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Net hosts Lewinsky-Tripp conversations

For everything the public knows about Monica Lewinsky, the world has never heard her utter a word---until now.

    We've seen the beret, the blue dress, and the most explicit sections of that government-funded report. But for everything the public knows about Monica Lewinsky, the world has never heard her utter a word---until now.

    In this month's national elections, voters may have sent a signal that they were sick of the White House sex scandal, The Starr report but thanks to the House Judiciary Committee and the Net, yet another chapter in independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton will be permanently archived.

    A slew of sites, along with broadcast media, today posted the infamous tapes that reveal former White House intern Lewinsky discussing her relationship with Clinton in several phone conversations with her former coworker at the Pentagon, Linda Tripp, who secretly was recording them and later turned 37 tapes over Starr.

    Broadcast.com, CNN, C-Span, MSNBC, ABCNews.com, and FoxNews are among those that published the 22 hours of tapes after the Judiciary Committee voted to release them.

    Starr has seized upon the taped conversations to accuse the president of lying about his affair with Lewinsky, leading the House to kick off an impeachment inquiry. Throughout, the Net has played a key role in satisfying the public's hunger for information about the developing scandal.

    All the major sites broke traffic records when they released the Starr report, and again when they released Clinton's videotaped testimony.

    The tapes offer no new information, as transcripts of the recorded conversations surfaced early on in the scandal. But Net users likely will be curious about the tapes, and eager to hear the voice of the sometimes lovesick or seemingly panic-stricken Lewinsky, who has never publicly spoken since she was catapulted into the public arena.

    Indeed, the tapes give the world an intimate window into the conversations between Lewinsky and the woman who ultimately would betray her, and the Net gives anyone with an interest in the conversations immediate access to them. Just a few years ago, such a widespread dissemination of evidence would not have been possible.

    While video streaming technology on the Net still has a long way to go before it is as accessible as television, sound recordings online are commonplace. It doesn't take a super computer to be able to listen to the juiciest parts of Lewinsky's conversations with Tripp using streaming audio programs such as RealNetworks' RealAudio or Microsoft's NetShow.

    "I never expected to feel this way about him," Lewinsky says about Clinton at one point.

    "Linda, if I ever want to have an affair with a married man again, especially the president, please shoot me," she says sarcastically in a moment of frustration.

    Aside from Clinton, the two women also discussed Lewinsky's future career plans, as friends often do.

    ABCNews.com is a CNET News.com partner.