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Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
September 26, 2012
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Publication Date: 
December 13, 1981
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PDF icon CIA-RDP90-00965R000302450044-3.pdf183.2 KB
Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/09/26 :CIA-RDP90-009658000302450044-3 ~, ~ C ~, APPEARED t_,x p~; P1~ GE THE WASHINGTON POST 13 December 1981 Nerve Gas Brought Into b ~~ In Letelier Plot, Townley Says I By John M. Goshko ; ... ? wsr+u~swoposcstauwnyR; :` . - I1~ichael Vernon 'Toariley: the- American-born Chileanwagent who directed -:the: 19?fi. assassination ~o~.,_ former Chilean ambassador Orlando . Letelier, has told the FBI that at one point he toad ~a quantity` of?~deadly nerve gas concealed is a Chanel Na 5 perfume atomizer brought into the United States for possible use in the -plot. :r: .,;.,.,. ?, . ;. Townley also said that anti-Castro Cuban activists, who? allegedly aided loco, knew he had the gas and. asked him for some to use in their activ- ities. But Townley said that, because he considered the Cubans "unstable; he returned the gas to the Chilean secret police, who had developed it for possible use against neighboring Peru and Argentina. - ~w His declarations about~the gas are. in a..confidential;. ~ mama r sent , ]ast, Wednesday to variaas govemaoaent, agencies by FBI Director William H. Webster. The Washington Poet has- obtained acopy of the enema. ~ ` ''` The FBI the memo that it- has reached no conclusions about the truth of Towriley's statements. Fed-~ eral law enforcement. sources Tamil- iar with the case said privately yes- terday they have no reason ,to be- lieve that any nerve gas was used in this country or that any is still here. Carlos de Costa Nora, minister. counselor of the Chilean Embassy here, said yesterday he had not heard about the matter before and ~ therefore found it 'very difficult to ' ccimment." He added, however,'The truth of Mr. Towriley's accusations has been the subject of dispute in the past." `The nerve gas story is a bizarre and grisly new footnote to the killing of Letelier and a young American as- date, Ronni ]{arpen Motl'itt, whose car was destroyed by a remote control bomb can Sheridan Circle g1oAg Embassy Row'aan.,Sept 21, _....,. ~ ;,, It could also become a political is- sue, kindling for the continuing con- troversy- aver president Reagan's de- cision to}.improve US. ties and renew military ties with the regime o~ Chilean President Augusto Pino- chet, despite its history of repression and its refusal to cooperate with U.S. investigations of the murder plot. On Monday, Houve-.Senate con- ferees are scheduled to try to recon- cile the different approaches to Chilean military a~taace taken by the two brancises of Congress in their recently passed foreign aid au- thorization bills The House version would continuo an existing prohibi- tion on military help to the Pinochet government, but the Senate bill vyrauld permit. resumed aid if the prea~dent certifies, among other things, that Chile is not abetting in- ternational terrorism. A According to Webster's memo, in- formation abort the gas-first ass un= covered by Eugene M Pmpper, the forrrier? chief federal prosecutor in the Letelier ~ matter. and" Taylor Biarich, a writer collaborating with ' piropper on a book about the case. r: In the course of their research, the memo says; they discovered several ~I letters. sent from the United States 1 by Towdey to his superior in the Chilean secret service, then known ' $s DIVA. In these Townley refers to ~ what the memo calls "a highly secret DINA undertaking known as `Pro' ]~ Andrce' * and expresses concern , that the United States might learn ~ details 'of~ fire project "which would ' tie highly- embarrassing to the Chilean .government." _ ~~ Townley, who ultimately pleaded ? guilty iri 1978 to a charge of coraspir- , acy to murder Letelier, was de- '~ scribed as especially worried that these deta~7a might be uncovered by .tracing- his dealings with various ~ Miami and London firms from ' which he purchased chemicals. else- .j .tropic equipment and gas storage ,I ~~~ Eventually, the memo continues, ' Propper and Branch discovered that 'Project Andrea' imrolved the man- ufacture of nerve gas by . DINA, which was to be utilized against Ar- gentina and Peru in .the event of hostilities between these onuntries and Chile.? According to Dropper and Branch; Townley, acting for DIVA, manufac=, i tared and stored a quantity of the I gas at.a laboratory in his Santiago,; Chile, home during 1975 and 1976,1 working with a Chilean chemical en- ~ gineer, Eugenio Berrio4 who had the ~ DIVA code name of "Hermes." ~ They said "Townley created a substance ?mown as isoProPY~th` ylphosophonofluoridate, a adear hq- uid organophosphate commonly known as sarin, which vaporizes oa being exposed to the atmosphere: producing droplets that enter the? body through the akin or hmgs to in- terdict the neurochemistry. that Per- mita the respiratory muscles to fare- tion." In the version of the story told tQ the FBI by Dropper and Branch; Townley carried the perfume. bottle filled with the nerve gas in his shirt pocket when he flew to the United ; States in September, 1976, on .the' Chilean national airline, LAN-ChilG~ Dropper and Branch gave the FBI' the names of eight LAN-Chile em- ployes who allegedly helped Townley and DIVA transport materials be-; tween Chile and the United Staten. ' i The two writers said Townley u1= ~ timately decided not to try to use , the gas against Letelier. But, they ', added, Guillermo Novo Sampol and '. Virgilio Pablo Paz Romero. two Cuban terrorists who were accused ,, of helping Townley plan and carry ', out the. Letelier murder, were nonce . that Townley had the gas and had watched him manufacturing it while visiting him in Santiago. .... - ~ i ~~' J1~yi7L~ Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/09/26 :CIA-RDP90-009658000302450044-3 __ i ~ Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/09/26 :CIA-RDP90-009658000302450044-3 Webster's memo said that, after' 'the FBI :received .this information.. from Dropper and Broach. Toavnley, who is serving a sentence in a federal prison, was brought hen far quea- tioning and "confirmed [thej infor-. oration regarding the menufact