A top aide to President Clinton got "a number of reports" that Monica Lewinsky was behaving improperly around Clinton when she was a junior White House aide, a former White House official said Friday.

The former official, who asked not to be identified, said these reports, and deputy White House chief of staff Evelyn Lieberman's own observations, led Lieberman to arrange for Lewinsky's transfer to the Pentagon in the spring of 1996."It was a number of reports and her own evidence and talking to people that led her to ask to have Lewinsky transferred," the source said.

Lieberman, now director of the Voice of America, believed that Lewinsky was "hanging around and trying to get near the president" but had no knowledge of any sexual contact between Clinton and the former intern, the former official said.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr continues to investigate allegations that Clinton had sex with Lewinsky and conspired to cover it up, lying and obstructing justice in the now-defunct Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit.

Clinton and Lewinsky deny the allegations.

The New York Times reported Friday that Gary Byrne, a uniformed member of the Secret Service assigned to the White House, told Lieberman that he had seen Lewinsky in the West Wing of the White House - where the Oval Office is located - when he did not believe the woman was authorized to be there.

The officer also expressed concern about Lewinsky's after-hours access to the area, the newspaper said.

"She (Lieberman) talked to Gary Byrne, but she doesn't have any recollection of him telling her about Monica Lewinsky. It's possible," a Lieberman aide told Reuters.

In other developments:

- The head of the conservative legal foundation financing Jones' effort to sue Clinton denied a Fox television news report that Jones and her husband were so angry with him they had tried to find alternate financing.

The report quoted an unidentified source as saying Jones' husband had said Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead cared more about his own publicity than helping his client.

"This is the most absolutely irresponsible journalism I've seen. To run with a story like this which is just fabrication is crazy," Whitehead told Reuters.

- Former President George Bush defended Starr even though he opposes the prosecutor's effort to compel Secret Service personnel to testify in the sex scandal investigation.

In a letter to the Secret Service director Lewis Merletti, Bush said he had respect and admiration for Starr and called the attacks on him "vicious and outrageous," a source close to the former president said.

- And a former Miss America who said last month she had a consensual one-night fling with Clinton 15 years ago when he was Arkansas governor complained Friday that she has been hounded by investigators and the media.