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Controversy Over Meese

April 10, 1988

Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III should resign at once!

The independent counsel told us that he did not have enough evidence to indict the attorney general concerning the his problems with the "Baby Bell" stock deal and Iraqi pipeline memo (Part I, April 2). Meese crows that he's clean, not guilty, etc. completely missing the point that his continued tenure as the highest law enforcement officer in the land is not being judged by his guilt or innocence, but rather on his competence, judgmental ability and integrity. He may not be a crook but he has proven time after time that he is not qualified by temperament or intelligence to head the Justice Department.

Meese clearly demonstrated his incompetence during his "investigation" of the Iran-Contra affair. It was he that did not call in the FBI until five days after the scandal broke. It was Easy Ed who did not take notes as the investigation progressed and then responded 187 times to congressional inquiries that he didn't remember or didn't recall. The investigation was bungled.

Prior to his appointment as attorney general, Meese was the subject of an independent counsel inquiry concerning his personal business affairs. While he was not indicted, the counsel made it clear that Meese either didn't understand legal standards or didn't care about them.

Defenders of this beleaguered man seem to feel he is being hounded by the media and that to step aside now would simply be playing into the hands (or paws) of the hounds. There might be some validity to the hounding charge. However, the resignations of Deputy Atty. Gen. Arnold Burns and Assistant Atty. Gen. William Weld along with four of their top subordinates were not a media event nor were they a coincidence (Part I, March 30). These men left either because they did not want to be tainted by Meese's reputation, or they could no longer do their jobs in the Justice Department.

If the attorney general has even an ounce of self-respect left, he should tender his resignation to the President and save his friend the embarrassment of asking Nancy Reagan how to get rid of him.

ROBERT F. BANNING

Pasadena

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