CARTELS: Washington Peep Show

Like a deft stripteaser, the Administration has for months been peeling off just enough tantalizing gossamer to give the customers some tempting glimpses of a "secret oil cartel." The Federal Trade Commission, which had been poring over subpoenaed oil-company records since early 1950, unpeeled the first rumor in March: it had recently completed a 900-page report, so shocking that the public could not be permitted to see it.

This had the predictable effect. Newsmen and Congressmen began clamoring for release of the forbidden shocker. The State Department, Defense and the Central Intelligence...

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