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Power Play

August 25, 1996

I was downright disgusted to read about certain CIA officials engaging in behavior we normally attribute to the secret police of despotic regimes ("She Fought the CIA . . . and Won," by David Wise, July 21). For officials of our own intelligence community, on whom the highest levels of our government rely, to act in such a way is something that must be stopped. "Power, absolute power corrupts absolutely," said the British statesman Lord Acton. Those found guilty of framing Janine Brookner because she did not play the "old boys' network" game should be punished.

U Kyaw Win

Laguna Hills

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Brookner should have been fired as soon as she submitted a voucher for overtime for cooking a Thanksgiving dinner. The thought of a highly paid CIA station chief asking for additional pay to cook dinner for her Jamaican counterpart is incredible. It makes one wonder about the professionalism of our highly placed civil servants. Now that we know what she is like, how much of her story can we believe?

George J. Frey

Sherman Oaks

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It's not the CIA's budget that will be paying the nearly $700,000 settlement from Brookner's lawsuit. Brookner's suit was based on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When a federal agency loses a Title VII case, the money is normally taken from a judgment fund, not the particular agency's budget. In terms of deterrence, it certainly would make more sense for the agency to pay the settlement.

Pam Johnston

Los Angeles

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Wise responds: It is correct that the money, as is usually the case, came from a government fund maintained to pay judgments. Whether the amount had been charged to the CIA or the Justice Department, however, ultimately it is all paid out by the same source--the U.S. Treasury.

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