The Clinton Bureau of Investigation

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 2, 1996 | Go to article overview

The Clinton Bureau of Investigation


It used to be the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but given the extreme coziness of its relations with the Clinton White House and other administration stalwarts, maybe it's time for a name change. Mr. Clinton seems to have acquired a bureau of investigation all his own.

In hearings before Rep. William Clinger's Government Reform and Oversight Committee yesterday, FBI General Counsel Howard Shapiro offered testimony on numerous instances in which his office and the White House seem to have been working hand in glove. The most startling of these was his disclosure that he personally hand-delivered a copy of retired FBI agent Gary Aldrich's manuscript for his expose, "Unlimited Access," to White House Counsel Jack Quinn some five months before the book was published, while it was still under review for clearance by the FBI.

When Mr. Aldrich submitted his manuscript for clearance, in compliance with FBI regulations, he surely had some reasonable expectation that the process would proceed on the merits, independent of political influence. The review is designed to protect the bureau's investigative process from improper disclosure, not as an expedient for muzzling authors who are writing things the cronies of FBI higher-ups find unpleasant. Mr. Aldrich surely had no reason to think that the bureau's top lawyer, Mr. Shapiro, would do something quite so outrageous as deliver a pre-publication copy into the hands of the very people who were its subject.

Mr. Shapiro testified that he received a phone call from Mr. Quinn a week after dropping off the manuscript. Mr. Quinn told Mr. Shapiro, the latter claimed, that the White House did not want to have anything to do with the FBI's review process. …

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