- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Former President Clintons attorney and Arkansas State Police violated the law in refusing to make public 10 boxes of documents collected during the Whitewater investigation, a former FBI supervisor says.
Agent Ivian C. Smith, who headed the FBIs Little Rock, Ark., field office during the height of the Whitewater probe, said in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit he was denied access to the never-released documents in what he called an effort to keep them from becoming public.
Mr. Smith, who retired in 1998, said the documents include five boxes of undisclosed records found in the attic of a building owned by state police located near the Arkansas governors mansion, none of which was ever entered into state police archives.
Arkansas state officials have ruled that the documents are Mr. Clintons "working papers" and, as such, not subject to the FOIA request. On Friday, Mr. Smiths attorney, Mark F. Hampton, will ask Pulaski County Circuit Judge John Ward in Little Rock to overturn that decision.
"I have prepared subpoenas for the records and await the judges ruling," Mr. Hampton said. "The question that will be decided is whether the state Attorney Generals Office erred in determining that the documents were Mr. Clintons working papers. If it did, we stand ready to take custody of them."
The documents were scheduled to be delivered May 10 to Mr. Clintons Little Rock attorney, John Tisdale, following a ruling by Arkansas Assistant Attorney General Wendy Michaelis that they were not subject to the FOIA request. Mr. Tisdale, custodian of records during Mr. Clintons tenure as Arkansas governor, did not return calls for comment but previously has called the documents "clearly exempt."
Michael Teague, spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor, said lawyers at the office determined that the five boxes found in the attic did not belong to state police and were returned to Mr. Tisdale as the custodian of the Clinton records. He said five other boxes have not yet been returned by the independent counsels office, and that — pending a review — no decision had been made on their future.
The Smith lawsuit, filed May 8, seeks all "notes, reports and other written information" provided by Arkansas State Police in 1995 to the independent counsels office "in connection with its investigation of former President Bill Clinton and others."
Mr. Smith said he never had access to the documents, was not allowed to review their contents and was blocked from investigating the circumstances of their discovery.
He said the documents were never incorporated into the Arkansas State Police record system and were "secreted in the attic of a house" owned by state police near the governors mansion.
He said he was told the house was used by state employees and prison inmates who worked at the mansion as a place to relax and for equipment storage but was never advised that it also served as a depository for state police records.
"What could those documents contain that would cause them to be handled in such an unusual manner," Mr. Smith said in a statement provided by his attorney. "But given the history of those documents, I was not convinced they would be maintained in a manner consistent with the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and made available to anyone who had an interest in their content.
"I certainly considered them to be of potential historical value and I believed then, and now, that those documents, created by Arkansas State Police personnel at considerable taxpayer expense, should be readily available for scrutiny by anyone," he said.
Mr. Smith, who has written a book about his FBI career, denied the lawsuit had anything to do with the books pending publication. He said he completed the book last year and submitted it to the FBI review process in January.
At Fridays hearing, Mr. Hampton will ask Judge Ward to order state police to produce the records and will seek a protective order that they not be destroyed while the matter is under review.
Mr. Hampton has argued that among the documents are records generated by state police assigned to the governors security detail that cannot be considered Mr. Clintons working papers. He also said state police made arrangements to deliver the documents to Mr. Tisdale while his clients lawsuit was pending in an attempt to "usurp the purpose of the FOIA law."
Mr. Smith, who now lives in Virginia, was among four FBI agents on the Justice Departments campaign finance task force who told a Senate committee in 1999 that Justice officials blocked efforts to pursue key investigative targets.
In testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Mr. Smith and the others described Justice Department lawyers assigned to oversee the probe as nonaggressive prosecutors who sought to impede or delay the investigation with "ludicrous" restrictions.
Mr. Smith, along with agents Daniel Wehr, Roberta Parker and Kevin Sheridan, told the committee that Justice Department supervisor Laura Ingersoll, who later was replaced as the lead attorney, improperly prevented them from executing search warrants when they sought to stop the destruction of evidence by task force target Charles Yah Lin Trie.


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