Marsha Scott, then-White House Correspondence Office director, Miss Scott told her she "should 'use her imagination' to circumvent any legal restrictions." Mrs. Hall said after Mrs. Scott sent a memo to Mrs. Clinton and senior adviser Bruce Lindsey in January 1994 describing her as disloyal, her staff was cut and she was relieved of any responsibility for the databank's development.

She left the White House in September and moved to a computer management job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Mrs. Perroy said in her affidavit that when she "came across Manzanares and Dimel in the CIA liaison office," the safe where the files were kept was open and Mr. Manzanares was "pulling files out of the safe, looking through them and handing them to Dimel."

She said they were "keeping some sort of list" and "clearly reacted as if they did not expect me and had been caught doing something improper."

Her statement came as part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that accused the White House of violating employees' rights under the Privacy Act in its receipt of 900 classified FBI files. The White House has called the accusations "baseless."

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