'You Let Me Down'
Washington Post Staff
Introduction: From June 1995, when she came to Washington as one of hundreds of unpaid White House interns, to the public exposure of her most intimate longings and sexual secrets, Monica S. Lewinsky has made a long and tumultuous journey. What began as an improbable crush on the president of the United States has led her, at the age of 25, to be the single most important witness in an inquiry being considered in the House of Representatives that could result in the impeachment of President Clinton.
The documents released yesterday by the House, part of the voluminous evidentiary record submitted by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, tell Lewinsky's story through more than 900 pages of love letters to the president, interrogations by FBI agents, testimony to prosecutors and the grand jury, and the perspectives of White House aides and Pentagon supervisors on her conduct.
In this untidy collection of texts, her emotional highs and lows are charted in both minute legalisms and unguarded private notes. There was joy: "LEWINSKY was on cloud nine" the night Clinton first kissed her, said one prosecutor's memo. And there was threatening rage: "I am begging you one last time to please let me visit briefly Tuesday evening," she wrote Clinton after the affair had long died.
The testimony contains a remarkable session between Lewinksy and grand jurors its tone more like Oprah than a criminal inquiry. They asked if she still loved Clinton. They asked why she had another affair with a married man, Clinton, when her earlier relationship with her married drama teacher had caused so much pain. "I think it's a fair question. It's a hard one to answer. No one likes to have their weaknesses splayed out for the entire world, you know, but I understand that. ... you'd probably have to know me better and know my whole journey to how I got here from birth to now to really understand it. I don't even understand it."
Near the end of her many days of testimony after Clinton told the nation on Aug. 17 that their relationship was wrong, and expressed no feeling for her she told the grand jury she was hurt. "I thought he had a beautiful soul," she said. "I don't know what the truth is any more."
"I'm really sorry for everything that's happened," she said.
Toward the end of her 18-month sexual relationship with President Clinton and in the months afterward, Monica S. Lewinsky wrote a series of letters and e-mails to friends, to White House staff members and to the president himself. Here are portions of those correspondences and other records that provide corroboration of her later testimony but also reveal her state of mind during her relationship with Clinton and her struggle to find work after it ended.
In April 1996, Lewinsky was transferred from the White House to the Pentagon. Here is an e-mail from Lewinsky to Pentagon colleague and new friend Linda Tripp on Feb. 4, 1997, after Clinton has broken off their affair:
Oh Linda, I don't know what I am going to do. I just don't understand what went wrong, what happened? How could he do this to me? Why did he keep up contact with me for so long and now nothing, now when we could be together? Maybe it was the intrigue of wanting something he couldn't have (easily) with all that was going on then? Maybe he wanted to insure he could have variety and phone sex while he was on the road for those months? AAAAHHHHH!!!!! I am going to lose it!
Lewinsky's job performance became an issue as she repeatedly asked to return to the White House. Here are some excerpts from a March 14, 1997, MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD from Cliff Bernath, deputy to Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon, regarding her work in the Pentagon's public affairs office:
*So far as I can tell, Ken is happy with her support. Responsive and attentive.
Ken's calendar. Too many errors in the morning...should make excuses or blame others when Ken finds an error or asks a question we can't answer.
Work Area. Need to clean it up and keep it clean...She has to stay organized...
Spends too much time on personal email, personal business and phone calls.
Answering phones. She feels that others aren't doing their share...She wondered if her position wasn't somewhat higher than the other admin positions and that they should answer more calls.
*Asked her if she was still happy here. Appears to be less happy than when she started.
Has had some personal problems which she didn't want to discuss and has been bringing that to the office.
Feels unchallenged with admin duties. Told her that was to be expected...That said, she could make the job more challenging by taking on more responsibilities.
Has been thinking about trying to get another job at the White House.
April 28, 1997, letter from Bacon to Lorrie McHugh, deputy assistant to the president, regarding Lewinsky:
. . . She is terrific bright, energetic and imaginative. I would like Monica to stay her as long as I do. However, she has more skills than her current job requires, and this isn't a job she wants for life. As a result, I have advised her that she should try to move into a more substantive job, either here or in the White House. Unlike many people, she is actually following my advice. She would like to work in the White House, where she started work in Washington. She would [be] great as an organizer in the press operation or as an event planner in the communications office. . . .
Please keep Monica in mind as appropriate jobs open up.
Kenneth H. Bacon
Letter from Lewinsky to Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, on June 24, 1997:
Since I have not been able to get in touch with him [Clinton], I am taking the unorthodox liberty of sharing my concerns with you. I would very much appreciate it if you could relay this information to him either verbally or by letting him read this note. If you're not comfortable doing either, I understand.
The intention of this note is not to "tattle-tale", but to clarify. My meeting with Marsha [Scott, deputy director of White House personnel] was not at all what I expected. While she was very pleasant, she questioned me endlessly about my situation. Despite the fact that she already knew why I had to leave, she asked me to tell her about it, asked if I had acted "inappropriately" and why I wanted to come back. She seemingly knew nothing about my current position. He said to me that he had told her I had gotten a bum deal, and I should get a good job in the West Wing. I was surprised that she would question his judgment and not just do what he asked of her. Is it possible that, in fact, he did not tell her that? Does he really not want me back in the complex? He has not responded to my note, nor has he called me. Do you know what is going on?
Betty, I am very frustrated and sad. I expecially don't understand this deafening silence, lack of response and complete distancing evidenced by him. Why is he ignoring me? I have done nothing wrong. I would expect that behavior like this might be directed toward an "unfriendly", but certainly not to me. I would never do anything to hurt him.
I am hoping to hear from either of you soon. I'm at a loss, and I don't know what to do.
Letter from Lewinsky to Clinton on June 29, 1997:
I really need to discuss my situation with you. We have not had any contact for over five weeks. You leave on Sat. and I leave for Madrid w/the SecDef on Monday returning the 14th of July. I am then heading out to Los Angeles for a few days. If I do not speak to you before you leave, when I return from LA it will have been two months since we last spoke. Please do not do this to me. I feel disposable, used and insignificant. I understand your hands are tied, but I want to talk to you and look at some options. I am begging you one last time to please let me visit briefly Tuesday evening. I will call Betty Tues. afternoon to see if it is ok.
Draft copy of a letter to Clinton that Lewinsky never sent. Though it is undated, the Kenneth Starr report mentions it after it notes a Sept. 3 phone call between Lewinsky and Scott in which Scott tells Lewinsky there is no position available in her office.
I believe the time has finally come for me to throw in the towel. my conversation with Marsha left me disappointed, frustrated, sad and angry. I can't help but wonder if you knew she wouldn't be able to detail me over there when I last saw you. maybe that would explain your coldness. the only explanation I can reason for your not bringing me back is that you just plain didn't want to enough or care about me enough. how else can I rationalize why it is ok for Marsha and Debi [Debra Schiff, West Wing receptionist] and scores of others to be in golden positions . . . Marsha can remark to someone which subsequently ends up in the papers and magazines that 'she spent the night with you'. I just loved you wanted to spend time with you, kiss you, listen to you laugh and I wanted you to love me back.
I never told you this because I didn't want to seem like a martyr but in April of '95 I wanted nothing more than to beg you to do something so I didn't have to leave. I wanted to scream and bawl. you have no idea how desperate, upset, humiliated I was. But I didn't. you said you would see what you could do and I left it at that because I didn't want to put you in a bad situation. It was an election year and I knew what was important. You promised you would bring me back after the election with a snap of your fingers. . . .
We talked about my returning and you kept replying, 'I'll talk to Bob Nash', 'I've talked to Bob Nash', 'Bob Nash is working it'. Then it moved to 'Marsha is working on it'. Then you dumped me and it was still 'Marsha' is working it. I can't take it any more. A person can only handle so [much] anxiety and stress. Maybe it would be easier to wait if you had called more and it hadn't been such trouble to try to see you. As I said in my last letter to you I've waited long enough. You and Marsha win. I give up. you let me down, but I shouldn't have trusted you in the first place.
E-mail from Lewinsky to her friend, Catherine Allday Davis, on Sept. 4, 1997, relaying her frustration at Clinton being unable to get her transferred back to the White House:
I don't know what I will do now but I can't wait any more and I can't go through all of this crap anymore. In some ways I hope I never hear from him again because he'll just lead me on because he doesn't have the balls to tell me the truth. I kind of phase in and out of being sad as to be expected but i'll survive. What other choice do i have?
Letter from Lewinsky to Clinton, undated, but believed to have been written on Oct. 6, 1997:
It has been made clear to me that there is no way I am going to be able to come back to the White House despite your best efforts. I understand the difficulty.
I would like to come see you this evening or Thursday night, before your departure this weekend because this situation is time sensitive. My roommate (AKA my Mom) has recently taken up primary residence in NY. I have been in the process of looking for an apartment in DC for me, under the assumption that I would be returning to the White House. I am not in a position to box myself into a lease. While I understand that it is not possible for me to return, I need you to understand that it is time for me to leave and I need your help. I'd like to ask you to help me secure a position in NY beginning 1 December. I would be very grateful, and I am hoping this is a solution for both of us.
I want you to know that it has always been and remains more important to me to have you in my life than to come back.
Handsome, you have been distant the past few months and have shut me out; I don't know why. Is it that you don't like me anymore or are you scared?
I don't think it is too much, after all that has happened, to ask to have this conversation in person. Please don't let me down.
By November, Lewinsky is working with Clinton's close personal friend, Vernon E. Jordan Jr., to find a private sector job in New York. Monica shows Jordan her job "wish list" on Nov. 5, 1997:
First and foremost, thank you.
My dream had been to work in Communications or strategic Planning at the White House. I am open to any suggestions that you may have on work that is similar to that or may intrigue me.
The most important things to me are that I am engaged and interested in my work; I am not someone's administrative/executive assistant; and my salary can provide me a comfortable living in NY.
Assistant producer at any of the networks
Kaplan CNN has a NY Office
News/political segments at MTV
Assistant to an account executive at any of the following (not) administrative assistant):
Hill and Knowlton
Downey & Chandler
Bozell Public Relations/Bozell Worldwise
Devries Public Relations
(These are agencies with which I am familiar. You may have more suggestions from the attached list of agencies in NY (Tab 1)).
Anything at George magazine
A note about the UN:
I do not have any interest in working there. As a result of what happened in April '96 [when Lewinsky was transferred from the White House to the Pentagon], I have already spent a year and a half at an agency in which I have no interest. I want a job where I feel challenged, engaged and interested. I don't think the UN is the right place for me.
Letter from Lewinsky to Jordan on Nov. 6, 1997:
Dear Mr. Jordan:
It was a real pleasure meeting with you. I know how very busy and demanding your schedule is; I particularly appreciated your taking the time to speak with me.
I feel compelled to mention how overcome I was by your genuineness. While some people wear their heart on their sleeve; you appear to wear your soul. It made me happy to know that our friend has such a wonderful confidante in you.
I believe I may have neglected to mention that while my current position is administrative, I am seeking more substantive work in my next position.
Thanks again for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you upon your return.
Monica S. Lewinsky
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