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Maxine Waters

March 09, 1997

* Re "Undeterred, Waters Crusades for Answers," March 4:

Despite her admirable tenacity, it is unlikely that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) will find any feasible cause of action against the CIA in the crack cocaine affair. In a cordial farewell session with the Senate Intelligence Committee, retiring CIA Director John Deutch made it clear that the inspectors general charged with investigating this matter can subpoena witnesses or documents only with the director's approval--thus virtually assuring no surprises.

With Republicans in control of Congress and reluctant to revisit Iran-Contra, and with Democrats not eager to rock the boat, evidence of drug trafficking much broader than the Los Angeles sideshow will almost certainly remain quietly swept under the rug. A conspiracy of silence seems to enjoy the tacit approval of the main media, which are understandably loath to reveal how they had knuckled under to then-CIA Director William Casey's "Office of Public Diplomacy," charged with repressing criticism of the Contras. Under his free-wheeling "whatever it takes" policy, there is ample testimony that many private contractors flew guns down and drugs back without proper customs clearance.

MARSHALL PHILLIPS

Foreign Service Officer (Ret.)

Long Beach

* You paraphrase Waters as saying that "crack has so viciously undermined personal responsibility and exacerbated other social problems such as crime." We heartily agree.

We would also add that power lust has the same effect, undermining the personal responsibility of refraining from making unsubstantiated allegations, and worsening the social problem of racism.

TOM and MARY LOU CLAYTON

Santa Clarita

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