FILE ID:97031801.TXT

(Clinton withdraws Lake nomination) (350)

President Clinton has withdrawn the nomination of Tony Lake to be
Director of Central Intelligence, at Lake's request, and will move
quickly "to try to find a candidate that would bring the same
integrity, experience and expertise to the job as Tony would have
had," White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry told reporters March

Lake hand-delivered an anguished letter to the President in the White
House residence March 17 asking that his nomination be withdrawn.

McCurry said Clinton hopes people read carefully Lake's letter to him
stating why he was asking to have his nomination withdrawn. It says a
lot about the times we live in and the way we do business, McCurry

McCurry said Clinton strongly supported his choice of Lake to head the
intelligence community, and would have continued to back him, but
understood why Lake asked to have his nomination withdrawn.

Lake would have been confirmed, McCurry said, "but it would have been
at an enormous price to him personally, for reasons he describes in
his letter. It would have done damage to the spirit and morale at the
agency, it would have put into question the ability of the White House
to work effectively with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence."

"The confirmation process" that Tony Lake went through was
"inexcusably flawed," McCurry said and members of the United States
Senate must ask themselves today "whether the Senate today still
retains the capacity for effective bipartisan oversight of the
intelligence community."

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, under the chairmanship of
Senator Richard Shelby (Republican-Alabama), has lost its traditional
bipartisan approach, McCurry said.

Asked if allegations of improper campaign fundraising had something to
do with the problems Lake encountered on Capitol Hill, McCurry said
"Not much. The only things I am aware of demonstrate that the NSC
staff acted professionally and responsibly and kept separate the
nation's foreign policy and national security from domestic politics."

Lake was the National Security Council Adviser to Clinton in Clinton's
first term in office.