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Fbi Counsel Criticized, But Cleared

An internal Justice Department review released Friday clears FBI general counsel Howard M. Shapiro of legal or professional wrongdoing in his dealings with the Clinton White House.

However, the department’s watchdog office said that Shapiro showed “very poor judgment” in giving the White House a warning that a Republican House committee was about to reveal the existence of a memo that appeared to contradict an earlier statement by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Shapiro already had admitted as much. In a House hearing last year, he said that he made “a horrific blunder” by tipping off the White House about the memo that suggested Hillary Clinton was behind the hiring of controversial White House security chief D. Craig Livingstone.

Congressional Republicans cited this incident, among others, as evidence that Shapiro was too cozy in his dealings with the White House and was possibly short-circuiting investigations of the administration by House committees and Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

“Howard Shapiro did not engage in professional misconduct,” the report concludes, and his “actions were not motivated by personal or political ambitions.”


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