The George Washington University
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|November 13, 2000||
For more information contact:
Peter Kornbluh 202/994-7000
More Declassified Documents on Chile:
Chile Documentation Project
PRESS RELEASE CHILE: 16,000 SECRET U.S. DOCUMENTS DECLASSIFIED
CIA FORCED TO RELEASE HUNDREDS OF RECORDS ON COVERT OPERATIONS
National Security Archive calls Release a Victory for Openness;
Pushes for further Declassification
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Washington D.C.: The National Security Archive today hailed the release of more than 16,000 secret U.S. records on the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and Washington’s role in the violent overthrow of the Allende government and the advent of the military regime to power. The release, totaling over 50,000 pages of State Department, CIA, White House, Defense and Justice Department records, represents the fourth and final “tranche” of the Clinton Administration’s special Chile Declassification Project.
The declassification includes 700 controversial CIA documents that the Directorate of Operations had refused to release—records of U.S. covert operations between 1968 and 1975 to destabilize the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and, after the violent 1973 coup, to bolster the military regime of Augusto Pinochet. The final release, originally scheduled for September 14, was delayed two months while the White House pressured the CIA to relinquish these documents. Some 800 other CIA intelligence records were also declassified.
Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, the public interest research center that led the campaign to declassify U.S. documents on Chile, called the release a “victory for openness over the impunity of secrecy.” The documents, he said, “provide evidence for a verdict of history on U.S. intervention in Chile, as well as for potential courtroom verdicts against those who committed atrocities during the Pinochet dictatorship.”
The National Security Archive credited Clinton’s national security staff, particularly William Leary who coordinated the declassification project, as well as State Department officials with a strong commitment to using declassified U.S. documents to advance the cause of human rights abroad and the American public’s right-to-know at home.
The release includes dozens of records on the September 1976 assassination of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and his American associate, Ronni Karpen Moffitt that had been previously withheld by the Justice Department as possible evidence in an ongoing investigation of General Pinochet’s personal role in the most famous act of international terrorism ever committed in Washington D.C. Intelligence records that could directly implicate Pinochet remain classified. The majority of the 16,000 documents come from State Department files covering the years 1970 to 1990.
Among the key documents declassified that shed considerable light on the history of U.S. involvement in Chile, and the repression of the Pinochet regime are:Detailed minutes of the “40 Committee” meetings—the high-level interagency group chaired by national security advisor Henry Kissinger—which oversaw U.S. efforts to undermine the election and government of Socialist leader Salvador Allende. These meetings reveal strategies of “drastic action” planned to “shock” Chileans into taking action to block Allende.
|Memorandum for the Record, Subject: Minutes of the 40 Committee Meeting, 8 September 1970, September 9, 1970.|
Files on National Security Council and cabinet meetings chaired by Richard Nixon recording his administration's commitment to “do everything we can to bring Allende down” after covert efforts to foment a coup to prevent his inauguration failed. (Dozens of other White House, CIA and NSC records, used by Frank Church’s special committee reports on Chile in 1975, have been declassified for the first time.)
|Memorandum for the President from Henry A. Kissinger, Subject: Chile, September 17, 1970.|
|Memorandum of Conversation, NSC Meeting - Chile (NSSM 97), November 6, 1970.|
CIA memoranda and cables on the assassination of Chilean General Rene Schneider, including a heavily censored review of the agency’s susceptibility to charges of involvement in his murder by coup plotters in October 1970.
A CIA intelligence report, dated September 1972, on Augusto Pinochet’s belief that Allende should be forced from office.
Heavily censored National Security Agency intercepts of conversations and information on the September 11, 1973 coup.
U.S. government efforts to avoid pressuring the Pinochet regime on human rights atrocities.
|Memorandum for Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, Subject: Chile, July 25, 1975.|
|Department of State Cable, Subject: Operation Condor, August 24, 1976.|
FBI and DIA records showing that U.S. intelligence had obtained the Chilean address of U.S. citizen Frank Teruggi, who, like Charles Horman, was detained by Pinochet’s military after the coup at his home, taken to the national stadium, and executed.
|Memorandum for Acting Director, FBI, Subject: Frank Teruggi, October 25, 1972.|
|FBI Memorandum, [Information on Frank Teruggi], October 25, 1972.|
|Memorandum for Acting Director, FBI, Subject: [Deleted] SM - SUBVERSIVE, November 28, 1972.|
DINA requests for organizational support and training from the CIA.
CIA briefings to the State Department on Operation Condor and planned assassinations abroad.
Documents that for the first time link General Pinochet to a pair of Chilean intelligence agents later tied to the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington, D.C.
|Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence, Subject: Two Chilean Army Officers on Paraguayan Passports, September 23, 1976.|
|Department of State Memorandum, [Pinochet-Stroessner Telephone Conversation], September 1, 1976.|
|Department of State Memorandum, The Paraguayan Caper, October 15, 1976.|
|CIA Spot Report, Subject: Juan Williams Rose and Alejandro Romeral Jara, December 12, 1991.|
Reports from CIA and other agencies on Manuel Contreras, his meetings with U.S. officials, and his efforts to obstruct U.S. investigations into the assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.
|Department of State, Resume of USG Evidence & Defense Position in the Contreras, et al., Extradition, ca. 1979.|
|CIA Report, [Contreras and Human Rights], July 10, 1975.|
|CIA Report, [Contreras Luncheon with Deputy Director of Central Intelligence], August 1975.|
|Memorandum for Director of Central Intelligence, Juan Manuel Contreras Sepulveda Visit to Headquarters, August 23, 1975.|
|CIA Summary, Chile [DDCI Luncheon for Contreras, August 25, 1975], December 12, 1991.|
|Department of State Cable, Offer/Threat by Manuel Contreras, February 10, 1989.|
|CIA Name Trace Request, Juan Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, Pedro Espinosa Bravo, et al., May 21, 1991.|
“With these documents the history of the U.S. role in Chile and the Pinochet dictatorship can be rewritten,” said Kornbluh, who directs the Archive’s Chile Documentation Project. He noted, however, that many CIA records remained heavily blacked out. “CIA censors continue to dictate what Chileans and Americans alike can know about this shameful history,” he said. National Security Archive officials pledged to pursue all legal means to press the CIA to fully disclose still classified documentation.
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