The Clintons’ first email scandal: Project X (1996-1998)

The Clintons’ first email scandal: Project X (1996-1998)

During Bill Clinton’s tenure in the White House a “glitch” (or person) turned off the automatic email archiving system causing the loss of of around one million emails. The missing emails just “happened” to occur at the time that Kenneth Starr was subpoenaing emails for the Monica Lewinsky scandal and Congress was asking for emails because they were investigating “Filegate.”

The missing emails just “happened” to be from the accounts of President Clinton and others who were being investigated in the above scandals, and the people who discovered the gap were threatened with jail if they spoke about it.

According to a House Oversight Committee report released in Dec. 2000, the White House had installed an Automated Records Management System (ARMS) to store all electronic correspondence in one central place, thus making it easier to respond to document subpoenas. Due to a misconfiguration in the system, emails sent to about 500 White House officials was never recorded. The emails were first discovered missing in January 1998, but the extent of the problem was not realized until later that year.

Top White House officials were notified in June. Despite the fact that emails were being subpoenaed in a number of civil and criminal cases, including the Lewinsky affair and Filegate scandal, the White House did not notify investigators that some of them were missing. In mid-February 2000, the ex-chief of White House computer operations, Sheryl Hall (who had moved to the Treasury Department), came forward with allegations that Clinton administration officials were involved in an email coverup. Betty Lambuth, working for a private employer under contract to the White House, charged that White House technicians had been threatened with loss of job, arrest, and jail if they revealed the problem.

The White House later said the problem was an unintentional “glitch” and “blamed it on “human error,” attributing it to a “disconnect” between technicians and lawyers who apparently did not realize that the computer mistake might have an effect on the pending subpoena requests.

Betty Lamuth, who worked for CEXEC, a subcontractor to Northrop-Grumman, which ran and maintained the White House computer system, heard about the missing email from one of her subordinates, Robert Haas. Hass audited the White House system in June 1998 because he and other technicians discovered that automated archiving system wasn’t scanning and storingiInternet email sent to the server used by the Executive Office of the President. Lamuth testified under oath that when she informed the White House, Office of Administration counsel Mark Lindsay told her ”that if I or any of my team who knew about the email problem told anyone else about it we would lose our jobs, be arrested and put in jail.”

She said Lindsay specified that she was not to tell even her private-sector boss, Steve Hawkins, who she said eventually removed her from her White House assignment when she refused to tell him about the email problem. Lambuth said she and her co-workers dubbed the email problem ”Project X,” (as a joking reference to the TV show “The X Files) and because of the threats, she and her staff took to meeting in a park close to the New Executive Office Building and in a nearby Starbucks when discussing the matter.

Lambuth also told the court that “a subordinate told her some of the emails deal with “Vice President Al Gore’s involvement in campaign fund-raising controversies” and “the sale of Clinton Commerce Department trade mission seats in exchange for campaign contributions.” The subordinate said the emails also contained information on the White House’s improper gathering of FBI background files of long-ago Republican appointees and the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal.

A Northrop Grumman official, Joseph Vasta, testified that the Clinton-Gore White House intimidated Northrop Grumman into participating in the email cover-up. Vasta testified that it was made apparent that Northrop Grumman could lose its $50-million contract if it didn’t play ball with the Clinton-Gore White House.”

Not All of the White House emails were lost– just the ones on the Email 2 server. The officials served by Email 2 included Doris Matsui, Marsha Scott, Sidney Blumenthal, Cheryl Mills, Bruce Lindsey, Erskine Bowles, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Hernreich, John Podesta, Ira Magaziner, Ann Lewis, Charles Ruff, Lanny Breuer, Paul Begala, and President Clinton.

If some of those names sound familiar, they should. People such as Sidney Blumenthal and Cheryl Mills have been questioned as part of the present Clinton email scandal, and John Podesta is Hillary’s current presidential campaign manager. Bruce Lindsey was chairman of the board of the Clinton Foundation from 2003 to 2013, which includes Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State. According to Peter Schweizer’s best-selling book “Clinton Cash,” this was a period during which the foundation and State Department were involved in cronyism.

By the way, Sheryl Hall had discovered an earlier possible Clinton  violation of the law:

In early 1994, when a White House database was being developed, ostensibly for use as the First Lady’s Christmas card list, she became concerned about the inclusion of political information such as contributions to the Democratic National Committee. She found the White House was exchanging tapes and information with the DNC.

Hall said she believed that using government resources for political purposes was a violation of the Hatch Act. She discussed her objections to this with her immediate supervisor and with Patsy Thomasson, who was at that time the assistant director of the Office of Management and Administration, and Marsha Scott. Scott, who came from Arkansas with the Clintons, has been very close to the president. She has been called his “hippie girl friend.” Scott told Sheryl Hall that the database was top priority for Hillary and that the president was also very interested in it. A few weeks after these conversations she was taken off the project.

At least according to documents remaining on the web, news about “Project X” began to disappear in October 2000, as the country approached the presidential election. The mainstream media may have been trying to protect then-Vice President Al Gore as he campaigned for a promotion (which sounds like the present Clinton email case where the MSM is doing its best to cover up the scandal). As much as can be discerned from this investigation, the Project X emails dealing with the Clinton White House scandals have never been discovered and/or turned over to the national archives.

It is pure speculation on my part but the Project X scandal may have been the real reason for Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server and desire to have complete control of her email.

Cross-posted at The Lid

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff Dunetz is editor and publisher of the The Lid, and a weekly political columnist for the Jewish Star and TruthRevolt. He has also contributed to, HotAir, and PJ Media’s Tattler.

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