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White House E-Mails Investigated

March 23, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Justice Department has launched a criminal inquiry into White House computer breakdowns that made it impossible to search thousands of incoming e-mails in response to congressional subpoenas.

The investigation, to be handled through Justice’s campaign finance task force, focuses on whether the subpoenas issued to the White House went unanswered because of the breakdowns. The e-mails involved campaign fund raising and other matters.

The existence of the criminal probe was revealed in papers filed by the White House counsel with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in connection with a civil case there involving the conservative-oriented legal organization Judicial Watch.

White House lawyers asked the court to stay its consideration of the e-mail issues, which had also been under the scrutiny of Justice’s civil division, until the criminal inquiry is finished.

The White House has acknowledged that thousands of incoming e-mails on campaign fund raising and other matters could not be searched in response to House subpoenas.

The task force also plans to investigate whether people were threatened with retaliation to prevent the existence of e-mails from being revealed to the Justice Department, according to the filing.

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