Document Type: 
Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
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Document Creation Date: 
December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
May 25, 2012
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Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
September 30, 1988
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PDF icon CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580033-5.pdf77.18 KB
ST"T Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25: CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580033-5 ILLEGIB Papers show Bush fought to block probe of CIA minded Bush that President Gerald R. 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 said he had not received any written directive from the President spelling out this pol- icy. By Jim Mann Los Angeles Times ANN ARBOR, Mich. - While he was director of the Central Intelli- gence Agency, Vice President Bush secretly battled with the Justice De- partment and White House officials in an effort to restrict a federal crim. inal investigation of senior CIA offi- cials, according to newly released documents. Citing the need to protect intelli- gence sources, Bush in October 1976 repeatedly sought to prevent some documents from being declassified and CIA witnesses from being called before a federal grand jury, the new material shows. The grand jury was investigating charges that officials working for or with the CIA, including former CIA Director Richard Helms, had lied un- der oath to Congress about CIA oper- ations in Chile during and after the 1970 election of Salvador Allende, a Marxist, as president of that country. When White House officials re. In a memo at the time to another will be acquitted. The new information about Bush is contained in documents at the Presi- dent Ford Library. Professional ar- chivists there opened files kept by Ford's White House counsel, Philip W. Buchen, on Sept. 8. A Los Angeles Times reporter found them in the course of other research. Writing to Ford in 1976, Buchen said, An impasse exists between the Justice Department and Director George Bush of the CIA." Buchen told the President that failure to ob- tain the information in dispute "would abort the pending investiga- tion and lead to no prosecution." White House official, Bush said, "There is no intention on my part or on the part of this agency to take any action that might reasonably be con- strued as an effort to thwart or frus- trate the investigation... . "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, believing as I do that such protection is at the heart of the agency's ability to function effec- tively." Ford supported the Department of Justice and his White House aides, and instructed Bush to let federal prosecutors have what they needed. The Justice Department investiga- tion eventually resulted in Helms' 1977 plea of no contest to two crimi- nal charges of failing to testify "fully, completely and accurately" to Congress. When asked for comment, Craig Fuller, Bush's current 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. Bush's efforts as the CIA director contrasted sharply with those of his own immediate predecessor at the agency, William E. Colby. It was Colby who first referred to the De- partment of Justice the allegations of false testimony by CIA officials, thus leading to the criminal prosecution that Bush was seeking to restrict. Bush's defense of clandestine oper- atives facing criminal charges has a modern echo. During his current campaign for the White House, Bush has expressed strong support for for- mer national security 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 the two The Washington Post The New York Times The Washington Times The Wall Street Journal The Christian Science Monitor New York Daily News USA Today Th Chic go T ib ne to 3u1 ZrfT Declassified in Part - Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2012/05/25: CIA-RDP99-01448R000401580033-5