Two freshmen House members called yesterday for hearings about the Justice Department's handling of the investigation of FBI officials who conducted "black bag" operations against radical fugitives.
Reps. Peter H. Kostmayer (D-Pa.) and Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.) said yesterday they are concerned because the five members of the task force directing the investigation asked to be relieved of their duties after a clash with Attorney General Griffin B. Bell over pursuing additional indictments.
The two congressmen asked Rep. Richardson Preyer, (D-N.C.), chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee which has Justice Department oversight duties, to call Bell and the five attorneys to explain the dispute.
Preyer said through an aide yesterday that he would discuss the request with other subcommittee members before deciding whether to hold hearings. Weiss and Kostmayer are members of the subcommittee.
In a letter to Bell, Weiss said the Attorney General's "failure" to approve more indictments "is nothing short of scandalous." He said it contradicted assurances Bell made at a subcommittee hearing in June.
So far only former FBI supervisor, John J. Kearney, has been indicted as a result of the 18-month-old investigation. Bell said he wants to try that case before taking on others.
Weiss wrote Bell that "If the course of conduct established in the Richard Helms case and these FBI cases becomes accepted practice, we will soon have a doal system of laws: one for government agents and one for everyone else."
Former CIA director Helms was allowed to plead no contest to charges of failing to testify fully to senators investigating covert actions of U.S. agents in Chile.
A Justice Department spokesman said there would be no comment on the suggestions for hearings.