Originally created 07/20/98

Tripp rights ignored 072098 - The Augusta Chronicle



Apart from special prosecutor Ken Starr, the White House and its media allies' favorite demon is Linda Tripp. When she began testifying in Starr's federal grand jury probe into her tapes of Monica Lewinsky's phone conversations, they even used their clout to get the state of Maryland to file charges against Tripp for doing the taping.

But these Tripp-haters didn't have anything to say about the gross invasion of her privacy rights -- egregiously worse than what she did because the violation was done by the government which is supposed to uphold, not break, the law.

We're referring to information from Tripp's security file that the Pentagon unlawfully leaked to the media last March. Bill Clinton, stung by Bush administration misuse of confidential records, vowed in 1992, "If I catch anybody doing it, I will fire them the next day. You won't have to have an inquiry or rigmarole or anything else."

What's that again, Mr. President? Even though the names of the principles -- if not their precise roles -- have been known for months, the Pentagon's investigation into the ugly incident is still dragging on, despite a promise it would be completed by July 9.

Congressional inquiries into the progress of the probe have been turned back with curt replies that a report will be ready when it's ready.

Those who wring their hands over Tripp's invasion of Lewinsky's phone privacy while silent on the Pentagon's unlawful leak -- and failure to properly investigate it -- give hypocrisy a bad name.