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Reno Downplays White House-FBI Rift

March 13, 1997| Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The dispute between the White House and the FBI boils down to a simple misunderstanding, Atty. Gen. Janet Reno said Wednesday.

At issue is whether FBI agents who told National Security Council staff members that China might be trying to influence U.S. elections also told those officials not to share the information with higher-ups at the White House.

President Clinton has ordered an investigation into why he was not told. White House spokesman Mike McCurry said Tuesday that one of the two NSC officials says the FBI told them not to share the information. The FBI has said it imposed no such restrictions.

"What I think happened in the NSC briefing is that it was pointed out that the matter was sensitive and should be handled carefully," Reno said. "I think there was a misunderstanding of what was intended."

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