Monica Lewinsky visited the White House about three dozen times after leaving her low-level job there to work at the Pentagon in 1996 and was usually cleared for entry by the president’s personal secretary, said officials who have seen or been briefed about White House visitation logs.
The frequency of Lewinsky’s visits had not been previously disclosed. Pentagon officials said the visits were not related to her job at the press office there.
Lewinsky’s White House visits are a crucial piece of information as the independent counsel, Kenneth Starr, investigates accusations that President Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and encouraged her to lie about it.
The officials did not describe Lewinsky’s destination in the White House or the purpose of her visits.
One of the officials said the records indicate that Lewinsky was given clearance to enter the White House on 37 occasions from April 1996 to December 1997. The New York Times has reported that Lewinsky visited the White House on Dec. 28, 11 days after she had been subpoenaed to testify in the Paula Jones sexual misconduct lawsuit against the president.
Lewinsky is claiming that during that visit the president told her that she could testify in Jones’ lawsuit that her visits to him at the White House were to see his secretary, Betty Currie, according to an associate of Lewinsky’s and others who know her version of what occurred.
A White House spokesman on Monday night refused to confirm or deny the specific number of visits Lewinsky made to the White House after moving to the Pentagon in April 1996.
But one senior White House official, who had been briefed on Lewinsky’s visits, said the estimate of three dozen “sounds about right.”
It was not known how often Lewinsky saw Clinton during those visits. Currie, who as Clinton’s gatekeeper admits or deflects visitors and screens telephone calls, appeared before a grand jury last Tuesday.
Clinton has repeatedly denied that he had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky.
The frequency of Lewinsky’s White House visits underscores the unusual access granted to her, access that other White House and government employees have characterized as uncommon. Kenneth Bacon, assistant secretary of defense, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman and Lewinsky’s supervisor before she left that job on Dec. 24, said, “It was not part of her official duties to go to the White House.”