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December 22, 2016
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January 18, 2011
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November 14, 1985
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Approved For Release 2011/01/18: CIA-RDP90-00552R000505250033-0 ^T^~ r ~r?n~~ WASHINGTON POST 14 November 1985 Daniel Schorr Cloak-and-Dagger Relics If the investigation ordered by Presi- York Times) at a time when it was a dent Reagan were to identify an official subject of intense criticism by some of the executive branch as having dis- members of Congress. closed information about the anti-Qad- In 1975, the CIA's support of the daft operation to The Washington Post, anticommunist fa-ction in Angola (also that person could be prosecuted for es- a Kissinger project) was disclosed pionage. This is the result of the pre- after it became an issue in the House cedent set when Samuel Loring Mori- Foreign Affairs Committee. The late son, former Navy intelligence analyst, Rep. Leo Ryan, a member of that was convicted under the 1917 Espio- committee, told me in an interview at nage Act for having provided three clas- the time that he could condone such a sified satellite photographs of a nuclear- leak if it was the only way to block an powered Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane's ill-conceived operation. Fighting Ships. - Ryan was subsequently the author, The problem becomes stickier, how- with Sen. Harold Hughes, of legisla- ever, if it turns out to be a congressional tion that banned CIA involvement in source. On one occasion, in 1975, the Angola. (That proo~sin was recently Justice Department threatened to with- repealed.) hold classified information from the To minimize damaging leaks, the House intelligence committee if the ma- congressional leadership eventually terial was not protected from disclosure. agreed to restrict briefings on covert But it has never been suggested that a operations to the Senate and House in- member of Congress could be disci- telligence committees. That did not, plined other than by Congress itself. however, solve the problem. This is relevant because (I don't In 1983, Sen. Barry Goldwater, then think that I am baring any great jour- chairman of the intelligence committee, nalistic secrets) the exposure of covert put on the public record the CIA-organ- intelligence operations is frequently a ized mining of Nicaraguan harWors with form of congressional whistle-blowing. a letter to CIA Director William Casey A leak often occurs when a clandestine objecting to-re operation. (That letter plan runs into substantial opposition became a prime exhibit in Nicaragua's during a briefing for congressional complaint to the International Court of committees. Justice.) Sen. Jesse Helms was charged For example, in 1974 the Nixon- with-but denied-having revealed Kissinger plan to undermine Chile's CIA covert aid to the election campaign President Salvador Allende leaked to of El vador's President Jose Na- the press (Seymour Hersh of The New . poleon Duarte. Libya's Muammar Qaddafi has been the subject of a previous leak. In Aug- ust 1981, Newsweek reported that op- position had developed in the House intelligence committee during a brief- ing on a plan to destabilize the Qaddafi regime. The Reagan administration denied the existence of any sueh'pltm. - There followed a scare over reported Libyan "hit squads" out to murder President Reagan. Intelligence offi- cials now believe there were no such "hit squads"-that the whole thing was a hoax meant to put Reagan on notice that plotting against a president could be a two-way street. , t ,..~. That has apparently not de''t rred the president from approving ne more plan to undermine Qaddaff;Oee ` again the leak occurred shortly 'after n briefings in the congressional iTttta* , gence committee. ? ? , By law, the administration Vly$t ) give timely notice to Congress of plans . for covert operations. The intelligence committees and their staffs are sup- posed to respect the secrecy of the'in formation. But, in an era when covert aid to Nicaraguan contras is bated, the old-style clandestine opera', tion may be a thing of the past. . It may be time to consign the cloak and dagger to a museum. Anyway, the cloak. The writ is news analyst for National Public Radio. Approved For Release 2011/01/18: CIA-RDP90-00552R000505250033-0