- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2000

A judge has ordered the Department of Defense to turn over documents related to leaked personal information on Linda R. Tripp.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth signed an order Monday requiring the department to produce telephone records and other documents in the so-called "Filegate" lawsuit.

It gives the agency 20 days to produce records concerning the Defense Department's "and/or the White House's release of information from Linda Tripp's DoD files to [New Yorker magazine] reporter Jane Mayer and or others and any and all attempts to withhold information from the public and/or investigators about the details of that release."

"The court's decision opens the door to Judicial Watch's seeking penalties for this apparent obstruction," said Larry Klayman, who filed the suit for the conservative watchdog group.

Defense Department lawyer Brad Wiegmann declined to comment on the case, saying he "just got back from vacation" and has "not seen the order yet."

The case stems from Judicial Watch's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit seeking $90 million over the Clinton administration's mishandling of confidential FBI background files on eight former White House employees.

The new order in the case also requires disclosure of records "to or from any member of the media concerning" Mrs. Tripp, the defense employee who exposed President Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

It also seeks records concerning the Investigative Group Inc. and "any and all documents or communications concerning or relating to the detailing of Anthony Marceca to the White House."

Mr. Marceca is a former Army civilian employee who helped collect confidential FBI background files in late 1993 and early 1994 on Reagan and Bush administration officials.

Also to be turned over is a letter that details how the Pentagon in 1998 improperly provided the news media with information from Mrs. Tripp's personnel file, in which she incorrectly stated that she had never been arrested. In fact, Mrs. Tripp was arrested in 1969 for grand larceny, then freed on a reduced charge of loitering.

The letter by Les Blake, chief of the Pentagon's freedom of information and privacy office, said that he was criticized by a Pentagon superior because Mr. Blake e-mailed the superior details of how Mrs. Tripp's personnel information was released to the New Yorker magazine.

Mr. Blake said he was told by Margaret Munson, "I should not have put in writing the circumstances of the release … as this constitutes a 'record' and this is a very serious issue, which could involve the impeachment of the President."

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