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FBI Agents Show Support for Accused Colleague

June 21, 1986

Your Page 1 picture (May 30) of FBI agents lined up, in military array, outside a federal courthouse to cheer a colleague accused of a federal crime was disgusting and scary.

It is palpably inappropriate for employees of any federal agency to stage a demonstration patently calculated to affect the course of a federal judicial proceeding.

For FBI personnel to depart from total objectivity regarding operations of the federal court system, before which they appear as parties every day, is manifestly a suicidal compromising of organizational credibility and integrity.

The incident raises serious questions about the direction and ethos of the organization--questions not dispelled by the FBI's lame and hollow mumbling about the personnel having acted as individuals. It smacks rather of a misbegotten public relations stunt aimed at deflecting public attention from the misfeasance of FBI personnel currently in the headlines.

(And before the free-speech fanatics come running out of the woodwork, let us recall the judicial dictum that anyone has a constitutional right to baroque modes of expression, but no one has a constitutional right to a federal job.)

Would we tolerate U.S. Army personnel picketing a court-martial?

The scene in Washington was all too reminiscent of Hitler's Brown Shirts publicly lined up in tacit endorsement of the party line.

GLADWIN HILL

Los Angeles

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