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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
February 8, 2012
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Publication Date: 
August 7, 1986
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Declassified and Approved For Release 2012/02/08: CIA-RDP90-00965R000504870018-2 ' "r N'r APPEARED C", PAGE A 1 . WASHINGTON POST 7 August 1986 Chilean Was Source in Helms Inquiry Santiago Aide Complained to U.S. Envoy of `Spies' Stealing Secrets By Joanne Omang Washington Post Staff Writer A Chilean government official waste source for administration charges t at someone i of en. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) leaked sensitive intelligence information to Chile. a State Department official said yesterday. The Chilean complained to U.S. Ambassador Harry G. Barnes on July 16 that "spies" were stealing Chilean military secrets and, when Barnes asked what he meant, the Chilean said Helms' office had told him so, the U.S. official said. Helms called the account "a con- coction," adding yesterday, "There is no such Chilean official unless he's lying through his teeth." Barnes "would have no credibility in any court of law," Helms said. Sources close to the event said the issue involved a classified Chilean armed forces report blam- ing Chilean soldiers for the burning death July 6 of a young antigovern- ment demonstrator. Knowing that the United States had the report enabled the Chileans to shut down a U.S. intelligence.. gathering operation that had been very productive, the sources'said. An FBI investigation into the al- leged leak began July 18 at the re- quest of the Senate Select Commit- tee on Intelligence and has focused on Christopher Manion, a commit- tee staff aide to Helms, as a possi- ble suspect, the sources said. Manion and Helms have denied involvement, and Helms yesterday accused "a coalition of the media, the Marxists and the State Depart- ment" of seeking to destabilize Chile through a disinformation cam- paign. The existence of a written Chilean military document was first reported yesterday by National Public Radio. According to The Washington Post's sources, the Central Intel- ligence Agency cited the internal study in its congressional briefings as evidence that the Chilean gov- ernment knew its soldiers had doused demonstrator Rodrigo Rojas de Negri, 19, a Washington resi- dent who was visiting his native Chile, with gasoline and set him afire in Santiago on July 2. He died four days later. Manion was among those who received a CIA briefing on the Rojas case, but Helms did not, an intel- ligence community source said. Barnes heard from the indignant Chilean official "within hours" of Manion's briefing, the State De- partment official said. The official stressed that that did not necessarily mean it was Manion who made contact with Santiago. In an interview, Helms chal- lenged the State Department to produce evidence against his office. "There is none; it's a hoax," de- signed to discredit him because of his firm opposition to department policies, he said. The military report blaming Chilean soldiers may not exist ei- ther, he said, adding, "The CIA say- ing it doesn't make it true." One intelligence official said CIA details of the report in its briefings "are almost a road map to how we got the information." The tech- niques in question had been used to monitor army support for Chilean President Augusto Pinochet, among other things, and have been closed down. "That's why we were upset," the official said. A Chilean Embassy spokesman here reiterated Chile's position that it has received no intelligence leaks. A Chilean official noted that the af- fair has at least documented CIA co- vert-intelligence activity in Chile and said "this of course has to have an impact" on U.S.-Chilean relations. That could include monitoring U.S. Embassy personnel, visa de- lays or difficulty in obtaining inter- views, the official said. In a speech yesterday in Green- ville, N.C., Helms said the State Department has targeted him in part because he had revealed $2 million in CIA aid to President Jose Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador in 1984. "I blew the whistle on them," Helms said. Helms visited Chile the week af- ter Rojas died and endorsed Pino- chet's claim that Rojas had acciden- tally set himself afire with a device he had been carrying. Helms crit- icized Barnes for attending Kolas funeral and defended Chile's prog- ress toward democracy, which the State Department has been trying to accelerate. The State Department, not for the first time, was furious at Helms, but this time one of its officials went public. Elliott Abrams, assistant secretary of state for inter-Amer- ican affairs, publicly called Helms' remarks "indefensible." Later, Abrams "mentioned" to Sen. David F. Durenberger (R- Minn.), chairman of the intelligence committee, the department's dis- may about the leaked information and the suspicion that Helms' office was involved, according to an Ab- rams spokesman. That led to the chairman's request for a probe. In the interview, Helms said oth- er committee members told him they were "indignant" that they had not been consulted about an inves- tigation request. He noted that Morton I. Abra- mowitz, director of the State De- partment's Bureau of Investigation and Research and familiar with in- telligence activity, "doesn't like me either because I blew the whistle on him selling Taiwan down the river." Helms has opposed Abramowitz's nomination to be assistant secre- tary of that bureau. Helms said, "You have the makings of a nice little conspiracy down there [in the State Department] against a sen- ator who has dared to call their hand about the private agenda of the bureaucracy" to undermine President Reagan's policies. In a speech prepared for delivery today, Helms says Barnes and Ab- rams are working to "support the violent communist left" and have left democratic forces in Chile "high and dry." A spokesman for Abrams reiter- ated U.S. praise for Barnes and sup- port for "transition to democratic rule in Chile by the most effective means." Helms is "simply wrong" in his other charges, the spokesman said. Declassified and Approved For Release 2012/02/08: CIA-RDP90-00965R000504870018-2