IN ordering Attorney General William French Smith to seek appointment of a special prosecutor to determine whether any laws were violated in the so-called debategate briefing book episode, US District Judge Harold Greene has well served both the judicial and the political processes.
Many unanswered questions remain about the role of Reagan administration officials in obtaining certain Carter administration briefing papers and other documents during the 1980 presidential election campaign. An eight-month-long internal government inquiry concluded that there was insufficient evidence that a crime was committed. The Justice Department said it will appeal Judge Greene's order.
Still, a full and impartial exploration seems warranted in order to put the issue to rest.