WALSH FIASCO DRAGS ON (Senate - May 21, 1992)

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Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, yesterday the Memphis Commercial Appeal printed an editorial on the subject entitled `Walsh Fiasco Drags On.' The subject is the Lawrence Walsh investigation of the so-called Iran-Contra affairs. The writer characterized the investigation as replete with politics, intimidation, and unfairness.

I ask unanimous consent that the editorial be printed at this point in the Record.

There being no objection, the editorial was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 20, 1992


Walsh Fiasco Drags on

If special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh's investigation of the Iran-Contra intrigue were a softball game, it would have been called off long ago under the `mercy rule'--the regulation that comes into effect when one side is hopelessly behind.

So far, Walsh's six-year, $30 million probe has put exactly one person behind bars. America can sleep again now that the dreaded Thomas Clines is doing 16 months.

Just when it looked like the Walsh inquiry was over--the federal Iran-Contra grand jury disbanded last week--some hard chargers on Walsh's staff persuaded him to threaten former Defense secretary Caspar Weinberger with prosecution for allegedly lying to Congress. Walsh reportedly offered Weinberger immunity if he would incriminate his old boss, Ronald Reagan. Weinberger stood pat. So far, no indictment.

The Walsh team's unsavory attempt to `sweat' Weinberger into turning stoolie, as though the former Cabinet secretary were some dry-lipped flunky in a burglary ring, highlights many abuses of the Iran-Contra probe:

Politics. Some might think that supposedly getting the goods on an ex-Defense secretary would be a prosecutorial coup. But a president's head mounted over their fireplace is evidently the grand object of Walsh & Co.

Intimidation. Bottomlessly funded special prosecutors can wage long court battles. Not so their targets. Only national fundraising efforts met the legal expenses of national security officials Oliver North and John Poindexter, both convicted but cleared on appeal. CIA employee Joseph Fernandez ran up $1.8 million in lawyer bills fighting a Walsh indictment that went nowhere. Innocence is no protection against litigious ruin.

Unfairness. Weinberger opposed swapping arms for Iranian-held hostages, but this didn't spare him from Walsh's ultimatum. Some Weinberger letters in the Library of Congress, Walsh staffers allege, appear to contradict his testimony to Congress that he was not party to Iran-Contra machinations. But the staffers had to lobby Walsh to lean on Weinberger, suggesting that these letters are no smoking gun.

The details of Iran-Contra are grist for the historian, not the prosecutor, policeman or jailer. It's time for the Walsh fishing expedition to return to shore.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.

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