- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 23, 2001

An FBI agent who asked the congressional intelligence panels why its members were not subject to security checks in their receipt of classified information said yesterday that his concerns were not directed specifically at Rep. Gary A. Condit, a committee member.
Agent Chris Kerr said letters he sent to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence focused on wide-ranging national security concerns and were intended to ensure that "those with the broadest access to the most sensitive information be subjected to the greatest scrutiny."
"It would be improper and unprofessional for an FBI agent to comment on a pending matter, and I did not do so in my letters," said Mr. Kerr, a veteran agent who serves as the Tampa representative of the FBI Agents Association. "There never was any intent to advise Congress on what it should do concerning its members."
The letters never mention Mr. Condit by name.
Mr. Condit has been a House intelligence committee member since 1999 with access to classified intelligence data. He recently admitted to having an affair with Chandra Levy, a former intern who has been missing since May.
Several national security officials have publicly questioned whether the California Democrat has become a blackmail target because of his admitted relationship with the missing intern. Some have suggested that his access to the intelligence data be cut off until the Levy investigation is completed.
Mr. Condit has denied through spokesmen knowing anything about Miss Levy's disappearance. The D.C. Metropolitan Police have said he is not a suspect in the case.
Nancy Savage, president of the FBI Agents Association, said yesterday Mr. Kerr did not speak for the organization and it did not authorize the letters. She said that the business of the Senate and House intelligence committees was "none of our affair," and that the association had no concerns about the two panels' security procedures.
Mr. Kerr noted that most FBI agents have little or no routine access to classified information, and that others have "greatly restricted, compartmentalized exposure to specific intelligence programs or operations." He said those agents, unlike members of the intelligence committees and their staffs, have undergone thorough security background investigations.
"What are the possible objections to such procedures given the tremendous amount and sensitivity of the information to which you and your staff have access?" he asked in the letters.
Members of Congress chosen by party leaders for the House and Senate intelligence committees are exempt from the usual polygraphs and intrusive questions wielded by executive branch investigators.
Calls for increased polygraph testing of FBI agents came from members of Congress and elsewhere after the arrest of Agent Robert P. Hanssen as a Russian spy.


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