Barr Takes Clinton to Court on FBI Files

By Ben Anderson | July 7, 2008 | 8:24 PM EDT

(CNS) - In an effort to know what President Bill Clinton and others know about his personal FBI file, Rep. Bob Barr is filing suit against the White House and the Justice Department for the release of his FBI file.

Barr's lawsuit contends the Clinton Administration violated the Privacy Act during an attempt to keep damaging files on those thought to be adversaries of the President and then releasing the information to the public through the media, in an effort to damage their reputations.

The improper maintenance of files on individuals and the release of information from these files by the White House, without the consent of the persons affected, is a violation of the Privacy Act, according to Judicial Watch, a Washington, DC legal watchdog group acting on Barr's behalf. According to the group, Clinton's "political machine" has maintained damaging information on his adversaries, often releasing the information to his "surrogates" such as former Clinton political advisor James Carville.

After a newspaper article reported that Clinton's lawyers were keeping a file on Barr, he approached White House lawyers in an attempt to ascertain what information had been obtained from his FBI files and in violation of the Privacy Act. But both the White House, speaking through the General Accounting Office, and the Justice Department refused to grant Barr access to the information.

"All this creates a strong presumption that illegality had occurred," Judicial Watch said in a prepared statement, adding that a federal court has determined that the Privacy Act does apply to the White House.

A spokesman for Rep. Barr told CNSNews.com said they could not comment on the case on the advice of their lawyers. A spokesman for Judicial Watch was unavailable for comment Friday.