Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 19, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 20, 2005
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
August 29, 1982
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP91-00901R000500150030-7.pdf272.24 KB
- -STAT_._.. Approved For Release 2006/01/12 CIA-RDP91-00901R0005 ARTICLE APFEAP.ED ON PAGE NEW YORK TIMES 29 AUGUST 1982 Wilson's Case Could Define The Power of Spies on Trial By PHILIP TAUBMAN WASHINGTON-If the case of Edwin P. Wilson, the former American intelligence agent accused of illegally aiding Libyan terrorists, goes to trial later this year, the issue of classified information is certain to play a pivotal role in the proceedings. In pretrial hearings and motions, Mr. Wilson's attorney, Herald Price Fabringer of New York, has threatened to Introduce as evidence national se- curity secrets which he says will "shake the C.I.A. to its foundations." The Justice Department is expected to present its initial response early In September in papers due to be filed in Federal court here. Not long ago, such threats would have posed serious, even insurmountable, problems for prosecutors handling a criminal case involving sensitive national security in- formation. The prospect that classified information would be revealed in the course of a public trial often outweighed law enforcement interests, hampering and in some cases actually blocking prosecution. The defense tactic, called graymail because of its similarity to blackmail, was the bane of the Justice De- partment. Former Attorney General Griffin B. Bell, in "Taking Care of the Law," a recently published book about his service in the Carter Administration, describes the problem of graymail as "appalling." Theoretically, that should no longer be the case. In. 1980, Congress enacted the Classified Information Proces. dures Act. The legislation established special guidelines for dealing with sensitive information in criminal cases, including closed pretrial hearings to determine.whether such evidence would be relevant and admissible. In addi- tion, if a judge rules that the material should be admitted, the law gives the Government the right to appeal before deciding whether to modify or drop prosecution. The Wilson case promises to be the first major test of the new law. Before leaving Government employment in 1976, Mr. Wilson had worked as an American intelligence agent for 22 years. Mr. Wilson specialized in creating and operating fictitious companies used by intelligence agen- t 1 der none and disguise covert operations. He nun In 1976, according to the Justice Department, Mr. Wilson and a another former C.I.A. employee, Francis E. Terpil, reached an agreement with Col. Muammar el- Qaddafi, the leader of Libya, to sell their expertise in in- telligence and military matters to help train terrorists. The two former agents were first indicted by a Federal grand jury in 1980 on charges of illegally shipping explo- sives to Libya and conspiracy to commit murder. Mr. Wil- son was apprehended two months ago. Mr. Terpil remains a fugitive, reportedly living in Beirut. Mr. Wilson's lawyers say they will contend that the C.I.A. sanctioned and supported Mr. Wilson's operations in Libya. The intelligence agency has repeatedly denied any official involvement in the scheme, but Wilson associ- ates have claimed that several senior agency officials were aware of the Libyan venture when it began and asked participants to collect information about Libya and its sponsor, the Soviet Union. Mr. Fahringer has said his claient has evidence of just such complicity. If so, it is likely to Include classified documents and information about the operations of the C.I.A. Even if Mr. Wilson lacks such hard evidence about an agency role in Libya, he may possess -other sensitive information acquired during his career. Even a partial reconstruction of his Government service, for example, would likely involve sensitive subjects such as the meth- ods used to operate intelligence-gathering networks. The identities of current and former covert agents could also be relevant to his case. Few issues concern the C.I.A. more, and President Reagan recently signed legis- lation that makes the naming of agents a crime. It was such concerns that scuttled criminal cases be- fore enactment of the graymail law. Mr. Bell, in his book, cites one: "We had to drop the prosecution of two interna- tional Telephone and Telegraph Corporation executives for testifying falsely about helping the C.I.A. in Chile be- cause a judge balked at accepting a proposed Govern- ment protective order on national security material." Perhaps the best known case involved Richard Helms, the former Director of Central. Intelligence who. faced potential charges of perjury for misleading a Sen- ate committee about his agency's covert involvement in Chile In the early 1970's, when the C.I.A. tried to block the election of Salvador Allende. Though Mr. Bell denies in his book that graymail was a factor, the Carter Adminis- tration agreed to let Mr. Helats plead no contest to misde meanor charges. Earlier this year, the Justice Department delayed prosecution of a former Mexican Government official sus- pected of involvement in a car theft ring in California be- cause the C.I.A. said the man had been an important intel- ligence source. Though the suspect was eventually indict- ed, the United States Attorney in San Diego, William H. Kennedy, was dismissed by President Reagan when he complained in public about the delay. I - The Wilson case, C.I.A. officials say confidently, should not produce such problems.-An internal investiga- tion of his activities has convinced them be has no star tling secret information that would compromise or em- barrass the agency. Federal prosecutors and investiga- tors still examining his ties to former senior agency offi- y cres o was involved in the U-2 spy plane project and the Bay of-- cials say they are not so sure. Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961. F Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : R0005001 - Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : CIA-RDP91-00901R000 ARTICLE APP 011 PAGE_ E NEW YORK TIMES 8 AUGUST 1982 STUDY Oj;I n~O((~p1(ylj~ry conclusions fiat aiythe OF !1 HES 1 A\1 G.I.A. analysis was that while many an- TESTS tiwar leaders bad close Communist as- tCo"they do not appear to be STAT under under Communist direction. " "In any case," the analysis said,, "their purposes insofar as the war in Vietnam is concerned coincide with the Communists'." Johnson Got C.I.A. Findings on Noting contacts between antiwar leaders and the North Vietnamese Gov_ Antiwar Movement-in 1967 ernment in Hanoi, the report,,said that "Moscow exploits and may. ;eed in- fluence" peace groups through its front TOLEDO, Ohio, Aug.:7 (AP) -The organizations but that indications "of Central Intelligence Agency told Pres-' covert these U.S. overt connections between dent dent Johnson in 1967 that there was no .S. activists and foreign govern- menizareumitea. or foreign-in.: The analysts concluded, tspired link to the protests against the i "On the Vietnam War but he refused to believe It, a historian says. A 23-page unsigned C.I.A. report, re- cently declassified from "toptisecret - sensitive" status, was -obtained from the Johnson Presidential library in Aus- tin, Tex., by Charles DeBenedetti of the University of Toledo. The November 1 by Richard Helms, then Director of Central Intelligence, stemmed in part from a march on the Pentagon a month earlier, the historian said. About 100,000 protesters took part in the demonstration to oppose United States involvement in Vietnam. Mr. DeBenedetti, who specializes in the histor! of the antiwar movement, said the report was mentioned by Con- gressional committees investigating in- telligence-gathering practices but yam never made public before he obtained it, last September. He said in a paper that the Intelli - gence agency's information to Johnson was colored by "the agency's bureau- cratic interest in aiding the Administra- tion in its aim of discrediting the anti-' war opposition." significant evidence that would prove Communist control or direction of the U.S. peace movement or its leaders." The importance of the analysis, Mr. DeBenedetti said, is that Johnson ''ig- nored it because it did not suit his politi- cal purpose, which was to establish for- eign control of the antiwar movement." Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : CIA-RDP91-00901 R000500150030-7 I Approved For Release 2006/01/12: CIA-RDP91-00901R0 AR !' I CLE APPEARED ON PAGE - 'r'i.1' I'? 7-14 9r`2 EXCHANGE. CBS Vietnam and the btu New York City In her article ["The Vietnam Numbers Game," The Nation, June 26] attacking the TV Guide story "Anatomy of a Smear" 1 wrote with Sally Bedell, Frances FitzGerald dismisses as "trivial" the journalistic lapses we uncovered in CBS's "The Uncounted Ene- my: A Vietnam Deception." Ironically, while trying to defend the show, FitzGerald herself succumbs to one of its many distortions. In her examination of "the story contained in the broadcast," FitzGerald says that Gen. William Westmoreland's chief of intelligence Gen. Joseph McChristian, was succeeded in mid-1967 by Lieut. Col. Daniel Graham (whom the docur entary accused of engi- neering a cover-up io assist the alleged West- moreland-led "conspiracy"). McChristian's successor was not Graham but Gen. Phillip Davidson. During th period covered by the program, Davidson was the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in Vietnam, and therefore a key witness who might have be-en able to challenge CBS's assertions. However, the CBS show did not even includeAn inter- view with Davidson. His name was uttered only once (by Westmoreland) in the entire ninety-minute documentary. By excluding Davidson and his second-in- command, Col, Charles Morris (whom CBS producer George Crile inexplicably inter- viewed only after the show had been com= pleted, a few weeks before the program aired), the documentary misled even Viet- nam War expert FitzGerald.about Graham's role within the M .ACV intelligence structure. The truth is, not a single intelligence officer ? interviewed on camera in the CBS show was in Daniel Graham's chain of commas L - "Trivial" indeed! ? Don Aower Staff Writer, TV Guide Washington, D. C. ... In the June 26 Nation there appeared an article by Frances FitzGerald defending CBS's documentary "The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception" and blast- ing Gen. William Westmoreland and TV Guide's early June article "Anatomy of a Smear." Given the timing of her piece, Fitz- Gerald must have responded very quickly to TV Guide. Given its substance, she must not have been objective enough even to read the TV Guide article. FitzGerald's article is so ful! o it. Let us begin with one point sh any cub reporter could have detei untrue. She identifies me as "head of military intelligence in Vietnam in 1967" and states that I was successor to Gen. Joseph McChris- tian in Vietnam as chief of intelligence. Baloney: I was a lieutenant colonel, and lieutenant colonels do not replace generals. McChristian's successor was the able and blunt Gen. Phillip Davidson, who was never even interviewed by CBS in its so-called documentary, although no such "con- spiracy" as it inveighed against could have occurred without Davidson playing the key role. He is not mentioned in FitzGerald's sadly defective piece-a fact which suggests that, she didn't even read' TV Guide's case against CBS, Mike Wallace, George Crile and company. Had she done so, she would have known that it was Davidson, not 1, who succeeded McChristian. TV Guide devoted. several paragraphs to this matter. There are other. gross r rrors. FitzGerald states that the main forces of the 'Vietcong (VC) were "guerrillas." "Nonsense. They were regular units. If FitzGerald finds Com- munist generals more reliable than American generals, she will find that North Vietnamese generals make the same. point in their memoirs. She states that the Central Intelligence Agency had "tits own totals" of VC strength. Nonsense. There is ample documentary evi- dence that the C.I.A. agreed with military in- telligence on strength figures throughout the war. True, one. analyst at the C.LA.--the one CBS paid to put -its documentary together and who was rehearsed carefully for. his part in the show-had different figures. This man, Sam Adams, though 12,000 miles away from Vietnam at the time, concluded that there were 600,000 enemy soldiers, not the 285,000 estimated by everyone else- -including the C.I.A. This fact was brought out by George Carver, who was in charge of C.I.A. estimates on Vietnam and who is another man never interviewed for the CBS documentary. Approved For Release 2006/01/12 : CIA-RDP91-00901 R000500150030-7