Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-contra affair, has moved his staff into a new office suite with a two-year lease -- and an option for a third year.

The General Services Administration, the agency that handles space requirements, found 11,000 square feet for Walsh and his staff at a cost of $32 a square foot.

Dennis Feldman, Walsh's spokesman, said GSA officials obtained a suite in the heart of downtown -- halfway between the White House and the Capitol -- after Walsh made known his space needs.

But there was some confusion over who asked for the two-year lease.

"The request {from Walsh} was for two years," GSA spokesman Dale Bruce said, adding that the lease clause has an optional third year at the same price.

Feldman said Walsh's staff could not find any documents showing the special prosecutor wanted the space for at least 24 months. "The GSA negotiated it for us," he said.

If Walsh finishes up in less than two years, Bruce said the office will not go empty because of demand for short-term space.

By comparison, the Watergate special prosecution force operated for just over four years, from May 25, 1973, to June 15, 1977.