Concerning The Post's editorial in support of CNN's playing the Noriega tapes {Nov. 20}, I would like to offer another view.

The media assert a constitutional right to the confidentiality of journalist-source communications. Although that privilege has not been declared to be a constitutional right, more than half the states have recognized it. How bizarre it is therefore for CNN to decide to violate the attorney-client privilege by airing tapes of Gen. Noriega's conversations with his attorney. Is it the media's latest contention that not only have they a right to the sanctity of their own privilege but also a right to violate every other privilege?

The attorney-client privilege is a necessary element in the defense of the criminally accused. By my count, the Constitution lists at least 17 separate rights having to do with criminal accusation. Clearly whether a person loses his or her liberty is so important that the Constitution is rightly chock full of provisions safeguarding the rights of the accused. Yet in the news coverage I have seen of the Noriega tapes controversy, the only part of the Constitution mentioned is the First Amendment.

It was correct of CNN to reveal the news that the government violated Gen. Noriega's right to confidentiality. It was wrong of CNN to contribute to that violation by broadcasting the contents of the tape.

ROBERT CASSLER Alexandria