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The Casey case

Senator Goldwater defers to no one in concern for national security. When he suggests the resignation of a CIA director, a security-minded administration of fellow Republicans might be expected to listen. Do they seriously believe a CIA director can do his job effectively when he has lost the confidence of the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee -- namely, Mr. Goldwater -- not to mention another Republican on the panel and the Senate's assistant Republican leader? Evidently they do, at least in the present case of William Casey, Mr. Reagan's former campaign manager, whom the President intends to stand behind if, in an aide's words, there are no "major new revelations."

In the event of such revelations, they would have to be addressed at the time , said the aide. The question is whether the administration has sufficiently addressed the situation as it stands. By minimizing the episodes that have already loomed large enough to cause Senate investigation, Mr. reagan and his people risk the folly of previous administrations in seeming insensitive to the genuine national security that requires government officials beyond reproach.

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Mr. Casey's problems include a federal judge's ruling that he participated in business irregularities, the choice of a top aide who resigned under accusations of business irregularities, and allegations about information process. Previous CIA directors have roused controversy for various reasons. but to skim back over the roster -- Turner, Bush, Coly, Schlesinger, Helms, McCone, Dulles -- no name is associated with judgments or allegations on business ethics.

Mr. Casey has promised to offer explanations and documents today that will lay the whole controversy to rest. it is to be hoped, indeed, that he can do so , thus challenging doubts about Mr. Reagan's own wisdom in appointing him to the job. Mr. reagan has shown he can weather storms bef ore. But usually he has had Mr. Goldwater on his side.

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