Trashing the White House
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 Damage at White House Offices Being Handed Over to the Bush Administration from The Clinton Staff-Truth!

 

 

 

bulletSummary of eRumor: 
When George W. Bush took over the presidency in 2001, his new staff arrived in the offices of the White House to find that there had been widespread pranks and vandalism by the departing Clinton staff.  Published reports said computers were left unusable, pornography was found on both computers and walls, and telephone systems were trashed by the cutting of cables and wires. 
bullet

The Truth:  
The final, official report from the Government Accounting Office was released on June 11, 2002.  The 220 page document says there was damage, although not as much as some of the early reports had suggested.  The GAO says the damage included 62 missing computer keyboards, 26 cell phones, two cameras, ten antique doorknobs and several presidential medallions and office signs.  The damage estimate was about $20,000.  Clinton critics say the report proves that the departing Clinton staff members acted recklessly and disrespectfully.  Clinton supporters say the report shows that the allegations of vandalism were exaggerated and that there were similar incidents when Clinton took over the White House from the staff of George Bush.

The GAO report concludes that even though damage was verified and that some of it appeared to have been intentional, there was not clear evidence of who was responsible for it.

This has been a subject of contention since President Bush took office.  There were reports of  vandalism, graffiti, and obscene messages in White House offices by outgoing Clinton staffers.  Bush downplayed the reports saying he wanted to move on with the presidency.  Clinton supporters, however, charged that the story was not true and that the Bush forces had made up the story  to make Bush's staff look better than Clinton's.  Former President Clinton offered to pay for any damage and his supporters called for an investigation.  

May 18, 2001 the General Accounting Office issued a three-page letter that said that it was unable confirm the damage largely to a lack of records from the White House.  The letter also said that the condition of the White House offices was "...consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy."  As to any details of damage, the GAO letter said For supporters of former President Clinton, that seemed to end the matter.  They proclaimed victory, called the whole story an urban legend, and asked the White House to apologize.

In response, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer outlined the details of the damage, most of which was in the Eisenhower Execitive Office Building adjacent to the White House. 
On June 3, 2001 The Washington Post quoted Fleischer as saying that the damage included the removal of the letter "W" from 100 computer keyboards, five missing brass nameplates with the presidential seal on them, 75 telephones with cover plates missing or apparently intentionally plugged into the  wrong wall outlets, six fax machines relocated in the same way, ten cut phone lines, two historic door knobs missing, overturned desks and furniture in about 20 percent of the offices, obscene graffiti in six offices, and eight 14-foot loads of usable office supplies recovered from the trash.  According to Fleischer, there was one incident in the White House itself, a photocopy machine that had copies of naked people hidden in the paper tray so they would come out from time to time with other copies.  

Critics of the Bush administration said they didn't trust the White House report.

On June 5, 2001, the General Accounting Office announced that it had launched an investigation into the matter, which was released on June 11, 2002.

There was a companion story that Air Force One had been the victim of the outgoing Clintons and that numerous items from aboard the plane had been pilfered.  President Bush himself told reporters aboard Air Force one on February 12, 2001, that the report was not true.  According to Salon Washington correspondent Jake Tipper, Bush brought up the subject because the chief steward aboard Air Force One told him the allegations were false.

 

 

 


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