Brushing aside objections by President Clinton, a judge gave the go-ahead yesterday for more questioning in a lawsuit by former government employees whose FBI background files were collected by the White House.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Judicial Watch, the conservative group that filed the suit, should be permitted to question former FBI official Larry Potts about his work for a private investigative firm that also had been retained by Clinton's legal team in the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal.

Clinton objected to questions about contacts Potts had with the FBI since he began working for the firm, Investigative Group International, because it would force Potts to reveal privileged communications he had with the president's lawyers.

"Clinton's and Potts's argument misses the point," Lamberth wrote. "Not all discussions among a group of people . . . may be entitled to claim the privilege."

Judicial Watch lawyers want to ask Potts if he and IGI investigated Linda R. Tripp, whose secret tape recordings triggered Clinton's impeachment.

The conservative group also wants to ask Potts about contacts he or IGI may have had with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clinton supporter James Carville or White House aide Sidney Blumenthal.