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Document Creation Date: 
December 16, 2016
Document Release Date: 
October 4, 2004
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Publication Date: 
March 20, 1978
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Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81M00980R002000090031-7 PAGE /;'--/ Bell to Disclose Decision in ITT Probe By Charles R. Babcock Washington Post Staff Writer Attorney General Griffin B. Bell is to announce today whether the Jus- tice Department will prosecute three officials of the International Tele- phone & Telegraph Corp. on charges of lying to the Senate nearly five years ago about working with the Central Intelligence Agency in Chile. The decision on whether to file criminal charges is complicated, how- ever-as it was last fall in the case against former CIA director Richard M. Helms-by intelligence community claims that national security secrets might be disclosed if a trial were held. CIA Director Stansfield Turner met with Bell last Thursday to express his concerns about the possible prosecu- tions, sources'said. Helms was allowed to plead "no contest" last October to misdemeanor charges of failing to testify fully to the Senate about CIA operations in Chile. Bell said then that protecting top-se- cret information from possible disclo- sure at a perjury trial was a factor in. the decision to accept a lesser plea from Helms. The five-year statute of limitations for prosecuting Edward S. Gerrity, ITT senior vice president, and Robert Berrellez, an ITT Latin American offi. cial in the early 1970s, runs out today: The time after which prosecution of ITT Chairman Harold S. Geneen would be barred. is less than two weeks away. "I know Monday's the last day on two of them," Bell said in a telephone interview Saturday evening. "I'll have something to say about all three one way or the other Monday ... The question is indictment or no indict- ment." The term of the grand jury hearing evidence in the case expired last month without indictments being re- turned. But Bell said, "That doesn't make any difference. We can have agree1nert to proceed by information, a counterpart to an indictment." Prosecutors can file charges by what is called an "information" with. out going to a grand jury. It was learned that in this case the potential defendants have waived their rights to have a grand jury con- sider and vote on whether to issue an indictment alleging a felony. Thus, it is possible that Bell is considering a perjury charge through an informa- tion, rather than a lesser accusation of a misdemeanor, in at least one of the cases. The testimony in question was de- livered almost five years ago to the Senate subcommittee on multina- tional corporations, which was investi- gating ITT's alleged collaboration with the CIA to prevent the 1970 elec- tion of socialist Salvador Allende in Chile. Geneen, Gerrity and Berrellez testified under oath at the hearings. Possible perjury charges were refer- red from the Senate to the Justice De- partment in late 1975 after revelations that both the CIA and ITT had funded Allende's election opponents. Allende won the election but was killed in a September 1973 coup. The perjury investigations have dragged on because Justice Depart- See ITT, A6, Col. 1 Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81M00980R002000090031-7 Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81M00980R002000090031-7 WASHINGTON POST PAGE DATE A 6 Monday, March 20, 19,3 THE :WASHINGTON POST Attorney General to Tell Of Decision in ITT Probe ITT, From Al ment prosecutors tried to prepare cases against Helms and the ITT offi- cials that would withstand defense motions for access to secret CIA docu- ments, Justice Department officials said. In November 1976, Harold V. Hen- drix, former ITT public relations di- rector in Latin America, pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of withholding information from the Senate subcommittee during his testi- mony. Court papers filed at the time of his plea show that he had told the CIA he would be giving false testimony to the Senate. The papers also show he has been cooperating with prosecutors in the further investigations. It could not be learned precisely what criminal charges might have been recommended in the remaining +..ases, or whether there has been plea bargdining, as there was in the Helms case. Attorneys for the ITT officials could not be reached for comment. Bell declined to comment on what his decision would be except to say the dispositions "might not all be the same." Others familiar with deliberations in the investigation, however, said the potential case against Gerrity ap- pears stronger than that against Gen- een. In his March 22, 1973, testimony, Gerrity told the subcommittee that a proposed $1 million ITT offer to the CIA in 1970 was to promote agricul- ture and housing in Chile, not to block Allende's election. Members of the subcommittee were openly skepti- cal of that explanation at the time. Geneen testified on April 2, 1973, that he had twice offered funds to the U.S. government to be used against Allende that he said the CIA declined. It was disclosed in 1975 that ITT STANSFIELD TURNER told Bell of security concerns had given at least $350,001) to support Allende's opponents. In his testimony, Geneen said, "Nor did ITT contribute money to any per- son or to any agency of any govern. ment to block the election of Al- lende." He also testified that "ITT did not take any steps to block the election of Salvador Allende as president of Chile ...." Approved For Release 2004/10/12 : CIA-RDP81M00980R002000090031-7