Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
Release Decision: 
Original Classification: 
Document Page Count: 
Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 24, 2012
Sequence Number: 
Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
September 30, 1988
Content Type: 
PDF icon CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580030-8.pdf250.84 KB
STAT Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8 As CIA Director, Bush Sought to Restrict Probe of Agency Officials by Justice De t. By JIM MANN, Times Staff Wrtter ANN ARBOR, Mich.-While he was director of the CIA, Vice President George Bush secretly battled with the Justice Depart- ment and White House officials in art effort to restrict a federal crimi- na~ investigation of senior CU officials, according to newly re- leased files in the Gerald R. Ford presidential librazy. The new materials show that in October, 1976, citing the need to protect intelligence sources, Bush repeatedly sought to prevent some documents from being declassified and CIA witnesses from being called before a federal grand jury. The grand jury was investigating charges that officials working for or with the CIA, including former CIA Director Richard M. Helms, had lied under oath to Congress about CIA operations in Chile. No Written Directive When White House officials re- minded Bush that President Ford had already given a public pledge that his Administration would not use the classification process or take any other action to prevent the exposure of illegal activities, Bush still balked, saying that he had not personally received any written directive from the Presi- dent speilingout this policy. "An impasse exists between the Justice Department and Director George Bush of the CIA ... " White House counsel Philip W. Buchen wrote to President Ford. Buchen told the President that failure of the Justice Department to obtain the information in dispute "would abort the pending investi- gation and lead to no prosecu- tion....' In a memo at the time to another White House official, Bush said, "There is no intention on my part or on the pazt of this agency to take any action that might reasonably be construed as an effort to thwart or frustrate the investigation being conducted by the [Justice] Depart- ment. "At the same time, I mean to do wlrtatever is necessazy and appro- priate to carry out my statutory mandate to protect intelligence sources and methods, believing as I do that such protection is at the heart of the Agency's ability to function effectively," he said. president Ford supported the Jt>~tice Department and his White House aides and instructed Bush to le>j federal prosecutors have what tl>Ry needed. The Justice Depart- m~nt investigation eventually re- suned in Helms' 1977 plea of no coptest to two criminal chazges of fading to testify "fully, completely anti accurately" to Congress. '~jn addition to running contrary to;~he Ford Administration's stated p6licy, Bush's efforts contrasted sharply with those of his immediate predecessor at the CIA, former Director William E. Colby. It was Colby who first referred to the Justice Department the allegations of false testimony by CIA officials, thus leading to the criminal prose- cution that Bush was seeking Lo I restrict. Snpports Poinde~er The new information about Bush is?contained in more than 60 bones 01; files kept by Buchen while serving in the Ford White House. Professional azchivists at the Ford Librazy, who have been gradually Processing files from the Ford Administration for public release, opened the collection of Buchen files on Sept. 8. A Times reporter found them in the course of other research. When asked for comment, Craig , Fuller, Bush's chief of staff, said through a spokeswoman that the '~ vice president's office first heazd of the Buchen files when questions were raised by The Times on Thursday. He said he would with- hold comment until seeing the documents. Stephen Hart, a spokesman for the vice president in Washington, also refused to com- ment. Bush's defense of clandestine operatives facing criminal chazges has a modern echo. During his current campaign for the White House, Bush has expressed strong support for former national securi- ty adviser John M. Poindexter and former Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, who face federal criminal charges stemming from the secret sale of arms to Iran and the diversion of profits from these sales to the Nicaraguan Contras. The vice president has said he hopes that the two men will be acquitted. ~?i~~?rl~I~~~ The Washington Post _ The New York Times _ The Washington Times The Wall Street Journal The Christian Science Monitor _ New York Daily News USA Today _ __ The Chicago Tribune Date The 1976 dispute between Bush and the Justice Department con- cerned allegations that CIA offi- cials, including Helms, had given false testimony under oath to the Senate Foreign Relations Commit- tee and later to a special commis- sion, headed by then-Vice Presi- dent Nelson A. Rockefeller, that was investigating improper activi- ties by the CIA. The testimony in question con- cerned CIA operations in Chile during and after the 1970 election of Salvador Allende, a Marxist, as president of that country. It also concerned CIA connections with International Telephone k Tele- graph Co., which had substantial holdings in Chile, In early 1973, when asked at Senate hearings whether the CIA had sought to have money passed to opponents of Allende, Helms testified without qualification, "No, sir." In addition, ITT executives denied working with the CIA against Allende. In 1975, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found that the CIA had fimneled more than 1800.000 to opponents of Allende, who died during a coup in September, 1973. The Justice Department investi- gation was supervised by then- Atty. Gen. Edward H. Levi and by the head of the Justice Depart- ment's criminal division, Dick Thornburgh, who is now President Reagan's attorney general. Thorn- burgh is now a strong supporter of Bush and has left the door open for the possibility that he will stay on as attorney general if Bush is elected to the White House. In the late spring and eazly summer of 1976, Thornburgh and Levi wmte to the White House to get a series of White House files and archives concerning CIA ac- tivities in Chile for use in the Justice Department investigation. Wrote Memo to Fori But the inquiry apparently stalled because of resistance from Bush. According to the newly re- Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8 Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8 leased Buchen (ilea, on Oct. 22, 1976, Buchen wrote a memo to President Ford entitled "Differ- ences Between the CIA and the Department of Justice." "Throughout the various inves- tigations of alleged abuses by the CIA and other intelligence agen- cies, you have taken the position that evidence of offenses against the statutes of the United States should be submitted to the Depart- ment of Justice," the memo began. However, Buchen went on, de- api a series of negotiations, the Department had reached an im with Bush "over the call- ing f certain witnesses and use in evi nce of documents that reveal th identification and CIA Con- n ores for the purposes of a grand Nr nvestigation and possible trial co~nB to Buchen, the CIA pr t or former employees and tw ' er sources who had supplied Ac~ording to a separate memo in theltfiles, written by Bush, the two CIS sources in question were ITT e loyeea. e Justice Department had al- Y agreed that, at least for th ---- ~,.... Persons. It had also agreed to av disclosing the location and tit of one of the persons and to c another individual before the gr d jury under an alias _ther the requirements of the to a eight persons stiff! in quee- n are to be respected by George B . 'said Buchen. who was the sib for intelligence matters~~~~~ ne days earlier. Bush -,~,~ 611[emo iv >File. in a Ford White House,?John 0. M ah. In that memo, also co _ reed, in the library files, Bush ' ti by the Justice -- --? ? Ga- in Helms and the CIA~Partment on ChUe. testimony Bush indicated that the CIA was willing to declassify most of the documents wanted by the Justice Department and to allow most of the witnesses sought by the Justice Department to appear before a grand jury or even a public trial. But Bush wrote that there were some present or former employees being identified as potential wit- nesaea who had been working under cover, "with the result that their public identiffcation with CIA could compromise operations in which they have been in- volved ...." Similarly, he said, some classified documents identi- fied sources who had been prom- ised confidentiality by the CIA. However, Buchen said he disa- greed with Bush's arguments. He reminded Ford that, on several occasions, he had served notice that all potential evidence of wrongdoing, by the CIA or any other officials, would be turned over to the Justice Department. For example, in a 1975 speech, Ford had said, ' I can assure you ? .that under no circumstances will there be any action by me or people working with me to use the classification process to prevent chrunmtlvl y~bY any rfederal authority." Buchen cited this promise in his memo and said: "I strongly recom- mend that you authorize me to advise George Bush that your poli- cy as it should guild his actions is the same as you stated it to Ewib Toll >lrori Policy Buchen also questioned conten- tions that national security would be damaged by the criminal prose- cution. He noted that, in this particular case. information about the CIA's sources was already known. Furthermore, $uchen said, "Failure to permit disclosure of the requested information would abort the pending investigation and lead to no prosecution, with the conse- quences that otherwise prosecuta- ble persona will be saved from Prosecution merely to protect their identities and CIA connections from disclosure. ~~i~~al~~~~ "Such an outcome would be ~teipreted as setting a pre- cedent for never investigating or P~cuttrtg a confidential source of inta~tion even though he may have committed perjury ... ,,, According to the fries, Ford ap- proved Buchen's recommendation. On Oct. 25, 1876, the White House ~uns~ wrote to Bush, telling him President's policy was what he had already publicly an- naun~, and that evidence con- cerning criminal acts should be turned over to the Justice Depart- ment. Subsequently, the investiga _ pore Proceeded, leading to Helms' ~~~ ?~~na1~?~g the JiInIIIY e Ford Library -files contain . ~~-_ - - ~ CIA d!;'eeEor, a part of Bush's career about winch little informa- tionhascome id light: -$uah was appointed CIA ~_ rector in November, 1975, after a five-month search in which the lei candidates were originally then-Solicitor General Robert H. Bork aryl She Court Justice Byron lt. White. Filling the CIA job eventually became Paz't of a general Ford Administration shake-up. Bush's appointment was such a hurried, last-minute affair that a White House official prepazed a typed draft of a cable to Bush in China that said, "Congratulations on your selection by the President as Sec- retazy of Commerce." The words "Secretary of Commerce" were crossed out and the words "Direc- tor of the Central Intelligence Agency" were written in. When Ford took office after Richard M. Nixon's resignation in 1974, Bush was chairman of the Republican National Committee. Ford soon named Btffih as head of the U.S. liaison office in China. On July 10, 1975, Donald Ruma- , fell, an assistant to the President, sent Ford a short and a longer list of possible candidates for CIA di- rector. The short list contained 15 names, the longer list 64 names. Bush was pre the short list. However, Rumsfeld indicated that he had sounded out a number of people about the candidates and Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8 Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8 ~. then gave Ford a "recommended list" of~ seven top names. Bork was at the top of this list, followed by Justice White. Bush was not on the recommended list. A "confidential" description of the candidates attached by Rums- feld listed Bush's advantages; "~- perience in government and diplo- macy; generally familiar with components of the intelligence community and their missions; management experience; high in- tegrity and proven adaptability," Rumsfeld's memo did not explain hoe' ?! w'hY Bush was considered generally familiar with the intelli- gence community. Bush's previous lobe in the executive branch had been as the U.S. envoy to China and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. But Rumaleld'a confidential memo listed one major disadvan- tage: Bush's previous job as head of the Republican National Commit- tee "lends undesirable political cast," the memo said. Before Bush's aPPo~tment, no politician had ever headed the CIA. 9. Declassified in Part -Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25 :CIA-RDP99-014488000401580030-8