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Starr Goes on Record on Off-the-Record Talks During Probe

<i> Washington Post</i>

Independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr says that he and his top deputy have often spoken to reporters on a not-for-attribution basis about their investigation of President Clinton and his relationship with former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky, sometimes discussing sensitive information about what witnesses have told prosecutors.

In an interview with Steven Brill, founder of the media magazine Brill’s Content, Starr said there was “nothing improper” about such discussions with reporters “if you are talking about what witnesses tell FBI agents or us before they testify before the grand jury or about related matters.”

Starr also said his deputy, Jackie Bennett Jr., “has spent much of his time talking to individual reporters.”

In an apparent reference to the White House, Starr said granting such interviews is justified in “a situation where what we are doing is countering misinformation that is being spread about our investigation in order to discredit our office.”

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Starr’s disclosures follow months of charges and countercharges between his office and the White House, each side blaming the other for alleged leaks.


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