Just days before the presidential election, the Billy Carter-Libya affair has been pushed into the spotlight again. An internal report by the US Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, released by the Senate sub- committee that held hearings into the matter, charges that President Carter has not yet turned over to the department all information it seeks.
Further, the report charges that Attorney General Benjamin R. Civiletti did not tell the truth when asked if he had talked with President Carter about the Billy Carter probe. When Mr. Civiletti at first denied the discussion, "he knew he was dissembling . . . ," it says.
The report was prepared by Michael E. Shaheen Jr., head of the Office of Professional Responsibility. It charges that Billy Carter lied under oath about payments received from Libya, and it says the investigation will continue in order to determine whether the "misstatements" by the President's brother "rise to the level of prosecutable perjury."
A White House spokesman said Nov. 2 that the Justice Department report contains nothing new or different from the information contained in a Senate subcommittee report issued last month following hearings on the Billy Carter issue.
In the report Mr. Shaheen says that the President canceled a scheduled interview with the investigator and that copies of certain of the President's personal notes have not been supplied and "we may be required to use compulsory process [subpoena] to obtain the President's testimony."
The White House response is that much of the material sought by Shaheen contains "sensitive" irrelevant information. The spokesman said that "it's a matter of determining" what is relevant to the Billy Carter probe.
The "interim" Justice Department report prepared by Shaheen was delivered in secret to the Senate subcommittee. Sen. Birch bayh (D) of Indiana, chairman of the subcommittee, released the report after polling fellow subcommittee members by telephone.
Senator Bayh criticized Shaheen for issuing the report and charged that politics could be involved. (Shaheen was appointed to the Justice Department in the Ford administration.) Bayh said he decided to release the report since much of it had already been leaked to the press.