Freeh Had Contacts With FBI Files Figure
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 12) -- The chairman of a congressional committee investigating the questionable handling of FBI files at the White House told CNN late Thursday that one of five contacts FBI Director Louis Freeh made with a former White House security chief "raises great questions of impropriety."
Congressman William Clinger's comment came just hours after the FBI acknowledged Freeh had sent four separate notes to Craig Livingstone.
Livingstone is the former Director of the White House Office of Security who was forced to resign over the use of FBI background files at the White House. Freeh made a fifth contact by telephoning Livingstone.
The FBI acknowledged the five contacts are reflected in documents sent to the House Committee investigating the controversy.
But the Bureau emphasized the contacts show "Director Freeh neither HAD not HAS any social or personal relationship with Livingstone."
None of the Freeh's contacts refers to the FBI background files on members of previous Republican administrations.
However Clinger tells CNN he is concerned about Freeh's letter to Livingstone requesting a permanent White House pass for FBI General Counsel Howard Shapiro.
"That provides unrestrained access and raises great questions of impropriety,² Clinger said. "It also raises questions of open collusion between the people investigating and those being investigated."
Shapiro, the top FBI lawyer, is himself now under investigation after House Republicans led by Clinger called for his resignation for improper White House contacts.
Shapiro was particularly taken to task for tipping off the White House that an FBI file being sent to Republican committee staff investigators contained an allegation that First Lady Hillary Clinton had played a role in Livingstone's hiring.
Mrs. Clinton had denied any such link.
Shapiro has admitted his warning telephone call was a mistake.
Freeh criticized Shapiro for the action, but said he still had confidence in Shapiro, who remained in his post.
Livingstone, however, resigned this year after acknowledging private files of members of former Republican administrations had been collected by his office in 1993 and 1994.
Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has opened an investigation into possible criminal conduct in the case.
Freeh's notes to Livingstone were all written in the first twelve months after he became FBI Director on September 1, 1993.
According to the FBI, the three other letters were thank you notes to Livingstone--two for assistance during White House visits and one for pictures from Freeh's swearing in.
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