CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

1996

Guatemala

 

Materials arranged chronologically.

Intelligence Oversight Board. Report on the Guatemala Review. 28 Jun. 1996. [http://www.us.net/cip/iob.htm]

From the "Introduction": "On March 30, 1995, the President directed the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) to conduct a government-wide review concerning allegations regarding the 1990 death of US citizen Michael DeVine, the 1992 disappearance of Guatemalan guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, and related matters."

From "Conclusions": "[1] Contrary to public allegations, CIA did not increase covert funding for Guatemala to compensate for the cut-off of military aid in 1990....

"[2] Credible allegations of serious human rights abuse were made against several then-active CIA assets....

"[3] CIA did not inform ambassadors and other policy-makers before late 1994 of allegations of human rights abuse by Guatemalan assets as such claims came to light....

"[4] State Department should have sought authorization from intelligence agencies to include in its briefings to family members or surviving victims more information drawn from intelligence reports. NSA's inadequate responses to FOIA requests ... were the result of data searches that were overly narrow and the lack of a system that would allow NSA to provide more information without compromising its sources and methods....

"[5] The executive and legislative branches should hold accountable any officials known to have compromised or improperly handled classified information.....

"[6] [W]e uncovered no indication that US government officials were involved in or had prior knowledge of the death, torture, or disappearance of US or Guatemalan citizens....

"[7] We found no evidence that Guatemala station was a 'rogue' station operating independently of control by its headquarters....

"[8] Congress was not appropriately 'fully and currently' informed by the CIA, particularly concerning the death of Michael DeVine....

"[9] The performance of both CIA and DOJ was less thorough than was warranted with regard to the criminal referral of the allegation that Colonel Alpirez was present at DeVine's death....

"[10] US intelligence agencies should ensure ... that their [asset] validation systems consider not only counterintelligence and productivity issues, but also derogatory information on assets (including allegations of human rights abuse)....

"[11] The widely publicized allegation that Guatemalan Colonel Alpirez directed or was present at the murder of US citizen Michael DeVine appears to have been based upon information that was unreliable and was contradicted by other evidence.... Numerous other reports also contradict the subsequent allegation that Colonel Alpirez killed guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez or was present at his death....

"[12] The allegation that NSA and Army officials destroyed records related to the activity of US intelligence agencies in Guatemala (which was communicated to a member of Congress purportedly on NSA letterhead) appears to have been fabricated."

Weiner, Tim. "Report Faults C.I.A. on Hiring of Informers in Guatemala." New York Times, 29 Jun. 1996, 2.

Summary of report by Intelligence Oversight Board on Guatemalan operations.

Macartney, John. "Guatemala Update." Intelligencer 7, no. 3 (Fall 1996): 3-5.

The "Report on the Guatemala Review," issued by the President's Intelligence Oversight Board on 28 June 1996 "pretty much exonerates the [CIA] from the wild charges that made headlines in the aftermath of Rep. Robert Torricelli's (D-NJ) sensational press conference of March 23, 1995.... The charge that NSA was destroying files on the case was found to be a complete hoax and fabrication, probably the work of a disgruntled employee." The CIA was criticized "for paying insufficient attention to collecting information on [human rights] abuses prior to 1994. CIA was also criticized for not stressing human rights abuses enough in its reports to US policymakers."

Weiner, Tim. "C.I.A. Chief Punishes Aide in State Department." New York Times, 6 Dec. 1996, A12 (N).

DCI John Deutch has revoked the security clearance of State Department official John Nuccio. Two years ago, Nuccio informed Representative Robert Torricelli of a link between the CIA and a Guatemalan colonel accused of involvement in human rights violations in Guatemala.

Baugher, Thomas R. "Swans Swimming in the Sewer: Legal Use of 'Dirty Assets' by CIA." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 9, no. 4 (Winter 1996-1997): 435-471.

The author uses the March 1995 uproar surrounding the CIA's relationship with Guatemalan Colonel Julio Roberto Alpinez to survey the law and other possible controls over the CIA's use of foreign assets with less than a savory background. He compares some of these issues to those associated with the FBI's use of confidential informants. Baugher concludes that the CIA "must be free to deal with anyone possessing valuable information." However, "Congress must be informed when the asset threatens American lives or interests"; it is, then, up to Congress to "try to pressure the president to forbid a clandestine relationship or terminate an existing one."

Ledbetter, James. "Report? What Report?" Village Voice, 1 Apr. 1997, 32.

The author chides the New York Times for not reporting on a House intelligence committee report "rejecting key charges made by New Jersey Democrat Robert Torricelli about CIA links to political murders in Guatemala." Ledbetter says a query to Times Washington editor Andrew Rosenthal elicited the response, "This is the first I've heard of it.... I guess I just missed it."

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