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Inouye Threatens to Oust Senator if He Leaked Data

March 25, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — An angry Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) today said he will take action to remove a fellow senator from the Senate panel probing the Iran- contra scandal if he is found to have leaked sensitive information from the investigation.

Inouye was responding to a New York Times story that said evidence shows ex-CIA Director William J. Casey was the mastermind behind secretly supplying arms to the Nicaraguan rebels. The newspaper cited unidentified members of Congress investigating the scandal.

"Casey's fingerprints are everywhere," one lawmaker told the newspaper.

Another said Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, the White House aide fired for his role in the scandal, "surely needed the expertise and help of the CIA to do all the things he did in Central America."

Following a morning meeting of the Senate panel, Inouye said an investigation was started to try to determine who leaked the information.

He said if a staff member is found to have leaked sensitive information on this story or any others in the future he will take action "in terminating his service immediately."

"If the same occurs with a member of the panel, I will not hesitate in discussing this matter with the (Senate) leadership and request that he be replaced with another member," Inouye added.

Asked if the newspaper's story was correct, Inouye said: "It's not a question of whether it's right or wrong. I think it would be wrong for any member of the panel to be discussing matters like that."

Inouye also said he did not believe the congressional investigation would be hurt by the absence of testimony from the ailing Casey.

"I think we have other witnesses that will fill the gap," Inouye said. "I am convinced that when the investigations and hearings are concluded, the people of the United States will have the full story."

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