The government will fight prosecutor Kenneth Starr's pursuit of President Clinton's Secret Service detail, including the head of the elite team, to testify in the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
A government official told the Associated Press that the Justice Department would challenge the subpoenas in court as early as Wednesday. Such an attempt to block grand jury testimony from the Secret Service probably would be sealed.Starr also subpoenaed six uniformed officers and demanded that the agency turn over documents detailing the president's nighttime whereabouts from 1995 through 1997, the years Lewinsky was in Washington as a White House intern and a Pentagon staffer.
Although the Secret Service subpoenas are for Thursday, continuing testimony from one of Starr's chief witnesses, Linda Tripp, could take the entire day.
Starr's move to question Special Agent Larry Cockell and others in the Secret Service is being vigorously resisted by the administration. On Tuesday the Justice Department filed new appeals of court decisions that declared the prosecutor is entitled to evidence from the agency sworn to protect the president.
Three government officials confirmed the subpoena was issued to Cockell. Legal sources confirmed the subpoenas to the four uniformed officers. All spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Justice Department is seeking a review by the full U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia Circuit of the ruling of a week ago by three appeals court judges.
Among those subpoenaed was uniformed Secret Service officer Gary Byrne, one of three Secret Service employees involved in the court case.
Starr and the Clinton administration are embroiled in a high-stakes court battle to determine whether Secret Service employees can be compelled to divulge what they observe while protecting the president.
Though the issue could be delayed for some time if the full appeals court takes the case, Starr pressed ahead with his investigation to see whether Secret Service agents have relevant information about whether the president had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky and tried to cover it up.