PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON WAS A PROBLEM FOR THE FBI
BECAUSE HIS "CLOSETS WERE FULL OF SKELETONS"
SAYS FORMER FBI DIRECTOR IN A NEW BOOK -- "60 MINUTES"
Louis Freeh Speaks for the First Time About his Terrible Relationship with the President
Former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh says publicly for the first time that his relationship with President Bill Clinton -- the man who appointed him -- was a terrible one because Clinton's scandals made him a constant target of FBI investigations. Freeh discloses this and many other details of his dealings with the Clinton White House in a new book he discusses with Mike Wallace in a 60 MINUTES interview to be broadcast Sunday Oct. 6 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The scandals Freeh mentions include Whitewater, Travelgate, campaign contributions, Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. "We were preoccupied in eight years with multiple investigations," Freeh tells Wallace. In the book, "My FBI," he writes, "The problem was with Bill Clinton -- the scandals and the rumored scandals, the incubating ones and the dying ones never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction. His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out."
The director sought to distance himself from Clinton because of Whitewater, refusing a White House pass that would have enabled him to enter the building without signing in. This irked Clinton. "I wanted all my visits to be official," says Freeh. "When I sent the pass back with a note, I had no idea it would antagonize the president," he tells Wallace.
Returning the pass was only the start of the rift. Later, relations got so bad that President Clinton reportedly began referring to Freeh as "that F�ing Freeh." Says Freeh, "I don't know how they referred to me and I really didn't care," he says. "My role and my obligation was to conduct criminal investigations. He, unfortunately for the country and unfortunately for him, happened to be the subject of that investigation," Freeh says.
The most unsavory of those investigations was the one concerning Clinton and Lewinsky. The White House intern had kept a semen-stained dress as proof of her relationship and a Clinton blood sample was needed to match the DNA on the dress. "Well, it was like a bad movie and it was ridiculous that�Ken Starr and myself, the director of the FBI, find ourselves in that ridiculous position," he tells Wallace. "But we did it�very carefully, very confidentially," recalls Freeh. As he explains the plan in the book, Clinton was at a scheduled dinner and excused himself to go to the bathroom. Instead of the restroom, he entered another room where FBI medical technicians were waiting to take a blood sample.
In another revelation, Freeh says the former president let down the American people and the families of victims of the Khobar Towers terror attack in Saudi Arabia. After promising to bring to justice those responsible for the bombing that killed 19 and injured hundreds, Freeh says Clinton refused to personally ask Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to allow the FBI to question bombing suspects the kingdom had in custody -- the only way the bureau could secure the interviews, according to Freeh. Freeh writes in the book, "Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudis' reluctance to cooperate and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library." Says Freeh, "That's a fact that I am reporting."
The former president declined to respond to this charge.
Freeh says he was determined to stay on as FBI director until President Clinton left office so that Clinton could not appoint his successor. "I was concerned about who he would put in there as FBI director because he had expressed antipathy for the FBI, for the director," he tells Wallace. "[So] I was going to stay there and make sure he couldn't replace me," Freeh tells Wallace.