Loose lips sink ships and it was Linda Tripp’s tapes that nearly sunk Bill Clinton. As seen in ‘The Clinton Affair,’ Linda uncovered Bill and Monica Lewinsky’s deception, so get the details about her.
The impeachment of President Bill Clinton would not have happened if it were not for Linda Tripp. This scandal that came close to taking down the president will be revisited in A&E’s The Clinton Affair, a limited documentary event airing on Nov. 18. With “archival footage as well as comprehensive interviews with the people closest to the events including a timely, in-depth reflection on the topic with Monica Lewinsky,” the woman at the center of the affair, the show will also shine the light on Linda Tripp’s role in the affair. So, who is this whistleblower?
1. She served under two presidential administrations. Linda Rose Carotenuto was born to a middle-class family in New Jersey, according to Biography.com. Her father reportedly was such a womanizer that he deserted the family, and she became “obsessive about the sanctities of marriage.” She married Bruce Tripp, a now-retired Army colonel, in 1971. As Bruce pursued his military career, Linda worked her way up the ladder, becoming an Army Intelligence secretary at Fort Meade before she was transferred to the Pentagon in 1987. She was a White House employee in the George H. W. Bush administration but in the summer of 1994, the Clinton administration instructed the Pentagon to hire her into its public affairs office.
Linda reported had been outspoken in her “dissatisfaction with top Clinton officials.” She was transferred without applying for a job or given an interview, per the Washington Post, and given a $20,000 raise. The reason behind this request is unknown, but what happened is clear. While at the Pentagon, she would cross paths with a reassigned White House intern.
2. She was the one who blew the whistle on Clinton-Lewinsky. While working at the Pentagon, Linda became a close friend to Monica Lewinsky, who had been transferred there after White House staffers realized she had been spending a lot of time with the president. Monica confessed the affair to her friend, and Linda began to record her phone calls with Lewinsky at behest of literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. However, the tapes would wind up in the hands of independent counsel Kenneth Starr, after both Bill and Monica denied having an affair. Linda accused Monica of committing perjury when she executed a false affidavit that denied the relationship.
From there, instead of focusing on Watergate, Starr went after the affair, which saw Bill Clinton get impeached. He was later cleared of perjury and obstruction of justice, as was Monica.
3. Linda is still not a fan of the Clintons. Linda left the public sector in 2001, as George W. Bush took over (she would blame her firing as a vindictive move on the part of the Clintons, but others have said such turnover between administrations is commonplace.) While she has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, she did speak to the Daily Mail and Breitbart in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Judging by the political-leaning of these publications, it’s safe to say she’s not a Clinton supporter. She called Hillary “ruthless,” and “inherently dishonorable.”
“I’d love to see a female president in my lifetime but I certainly would not choose to vote for a president of the United States based primarily on gender,” Linda said. “Without a doubt it’s time for a female president but it is without a doubt not the time nor will it ever be the time for Hillary Clinton to be that president. She simply lacks the integrity.”
4. She’s a breast cancer survivor. Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, per NY Mag, and she successfully beat it a year later. In addition to this, Linda has underwent plastic surgery and has transformed her body to a point where she “bears little resemblance” to the “vilified tattletale of the Clinton era,” per PEOPLE.
5. She has withdrawn from the public eye…mostly. In July, Linda spoke at an event marking National Whistleblower Day, per the Washington Post. “My duty, my oath, was to the office of presidency, not to the sitting incumbent, and I was true to that oath,” she said in her first major public appearance in decades. Since leaving the public sector, she has married Dieter Rausch, a German architect. She split from her first husband in 1990, per PEOPLE, and as of 2003, she was working at the Christmas Sleigh, a holiday boutique in Middleburg, Virginia.