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Senators say finance issue won’t hurt new CIA nominee

SHARE Senators say finance issue won’t hurt new CIA nominee

The FBI still has questions about the personal finances of George Tenet, President Clinton's latest nominee for director of central intelligence, but Senate Intelligence Committee members said Wednesday that the issue does not endanger his nomination.

The questions involve telephone company stocks jointly owned by Tenet, his mother and his brother, and Tenet's share of some real estate in Greece, said a White House spokesman.The spokesman said Tenet did not know until 1994 - and thus did not reveal on federal financial disclosure forms for earlier appointments - that he owned a share of the stocks and the land.

The FBI's questions did not appear to cause great concern to senators weighing Tenet's nomination. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that " Tenet's indicated to us he thinks it's basically worked out." The committee's vice chairman, Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., said the matter "does not seem that serious to me" and "doesn't appear to endanger the nomination."

The spokesman said that the stocks "derived from investments" made by Tenet's father, a Greek immigrant who ran a diner in New York City and died in 1983.

Tenet was unaware that the stocks and land holdings existed until 1994 when his family's lawyer inventoried a safe-deposit box held by Tenet's parents.

The land holdings, a quarter share of condominiums in Athens worth at least $250,000, were bequeathed to Tenet by his father. Under Greek law, the income from this property must stay in Greece.

Tenet was confirmed by the Senate for the post of deputy director of central intelligence in 1995, and the matter could have been investigated and resolved back then. But the FBI, which conducts background checks on people nominated for high government offices, still has not completed its investigation of the matter, government officials said.