Clinton accused: Lewinsky: a dangerous infatuation in anguish

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At the Pacific Hills High School in Beverly Hills, teachers were especially proud of one old-girl, Monica Lewinsky: after three years reading psychology at university in Oregon, she was going on to the White House as an intern.

This was 1995. There were 1,500 applicants for only 250 internships. Once in the White House, Ms Lewinsky, then 21, allegedly became consumed by an infatuation that was unimaginably dangerous. The object of her desire: the President. Fantasy became reality after a White House social event. Ms Lewinsky wore her most alluring dress and caught the boss's eye. Co- workers describe her as someone who became overly preoccupied with attending all possible public events in the White House compound. In hindsight, the reason seems obvious: she wanted to gain proximity to Mr Clinton.

Ms Lewinsky seemingly settled on a co-worker as a confidante and sounding- board. She was Linda Tripp, a woman twice her age and with longer experience in the thin air of executive power. She was, like Ms Lewinsky, a secretarial assistant.

Ms Tripp was dispatched to the Pentagon in 1996 after officials branded her a loose cannon and a liability to the President. Last year Ms Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon, into the same office. That Ms Lewinsky chose Ms Tripp on whom to unload her anguish may be proving to have been her undoing. For motives that are unclear, Ms Tripp began taping her conversations with Ms Lewinsky about the purported affair and last week co-operated with investigators by wiring herself for another of the conversations. Ms Lewinsky, who lives in the Watergate complex - scene of the notorious break-in that led to the downfall of Richard Nixon, seemed until recently to be assured survival.

Vernon Jordan, it is alleged, had set up a public-affairs job at Revlon, where he is a board member. Revlon, however, announced on Wednesday that "in light of today's events" the offer will be withdrawn. Her lawyer, William Ginsburg, who will not confirm or deny whether she had an affair with the Chief Executive, says his client is in a "lose-lose" situation.