U.S. Hid Haitian Abuses, Two Say: House Chairmen Demand Full Story

By Gertz, Bill | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 6, 1996 | Go to article overview

U.S. Hid Haitian Abuses, Two Say: House Chairmen Demand Full Story


Gertz, Bill, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The Clinton administration covered up political murders and other abuses in Haiti under the regime of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, two House committee chairmen charged yesterday.

"Today we are calling on the Clinton administration to come clean on what the administration knew about political murders in Haiti and when they knew it," said Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

"We don't feel we've had the complete cooperation of the president and the administration," said Rep. Larry Combest, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Both spoke at a news conference.

In a letter sent to President Clinton yesterday, the two said: "Documents reviewed thus far confirm the involvement of senior Haitian government officials in political killings."

The Haitian government also has been involved in efforts to block an FBI investigation, they said.

"Moreover, the conduct of senior U.S. officials has been called into serious question in a number of instances since the intervention," the chairmen said.

Both committees have been investigating the political murders for the past year. About two dozen Haitians were assassinated in the months leading up to December's elections.

White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry said the allegations are similar to questions raised last year by congressional Republicans.

"I'm not aware that there's anything new," Mr. McCurry said. "We've provided over a thousand pages of documents to the Congress in connection with that matter."

Mr. Gilman told reporters that key officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, withheld details of what was happening in Haiti.

"Talbott and other senior administration officials were aware that hit squads were targeting" some Haitians, said Mr. Gilman, New York Republican.

The Intelligence Committee is examining whether intelligence was "politicized" to create a favorable public view of the situation in Haiti, which has been touted by the administration as a foreign policy success. …

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