Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star general, did two combat tours in Vietnam. His hair is steel gray, his chin firm.

He may seem an unlikely advocate for drug treatment, but this week at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, that's what the White House drug control policy director will be. A three-day conference of nearly 1,000 criminal justice officials from across the nation begins today.

The Clinton administration is arguing that America cannot incarcerate its way out of the drug and crime problem. About 85 percent of the prison population reports substance abuse problems. At $20,000 per inmate annually, prison is a costly and treatment-free solution. It returns more than 500,000 inmates a year to the streets, where, McCaffrey said, most sink back into addiction and crime.

"This is not a 'soft on crime' issue," McCaffrey told reporters at a briefing yesterday. Among the conference's goals is to persuade states that in-prison treatment, at an estimated $3,000 to $8,000 per inmate, would lead to lower recidivism and extensive savings.

FBI FILES ONLINE: More than 200 pages on Martin Luther King Jr. More than 1,000 pages on Joseph P. Kennedy. More than 1,300 pages on Charles Lindbergh. More than 2,000 pages on the Sacco and Vanzetti case. More than 2,800 pages on union boss John L. Lewis. More than 4,000 pages on Malcolm X.

These are among the new files now available under the FBI's Espionage, Historical Interest, Violent Crime and Famous Persons categories at http://www.fbi.gov.

Some files, which can also be found in the bureau's Freedom of Information Act Reading Room in Washington, contain information from routine background checks--Kennedy's file relates to his appointment as ambassador to Great Britain. Others relate to probes--the FBI investigated communist influence on groups with which Malcolm X was affiliated.

Not surprisingly--these are, after all, FBI files--there are redactions to protect "personal privacy, confidential sources, national security" and other exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act.

PROMOTED: The FBI has appointed Ruben Garcia, 48, to head its important Criminal Investigative Division. Garcia joined the bureau in 1978 and was most recently in charge of the Administrative Services Division. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh said: "Ruben Garcia has distinguished himself as an investigator, supervisor and leader, demonstrating the necessary qualities to serve in one of the key posts in the FBI."

RENO REGALES: It had been weeks since Attorney General Janet Reno's last weekly media briefing, what with out-of-town commitments and Thanksgiving. Last Thursday, reporters assembled again at the mahogany table.

Reporter: Long time, no see.

Reno: Yes. I miss you all.

Reporters: Thank you! [Laughter.]

Reno: I think I do miss you all. You keep me on my toes. I will frankly tell you that I think the First Amendment is reflected best around this table, in many instances that I see in Washington. You ask good, searching questions. You ask them in a thoughtful, human way, and I guess I do miss you all--now. [Laughter.]

She then declined comment 17 times, in a mostly good-natured ritual.

Things perked up again when reporters asked if the time had come for Reno to comment on the Monica Lewinsky matter.

She had promised last year that she would one day reveal all.

"Not yet," Reno said. [Laughter.]

But would she write a book once her term ended? "What I would like to try to do is serve now in the best way I can possibly serve the American people. And then, come the time I leave here, I'll be like Scarlett and think about that tomorrow." [Laughter.]