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Anti-Defamation League Spying

April 20, 1993

Your editorial "A Line Never to Be Crossed" (April 14) with regard to the Anti-Defamation League was, for the most part, right on target.

As you correctly noted, "it is no surprise that the ADL has kept close tabs on individuals and groups of all stripes that trade in hate or violence. . . ." Indeed, for decades reports of the Anti-Defamation League have served as background material for The Times as well as countless other journalists, legislators and the public.

Where your editorial goes astray is imputing to the Anti-Defamation League the collecting of information on groups such as the NAACP, television station KQED, Times correspondent Scott Kraft, et al. In the frenzy to report allegations and information from an affidavit made public by the San Francisco district attorney's office, few reporters have bothered to distinguish between material from the files of the Anti-Defamation League and that taken from the homes of Roy Bullock and Tom Gerard.

In fact the files on the NAACP, KQED, Greenpeace, Scott Kraft, etc., were not ADL files. We have never investigated such responsible and respected organizations and individuals. As we have made clear, to your reporters and to others, ADL has not passed any information to the government in South Africa at any time, nor have we ever instructed anyone else to do so on our behalf.

Your concerns about misuse of information are our concerns. For 80 years we have worked to live up to our mandate to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike."

We have never been successfully sued for liable, defamation, or in any other way violating the trust of the American people that we have assiduously earned.

You can be assured that ADL has never and will never cross the line that "separates gathering information on defamers and gathering information that could be used to embarrass or defame others."

DAVID A. LEHRER

Regional Director

Anti-Defamation League

Los Angeles

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