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Justice Mystery Counsel Clears Unnamed Clinton Aide

By Pierre Thomas/CNN

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28) -- An unidentified independent counsel investigation established in November of last year cleared an unnamed aide to President Bill Clinton after a probe of less than a year, law enforcement officials tell CNN.

Justice officials declined to identify the counsel, the aide who was the target or what that aide was being investigated for, because the matter remains under court seal.

Some senior Justice officials were skeptical that charges could actually have been brought in the case, but said the relatively strict parameters of the independent counsel statute required that Attorney General Janet Reno seek an outside prosecutor. One Justice officials called the case "a big nothing."

Justice Department officials have privately acknowledged for some time that there have been independent counsel investigations that have not been publicly disclosed. The tacit acknowledgement of their existence has been previously reported.

Unless allegations have been aired publicly, the Justice Department's practice is to not announce independent counsel deliberations. If an independent counsel probe does not result in indictments, their existence is not made known by the Justice Department.

The existence of the now shut-down counsel was noted in a General Accounting Report released in September. The GAO report stated the counsel spent $48,784 from its Nov. 27, 1996 inception through March 31, 1997. By way of comparison, during a six-month period ending last March, Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr spent $2.8 million.

In Other News:

Wednesday Oct. 29, 1997

Clinton OKs Nuclear Power Sales To China
Clinton Welcomes Jiang To White House
Senators Grill White House Lawyers Over Tapes
Justice Mystery Counsel Clears Unnamed Clinton Aide

E-mail From Washington:
White House Has More Fund-Raising Tapes

Player Profile:
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin

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