Clinton-era 'Filegate' case tossed out
By Al Kamen
Filegate, one of the many "-gates" that erupted during the Clinton administration, looks to be over after a 14-year run. It began after congressional Republicans found out in 1996 that the Clinton White House had sought the FBI file of Billy Ray Dale, who was fired as head of the White House travel office in the Travelgate affair.
The new information led to allegations that the administration conspired to use the FBI for a political witch hunt. The alleged conspirators included former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum and aides Craig Livingstone and Anthony Marceca. Several people whose personnel files were involved then sued White House officials and the FBI for violating their privacy.
But on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth tossed the case. "After years of litigation, endless depositions, the fictionalized portrayal of this lawsuit and its litigants on television," Lamberth concluded in a 28-page opinion, "this court is left to conclude that with the lawsuit, to quote Gertrude Stein, 'there's no there there.'"
The plaintiffs, he wrote, "after ample opportunity... have not produced any evidence of the far-reaching conspiracy that sought to use intimate details from FBI files for political assassinations that they alleged.
"The only thing that they have demonstrated is that this unfortunate episode -- about which they do have cause to complain -- was exactly what the defendants claimed: nothing more than a bureaucratic snafu."
March 9, 2010; 6:45 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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