While too much may be made of what political machinations did or did not exist
behind the "Filegate" controversy, it provides an example of government carelessness
with information it holds about citizens.
In 1993 and '94, over 900 files collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation were
transferred to the White House at the request of White House staff. The FBI and the
White House conceded that the transfer was wrongful, and what use was
made of them is unknown. The fact that the files were improperly transferred shows
the insufficiency of government agencies' safeguards for information about individuals.
Investigative files of this type generally collect a wide variety of personal
and private information. They often include unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo
that prove false as often as true. It is highly
inappropriate for one agency to divulge the contents of investigatory files to another
without legal authorization.