Bush criticizes ex-Sununu aide who will defend BCCI investor

October 26, 1991|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- In remarks dripping with annoyance, President Bush cut himself off yesterday from a former senior White House aide who has agreed to represent a Saudi Arabian sheik linked to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Edward M. Rogers Jr., who was an aide to John H. Sununu, the president's chief of staff, left the White House in August and a month later disclosed tha he had a two-year, $600,000 legal contract to represent Sheik Kamal Adham.

Sheik Kamal, the former head of intelligence in Saudi Arabia, was a big investor and borrower from BCCI and is under investigation by federal authorities.

Mr. Bush suggested that he regarded Mr. Rogers' actions as unseemly, but his acidic tone and stiff body language hinted at even stronger emotions.

The president's remarks seemed intended to quash any notion that Mr. Rogers, who has entered law practice with Haley Barbour, a White House political director in the Reagan administration, would have influence in the administration.

Mr. Rogers did not respond to a telephone call to his law firm yesterday, but Mr. Barbour said in an interview, "Ed never met, heard of or knew that this man existed while he was at the White House."

Also in Washington yesterday, the CIA admitted it had failed to tell a regulatory agency what it knew about the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, including BCCI's secret control of an American bank.

Richard Kerr, acting CIA director, told a Senate subcommittee that although the agency knew in the mid-1980s that BCCI was involved in illicit activities, including money-laundering and terrorism, it had failed to report that information to the Federal Reserve Board.

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