Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

A Right to Know What Was Done in Our Name

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

A Right to Know What Was Done in Our Name

Article excerpt

In a remarkably candid report, the CIA last week admitted that during the 1970s it had maintained a relationship with a top Chilean intelligence official eventually convicted of masterminding the car bombing assassination of political opponent Orlando Letelier.

The report, required in an amendment by Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, D-NY, to this year's Intelligence Authorization Act, also admits that the CIA made a single cash payment in the mid-1970s to Manuel Contreras, who was head of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's feared Directorate of National Intelligence. The report is a significant step in the right direction toward answering nagging questions about some of the uglier chapters in recent U.S. history, particularly as they relate to Latin America.

Letelier and American Ronni Moffitt were killed in the 1976 bombing that occurred on Washington's Embassy Row.

Contreras today remains in custody on a military base in Chile.

He was part of the state machinery put in place after a 1973 coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende and brought Pinochet to power.

In the 17 years of military rule that followed, terror and torture were the order of the regime. Thousands were "disappeared" under Pinochet's brutal rule.

The significance of the recent report was explained by Peter Kornbluh, an expert of at the National Security Archive, in comments to The Washington Post. The document shows that the CIA during the Nixon administration played a significant role in propping up the Pinochet regime. …

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