Use The Cia To Thwart Industrial Spying

I am sympathetic to the argument that the Central Intelligence Agency should not be put to work in an offensive way for American business ("Why pinstripes don't suit the cloak-and-dagger crowd," Top of the News, May 17). I see merit, however, in putting the CIA to work in a defensive way.

Given that our friends, allies, and former enemies are all feverishly spying on us, it seems a safe bet that economic espionage on their part isn't about to go away. Therefore, I can't see any reason why the CIA would not deploy its considerable counter-espionage capabilities in the service of American business. Indeed, I would consider that an honorable calling.

The chief drawback to this defensive use of the CIA is the difficulty in determining just what is and isn't an American business--or a French business, for that matter. Wouldn't it be ironic if it turns out that the French have been spying on themselves?

F.W. Nickols

East Windsor, N.J.

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