Senate Panel Votes To Subpoena Marceca for Testimony, Computer Discs
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Senate committee voted today to subpoena Anthony Marceca, a central figure in the White House FBI files affair, to testify and produce his computer discs and other documents.
Marceca earlier refused to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee and in a letter invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against incriminating himself by testifying. ``That result is unacceptable,″ Sen. Orrin Hatch, the committee chairman, said today.
The committee, which has been investigating the White House’s improper gathering of FBI background files, voted unanimously to issue the subpoena. Hatch, R-Utah, said Marceca would be able to appear in a closed session Thursday to assert his privilege against testifying against himself.
Marceca, a temporary White House employee who collected hundreds of the files, failed to appear voluntarily at a June 28 hearing. Several senators suggested that Marceca was being made the scapegoat in the affair.
Today, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Marceca appears not to be ``a major participant″ and that the committee should consider compelling his testimony under a grant of immunity. That idea already prompted an objection from Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who also is investigating why Marceca amassed the files.
Starr has said that providing Marceca immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony would interfere with the special prosecutor’s investigation. But Hatch told the committee today that a grant of immunity is ``still an open question.″
Investigators said today that Marceca also has refused to turn over documents subpoenaed by a House investigative committee, similarly claiming his Fifth Amendment right.
The House Government Reform and Oversight Committee is seeking records that would reveal whether Marceca holds any FBI background records and if high-level White House officials helped get him his temporary assignment. A civilian Army investigator, Marceca was hired by the White House in late 1993 to help update security passes for people qualified for White House access.
``Mr. Marceca will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege with regard to any inquiries by the Committee,″ Robert Muse, Marceca’s attorney, said in a letter sent Monday to Rep. William Clinger, R-Pa., chairman of the oversight committee.
Muse did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment today.
A July 11 subpoena from Clinger’s committee directed Marceca to turn over FBI records in his possession. It also demanded records relating to the security pass project, letters of recommendation from high-level administration officials, records pertaining to political work Marceca did for the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and documents related to any criminal charges against Marceca.
The collected files included those of scores of high-ranking officials of the Bush and Reagan administrations. The Clinton administration has said gathering them was a simple bureaucratic blunder.
Suggesting a darker motive, Republicans are investigating whether President Clinton and the first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, were compiling information for a list of political enemies.
Two days before he refused to appear at the June 28 Senate hearing, Marceca gave several hours of testimony to the House committee. He said he used an outdated list of White House employees to gather FBI background records required to update the security passes.
Marceca testified that he routinely took computer discs containing FBI information home with him to work on his Army-supplied computer. He said he treated the records as classified and let no one else see them.
Hatch said today that Marceca would be able to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege only for his oral testimony, not for physical evidence such as the computer discs. Hatch said the committee doesn’t expect him to make that claim to avoid presenting the evidence.
Hatch added, however, that Marceca may testify that he has turned the evidence over to Starr for his investigation.
A Texas court recently sent Starr records from a civil case in which Marceca acknowledged he peeked at his own FBI background file while at the White House.
Last week, House investigators questioned top presidential aide Mack McLarty and senior White House aide George Stephanopoulos about the FBI files matter.