[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/16/art.freeh.gi.jpg caption="Freeh is testifying at Holder’s confirmation hearing."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former FBI Director Louis Freeh said Friday that Attorney General-designate Eric Holder allowed himself "to be used" by the Clinton White House in the pardon process for then-fugitive financier Marc Rich in January 2001, but that Holder was nevertheless a man of "tremendous integrity" who "will never allow himself again to be put in that position."
"The pardon of Marc Rich was a corrupt act," Freeh said, but was not Holder's responsibility. Freeh asserted that President Clinton's White staff kept the FBI and Justice Department "in the dark" and "actively conspired" to ensure that nobody knew what pardons were being considered shortly before Clinton left office.
Holder, Freeh said, had a proven track record of "political independence" and an ability "to say no" to the White House when necessary.
Freeh was the opening witness in the second day of Holder's confirmation hearing.