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A CIA Role In Fund-Raising Controversy?

CIA admits it may have been compromised by DNC during presidential campaign

By Ralph Begleiter/CNN


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 17) -- For the first time in the Clinton Administration, the Central Intelligence Agency admits the "integrity" of the U.S. intelligence process may have been compromised by improper dealings with the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Acting CIA Director George Tenet has ordered an investigation to see if the intelligence agency improperly responded to requests from the Democratic party for information about campaign contributors.

In a written statement, Tenet says, "Any inappropriate intrusion into the heart of the intelligence process cannot -- and will not -- be tolerated." The CIA has notified key members of Congress of the new investigation.

The investigation will look into how the CIA may have been used by the Democratic National Committee to gain access to the White House for a Clinton campaign contributor.

A Wall Street Journal story published Monday quoted administration officials who say that then-DNC Chairman Don Fowler may have arranged for the classified CIA report on international oil financier Roger Tamraz to be sent to the National Security Council (NSC). The security council had previously recommended that Tamraz not be invited to White House events.

Intelligence sources tell CNN the CIA gave the White House a memo in May 1995 about Tamraz. The sources also confirm the CIA conducted a "dialogue" with the White House about the businessman, including sending a second memo in December 1995.

CIA sources say the agency sent the first memo properly at the request of a staffer in the NSC. But sources tell CNN that the CIA can not explain what prompted the second memo, suggesting it might have been sent at the request of Fowler.

White House spokesman Mike McCurry today defended the NSC staff for repeatedly trying to prevent Tamraz from gaining access to the president through political fund-raising events.

National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, whose nomination to be CIA director is under review by the Senate, is said to have been unaware of the apparent effort by political contributors to use CIA endorsements to gain access to the White House.

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