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Fowler Didn't Contact CIA

But a subordinate did on behalf of controversial Democratic donor

By Ralph Begleiter/CNN


WASHINGTON (March 20) -- Investigators at the Central Intelligence Agency have determined that former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler did not personally contact the CIA on behalf of a campaign contributor. But sources have told CNN that the CIA has written documentation apparently proving that someone under Fowler made phone calls in October and December 1995.

Fowler issued a statement Tuesday denying that he had contacted the CIA or "directed" anyone else at the DNC to do so. Contrary to some news reports, the CIA says there were only phone calls from the DNC, no written communications. CIA investigators are reviewing telephone records and memos to determine who at the CIA may have received the DNC contacts.

Sources told CNN it may have been a "mid-level" CIA official. But they say it's too soon to know whether anyone at the CIA responded, or took action on the basis of the DNC contacts, and too soon to determine whether any disciplinary action is warranted.

The Democrats contacted the CIA apparently to boost support at the White House for U.S. oil businessman Roger Tamraz who wanted to gain access to meetings with President Bill Clinton. Tamraz has been a big contributor to both Republican and Democratic campaigns.

CIA officials say it could be several more days before all the facts are known about what the agency has called "absolutely inappropriate contacts" between the DNC and the CIA.

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