Evidence of White House passport-flap role found Investigator is continuing his probe of the affair

November 25, 1992|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- State Department investigators have obtained evidence suggesting that the White House may have been involved in conceiving and coordinating the search through Bill Clinton's passport files, according to a federal official.

The official, who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity, would not disclose the nature of the evidence. But the State Department report that was issued last week on the affair hinted at one potential source: notes on telephone calls monitored by the department's communications center.

The author of that report, Sherman M. Funk, the department's inspector general, said last week that he had found no evidence that the White House "orchestrated an 'attack' on the Clinton files" He said then that the search had been motivated by political appointees' desire to gather information that could have damaged the Clinton campaign.

But State Department officials said that Mr. Funk was continuing his investigation, partly because of the information that has come to light in the last week and partly because of criticism by members of Congress who say his report was inadequate.

"We are pursuing further leads," Mr. Funk said in an interview, without giving details. "We will follow all our leads wherever they take us."

This is the first confirmation that Mr. Funk has renewed his investigation. Without saying so explicitly, he left the impression last week that he had completed his inquiry. As they have throughout the investigation, White House officials refused yesterday to comment on any aspect of Mr. Funk's inquiry.

At the request of Congress, the General Accounting Office is conducting a separate investigation to determine the role of the White House in the search for Mr. Clinton's passport files. Mr. Funk has assured members of Congress that he will share his interview notes and other work papers with the congressional investigators.

The latest evidence suggests, but does not conclusively prove, a White House role in planning the search for Mr. Clinton's files, officials said.

Elizabeth M. Tamposi, the assistant secretary of state for consular affairs who supervised the search for Mr. Clinton's files, was dismissed by President Bush on Nov. 10.

Referring to Ms. Tamposi, Steven M. Moheban, who worked as her aide for two and a half years and resigned two days before Mr. Funk issued his report, said in an interview yesterday: "She was very careful. If she hadn't gotten a push from other people, she wouldn't have done this."

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