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Reno Not Ready To Hand Over Redacted Memo

By Terry Frieden/CNN

reno

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 11) --Attorney General Janet Reno said Thursday she wants to discuss with Rep. Dan Burton any questions he has about FBI Director Louis Freeh's independent counsel memo before considering whether to provide him with a portion of that memo.

In the aftermath of two days of congressional hearings, Reno indicated that giving the committee a redacted version of Freeh's internal recommendation may not be a solution. "You can redact things until they become useless," Reno said. (160K wav sound)

Reno said the Justice Department attempted to contact the staff of Burton's House Government Reform and Oversight Committee Wednesday night, but that no meeting was arranged.

Burton (R-Ind.) has pressed for a copy of Freeh's internal document urging Reno to appoint an independent counsel in the campaign fund-raising investigation. However, Burton, Reno and Freeh all appear to be downplaying the possibility of a showdown, despite a threat from some GOP members to hold Reno and Freeh in contempt of Congress if the memo is not supplied.

Reno said Thursday, "What I want to try to do with Chairman Burton is see 'OK, what are the questions you have? How might we provide answers to those questions without revealing details of the investigation?'"

She repeated her concern about providing any internal memoranda on investigations. "I just have got to make sure that people feel that they can fully and frankly discuss issues with me without it becoming public and appearing in congressional committees."

At Wednesday's hearing Freeh told Burton that Reno had sent a message with him that Justice lawyers were willing to engage Burton's lawyers on the issue. Freeh said, "I think for the good of the process, because I wrote the memo and I know what's in there, it is a much more preferable course to see if we can work that out."


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