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December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
February 4, 2009
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January 7, 1979
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(-~ T A T Approved For Release 2009/02/04 :CIA-RDP91 B00134R000400130028-6 .~.:.,r2Z St.eL'1 ~ . Rzci=ic `ie~xs Service r '~':ichael ~Ioifitt, 27, .h. colleague of Lete i ~~ pesecution is expected to present ;0: ?~aLCses who will unravel the back- grot~~d and planning for the?mu:der plot, ~~hica s said to have originated within the .;~:,er circles of the Chiieaa military ga?.e::i.,.ent headed by Gen:::Augusto ne. lead~if witness isexpected to be r.d~cr Orlando Leteiier. ASHINGTON, D.C..- Threats to the judge and -prosecutor and reports - of terrified ? prosecution wi*.nesses -all leading ` , to z?::at ~3I agents call unprecedented se- csci~y precau*.ions -are marking preps- ia; is v ?or a L :al openirg here Tuesday of ?~ ia~: men ?for the murder of Chilean exile Instead, the Cubans reportedly fa~ . to pick up Letelier's car from tl+.eir st . -out point, the parking lot of a Roy Rogers - sandwich shop in Bethesda that morning. The nett day, however, they caught up to ::Leteiier ?.as 'he and.: the bloffitts drove .: through the fashionable .Embassy Row section.of Washington. The bomb was set off by remote control radio. - ~ ~'- ?- ' :: `.`I heard. the- sound of water. dripping r on a hot wire," I4Ioffitt recalled, "and then saw a flash." The powerful ~-explosion ..ripped' up from under Letelier's seat, in- =. stantly killing him. A sliver of metal pi-- erced. Ronni ?4loffitt's throat,. fatally wounding her. ..: ... - - ___:.Tiventv.months later, after an exhaus- rive investigation. ranging across four continents and involving the cooperation of at least five ag~ncies'of the US gove.~r.- ment, eight persons were indicted in the de - mur rs. li2~s at u.e Institute for Policy Studies, ~ - Chief among them was b1a::uel Con- v:::o ?~ rding in?Leteliat's car-on Sept : treras, head of .Chiles secret police 2I,.3r5, when a bomb attached to its un- {DINA) at' Lhe #ime of the murders, and t'erc=image exploded, taking the life .o.f , two other senior secret police officers. So "?~i:it~s' wiib Ronnie as well as Lete? ~ far, Chilean authorities have refused to ' Tier's. -- '-=`' "~?" ~- ' -'' ~ hand them over to stand trial here. ?-' .~Io~^^~ will?tell the jury of 12 men and Three of the Cubans indicted in the al- uamen . gym. she- District :.of' Columbia.:_ leged p-.ot, members. of the militantly how he and his wife,-married only, four-- anticommunist, New Jersey-based Cuban r_~cnths, borrowed Letelier's carthe night: Nationalist iYlovement, have been arrest-; before the assassination because theirs ~ and will stand trial. Two more Cubans . ' o?srn was not working_ They picked up: ? have been indicted but remain at large..._._. Leteiier on the morning of Sept 21 at his:. ' ,;'_,-Government testimony ih the first Lowe in suburban Bethesda, Md., and bed' `stages of the trial svill~attempt to map out- gap the ?~ir_inute drive to tragedy ia, the' the argins of the murder plot in, Santiago IJJport Ci.-cle ai-ea.of.the city.; ~:;,,.;:. ',_ in the summer of:1976;ahe assignment of , Accor-',~.iag to FBL~agents-ivestigatiag the mission to Townley~the_recruitmeni- file case, 'tee powerful pIasiique charge. of the. Cubans; and.:the.surveillance of~i - lad beenactacl:ed to the.Letelier.car twos "" Letelier's movements around Washington ~aps earlier by an agent of ?the Chilean- by additional agents of the Chilean secret .secret pclic~ as American expatriate by: - ;~,; - :police. , - the name of 3lichael Vernon Townle}+=~;' __ .. - _, . '-:: - .. ?- " ownIey was arrestedand turned over ~ ;= 14iuch of the government's case will de- to liS authorities in Chile last April after ~~pend on.l4Iichaei Townley, the.son of a, photos of him appeared:. in-' a .Santiago- ~ Ford PQotor Company :executive; who newspaper In Washington,: he~:quic$ly lived. in Chile for most of his 35 years.. confessed to carrying: out.the plot :with a' 'During the tenure of the socialist Allende [ tza.~n of right-wittgCuban exile .tercoCists: ? government from ~;1970 to '?3,:.Townley l he had- recruited, and .entered' a- guiltq participated in underground terrorist ac=?I plea ~:n exchange far a: reduced senteQce.-; tivities'.with an extreme right,wino anti i lavestigative.sources say that Town: ALende organizat-on c:11ed "Fa~herlandtt ley has told theta he had directed the Cu-~ and Liberty" '? -'- - ? -. - _, :.. _! file circles in Zlizmi dunno a suw. ~-.-, j there in 19?3, he was selected io. the t Leteiier murder eiis;ioa. The Cubans k were recruited, according to Townley and ether potential witaessES,.wi~h offers of an exchange! for Chilean aid for_ their campaign against cidel Castro. ~ i . Althou~ most Cuban exile groups: have entered iniA a new era of frie:~dli ness with Castro over the recent release of political prisoners, some groups. have; maintained a hostile stance: Iu icIiamii recently, the "airwaves have been. fiIIed' with appeals for defense funds for the Cu-~ bans indicted in theLetalier case: - ror the past few months, the Cubans defense team haYSOUght to pry loose ar~y t evidence of CIA comp'icity in theLeteiser t case, apps.*ently hoofing to force the gov ernment to retreat from its charges on na- .~ 'tional security grounds. ... ?--~ ~ ! So far, CIA affedavits have revealed only that the CIA had contact with To?,urt-~:~ ]ey on at !east three occasions. and at on point, expressed an interest ia.reeruitia j him as as agent. - . ~ 1 ._On 1Vov. 2a, 1970, Townley called u the CL's fiiattti field office"to of?er ,services to the agency;' one aifida t . states.. ~: -~; -. -. :._ The following February: ?prelimin . security approval" -was granted."to a ~Ivlr. ~ownIey in?an operational capaci . ?: :but according to another.afiidavit, "su _` Sequent effor~s to reestablish contacts: ?. in 1971 were unsuccessful, and on Dec. I. 1971, the Office of Security. was inform there was no longerany'operatlonalnt :=} est in ;,fir. Townley." .= ,In June 1973, Townley again called t e E 'bIiami CL~.office"to notify agency of ' presence in the US is the event it desir , to debris him. $e claimed while in~ C e .'he had tried unsuccessfully to con cE ? CIA,"'the affidavit states. :'.-. ?, ``On 18 June 1973, bir_ Tnwn~ey ag st. telephonedahe overt agency represen - five in :Miami. He was told that tl:e ag n- cyhadnoquestiong_forhim.but would - . Sept 20 just over .. .. ~ - . _,r,~.___ - _ __ Approved For Release 2009/02/04 :CIA-RDP91 B00134R000400130028-6