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December 21, 2016
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May 27, 2005
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November 1, 1974
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Approved For Release 2006/09/27: CIA-RDP79-00957A000100090005-5 T'kti: PROGR.MSIVE Nov. 197 nazi once Ongrressf Ch"fle? and the C.] Though political purists may bridle at the comparison, the late president of Chile, Salvador Allende, and the Democratic Senator from South Dakota, George McGovern, had much in common. Both aspired to the presidency of nations with long democratic traditions. Both publicly espoused a more equitable distribution of wealth and greater governmental control of giant cor- porations. Both were feared by the middle classes, who believed their own economic power and prestige would decline to the extent that the lot of the poor was improved. Most fundamentally, however, both were victims-targets of a White House-directed effort to prevent their election to office; targets of vast con- spiracies to subvert the free election process through which citizens exercise the right of self-determination. Many of the tactics brought into play in the Nixon Administration's secret intervention in the Chilean election of 1970 were also employed in the U.S. Presi- dential election two years later. The dirty tricks that Allende had managed to overcome-funding of opposi- tion candidates, manipulation of the media, violations of individual privacy, illegal campaign contributions- all_were components-of the corruption now categorized in our national shorthand as "Watergate." What the United States unknowingly experienced in 1972, and ultimately exposed and repudiated two years later, was the "Chileanization" of American politics. Although Congress has now seemed to repudiate such activities at home, it has not rejected their use in Chile or in other nations unfortunate enough to be considered even marginally significant to American Judith Mi/Icr is The Progressive's Washington correspondent. "national security." In the Watergate affair, Congress: was compelled to begin impeachment proceedings against Richard M. Nixon for his orchestration of the White Mouse coverup of illegal activities. In the case of Chile, however,' the coverup of similar White House-, inspired activities is being carried out by Congress itself. By rejecting a thorough investigation of the Central' Intelligence Agency's role in the "destabilization" of the Allende regime, Congress is adopting the Nixon technique of "stonewalling." Moreover, by refusing to conduct a broader investigation of the origins of the U.S. Government's anti-Allende policy, the Senate is abandoning its constitutional responsibility for advisingi and consenting to the Executive's foreign policies. Finally, through inaction, Congress is inviting another! Watergate, a second round of domestic internalization' of the cloak-and-dagger activities commonly deployed abroad by the American intelligence establishment. As Senator Frank Church, Idaho Democrat, warned six months before the CIA intervention in Chile was pub- licly disclosed, "Is it possible to insulate our cons titu- tional and democratic processes at home from the kind of foreign policy we have conducted . . . a policy of, almost uninterrupted cold war, hot war, and clandes- tine war?" The Congressional effort to shield the CIA from public scrutiny in this case is all the more baffling in view of what CIA Director William Colby and President Ford have already acknowledged about covert CIA intervention in Chile. In the past, Congress could rely on its traditional rationale for unwillingness to exercise oversight: "The agency never fully briefs us; we (lid not Approved For Release. 2006/09/27: CIA-RDP79-00957A000100090005-5 JUDITH MILLER Approved For Release 2006/09/27: CIA-RDP79-00957AO00100090005-5 Ford, Secretary of State 1-Icnry Kissinger, the ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services *':;:; px committees (who are responsible for overseeing covert , r N? +' ,~~ 3~ r CIA operations). and, Congressional leaders held a Harrington's name on it," says one Capitol Hill source. two-hour meeting. Although the White Ilouse claimed, in proper diploni ilic language, that the group had engaged in "full and frank" discussion of CIA covert activities in Chile and elsewhere, several sources report that the major topic of conversation was the danger supposedly posed to "the national- interest" by such incidents as the Harrington Icak, and the problem of safeguarding future "sensitive" testimony before leg- islative committees. "They really had a rope with In briefings of top 'Congressional Republicans and hearings on Chile for a year, expressed no interest even in obtainiil a transcript of Colb 's actual testimony before the Nedzi oversight group. "That's not the way I "?"' .?..: , r..~.-., --: '~~ s ?-7 i want to run my subcommittee," Fascell told me. _ ?~...T.~"'~ J f,:Y. - -L?u66GAARtr7' ']'here has been continuing interest, however, in identifying the source of the leak of Colby's testimony. Engelhardt in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch On September 25, Harrington appeared before the kind of investigation Harrington had requested. Fas- t testimony octore Uongressional committees. ::1 The House demonstrated little enthusiasm for the sized the importance of safeguarding delicate CIA Nedzi oversight subcommittee to testify about the Icak `How Else Can We Protect Our Democratic of his letter. Although Harrington made it clear that he Ideals If We Don't Beat The Commies At Their had volunteered to appear, subcommittee members Own Game?' made it equally clear that the panel had power to subpoena him if he were to refuse. Instead of discuss- ing the substance or Harrington's complaints about the lack of oversight .of the CIA, the subcommittee pre- feared, in closed session, 'to take up the issue of whether Harrington ought to be censured for citing tion, Church instructed the chief of his subcommittee, details of Colby's secret testimony in confidential let- sta,i'f, Jerome Levinson, to write a report based on a ters to Representatives and Senators ostensibly respon- review of the apparently contradictory testimony. sible for foreign affairs. Senator Fulbright, preoccupied in the last months ofi With one major exception, the Senate's reaction to a lame duck tern) with hearings on Soviet-American the disclosures has closely paralleled that of the House. detente, was less than eager to mount a full-fledgedr The exception, Senator Frank Church, is chairman of investigation of U.S. policy towards the former Allende the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multi- government. Nevertheless, the revelations in the press) iiational Corporations, whose hearings on the Intcrna- forced the Foreign Relations Committee to take up the) tional Telephone and Telegraph Company's involve- issue in secret session. nient in the 1970 Chilean elections had previously On the morning of the scheduled committee nleeting" produced testimony revealing sonic degree of CIA The Washington Post and The New York Times carried. cooperation with ITT. efforts to prevent Allende's dice- stories disclosing the recommendations of the confiden- tion. But Colby's April 22 testimony, as disclosed in the tial report Church had requested his subcommittee Harrington letter, clearly contradicted some of the staff chief to prepare. The Levinson report recom- testiniony CIA and State I)epartnienI officials had given mended that a perjury investigation be initiated against, during the Church subcommittee's hearings. former CIA Director Richard M. Helms. In addition, it, Incensed over (lie apparent discrepancies, Church accused Kissinger of having "deceived" the Foreign announced lie would turn over any "misleading" testi- Relations Committee in sworn testimony about the ninny to the Justice Department for investigation and scope and objective of CIA operations in Chile. The possible perjury charges. He also said lie would for- memo further questioned the testimony of the former nlally ask the full Foreign Relations Committee to Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, review the propriety of covert operations against the Charles A. Meyer; former U.S. Ambassador to Chile constitution iAll~pr,l16r4edlAh#gfeg FfM6' 9 7a:d6irA-F 1,,,t 00 9~'ra'~bd~'~d ( ~Cj5 chief of the CIA's Approved For Release 2006/09/27: CIA-RDP79-00957AO00100090005-5 sional oversight power of the intelligence agencies themselves (t)lough Congress has rejected about 150 such efforts in the past). Senator Symington contends that the Senate's ability to ride herd on CIA covert activities has actually diminished over the years. When the late Senator Richard Russell, Georgia Democrat, was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Commit- tee, Symington notes, high-ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were occasionally invited to attend CIA oversight sessions. These invita- tions ceased, however, when Senator John Stennis, Mississippi Democrat, succeeded Russell as chairman, and oversight meetings became a rarity. As a result of this experience, many Senators believe that any over- sight procedure must be written into legislation rather than remain dependent upon a "gentlemen's agree- ment." The Administration, clearly, would prefer to head off, legislation. Toward that end, Kissinger offered early in'. October to have Colby provide detailed briefings on future clandestine operations to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as to the Armed Services Committee. Whether Congress-and particularly the Senate-will be content with this arrangement remains to be seen. Representative Harrington dismissed it as "a small step for the Foreign Affairs Committee and a smaller step still for the cause of Congressional control over the CIA, but so far still more illusion than reality." Proposals now pending range from one by Senator James Abourezk, South Dakota Democrat, who would abolish the CIA's covert operations branch, to a biparti- san plan to establish a fourteen-menmber joint Congres- sional oversight committee for all intelligence organiza- tions. Senator Walter Mondale, Minnesota Democrat, has called for formation of a Select Committee on Intelligence, fashioned after the Select Committee on Emergency Powers, to study the most effective means; of overseeing the intelligence community. Ultimately, however. Congress is likely to do what it, has done in the past--nothing. As the Chilean experi- ence demonstrates, most Senators and Representa- tives-and certainly most of those in lcadcrsliip posi- tions--favor the maintenance of a U.S. capability for clandestine operations against foreign governments in general, just as they supported the intervention against Allende in particular. Congress has had an excellent. opportunity to conduct a searching inquiry of the 1\mcrican involvement in Chile and the foreign policy that encouraged such, involvement. It has passed up that opportunity on the' shopworn pretext that to pursue it might endanger national security." Although a number of legislators j criticized Ford's justification of the intervention in Chile, most accepted his rationale: all powerful nations conduct such shady operations; we spend less money on them than do others. The united States spent only $8 million to undermine the elected government of Chile. According to Ford's logic-logic that Congress accepts and tacitly sup- ports-it was a cost-effective coup. ^ Approved For Release 2006/09/27: CIA-RDP79-00957AO00100090005-5