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Wednesday, July 15, 1998 Published at 06:16 GMT 07:16 UK

World: Americas

Clinton's bodyguards face quiz

Cockell (left) faces questioning

Our Washington correspondent, Stephen Sackur, reports on the latest twist in the Clinton sex allegations scandal:

Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor investigating allegations of sex and cover-up in the White House, has intensified the legal pressure on President Clinton.

[ image: Cockell may be able to cast light on Clinton's relationship with Lewinksy]
Cockell may be able to cast light on Clinton's relationship with Lewinksy
Mr Starr has subpoenaed seven more members of the Secret Service, including the head of the president's personal security detail, in an effort to learn more about his relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

As head of Mr Clinton's security detail, Special Agent Larry Cockell rides in the president's car and is privy to sensitive information, and that is why Kenneth Starr believes he may be able to provide crucial information about Mr Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

[ image: Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: stepping up pressure]
Prosecutor Kenneth Starr: stepping up pressure
The special prosecutor has subpoenaed Mr Cockell and as many as six other Secret Servicemen to appear before a Washington grand jury on Thursday.

That is in addition to two other agents who have already been summoned to appear by Mr Starr.

In short, he is trying to intensify the pressure on the president, but his efforts are unlikely to bear fruit this week.

The Justice Department is appealing against earlier court rulings that agents should testify under oath.

Officials claim agents will be unable to protect the president effectively if the relationship of trust between protector and protectee is breached and that is an argument which may well end up in the Supreme Court.

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