CIA Intelligence Report Tied
Pinochet to Letelier Assassination
By Peter Kornbluh
Posted March 23, 2000

In May of 1978, the CIA’s National Foreign Assessment Center issued this comprehensive analysis of the Pinochet regime’s responses to being identified as responsible for the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed in the United States—the September 21, 1976 car bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington D.C.  This eight-page assessment, classified Secret/Sensitive, addressed the impact inside the regime if “proof of Pinochet’s complicity in the Letelier slaying” came to light.  At the time, the FBI had identified Pinochet’s secret police, DINA, as responsible for the crime.

 The CIA assessment notes that Pinochet will have a difficult time disassociating himself from DINA, and its chieftain, Col. Manuel Contreras.  “The former secret police chief is known to have reported directly to the President [Pinochet], who had exclusive responsibility for the organization’s activities.”   The report states that Contreras’ guilt “would be almost certain to implicate Pinochet….None of the government’s critics and few of its supporters would be willing to swallow claims that Contreras acted without presidential concurrence.”

 Under U.S. pressure, in 1995 Contreras was tried and convicted in Chile and is currently completing a seven year sentence.  In an affidavit sent to the Chilean Supreme Court in December 1997, he stated that no major DINA missions were undertaken without Pinochet’s authorization.

The document is cited in a 23 March 2000 Washington Post article titled, "U.S. Probe of Pinochet Reopened."

View the Document
Related Links:

Chile and the United States: Declassified Documents Relating to the Military Coup, September 11, 1973

State Department Release on Chile Shows Suspicions of CIA Involvement in Charles Horman "Missing" Case

Return to Archive News
Return to National Security Archive Main Page