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Linda Tripp, like many others, loses federal job

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Like many other federal employees, Linda Tripp, the woman who blew the whistle on President Bill Clinton's affair with a White House intern, lost her federal job on Friday.

Her attorneys charged that she was fired in an act of political revenge capping a smear campaign that amounted to a "war against Mrs. Tripp's reputation."

The White House acknowledged Tripp's dismissal, saying she was terminated because she did not resign. Political appointees were instructed to resign effective Clinton's last full day in office, as is tradition.

White House press secretary Jake Siewert said Tripp was treated as any other employee in her "Schedule C" classification. "Virtually all were asked to submit their resignations, and if they didn't do so, they were terminated," said Siewert.

Siewert said the new administration can hire her back if it so desires.

Attorney: Firing 'vindictive'

"The termination of Linda Tripp is vindictive, mean-spirited and wrong," attorneys Stephen Kohn, David Colapinto and Michael Kohn said in a statement. "President Clinton should not have ended his presidency on such a vengeful note."

The White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, told Tripp of her White House sexual encounters with the president, Tripp tape-recorded telephone conversations in which Lewinsky discussed the relationship, later turned over the tapes to the office of Independent Counsel Ken Starr and was the star witness in a grand jury investigation.

Tripp is suing the government, alleging the Clinton administration illegally released to The New Yorker magazine her statement on a security clearance form that she had never been arrested, when she had. She was arrested for grand larceny when she was a teen-ager, and the charge was later reduced to loitering.

The Justice Department investigated the release of information but did not prosecute.

Worked in White House for Bush, Clinton

Tripp worked on the White House staffs of Presidents George Bush and Clinton. After the disclosure of the tapes, she was transferred to the Pentagon where she was a public affairs specialist for the Defense Manpower Data Center with an annual salary of about $100,000.

Tripp's attorneys maintain that she was originally forced to leave her job at the White House, where she was in a protected position, to take the unprotected job at the Pentagon. She claims she wanted to remain in a protected job.

Tripp was not available for comment about her termination because she was out of the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Friday, January 19, 2001


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