Ex-FBI Agent: Mrs. Clinton Pushed To Hire Controversial Security Chief
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A new book by a former White House FBI agent says Hillary Rodham Clinton pushed to hire Craig Livingstone to head personnel security even though he had no experience in security matters.
The book, written by Gary Aldrich, a 30-year FBI agent assigned to the White House for five years, says Livingstone got the job because he was a friend of the Clintons.
Livingstone resigned from his post Wednesday. He is a central figure in the controversy over FBI files gathered on hundreds of officials by the White House.
Aldrich wrote that he expressed concern about hiring Livingstone, a campaign advance man, to White House lawyer William Kennedy.
``It’s a done deal,″ Kennedy is quoted as saying. ``Hillary wants him.″
In the book,``Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House,″ the author portrays the Clinton White House as one in which the president, Mrs. Clinton and their aides changed long-standing security policies and allowed access to classified materials by staffers without proper clearance.
White House lawyer Mark Fabiani said the book has ``zero credibility.″
``This is trash for right-wing cash,″ said Fabiani. ``The book is backed by the far right and its publication is a political act ...″
The book is published by the conservative Regnery Publishing Inc. in Washington and is being promoted by Craig Shirley & Associates Inc., whose principals are Republican political operatives.
Livingstone surged into the spotlight several weeks ago after it was learned that one of his subordinates had obtained 700 FBI files on officials, some from the Bush and Reagan administrations. The White House said the files were secured because of bureaucratic mistake as part of a project to update White House security passes.
Kennedy on Wednesday told a congressional hearing that he didn’t think Mrs. Clinton was involved in hiring Livingstone. Kennedy and his lawyers could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Aldrich, who retired from the FBI last year, maintains that Mrs. Clinton played a major role in directing the management of security in the White House.
``Hillary is the one to talk to,″ Livingstone is quoted as saying. ``I’ll be talking to her tonight. ... I know her well enough.″
Livingstone had no experience in security matters and was hired because he was a friend of the Clintons, Aldrich contends.
``I hope the publisher is paid up on its libel insurance,″ said Randy Turk, Livingstone’s attorney. He declined to comment on Alrich’s accounts of Livingstone’s conversations.
The book includes second- and third-hand accounts of the president sneaking out of the White House late at night, allegedly driven on some occasions by aide Bruce Lindsay, to meet a woman at a Washington hotel.
The book recounts other examples of alleged security lapses and improper behavior at the White House, including:
_One case where White House lawyer Vince Foster’s computer memory bank was simply thrown away by a technician before investigators had a chance to examine it. Foster committed suicide amid growing concern about the Clintons’ actions in the Whitewater land deal. The book says Livingstone explained Foster’s suicide differently, saying Foster was worried that rumors he had an affair with Mrs. Clinton would resurface.
_Alleges a White House carpenter happened upon two male staffers having sex with each other in an office late at night.
_White House interns used drugs and were warned by Livingstone to ``go easy on that kind of thing,″ and ``don’t get caught.″