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Procedures and Resources: The California Story

  1. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) responded to the DCI's tasking of September 3, 1996 by immediately forming an investigative team that included three Investigators, an Auditor, a Research Assistant, and a Secretary. By November 1996, the team was expanded to encompass 17 full-time OIG Investigators, Inspectors, Auditors, and another Research Assistant. Additionally, four other individuals with expertise in specific areas also joined the investigative team for periods of time ranging from one to eight months.
  2. OIG constructed a comprehensive tasking memorandum that was distributed to all CIA components on September 12, 1996. The OIG tasking memorandum requested that OIG be furnished with all information regarding three broad areas: 
  • Copies of all internal and external documents and information relating to any CIA connection with, or knowledge of, the activities of the following individuals who are identified in the San Jose Mercury News article: Danilo Blandon, Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero, Ricky Donnell Ross, Carlos Augusto Cabezas, Adolfo Calero, Orlando Murillo, Luis Enrique Meneses Cantarero, Enrique Miranda, Enrique Bermudez, Marcos Aguado, Julio Zavala, and Horacio Pereira;
  • Copies of all internal and external documents and information regarding possible drug trafficking and related activities directed toward or conducted within the United States by the Contras or persons associated with the Contras, and what actions CIA took in response to the receipt of such information;
  • Copies of all internal and external documents relating to any contacts between CIA and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department, U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and other U.S. federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies and any foreign law enforcement entities or other organizations relating to the individuals listed above or possible drug trafficking and related activities by the Contras directed toward or conducted within the United States.

The tasking memorandum directed that responses include all relevant official and unofficial files, memoranda, taskings, notes, letters, correspondence, communications, finished intelligence, electronic mail and other computer messages, cable traffic, briefing books, calendars, and personal notes. All categories of material were to be included in response regardless of their classification or sensitivity.

  1. OIG also issued two Employee Bulletins--on September 12, 1996 and October 23, 1996--with copies distributed to every CIA employee--informing them of this investigation and asking employees who may have knowledge of the issues under investigation to contact OIG. On September 30, 1996, OIG placed an article in the Agency newsletter, What's News at CIA, requesting that CIA employees contact OIG with any information potentially relevant to this investigation. 
  2. By March 1997, OIG had received approximately 50,000 pages of documents provided by Agency components. In May, the team received an additional 42,000 pages of documentary material, including information drawn from the Agency's holdings of Iran-Contra-related documents that had been provided to the Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra Matters, Lawrence Walsh. Additional documentary material responding to specific OIG follow-up taskings of Agency components continued to be received through December 1997. In total, OIG reviewed about one-quarter million pages of documents and indexed over 53,000 pages into its investigative records. By the conclusion of the investigation, these documents were organized into more than 104 three-ring binder volumes and 26,000 pages of documents in other files. 
  3. Documents relating to operational, security, polygraph, and personnel matters were obtained from appropriate components within the Directorate of Operations (DO) and the Directorate of Administration. Files relating to relevant Agency assets, operations and counterintelligence issues were reviewed. Records from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) were obtained and reviewed. The Agency's collection of records that responded to the Office of the Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra Matters (OIC)--comprising approximately 300 linear feet of Agency and other Executive Branch documents--was reviewed and potentially relevant information was obtained by OIG. 
  4. Relevant current and long-term finished intelligence, as well as memoranda and other records, from the Directorate of Intelligence and the National Intelligence Council were obtained and reviewed by OIG. Memoranda, briefing materials and other relevant information from the Office of the DCI were reviewed. Information from the Office of Congressional Affairs and the Office of the Comptroller was obtained, as were documents from the Directorate of Science and Technology. Reporting from other Intelligence Community agencies, including the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, that had been shared with CIA and was available in CIA databases was provided by CIA components to OIG. 
  5. OIG also worked with the Department of Justice/Office of the Inspector General (DoJ/OIG) in common areas of investigative interest and jurisdiction. OIG reviewed relevant records obtained by DoJ/OIG relating to the transmittal of information concerning Contra-drug trafficking allegations between CIA and law enforcement agencies. OIG also engaged in direct communications with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to review relevant information. OIG also contacted DoJ's National Drug Intelligence Center and DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center for potentially responsive information. 
  6. OIG detailed two officers to the National Archives where the records of the OIC for Iran-Contra Matters reside. Their function was to review those records and obtain copies of those that were relevant to this investigation. A forensic analysis regarding specific documents that were obtained from a U.S. District Court was conducted, at OIG's request, by the DoJ's Immigration and Naturalization Service Forensic Laboratory. 
  7. Also reviewed were available records relating to briefings that were provided by Agency officials to the Congressional intelligence oversight committees. Complete records of all briefings were not available, since the committees and CIA officials did not always create records of information briefings provided to committee staff. 
  8. OIG conducted over 365 interviews with individuals who possessed potentially relevant information. In some cases, individuals were interviewed more than once as new information developed. These interviews included current and former Agency employees and other current or former U.S. Government officials. Also interviewed were individuals--both in the United States and abroad--who were involved with the Contras in the 1980s on behalf of CIA and other persons who were in a position to know what CIA may have known, or done, about Contra-related individuals who were allegedly involved in drug trafficking. Most individuals who were interviewed were administered an oath attesting to the truthfulness of their statements. The OIG interviews involved travel to four continents and throughout the United States. OIG conducted a number of interviews jointly with DoJ/OIG where common investigative interests existed. 
  9. The persons interviewed also included senior Agency management officials, including DCI George Tenet, former DCI Robert Gates, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) and Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) John McMahon, former DDO Richard Stolz, several former DO Chiefs of Latin America Division, and relevant former Chiefs of the DO/Central American Task Force (CATF). A large number of CIA officers--both current and retired--who were involved in support of the Contras in the 1980s were interviewed. Former Contra leaders, including Eden Pastora, Adolfo Calero and Alfonso Robelo were interviewed. OIG also interviewed Ricky Ross, Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses. 
  10. Seven people declined OIG's request to be interviewed. They include six former CIA personnel--a middle-level officer who resigned from CIA some time ago; Duane Clarridge; Joseph Fernandez; Clair George; John McCavitt; and Gerald Svat--and Celerino Castillo, a former DEA employee. Three other former senior Agency managers responded in writing to questions posed by OIG.

     


Posted: Apr 25, 2007 08:05 PM
Last Updated: Apr 25, 2007 08:05 PM