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Clinton Apologizes For FBI File Mess

[Clinton Files]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 12) -- President Bill Clinton apologized for the White House's obtaining of FBI files on leading Republicans and said it was an honest mistake that won't happen again.

At a news conference, Clinton said, "I'm sorry that it occurred and I believe we will correct it and I believe the FBI will correct it as well."

Republican rival Robert Dole has said the episode smacks of a Nixonian "enemies list," but Clinton said he "would never condone or tolerate any kind of enemies list or anything of that kind."

Clinton repeated his ealier assertion that it was "an innocent bureaucratic snafu," not an attempt to collect damaging information on political adversaries.

Clinton's comments were the first direct presidential apology. Over the weekend, Chief of Staff Leon Panetta said it was a mistake and apologized.

The White House has admitted collecting the data on 341 people, including many top-level Republicans, as part of a 1993 effort to update security records for access to the White House.

Clinton was joined at the news conference by Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and Jacques Santer, head of the European Union. They met earlier with the president to discuss the Bosnia peace mission and other European issues.

Clinton said the U.S. will be able to begin withdrawing its troops from Bosnia next December, in keeping with a one-year timetable for the mission.

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