Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) yesterday denounced as "grossly unfair" Lt. Col. Oliver L. North's charge that security leaks by two U.S. senators warned Libya of an air raid in April 1986, contributing to or causing deaths of two American fliers to intense antiaircraft fire.

Inouye, chairman of the special Senate Iran-contra investigating committee, refuted North by reciting news stories as early as a week before the attack, which quoted Reagan administration sources detailing plans for an imminent attack against Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

North, in testimony earlier this week, blamed two unnamed members of Congress for leaking news of a special presidential address to the nation a few hours before the attack and alleged this had alerted the Libyan leader and allowed him to prepare for it.

North implied that the death of the American pilots stemmed from the alleged premature disclosure of President Reagan's address the night of April 14.

Inouye lectured North on his need for "fairness" in making charges against legislators in light of "the call for fairness" to the witness over the last six days of North's testimony.

Inouye said he had reviewed the record of what had happened in the days and hours leading up to the attack and found no justification for North's accusations. He cited various television and press reports starting April 7 that indicated, based on administration sources, that an attack was imminent and even discussed the probable targets.

The U.S. military attack on Libya was regarded as such a high possibility by the international media that scores of American reporters had arrived in advance in the Libyan capital of Tripoli to witness the attack. Journalists provided detailed descriptions of the night's events for the U.S. public.

In his testimony, North did not name the two lawmakers but clearly was referring to Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D. W.Va.) and Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. At the time of the attack, Byrd was Senate minority leader and Pell the ranking Democrat on the committee.

According to North, after a White House briefing by Reagan for congressional leaders just 1 1/2 hours before the attack began, two members of Congress "proceeded immediately to waiting {White House} microphones and noted that the president was going to make a heretofore unannounced address to the nation on Libya."

North said "there's no doubt" that Gadhafi heard those words. North charged that while the United States may still have had "tactical surprise" in launching the attack, it lost the advantage of "strategic surprise" because their comments tipped off the Libyans.

Their words, he said, were "instantly available" all over the world, including in Moscow and Tripoli. "Those kinds of things alert our adversaries," North intoned. He said all the Libyans needed was "a half hour or an hour" to prepare for the attack and this is what happened.

As a result, he said, the volume of antiaircraft fire over Tripoli was "immense," the night of April 14-15. Two U.S. airmen, Capt. Fernando L. Ribas-Dominicci and Capt. Paul F. Lorence, flying one of the attacking F111 jet fighter-bombers, died "as a consequences of that antiaircraft fire as best as we can determine."

Byrd and Pell yesterday angrily rejected North's contention that they had "leaked" news of the air strike.

A Byrd aide said he had made "no comment of any kind until after the president addressed the nation."

Pell said it was "ludicrous to conclude that the mere statement that the president would be on television constituted a leak of an imminent attack on Libya."

The president's briefing ended about 5 p.m. on April 14, and the first U.S. bombs fell on Libya about two hours later, 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

According to Inouye's account, neither Byrd nor Pell stopped to speak to reporters at the White House after the briefing but went immediately back to the Senate, where they were confronted by reporters about the briefing.

One senator, apparently Byrd, replied "no comment," while the other said, "You should ask the president the question. He might have something to say tonight at 9." Neither made any further comment.

Yesterday, Inouye recited a number of news reports starting April 7 that speculated on the basis of administration leaks with increasing certainty on the likelihood of an attack.

For example, "CBS Evening News" that night said "top U.S. officials acknowledge that detailed military contingency plans for retaliation already exist. Said one source, they involve five targets in Libya."

On April 8, Inouye said, The Wall Street Journal, quoting a senior administration official, wrote, "Reagan and his advisers are united in wanting to respond militarily against Gadhafi but haven't agreed on a time or place to strike back."

Both CBS and ABC in television news broadcasts April 9 repeated reports that Reagan had approved a strike. "If it comes to that," said ABC's White House correspondent Sam Donaldson, "seldom will U.S. military action have been so widely and publicly advertised in advance."

On April 10, The New York Times reported an unidentified administration official as saying that "Libyan military sites are the prime options under consideration for retaliation and that among the key possibilities are Libyan air bases near the coast."

The next day, Inouye said, NBC's "Today Show" reported, "the goal is to strike as many targets as possible as close to the coast to reduce the danger to American planes."

This was precisely what happened as U.S. F111 aircraft hit several air bases, communication centers, including Gadhafi's headquarters, and suspected terrorist training centers.

Inouye said The Associated Press, in an April 12 dispatch, quoted Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi in Milan, Italy, as saying, "I don't believe there will be a military intervention there before Monday." This provoked a laugh in the hearing room yesterday.

Also on April 12, "NBC Nightly News" reported administration sources as saying that "by Monday, the diplomatic lobbying tool will be complete and the administration sources indicate that means a strike could come as early as Tuesday." Staff researcher Michelle Hall contributed to this report.