The Bush administration remains confident the Senate will confirm former Sen. John G. Tower as defense secretary despite continuing allegations about his business and personal affairs, a spokesman said Friday.
"There is no discussion whatsoever about any change in confidence in Sen. Tower's nomination or that he will be confirmed," said deputy White House Press Secretary B. Jay Cooper.An FBI review of Tower's troubled nomination has turned to his 16-month stint in Geneva as head of the U.S. delegation that met with the Soviets to discuss mutual cuts in long-range nuclear missiles. Tower, a former Republican senator from Texas, headed the delegation from January 1985 to April 1986.
"If everything goes according to the way people are talking, we should see a final report from the FBI soon," Cooper told The Associated Press.
Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said the FBI was expected to complete by early next week a review of allegations about Tower's ties with defense contractors as well as his drinking habits and relationships with women.
Cooper said he knew of no change in the timetable mentioned by Nunn.
"If everything goes according to the way that people are talking, we should see a final report from the FBI soon," the spokesman said.
According to a report in Friday's Washington Times, details on Tower's sexual activities in Geneva would come out in a closed hearing of a House subcommittee investigating allegations of security violations by another member of the delegation.
The newspaper reported that an investigator from the State Department and one from the Air Force were to arrive Saturday from Geneva. The investigators are to appear at a session of the House Energy and Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee headed by Rep. John Dingell, D.-Mich.
Energy security clearance.
The review said Tower kept both his secretaries in Geneva as mistresses, the newspaper reported. Two weeks ago, ABC News said an Air Force colonel claimed there were 14 separate liaisons involving members of the U.S. delegation in Switzerland.
In another published report, The Washington Post said Friday that the FBI report summarizing the bureau's findings has uncovered no evidence linking Tower to the Pentagon procurement scandal or illegal campaign contributions. But the newspaper quoted one source as saying the report ould contain "a wealth of allegations about the guy's personal conduct."
Tom Kirk, the FBI agent who wrote the report, told the newspaper the report will contain new information on Tower that has not been made public.
Tower has been dogged by allegations of drinking and philandering. Many senators also have voiced concern whether Tower could avoid conflicts of interest after receiving more than $1 million as a consultant for major defense contractors since he left the Senate four years ago.
Nunn, whose committee is reviewing the nomination, has said that an investigation of Tower's actions in Geneva found no security breaches.