Statement by George J. Tenet Director of Central Intelligence
The Central Intelligence Agency's independent statutory Inspector General (IG) is nearing completion of a seventeen- month investigation into allegations in The San Jose Mercury News that the CIA supported efforts by the Nicaraguan Contras to bring cocaine into the United States to finance their operations. The IG's investigation has found no evidence that would substantiate The San Jose Mercury News allegations that the CIA had any involvement with Ricky Ross, Oscar Danilo Blandon, or Juan Norwin Meneses, or in cocaine trafficking in California to raise funds for the Nicaraguan Contras. This is reflected in Volume I of the IG's report, published today.
I would like to commend the CIA's Inspector General and his staff for their enormous commitment and dedication to finding the truth. This has been the most extensive investigation ever undertaken by the Inspector General's office, requiring the review of about 250,000 pages of documents and interviews with over 365 individuals. I am satisfied that the IG has left no stone unturned in his efforts to uncover the truth.
I must admit that my colleagues and I are very concerned that the allegations made have left an indelible impression in many Americans' minds that the CIA was somehow responsible for the scourge of drugs in our inner cities. Unfortunately, no investigation - no matter how exhaustive - will completely erase that false impression or undo the damage that has been done. That is one of the most unfortunate aspects of all of this.
I want to emphasize that the dedicated men and women of the CIA understand the tragedy that drugs cause to individuals, to families, and to communities. We are fully committed to halting the flow of drugs into this country. We have had notable successes. For example, we contributed to the capture of all of the Cali cartel drug lords in Colombia and the seizure of huge amounts of heroin produced in Southeast Asia, preventing it from reaching the United States.
The core mission of the Central Intelligence Agency is to protect the lives of American citizens, at home or abroad. I pledge that the US Intelligence Community will continue to do all it can in the future to stem the flow of drugs into our communities.