One of President Clinton's chief critics on Capitol Hill says the Whitewater prosecutor's investigation has dragged on too long, according to news reports.

"The American public has just grown sick and tired of it," Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., said Tuesday outside the Senate chamber in Washington, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Wednesday.D'Amato's remarks also were carried in New York's Daily News.

D'Amato, who led the Senate's two-year Whitewater investigation, also criticized prosecutor Kenneth Starr's handling of the criminal investigation into Whitewater, a complex affair that includes allegations ranging from fraudulent land deals to a possible cover-up.

Starr's credibility was "damaged tremendously" when the independent counsel announced earlier this year that he was leaving that post to take an academic job in California, then changed his mind, the senator said.

"I don't have much faith in the whole thing," he said.

Debbie Gershman, a spokeswoman for Starr's office, said the independent counsel had no comment on the senator's remarks.

D'Amato said people seem fed up with Whitewater.

"They want action on student loans," he said. "They don't want to hear this stuff."