Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

FBI Director May Be Pushed out of Office for Ethics Violations

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

FBI Director May Be Pushed out of Office for Ethics Violations

Article excerpt

THE Federal Bureau of Investigation may be getting accolades for its handling of the World Trade Center bombing in New York and the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas, but it appears these pluses may not be sufficient to help FBI Director William Sessions keep his job.

Director Sessions was cited for ethics violations in a report released by outgoing Attorney General William Barr during the last days of the Bush administration. The charges included the misuse of government aircraft and cars, failure to pay income taxes on his chauffeured rides to and from work, and billing the government for a fence at his home that did not meet security standards.

Mr. Sessions has termed the charges "political shenanigans in an attempt to taint my reputation." But shenanigans or not, the charges have put Sessions' future very much in doubt.

President Clinton said Tuesday that Attorney General Janet Reno is reviewing the issue. If her review finds these alleged ethical lapses both serious and true, it could be sufficient cause to dismiss the FBI director.

Working in Sessions' favor is the fact that he has attracted the support of many liberal Democrats, ranging from Rep. Don Edwards (D) of California to Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. They credit the FBI chief with efforts to hire more minorities.

"Regardless of the campaign to discredit you," Mrs. King told the FBI director during an appearance at the bureau's headquarters here, "history will show that you stood firm for a more-democratic and inclusive FBI."

SOME Democrats also suggest that Sessions has been the victim of a campaign to discredit him because of his efforts to investigate the involvement of Bush administration officials in securing United States-insured loans for Iraq before the Gulf war.

Vice President Al Gore Jr. said in a television interview last month that Sessions announced an investigation of then-Attorney General Barr "and then 24 hours later, the attorney general announced that `OK, you're going to do that, we're going to launch an investigation of you. …

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