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Ledeen Downplays Role

April 09, 1989

Your review of my book "Perilous Statecraft: An Insider's Account of the Iran-Contra Affair" (Book Review, Dec. 18, 1988) by Larry Bensky of the far left-wing Pacifica radio is not a review at all but an extended diatribe against me and my alleged ideas and activities. Your readers can get a sense of the garbage in which Bensky traffics from this:

"It now seems clear that Ledeen was more deeply involved, more mysteriously involved, in communications between Israel and the Reagan Administration than we have previously been told."

The claim is false. Aside from the few months in 1985 when I functioned as a White House intermediary in discussion with Israelis and Iranians, I have played no role in American-Israeli communications.

Bensky also revives the old canard that I was co-inventor of "the now discredited KGB-Bulgarian 'plot to kill the Pope.' " That also is false. At the time, I was a full-time employee of the Department of State, and did no writing or speaking on the subject whatsoever. And, contrary to Bensky's assertion, the theory is far from discredited.

Bensky makes things up out of whole cloth, as when he claims that I was "a courier for both the CIA and the NSC." I have never worked for the CIA; this, too, is a lie that has often appeared in Soviet bloc newspapers and magazines as well as in some extreme left-wing American and European publications.

The Bensky tirade is a continuation of the sort of highly politicized witch hunt that characterized aspects of the congressional investigations. You owe your readers an apology.

MICHAEL A. LEDEEN

CHEVY CHASE, MD.

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