Staffers for President Bill Clinton had a “cavalier” attitude toward security clearance paperwork, a former Clinton White House official told radio host Aaron Klein Sunday night.
The official, Linda Tripp, also worked for former President George H.W. Bush. She is best known for secretly recording her conversations with Clinton intern Monica Lewinsky when the intern discussed her sexual relationship with the president.
“In the Bush White House, classification was critical, followed to the T and adhered to with great, great detail,” ,” Tripp explained. “And it was what I was familiar with during my 20 years in with them. It was so ingrained that it wasn’t necessarily anything new for me. When the Clintons came in, I think one of the things that was startling from the very beginning was in order to even work in the West Wing, you have to pass an extremely comprehensive background security review.”
“It’s generally a 90-day process. It costs thousands upon thousands of dollars per person, and at the end of that time you receive your security clearance, at whatever level you are secured. Mine was top-secret and above,” she said.
Tripp served as support staff to the Immediate Office of the President during the first Bush administration and Clinton administration. Her position meant she sat immediately outside of Clinton’s Oval Office.
Tripp went on to say, “When I got to the Bush White House, I couldn’t even enter the West Wing, even though I was hired to support the West Wing, until my 90 day security review had been completed. Now, in the Clinton White House, it was a year before I would say 95 percent of the senior advisers to President Clinton and their support staff in the West Wing even filled out the paperwork.”
“So it was a cavalier, loosey-goosey, ‘this isn’t important, don’t be a prude,’ because I would often bring up the fact that this had to happen, that this was not a luxury. This was a necessity. And classified material is just part and parcel of working in the West Wing in the White House on a daily basis. There was sort of a disregard for any of the rules. They certainly didn’t apply to them. That was startling.”