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Noriega's Secrets

August 25, 1991

In "The Secrets of a Dictator" (July 21),authors Douglas Frantz and Robert L. Jackson ponder the question of how much dirt Manuel Noriega's upcoming trial might cast on the White House and President Bush.

Even before the trial begins, however, there has already been a great deal of dirt uncovered. There have been many articles and books by investigative journalists on the subject of U.S. complicity in, and the U.S. turning a blind eye toward drug running, from the heroin trade in Southeast Asia to cocaine trafficking in Central America.

This issue of drug trafficking in Central America was examined by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for two years when he chaired the terrorism, narcotics and international operations subcommittee. Kerry's official report in the Congressional Record states: "The subcommittee . . . found that too often other foreign policy interests were permitted to sidetrack, disrupt and undercut the war on drugs. As a result, our law enforcement personnel have been demoralized and our communities threatened. Again and again, we found agencies with foreign policy responsibilities failing to provide law enforcement with the information it needed to make arrests and otherwise enforce the law."

Regarding Noriega, the report states: "The saga of Gen. Noriega represents one of the great foreign policy failures of recent memory. Our decision to continue working with him long after our government had extensive information regarding his drug trafficking has been a continuing betrayal of the public trust."

LARRY SIEGEL

Torrance

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