Three former top-ranking CIA officials said yesterday they were upset by President Carter's use of CIA Director Stansfield Turner in a campaign television commercial.

The ad, used in New England where Carter is battling Sen. Edward Kennedy for the Democratic presidential nomination, pictures Turner and Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher talking with the pre with the president.

Neither Turner nor Christopher makes any partisan political statements in the ad, but nevertheless the commercial was objected to by Lawrence R. Houston and John S. Warner Sr., both former general counsels to the CIA, and Walter Pforzheimer, a former legislative counsel.

"It is demeaning to the American people, who have every reason to expect that the CIA's director is not enmeshed in partisan political activity. It is fervently to be hoped that this incredible occurrence will not be repeated," they said in a letter to The Washington Star.

Gerald Rafshoon Advertising Inc., which handles Carter's commercials, said the ad was excerpted from a larger 30-minute film used by the campaign.

"It's a meeting and [Turner and Christopher] are talking and the president asked a question to Christopher and then to Turner," the firm said. "They say nothing about the president. They are talking to the president about a problem."

With release of the Tehran hostages apparently in sight, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said yesterday the inflation issue is "back on the front burner."

Campaigning in Laconia, N.H., Kennedy attacked President Carter for "inadequate" economic policy and called for an immediate six-month freeze on prices across the board, saying it is "the only resortt left."

Noting the just-announced rise in the wholesale price index "at an annualized inflation rate of 20 percent," Kennedy said "if the president is going to spend his time in the Rose Garden, he could at least do something about inflation."

Rising supermarket prices and inadequate Social Security checks will force people preoccupied with foreign affairs to focus on inflation again, the senator predicted.

The price freeze is one element in an economic package Kennedy has advocated before which also includes a wage freeze and policies he says would increase productivity.

In Washington, Kennedy headquarters released a policy paper that says ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment is the top priority item in his program for women.

The paper also calls for closing the women's wage gap, improving vocational education and job training, and eliminating the "marriage penalty" in the tax code.

Carter is trying to register women for the draft while he "has failed to ensure" their rights as civilians, the paper charged.

The final unofficial tally of Maine's Democratic caucuses Sunday showed President Carter increasing his delegate lead over Sen. Edward Kennedy and Kennedy closing the gap in the popular vote.

Announcing the count yesterday party chairman Harold Pachios said the spread was greater in delegate count than in raw vote because "the president did very well in many rural areas that elect one or two delegates."

Democratic presidential aspirant Lyndon LaRouche says his campaign workers impersonate reporters and others in order to maintain his security.

The self-proclaimed counterintelligence expert said some New Hampshire newspapers including the Concord Monitor, Nashua Telegraph and Keene Sentinel, have been harassing his supporters. He said his campaign is engaged in "an undercover number" to retaliate.

An Indian elephant will be a feature of Detroit's "grand-scale" welcome for delegates to the Republican National Convention.

The eight-ton GOP symbol will be brought about nine miles from the suburban Detroit Zoo to the downtown area, said zoo deputy director Joe Morgan. The elephant will lumber around Hart Plaza on the Detroit River during the July 14 convention week.