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White House non-vandal scandal

June 22, 2001 | Page 2

WASHINGTON--"Sliced phone and computer lines."

"Obscene messages left in copy machines."

And goodness, "Champagne flutes missing from an Air Force jet."

Such were the horrifying details of vandalism reportedly discovered by the incoming Bush administration during its first days in the White House.

Damage was so extensive, the New York Daily News hyperventilated, that "a telecommunications staffer with more than a quarter-century of service was seen sobbing."

At fault, apparently, were Clinton administration staffers who had trashed the White House before they cleared out.

The Republican Party's professional Clinton-haters latched onto the outrage.

Crackpot Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) even demanded an official investigation of the vandal scandal.

Which, it turns out, was a non-vandal scandal.

According to press reports at the end of May, a formal review by the General Accounting Office "found no damage to the offices of the White House's East or West Wings."

Even Bush's own representatives could produce "no record of damage that may have been deliberately caused by the employees of the Clinton administration," reported.

Turns out that White House reporters, itching for a scoop, got led around by the nose.

While officially refusing to comment, "anonymous" White House aides fed them stories about the vandalism.

And the non-vandal scandal became one more part of the smokescreen created by the Bush administration--to hide its right-wing agenda.

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