A volunteer in Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign provided top campaign officials with information and documents from inside the Carter White House that he described as coming from a "reliable White House mole," according to material from Reagan campaign files provided to The Washington Post.
The information included White House memos on economic policy written by Carter presidential aides Anne Wexler and Alonzo L. McDonald, documents from Carter Office of Management and Budget Director James T. McIntyre Jr. and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Charles L. Schultze, and Carter's planned travel itinerary for the final week of the 1980 campaign.
This is the third disclosure of Carter White House information being obtained before the November, 1980, election by the Reagan campaign. In the earlier instances, two Reagan campaign officials found in their files hundreds of pages of Carter briefing papers for the October, 1980, presidential debate, and a third campaign official said he received excerpts of daily National Security Council staff reports from inside the Carter White House.
These new documents also indicate that Reagan campaign officials were told about a "mole" in the Carter White House.
In one covering memo addressed to Reagan campaign officials "Bob Gray, Bill Casey, Ed Meese," the Reagan volunteer, Daniel Jones, wrote: "According to latest information from reliable White House mole at 6:30 on Oct. 27, the following is President Carter's itinerary for the remainder of the campaign."
Jones added at the bottom of the page: "Attached is recent White House memo re: certain economic information." What followed, written on White House stationery, was a memo for the Carter Cabinet, dated Oct. 24, 1980, from Wexler and McDonald, outlining the line that administration officials were to follow in discussing the latest economic statistics.
At the top of another document, an Oct. 10, 1980, memo from Wexler and McDonald for the Carter Cabinet, providing economic "talking points and guidance on response to questions," was the handwritten notation: "Bob--Report from White House mole." Added in a notation on the second page was: "Bob--Expect this line of attack next week, Dan."
Daniel Jones, a stockbroker in Washington, confirmed in an interview that he had sent the memos to Reagan campaign officials and wrote the notations on them.
"You found the author," he said. "I can't deny it . . . . You've got the documents." Asked about the handwritten, blue-inked notations, he said, "That's my handwriting." He declined to identify the person he had referred to as a "White House mole."
Jones said the notations were written to his campaign superior, Robert Keith Gray, who was then Reagan's deputy campaign manager for communications. Gray, now a Washington public relations executive, said he did not doubt the authenticity of the documents and believed he had probably received them during the campaign.
"I don't have any doubt," Gray said when asked if he received the documents. But he added that he did not remember them. "I attribute that to the speed of the campaign," he said. "It made such a slight impression on me that I didn't even recall it."
Edwin Meese III, then Reagan's campaign chief of staff and now counselor to the president, said, "I don't have any recollection of having received it . . . . The term 'mole' is known to anyone who reads John le Carre novels . . . . I don't remember any information from inside the Carter White House."
William J. Casey, then Reagan's campaign chairman and now director of the CIA, said when asked about the memos, "That's all new to me." He added that material with his name on it in the Reagan campaign would not necessarily have come to him, "any more than it would in my present job."
A photocopy of the Oct. 10 Wexler-McDonald White House memo, complete with Jones' handwritten notations to Gray, also carried a typed notation across the top of the page: "To: William Casey (for transmittal to Martin Anderson)."
Gray said it is probable that the document was passed on by his office to Casey for transmittal to Anderson, Reagan's top domestic policy adviser who was traveling with the Republican presidential nominee aboard his campaign plane. Anderson, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, said in an interview, "I don't recall any memos fron the Carter White House . . . . But I got an awful lot of stuff in that airplane."
The documents from the Reagan campaign files were made available to The Washington Post by a collector of campaign memorabilia who said he went to Reagan's campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., several days after the November, 1980, election and asked if campaign staff workers had any old bumper stickers, buttons or other souvenirs.
The collector, who did not want to be identified, said he was told by a campaign worker that they had just been thrown out and that he was welcome to look in the trash "dumpster" behind the headquarters. There he found some Reagan advertising layouts, which he took as souvenirs, and large amounts of documents apparently discarded from campaign files. He filled a carton with a batch of the papers and took them home, where they remained for more than two years.
Included were documents addressed to Casey and others addressed to Gray, apparently from the campaign files of the two officials. They ranged from major matters like a memo to Casey from chief campaign counsel Loren A. Smith on "Carter Administration's Abuse of Incumbency and Potential Criminal Violations Involved," to lesser matters like Gray's memo to Casey on how television producer David Susskind had planned to endorse Reagan at a news conference, but "unfortunately GOP press aides . . . were unable to encourage the media to attend."
Gray was shown a number of the documents given to The Post and he recognized some as having come from his files. He particularly recalled the Susskind memo, noting that "it is especially embarrassing to have that get out."
The typewritten memo from Jones to Gray, Casey and Meese, which referred to a "reliable White House mole" carried a blue ink check mark beside Gray's name, apparently indicating that the document came from his campaign files.
Gray said he did not regard the use of the word "mole" as a particularly startling disclosure because "Dan Jones was the kind of fellow who'd love to elevate his importance. He liked to use the term 'White House mole' to build his sense of drama, and to show he had contacts."
Gray added that he knew Jones only slightly, remembering him as a volunteer who "liked to come early and would be there late at night--very eager . . . always eager to help."
One of Gray's public relations firm associates, John Jessar, who also served under Gray in the campaign, recalled that Jones had indicated to him on several occasions during the 1980 campaign that he "dealt with moles. I never asked him from where. His reference was always to 'my mole' or something like that."
Gray added: "I may have seen all of this in the campaign--I may have--but I don't remember it . . . . It the campaign was a cram course. A sleepless terror, the speed of things."
Gray said one piece of inside information he did recall coming to the Reagan campaign from the Carter camp was about the president's planned travels. "I do remember we had information as to what his itinerary would be. I do remember that," Gray said. "We'd say in our meetings, 'The president is going to Pittsburgh. Steel is obviously an issue. Let's see if we can get someone to meet him at a plant and cause a rhubarb or something."
Gray added that, while he recalled the Reagan campaign's having advance information on Carter's travel plans, "I am not sure if it was in advance of you all receiving it or not."
In the case of one of Jones' memos to Gray, Casey and Meese, the Carter White House apparently passed on to reporters essential details of the president's travel plans for the final week of the campaign two days before Jones wrote that he received the information from his "mole."
On Oct. 25 the White House gave reporters guidance outlining Carter's itinerary for the final week, according to a check of the records by an aide to former Carter press secretary Jody Powell. It was two days later that Jones made his report.
Jones said in an interview that he met with his "mole" only once and had obtained the Carter itinerary in a subsequent telephone call from the same man.
"I literally never knew his name, I never knew it," Jones said. He added that the information he received was offered to him and that he had not sought it. "It was given to me voluntarily," he said.
After being given a chance to inspect the memos provided to The Post, he said, "I really had forgotten the content and extent of the memos . . . . But my memo stands by itself. I can't deny that."
Jones strongly denied that he had anything to do with obtaining Carter debate briefing documents for Reagan officials, or excerpts of National Security Council staff reports that former Reagan adviser Richard V. Allen has said he received.
"This is all I had--in total," Jones said. "I don't know anything about any other papers having to do with debate briefing or national security . . . . I know nothing of campaign briefing papers, I know nothing of national security papers, I know nothing about anything else. Don't consider me Mr. Big."
Jones said he is an attorney and was employed by a trade association when he worked as a Reagan campaign volunteer.
In the Oct. 24, 1980, memo to the Carter Cabinet, Wexler and McDonald dealt with three economic topics: guidance on what to say about the September consumer price index, information on a new program to reduce housing costs and an update on the latest economic indicators.
The update included this observation: "The administration forecast presented in mid-July calls for the recession to level off in the fourth quarter of 1980, with recovery in 1981 . . . . Early data suggested to some that the recession might be worse than our forecast."
The Wexler-McDonald memo also said, "These documents are not for public distribution, but should be given to your key appointed officials. It is important that these materials be followed closely when talking about economic matters." On the copy that went to his campaign superiors, Jones had drawn an arrow to the sentence saying the document was not for public distribution.
In the memo to the Carter Cabinet dated Oct. 10, Wexler and McDonald presented "economic talking points" that outlined positive things to say about Carter's policy and negative things to say about Reagan's.
It was at the head of this second section that Jones had written, "Bob--Expect this line of attack next week, Dan."
An Oct. 2 memo to the Carter senior staff by McIntyre and Schultze provided an "update" of the OMB analysis of the effects of "Republican economic proposals." Along with it was an Oct. 3 guidance sheet prepared by Schultze's Council of Economic Advisers, noting that "there is a possible fluke" in producer price index statistics because new car rebates were factored into the computations.
When Reagan charged on the campaign trail that Carter was "jimmying" the producer price index by adding new car rebates, Schultze called Reagan's charge "absolutely false, irresponsible and based on a zero acquaintance with the relevant facts."
All of this, including the economic guidance about a "possible fluke," was included in a document written by Jones, entitled "Little White House Lies" and signed "Dan Jones for appropriate signature." What that meant, Jones said, was that this was a letter to the editor he had written, to be sent out over some other signature, as part of his campaign job.