Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 24, 2012
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Publication Date: 
September 30, 1988
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PDF icon CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580032-6.pdf62.69 KB
ST Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25: CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580032-6 ILLEGIB New files reveal Bush-Ford rift over CIA probe Los Angeles Times ANN ARBOR, Mich. - While he was director of the CIA, George Bush secretly battled with the Justice De- partment and White House officials in an effort to restrict a federal crimi- nal investigation of senior CIA offi- cials, according to newly released files in the Gerald R. Ford presiden- tial library. The new materials show that in October 1976, citing the need to pro- tect intelligence sources, Mr. 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 Director Rich- ard Helms, had lied under oath to Congress, about CIA operations in Chile. When White House officials re- minded Mr. 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, Mr. Bush still balked, saying he had not personally received any written di- rective from the president spelling out this policy. "An impasse exists between the Justice Department and Director George Bush of the CIA," White House counsel Philip W. Buchen wrote to Mr. Ford. Mr. Buchen told the president that if the Justice De- partment failed to obtain the infor- mation in dispute, it "would abort the pending investigation and lead to no prosecution." In a memo at the time to another White House official, Mr. Bush said, "There is no intention on my part or on the part 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 whatever is necessary and appropri- ate to carry out my statutory man- date to protect intelligence sources and methods," he said. President Ford supported the Justice Department and his White House aides and instructed Mr. Bush to let federal prosecutors have what they needed. The Justice investiga- tion eventually resulted in Mr. Helms' 1977 plea of no contest to two criminal charges of failing to tes- tify "fully. completely and accurate- ly" to Congress. Mr. Bush's efforts contrasted i sharply with those of his immediate predecessor at the CIA, former Di- rector William E. Colby. It was Mr. Colby who first referred to the Jus- tice Department the allegations of false testimony by CIA officials, thus leading to the criminal prosecution that Mr. Bush was seeking to re- strict. When asked for comment, Craig Fuller, Mr. Bush's chief of staff, said through a spokeswoman that the vice president's office first heard of the Buchen files when questions were raised by the Times yesterday. He said he would withhold comment until seeing the documents. 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 Z. Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25: CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580032-6