From ................ National Catholic Reporter

January 17, 1997

page 25

For remedial reporting

In an uncritical act of liberal and phobic predisposition, NCR swallowed whole the August 1996 allegations of CIA involvement in Nicaraguan drug trafficking to California blacks. Never mind that the San Jose Mercury revelations were based on the self-serving claims of accused felons, NCR devoted a third of its Sept. 6 editorial page to their unquestioning acceptance and projection to a chest-thumping conclusion. "On CIA, once more: Abolish the damned thing "

Over the next three months initial hysteria has slowly given way to the painstaking efforts of more reasoned elements to find the facts. A series of responsible sources have independently and consistently found the incredible allegations to be without merit. Most recently, a 3,500 page investigation report released Dec.11 by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department concluded that allegations of CIA involvement totally groundless. Indeed, the suspect who reportedly said that he was working with the CIA now insists that he never made such a statement.

I have scanned the pages of NCR in vain for any reportage of these and other public investigation results that would correct the rush to judgment of its editorial. Would not such remedial reporting be the responsible, if humbling, thing to do?

GEORGE W. GERNER ........... Annandale, Va.