W A S H I N G T O N, Jan. 25, 2001 -- Linda Tripp filed a lawsuit against the government today, alleging the Pentagon illegally leaked to Stars and Stripes newspaper that she was interviewing for a new job with the Department of Defense.
Tripp, whose tapes of conversations with Monica Lewinsky helped lead to President Clinton's impeachment trial, was fired from her political position on Inauguration Day in the changeover of administrations. She was in Germany this week for a scheduled job interview at the George Marshall Center.
The Jan. 23 European edition of Stars and Stripes carried a banner front-page headline and story disclosing that she was one of four candidates for the Defense Department post at lower pay than the job from which she had been dismissed.
Tripp: Violations of the Privacy Act
Tripp "was humiliated by the worldwide publication of the fact that she was looking for a job below her grade level and which could result in a substantial pay cut" and the Defense Department engaged in "violations of the Privacy Act" by releasing the data, states the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
The Washington-datelined story quoted the Marshall Center's director, Robert Kennedy, as saying Tripp and others were being considered for the job of deputy director. The story said the post is at the GS-14 level carrying pay of between $67,765 and $88,096.
Tripp earned nearly $100,000 a year as a public affairs specialist at the Defense Department's Defense Manpower Data Center in Arlington, Va.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said he would not comment on the Tripp lawsuit until Pentagon officials had read it.
He declined to say whether he knew who told Stars and Stripes thatTripp had applied for the job, and he said he did not know whetherproviding this information to the newspaper was a violation of thePrivacy Act.
Seeking Unknown Amount
Tripp, who is seeking unspecified compensation for damage to her rights, alleges in a separate 1999 lawsuit 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 had been arrested for grand larcenywhen she was a teenager, and the charge was later reduced toloitering.
Her denial of an arrest record came to light several months after she triggered the perjury and obstruction probe of President Clinton by giving prosecutors her secretly taped phone calls in which Lewinsky confided an affair with the president.
A 20-year government employee, Tripp began working in the WhiteHouse in a civil service job under former President Bush. Shestayed on after Clinton took office, receiving a politicalappointment, pay raise and a new job at the Pentagon in 1994.