THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL GREGORY CRAIG The Stakeout
4:10 P.M. EST
MR. CRAIG: Good afternoon. Judge Johnson has found evidence of serious and repetitive prima facie violations of grand jury secrecy with respect to 24 different news stories. She's called for a complete and thorough review of this matter. This lends credence to what we have been saying all along.
We believe that the Office of the Independent Counsel has been waging a campaign of leaks against the President in an improper effort to influence public and congressional opinion. And it has done so in direct violation of federal laws safeguarding the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings. The lengthy list of potential violations identified by the court is stunning. All of this raises again the specter of the pattern of bias and unfairness that we believe has characterized this investigation.
Rule 6(e) is the law of the land. It is intended to protect the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. Why? Because that process is very one-sided and is vulnerable to abuse by prosecutors. To leak information that would otherwise be secret shows a lack of respect for the rule of law and, as well, a lack of professionalism. We expect that Mr. Starr and the members of his staff will fully cooperate with this investigation.
Q These leaks could have come from a lot of places. Why do you think it came from the OIC?
MR. CRAIG: Well, the judge has found that there was sufficient evidence to convince her that there was a prima facie basis for believing that the stories came from the Office of Independent Counsel, I think, largely because the stories themselves attributed their sources to the Office of the Independent Counsel.
Q Even where they didn't attribute, she finds reasonable inference, for example. And there are too many people other than the OIC who know many of these things.
MR. CRAIG: I can't second-guess her opinion or her order. She has found that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Office of Independent Counsel leaked secret grand jury information inappropriately and in violation of rule 6(e). And she's appointed a special master to conduct an investigation of that. It's a very serious matter, and she is convinced, at least, that there's sufficient evidence to suggest that the OIC is responsible for this.
Q Can you explain what the special master will be able to do with respect to Ken Starr? What will he be subjected to now by the special master? And what does that special master mean?
MR. CRAIG: Well, all I know is what is to be found in the court's order and that is that the special master is entitled to have subpoena power for documents, entitled to conduct interviews, entitled to take evidence, and she urges that the special master, if at all possible, complete his inquiry by the end of November.
Q Does this have any ramifications for the investigation by Ken Starr or the President?
MR. CRAIG: You'd have to ask him that question. I can't answer that question.
Q Greg, irrespective of the sources of the leaks, just as citizens, shouldn't people applaud these leaks to the extent that they helped uncover statements, or exposed as false, statements that the President himself now acknowledges were false?
MR. CRAIG: Well, if these leaks were made in violation of the law, if they were made in violation of Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and in violation of one of the most sacrosanct aspects of the criminal justice system in this country, which is the secrecy and the confidentiality of grand jury proceedings, I would not think any citizen would applaud that.
Thank you very much.
END 4:14 P.M. EST