Secret Service Officials Say Agent Cockell Will Return To Job
By Wolf Blitzer/CNN
WASHINGTON (July 20) -- Secret Service officials say Larry Cockell, the lead agent in charge of President Bill Clinton's security detail, will return to his job as soon as he is finished testifying before Independent Counsel Ken Starr's grand jury in Washington.
The officials acknowledged to CNN that Starr's calling Cockell before the grand jury has been "disruptive," but they insist they want Cockell to resume his duties as soon as he is done answering Starr's questions.
There has been extensive speculation in recent days that Cockell's career may have been cut short because of all the publicity surrounding his subpoena. Some have suggested his face is now too well known to effectively be in charge of the presidential protective detail.
But the Secret Service is anxious to dispel that notion, with officials telling CNN Cockell personally suggested he be pulled from the detail once it became clear he had to testify. "But the plan has always been that he will return to his job as soon as possible," one official said.
The officials say Cockell is very anxious to resume his duties. He became the lead agent in the presidential detail only four months ago.
While Cockell prepares to testify this week, the agent who used to head the presidential detail, Brian Stafford, has temporarily taken over that job. He was with the president over the weekend in Little Rock and was with him Monday in New Orleans.
Starr has subpoenaed six uniformed officers of the Secret Service, one retired agent and one current agent, Cockell.Three of them testified on Friday; all have been ordered to return Tuesday.
In addition to the agents and officers, other people scheduled to appear before the grand jury this week include Linda Tripp, for her seventh appearance, and Betty Currie, the president's private secretary.