THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Lyon, France)
FACT SHEET THE INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT BOARD'S GUATEMALA REVIEW
The IOB finds that CIA and other intelligence agencies pursued legitimate policy objectives in Guatemala including supporting the transition to democracy, combatting narcotics trafficking and advancing the peace process.
Subject to resolution of the Ortiz case, the IOB found no indication of involvement by CIA or other U.S. officials in any of the harm that befell U.S. citizens in Guatemala.
Several CIA assets were credibly alleged to have ordered, planned or participated in serious human rights violations.
The IOB finds no indications that CIA officials were in any way complicit in the death of Michael DeVine, and no credible evidence that any CIA assets ordered or had prior knowledge of DeVine's death.
Despite allegations that Col. Alpirez was present at DeVine's death, evidence indicated that was not true. The IOB concludes that Alpirez did participate in the broad cover-up of Guatemalan military involvement in the DeVine murder.
Guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca was probably captured in March 1992, interrogated and killed within a year. It was unclear who killed Bamaca or ordered his death. There was no indication that CIA officials were involved in or contemporaneously aware of Bamaca's torture and death, but CIA assets and/or liaison contacts were likely involved.
Despite allegations that Col. Alpirez killed Bamaca, the IOB found it was unclear who killed Bamaca or ordered his death. The IOB found that Col. Alpirez probably participated in at least part of Bamaca's interrogation.
The IOB believes Sister Ortiz suffered horrific abuse. Because the Department of Justice continues to investigate her case, the IOB refrains from drawing conclusions at this time.
Assets/Human Rights Abuses
The IOB believes that several CIA assets or liaison contacts were credibly alleged to have ordered, planned or participated in, or were knowledgeable of, other serious human rights violations.
From the early 1980s through late 1994 the CIA gave insufficient attention to serious allegations of human rights abuse made against assets and liaison contacts. It has since taken steps to address the problem:
In late 1994 the CIA's Latin America Division conducted a review of its asset relationships for allegations of human rights abuse and terminated several relationships; in February 1996 the CIA issued global guidance for dealing with allegations of serious human rights violations or crimes of violence by assets and liaison services.
The CIA failed to provide enough information on human rights abuses by assets to policymakers and Congress to permit proper oversight, violating its statutory obligation to keep oversight committees "fully and currently informed."
Primary causes for this failure were the absence of a systematic notification process and inadequate emphasis from CIA leadership.
The current leadership at the CIA and at other intelligence agencies has instituted processes designed to implement and document Congressional notification more systematically.
Pursuant to executive order, the IOB has notified DOJ of its belief that in the past the CIA violated its statutory obligations, but notes the violation was not criminal, that the CIA has taken remedial action, and that there appears to be no threat of a continuing violation.
The IOB recommends that the 1977 State-CIA agreement be amended to require that ambassadors be told about intelligence activities with significant policy implications, including credible allegations of asset involvement in human rights violations.
Information Sharing with Victims of Human Rights Abuse
The IOB recommended that State demonstrate more initiative in seeking authorization from intelligence agencies to share information in briefings to victims and family members.
Accountability for Handling Classified Information
The IOB noted that the system for collecting and disseminating intelligence information can function properly only if executive and legislative officials are held accountable should they compromise or improperly handle classified information.
The allegation that NSA and Army officials destroyed records related to the activity of US intelligence agencies in Guatemala appears to have been fabricated.
CIA did not increase covert funding for Guatemala to compensate for the 1990 cut-off of military aid.
The IOB recommends that Agency inspectors general evaluate implementation of its recommendations and any actions taken thereupon, and report the results to the IOB within one year.
About the Review
The Intelligence Oversight Board recently presented its Report on the Guatemala Review to the President. The review is unprecedented as a publicly announced inquiry and for the breadth and depth of its inquiry.
Consistent with the President's intent to make public as much information about the review as appropriate, the President directed the release of a public version of the IOB report on June 28. In addition CIA and DOD planned to release a total of over 400 declassified documents relevant to the cases on June 28. State Department also released additional material from over 450 documents out of the collection of 5,000 Guatemala documents it released last month.
On March 30, 1995 the President directed the IOB to conduct a government-wide review concerning allegations regarding the 1990 death of U.S. citizen Michael DeVine, the 1992 disappearance of Guatemalan guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca, and all intelligence bearing on the torture, disappearance or death of U.S. citizens in Guatemala since 1984, and related matters.
Over the course of the review the IOB received excellent cooperation from inspectors general and their departments and agencies and benefitted greatly from the extensive follow-up investigations conducted by the Department of Justice on certain matters.
# # #