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Holder Delays Release Of Justice, CIA Reports On Crack

By Terry Frieden/CNN


WASHINGTON (Dec. 18) -- Attorney General Janet Reno's deputy said Thursday that he had ordered a delay in this week's scheduled release of CIA and Justice Department reports on the racially sensitive subject of alleged CIA involvement in the introduction of crack cocaine into black neighborhoods of southern California.

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters he stopped the release of a report by the CIA, and another by Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich because of "law enforcement concerns," but he refused to elaborate.

Holder told reporters, "There are things we do not want to have compromised. They are not related to the underlying allegations."

Other high-ranking Justice Department officials tell CNN the unspecified concerns do not affect the central issues of government involvement in the introduction of crack.

A published report in Thursday's Los Angeles Times says the CIA report declares it has no responsibility for the crack, and rejects charges it aided drug-runners who helped fund the Nicaraguan "Contras."

Holder would not predict when the report would be released. He said he and Bromwich had briefed key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), about the delay.

"[Waters'] reaction, I think, yesterday was a pretty good one," Holder said, but he acknowledged he had not discussed the findings of the reports with her. Holder said he had shared the full extent of the secret reports with the intelligence committees.

Waters and many African-American leaders in South-Central Los Angeles publicly accused the CIA of helping introduce crack cocaine into their community. They cited an investigation by The San Jose Mercury News which claimed CIA involvement. The report, however, was contradicted by several other news organizations.

In Other News:

Thursday Dec. 18, 1997

Clinton Wants Extended U.S. Role In Bosnia
Bliley Releases Secret Tobacco Documents
Black Farmers Pleased With Clinton Meeting
Oregon GOP Rep. Bob Smith Announces Retirement
The Clintons Entertain
Holder Delays Release Of Justice, CIA Reports On Crack
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