THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Lyon, France) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 28, 1996
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
We welcome today's release of the Intelligence Oversight Board's Report on the Guatemala Review. The IOB's government-wide review of the Bamaca, Ortiz and DeVine cases, as well as intelligence bearing on other American citizen human rights cases since 1984, represents an unprecedented level of executive review of U.S. intelligence. It makes valuable recommendations about how to help ensure that America's high standard of respect for human rights is maintained in the conduct of our intelligence relationships. The White House looks forward to working with the appropriate agencies on these recommendations.
The IOB has concluded that CIA and other intelligence agency officials pursued legitimate policy objectives that in many instances advanced the national interests of both the United States and Guatemala. It found there was no credible evidence implicating CIA officers, assets or liaison contacts in the death, abduction, or torture of U.S. citizens in Guatemala. It is important to note that the case of Sister Dianna Ortiz remains under Department of Justice investigation.
The IOB believes, however, that several CIA assets were credibly alleged to have ordered, planned or participated in serious human rights violations. It recommends that ambassadors be informed about intelligence activities with significant policy implications, that executive and legislative branch officials be held accountable for the proper handling of classified information, and that the State Department take more initiative in seeking intelligence agency authorization to share information with the American victims of human rights abuses or their surviving family members. While the report notes that in the past the CIA failed to provide policymakers and Congress with adequate information to permit proper oversight, it finds that steps have been taken to correct this problem.
This report offers important insights into the conduct of U.S. intelligence activities. It highlights the significant contributions intelligence can make towards advancing national interests and sets the standard for the prominent place human rights must have in the conduct of our intelligence relationships. The President commends IOB Chairman Tony Harrington and IOB members General Lew Allen, Ms. Ann Caracristi and Mr. Harold Pote, for their thorough and impartial inquiry.
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