for Coup in 1970. Under "Track II" of the strategy,
CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende from taking office
after he won a plurality in the 4 September election and before,
as Constitutionally required because he did not win an absolute majority,
the Chilean Congress reaffirmed his victory. CIA was working with
three different groups of plotters. All three groups made it clear
that any coup would require the kidnapping of Army Commander Rene Schneider,
who felt deeply that the Constitution required that the Army allow Allende
to assume power. CIA agreed with that assessment. Although
CIA provided weapons to one of the groups, we have found no information
that the plotters' or CIA's intention was for the general to be killed.
Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early on because of its
extremist tendencies. CIA provided tear gas, submachine-guns and
ammunition to the second group. The third group attempted to kidnap
Schneider, mortally wounding him in the attack. CIA had previously
encouraged this group to launch a coup but withdrew support four days
before the attack because, in CIA's assessment, the group could not
carry it out successfully.
of Coup Plotting in 1973. Although CIA did not instigate
the coup that ended Allende's government on 11 September 1973,
it was aware of coup-plotting by the military, had ongoing intelligence
collection relationships with some plotters, and-because CIA did not
discourage the takeover and had sought to instigate a coup in 1970-probably
appeared to condone it. There was no way that anyone, including
CIA, could have known that Allende would refuse the putchists' offer
of safe passage out of the country and that instead-with La Moneda
Palace under bombardment from tanks and airplanes and in flames-would
take his own life.
of Human Rights Violations. CIA officers were aware of
and reported to analysts and policymakers in 1973 that General Pinochet
and the forces that overthrew the Allende Government were conducting
a severe campaign against leftists and perceived political enemies in
the early months after the coup. Activities of some security services
portended a long-term effort to suppress opponents. In January
1974, CIA officers and assets were tasked to report on human rights
violations by the Chilean government.
with Chilean Security Services. The CIA had liaison relationships
in Chile with the primary purpose of securing assistance in gathering
intelligence on external targets. The CIA offered these services
assistance in internal organization and training to combat subversion
and terrorism from abroad, not in combating internal opponents of the
government. The CIA also used these relationships to admonish
these services concerning human rights abuses in Chile. The policy
community and CIA recognized that the relationships opened the CIA to
possible identification with the liaison services' internal operations
involving human rights abuses but determined that the contact was necessary
for CIA's mission.
in Support of Pinochet Regime. After the coup in September
1973, CIA suspended new covert action funding but continued some ongoing
propaganda projects, including support for news media committed to creating
a positive image for the military Junta. Chilean individuals who
had collaborated with the CIA but were not acting at CIA direction assisted
in the preparation of the "White Book," a document intended to justify
overthrowing Allende. It contained an allegation that leftists
had a secret "Plan Z" to murder the high command in the months
before the coup, which CIA believed was probably disinformation by the
of "Operation Condor." Within a year after the coup, the
CIA and other US Government agencies were aware of bilateral cooperation
among regional intelligence services to track the activities of and,
in at least a few cases, kill political opponents. This was the
precursor to Operation Condor, an intelligence-sharing arrangement among
Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay established in 1975.
Some CIA officers expressed reservations about
certain activities during this period. The Intelligence Community's
analytic assessment of the prospects for a coup in 1970, for example,
was that "military action is impossible" because the Army was too deeply
committed to the Constitution and unwilling to oust the civilian government.
The DCI stated that the Agency was being asked to do the impossible.
A senior CIA officer said the idea of undermining an Allende victory
was "unrealistic." National Intelligence Estimates produced between
1969 and 1973 reflected declining confidence over time that Allende
would be able to subvert Chile's constitutional order. In addition,
in the period preceding the successful coup against Allende, CIA officers
were concerned about the blurring of lines between monitoring coup-plotting-collecting
intelligence on such activities but not directing or influencing them-and
supporting a coup at least implicitly.
The historical backdrop sheds important light on
the policies, practices, and perceived urgency prevalent at that time.
The Cuban revolution and emergence of Communist parties in Latin America
had brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere. Thousands
of Chilean military officers came to the United States for training,
which included presentations on the impact of global communism on their
own country. After Allende won a plurality in the Presidential
election on 4 September 1970, the consensus at the highest levels of
the US Government was that an Allende Presidency would seriously hurt
US national interests.
Efforts by the United States to support anti-Communist
forces in Chile date back to the late 1950s and reflect the rivalry
between the United States and the Soviet Union for influence throughout
the Third World. The growing strength of the Chilean left, along
with continuing fragmentation by conservative and moderate political
forces, became increasing concerns through the 1960 .70s to the United
States, which wanted to avoid the emergence of "another Cuba" in the
According to the Church Committee report, in their
meeting with CIA Director Richard Helms and Attorney General John Mitchell
on 15 September 1970 President Nixon and his National Security Advisor,
Henry Kissinger, directed the CIA to prevent Allende from taking power.
They were "not concerned [about the] risks involved," according to Helms'
notes. In addition to political action, Nixon and Kissinger, according
to Helms's notes, ordered steps to "make the economy scream."
These Cold War attitudes persisted into the Pinochet
era. After Pinochet came to power, senior policymakers appeared
reluctant to criticize human rights violations, taking to task US diplomats
urging greater attention to the problem. US military assistance
and sales grew significantly during the years of greatest human rights
abuses. According to a previously released Memorandum of Conversation,
Kissinger in June 1976 indicated to Pinochet that the US Government
was sympathetic to his regime, although Kissinger advised some progress
on human rights in order to improve Chile's image in the US Congress.
The "Assassination" of President
In 1962 the CIA received authority to carry out
covert action projects in support of the Chilean Radical Party and the
Christian Democratic Party (PDC). These programs were designed
primarily to assist the parties in attracting larger followings, improve
their organization and effectiveness, and influence their political
orientation to support US objectives in the region. A secondary
purpose of these programs was to support efforts to split the Socialist
Party. At the request of the US Ambassador in Chile, with the
support of the Department of State, in 1963 the 5412 Group approved
a one-time payment to the Democratic Front. Propaganda efforts
to support public media consisted primarily of funding and guidance
to recruited assets within selected Chilean radio stations and newspapers.
In preparation for the 1964 elections, a political
action campaign was approved on 2 April 1964 by the 303 Committee.
The goal of the campaign was to prevent Dr. Salvador Allende, the
leftist candidate for President, from winning. Eduardo Frei of
the Christian Democratic Party was the principal beneficiary of these
efforts. The campaign built on the covert action previously approved
in 1962, adding an element of support for a militant women's group.
In the same timeframe, the CIA was tasked to support continued unilateral
placements of propaganda in the mass media to influence public opinion
against leftist parties and candidates. By the time of the election,
the 303 Committee had approved a total of $3 million to keep
Allende from winning. Frei's victory on 4 September 1964
was a milestone in the CIA's Chilean election effort.
On 5 February 1965, the 303 Committee
approved a new covert action campaign intended to support selected candidates
for Congressional elections on 7 March. This campaign-drafted
and carried out in cooperation with the US Ambassador in Chile-authorized
the CIA, working through its established infrastructure, to support
selected candidates for Congress. The operation was considered
a success and was terminated on 30 June. In 1965-66, previous
propaganda efforts were merged, and the CIA established a covert action
project to support the placement of propaganda in Chilean mass media.
This project was to influence public opinion against leftist parties
and candidates. The scope of CIA's propaganda activities in Chile
was further expanded in 1967, to promote "anti-Communist" themes, specifically
against the Soviet Bloc presence in the country.
Nonetheless, the Chilean left made political gains
during the Frei Administration. As a result, CIA was given approval
in 1968-69 to undertake additional propaganda operations intended to
influence Chilean mass media. This included establishing a propaganda
workshop and other mechanisms for press placements. Propaganda
topics included the threat posed by the Soviet Bloc to Chile's democratic
tradition, the danger local leftist fronts posed to the country, and
promoting pro-democratic leadership in Chile. In July 1968, the
303 Committee approved a modest covert action program, proposed by the
US Ambassador, to influence the composition of the Chilean Congress
by supporting moderate candidates in the March 1969 Congressional elections.
While the results were considered an operational success, both the far
right and far left gained seats, and the Chilean political scene was
further polarized. Frei and his moderate PDC candidates were the
losers. This CIA program was terminated at the conclusion of the
As the 1970 Presidential election drew near, Allende
emerged as a leading candidate; various leftist parties continued to
strengthen the Popular Unity (UP) coalition. The Station used
some of the covert actions mentioned above to carry out a variety of
political action and propaganda operations aimed at discrediting the
left. The 40 Committee told the CIA to confine itself to
attacking the UP coalition and not support any particular Presidential
candidate. The objective was to divide the left and create conditions
for a non-Marxist candidate to win the election. On 27 June
1970 the Station was directed to focus the "spoiling operation" more
directly against Allende's candidacy. The plan was to alert the
Chilean people to the dangers of a Marxist regime under Allende.
In spite of increased funding as directed by the
40 Committee, by August 1970 it was clear that the spoiling operation
was not succeeding and that Allende and the UP had garnered such support
that Allende was clearly the leading candidate. High-level concern
in the Nixon Administration resulted in development of a more aggressive
covert action initiative. This initiative considered both political
action (Track I) and a military coup (Track II) to prevent
an Allende presidency. Both Track I and Track II initiatives
ran simultaneously until Congress elected Allende on 24 October.
The political action program under consideration
called for the Embassy and Station to influence the Chilean Congress
as it took up the matter. This involved encouraging Congress
to vote for Alessandri for President in spite of the fact Allende
received a slightly higher popular vote. (Allende won 36.3 percent
of the vote on 4 September-a plurality, not the majority required
by the Constitution to avoid Congressional reaffirmation of the victory.)
The Station and the Embassy, working through intermediaries, urged Frei
to use his influence with Congress to convince non-leftist forces to
vote for Alessandri. The scenario was to have Congress elect Alessandri
as President; he would then resign, thereby allowing Frei to run as
a candidate against Allende in a new election.
The Track II initiative called upon CIA to
plan for the possibility of arranging Chilean military intervention.
On 9 September the Station received guidance from Headquarters
directing it to establish direct contact with Chilean military officers
to evaluate the possibilities of stimulating a military coup if a decision
were to be made to do so.
On 15 September President Nixon informed the DCI
that an Allende regime in Chile would not be acceptable to the United
States. He instructed the CIA to prevent Allende from coming to
power or unseat him and authorized $10 million for this purpose.
The President specifically directed that this action be carried out
by the CIA without advising the Departments of State or Defense or the
U.S. Ambassador in Chile. In response to Nixon's direction, CIA
took a variety of actions, including making overtures to the military
of a foreign government to request its insights, forwarding worldwide
propaganda information for placement in local media, initiating efforts
to promote public opposition to Allende among leading newspapers such
as El Mercurio, and contacting a Catholic layman who was in touch
with Church leaders in Chile to influence their attitudes toward Allende.
Station officers increased contacts with Chilean military officers.
Frei was also encouraged to use his influence with the military and
encourage officers to consider forming a new government before Congress
elected Allende President. By late September it was clear that
Frei was unlikely to act in this manner.
Track II planning was intensified once it
became clear that Frei would not act. Between 5-20 October
the Station orchestrated numerous contacts with key Chilean military
and Carabinero (national police) officers to convince them to
carry out a coup. The U.S. Embassy's Army Attaché was placed under
operational control of the CIA Station and relayed similar messages
to his military contacts. Four CIA officers were dispatched under
non-official cover to meet with the most sensitive of these Chilean
military officers, who were actively involved in coup plotting.
The Track II initiative failed, however, after
the assassination of Army Commander-in-Chief Schneider, whose death
provoked a strong reaction in Chile.
The US Government and the CIA were aware of and
agreed with Chilean officers' assessment that that the abduction of
General Rene Schneider, the Chilean Army's Commander in September 1970,
was an essential step in any coup plan. We have found no information,
however, that the coup plotters' or CIA's intention was that the general
be killed in any abduction effort. Schneider was a strong supporter
of the Chilean Constitution and a major stumbling block for military
officers seeking to carry out a coup to prevent Allende from being inaugurated.
Retired Army General Roberto Viaux was a major
coup plotter with support from non-commissioned and junior officers;
he also headed several right-wing civilian groups. After CIA was
directed to explore prospects for a coup to prevent Allende from taking
office, a CIA officer established contact with Viaux on 9 October
1970. A second meeting with Viaux resulted in the Station forwarding
a request to Washington from Viaux for weapons, tear gas and other supplies
as well as a life insurance policy for himself. In reviewing Viaux's
proposal, CIA Headquarters determined that his group had no chance of
carrying off a successful coup. Headquarters advised the Station,
and during meetings on 17 .18 October a CIA officer told a member
of the Viaux group, that CIA would not entertain their request for support.
The officer warned them that any coup action on their part would be
premature. The Viaux representative said the coup was planned
for 21-22 October, and the first step would be to kidnap General
Schneider. The Station doubted the plan because CIA had no corroborative
intelligence and Viaux's group had a record of false starts.
On 22 October the Viaux group, acting independently
of the CIA at that time, carried out an attempted abduction against
General Schneider that resulted in his death. Schneider's death
shocked the armed forces and civilian proponents of a coup, and plans
for military action were shelved.
In addition to Viaux, CIA had established contact
with other coup-plotters, including General Camilo Valenzuela.
Valenzuela's group was well known by the Station and was judged to have
the capability to carry out a successful coup. CIA provided this
group-which also saw the abduction of General Schneider as essential
to any coup-three submachine guns, ammunition, and 8 to 10 tear gas
grenades on 22 October. (These weapons were later returned
unused to the Station.) Valenzuela's representative insisted his
group had nothing to do with Schneider's killing and that Viaux acted
on his own.
In November 1970 a member of the Viaux group who
avoided capture recontacted the Agency and requested financial assistance
on behalf of the group. Although the Agency had no obligation
to the group because it acted on its own, in an effort to keep the prior
contact secret, maintain the good will of the group, and for humanitarian
reasons, $35,000 was passed.
The Congress approved Allende's election victory
by a wide margin-153 to 35-on 24 October. In the wake of Allende's
inauguration on 3 November 1970, the US Government's long-term
objective was to keep the opposition active in the hope that it could
defeat Allende in the 1976 election. The CIA's role in Chile was
primarily to provide funds and influence opposition political parties.
In 1971, a new covert action was approved to renew support to the PDC.
In 1972, a new covert action project was authorized to provide support
to the National Party and the Democratic Radical Party. CIA's
continuing financial support to the propaganda mechanisms described
above was intended to continue media placements in support of opposition
parties and against the Allende regime. The CIA was instructed
to put the US Government in a position to take future advantage of either
a political or military solution to the Chilean dilemma, depending on
how developments unfolded.
The CIA continued to collect intelligence on Chilean
military officers actively opposed to the Allende government, but no
effort was made to assist them in any way. Some CIA assets and
contacts were in direct contact with coup plotters; CIA guidance was
that the purpose of these contacts was only to collect intelligence.
As coup rumors and planning escalated by the end of 1972, CIA exercised
extreme care in all dealings with Chilean military officers and continued
to monitor their activities but under no circumstances attempted to
influence them. By October 1972 the consensus within the US government
was that the military intended to launch a coup at some point, that
it did not need US support for a successful coup, and that US intervention
or assistance in a coup should be avoided.
On 21 August 1973 the 40 Committee approved
a $1 million supplemental budget to increase support for opposition
political parties, bringing the total amount of covert funding spent
during the Allende period to approximately $6.5 million.
In late August the Station requested authorization to provide maximum
support for the opposition's efforts to encourage the entrance of the
Chilean military into the Allende cabinet. The resignation of
Army Commander General Carlos Prats (whose actions were strongly constitutionalist)
and his replacement by General Augusto Pinochet (not a coup plotter,
but apparently willing to concede to a coup) appeared to further unify
the Armed Forces and strengthened the institution as a political pressure
group. The UP Government appeared to fear a possible military
coup and was unsure how to react to such a development.
The Station realized that the opposition's objectives
had evolved to a point inconsistent with current US policy and sought
authorization from Washington to support such an aggressive approach.
Although the US Ambassador in Chile agreed with the need for Washington
to evaluate its current policy, he did not concur in the Station's proposal,
fearing that it could lead to a de facto US commitment to a coup.
In response, CIA Headquarters reaffirmed to the Station that there was
to be no involvement with the military in any covert action initiative;
there was no support for instigating a military coup.
On 10 September 1973-the day before the coup
that ended the Allende Government-a Chilean military officer reported
to a CIA officer that a coup was being planned and asked for US Government
assistance. He was told that the US Government would not provide
any assistance because this was strictly an internal Chilean matter.
The Station officer also told him that his request would be forwarded
to Washington. CIA learned of the exact date of the coup shortly
before it took place. During the attack on the Presidential Palace
and its immediate aftermath, the Station's activities were limited to
providing intelligence and situation reports.
Allende's death occurred after the President refused
an offer from the military to take him and his family out of the country.
Available evidence indicates that President Allende committed suicide
as putchist troops entered his offices. A credible source on Allende's
death was Dr. Patricio Guijon, a physician who served on the President's
medical staff. Guijon was in the Presidential Palace, La Moneda,
with Allende during the assault and claimed that he witnessed Allende
shoot himself with a rifle. The Chilean National Commission on
Truth and Reconciliation in 1991 also concluded that Allende took his
own life. There is no information to indicate that the CIA was
involved in Allende's death.
As early as the 1964 Chilean Presidential election,
American businessmen with interests in Chile had offered to provide
the CIA with funds to prevent Allende from being elected. All
of these early offers were rejected.
In early 1970 a Station officer was contacted by
a United States businessman employed by International Telephone and
Telegraph (ITT) urging the US government to provide financial support
to one of Allende's opponents, Jorge Alessandri. The Station provided
the businessman the name of an individual who could securely funnel
ITT funds to Alessandri.
Several months later another ITT representative
approached the CIA in Washington to probe whether CIA would accept funds
from his company and channel them to the Alessandri campaign.
He was told that CIA could not receive and transfer funds to Alessandri
on behalf of a private firm. The CIA also told him that, although
the US Government was most anxious about a possible Allende victory,
it was not supporting any specific candidate in the election.
As occurred several months earlier, however, the Station provided this
businessman advice on how to funnel ITT funds securely to Alessandri.
After Allende's election and before his inauguration,
the CIA, under 40 Committee direction, made an effort-in coordination
with the Embassy in Santiago-to encourage Chilean businesses to carry
out a program of economic disruption.
Accession of General Augusto
Pinochet to the Presidency
Chile's new military Junta-Army General Augusto
Pinochet, Air Force General Gustavo Leigh, Navy Admiral Jose Merino,
and Carabinero Chief General Caesar Mendoza-was sworn in on the
evening of 11 September 1973. The next day, the four drafted
an official document constituting the Junta as Chile's supreme power.
Pinochet was designated as its first President, and the four verbally
agreed to rotate the office. Shortly after, the Junta established
an advisory committee, which Pinochet was successful in staffing with
Army officers loyal to himself. One of their first recommendations
was to discard the idea of a rotating Presidency, arguing it would create
too many administrative problems and lead to confusion.
In March 1974, on the six-month anniversary of
the Junta's establishment, Pinochet verbally attacked the Christian
Democratic Party and stated that there was no set timetable for the
return to civilian rule. On 18 December 1974 Pinochet was
declared Supreme Leader of the nation.
During this period, CIA, in coordination with the
Department of State, determined that no new or expanded covert action
activities were to be carried out until the 40 Committee provided
new authorization. Although covert action spending was authorized
for previously obligated expenditures and commitments in programs described
above, no new initiatives were authorized. By June 1974 CIA covert
action plans for Chile had been officially terminated, and payments
Although some of these residual propaganda operations
may have benefited Pinochet and the putchists indirectly, officers of
the CIA and the Intelligence Community were not involved in facilitating
Pinochet's accession to President nor the consolidation of his power
as Supreme Leader. For most of the period, CIA had no covert action
authority for Chile. While the CIA had liaison relationships with
various security services over the years, there is no indication that
any service asked for, or that the CIA offered, any assistance to promote
Pinochet to the Presidency.
Violations of Human Rights
Committed by Officers or Covert Agents and Employees of the CIA
In January 1974 CIA issued a directive to all CIA
staff to collect clandestine information on torture in Chile; this message
directed CIA staff to work through all available agents and channels
of influence to induce the Chilean Government to modify repressive measures,
particularly to eliminate torture. CIA actively used its contacts,
especially with members of services notorious for human rights abuses,
to emphasize that human rights abuses were detrimental to the government's
credibility within their own country, damaging to their international
reputation, and unacceptable to the US Government. In some cases,
such contacts enabled the CIA to obtain intelligence on human rights
abuses that would not have otherwise been available.
Given the wide variety and nature of CIA contacts
in Chile, the issue of human rights was handled in various ways over
the years. Some examples:
During a period between 1974 and 1977, CIA maintained
contact with Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, who later became notorious
for his involvement in human rights abuses. The US Government
policy community approved CIA's contact with Contreras, given his position
as chief of the primary intelligence organization in Chile, as necessary
to accomplish the CIA's mission, in spite of concerns that this relationship
might lay the CIA open to charges of aiding internal political repression.
From the start, the CIA made it clear to Contreras was that it would
not support any of his activities or activities of his service which
might be construed as "internal political repression." In its
contacts with Contreras, the CIA urged him to adhere to a 17 January
1974 circular, issued by the Chilean Ministry of Defense, spelling out
guidelines for handling prisoners in a manner consistent with the 1949
The relationship, while correct, was not cordial
and smooth, particularly as evidence of Contreras' role in human rights
abuses emerged. In December 1974, the CIA concluded that Contreras
was not going to improve his human rights performance. However,
Contreras' assistance in the first quarter of 1975 in gaining the release
of some PDC members who had been arrested and mistreated by another
Chilean security service offered small hope that he would use his influence
to end abuses. In retrospect, however, Contreras' role in this
effort probably reflected interservice rivalry and Contreras' personal
efforts to control the entire Chilean intelligence apparatus.
By April 1975, intelligence reporting showed that
Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy
within the Junta, but an interagency committee directed the CIA to continue
its relationship with Contreras. The US Ambassador to Chile urged
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Walters to receive Contreras
in Washington in the interest of maintaining good relations with Pinochet.
In August 1975, with interagency approval, this meeting took place.
In May and June 1975, elements within the CIA recommended
establishing a paid relationship with Contreras to obtain intelligence
based on his unique position and access to Pinochet. This proposal
was overruled, citing the US Government policy on clandestine relations
with the head of an intelligence service notorious for human rights
abuses. However, given miscommunications in the timing of this
exchange, a one-time payment was given to Contreras.
In addition to information concerning external
threats, CIA sought from Contreras information regarding evidence that
emerged in 1975 of a formal Southern Cone cooperative intelligence effort-"Operation
Condor"-building on informal cooperation in tracking and, in at least
a few cases, killing political opponents. By October 1976 there
was sufficient information that the CIA decided to approach Contreras
on the matter. Contreras confirmed Condor's existence as an intelligence-sharing
network but denied that it had a role in extra-judicial killings.
Former Allende cabinet member and Ambassador to
Washington Orlando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffit,
were killed in a carbombing in Washington on 21 September, 1976.
Almost immediately after the assassination, rumors began circulating
that the Chilean government was responsible. CIA's first intelligence
report containing this allegation was dated 6 October 1976.
During October 1976, the Department of Justice and the CIA worked out
how the CIA would support the foreign intelligence (FI) aspects of the
legal investigation. At that time, Contreras' possible role in
the Letelier assassination became an issue.
By the end of 1976, contacts with Contreras were
very infrequent. During 1977, CIA met with Contreras about half
a dozen times; three of those contacts were to request information on
the Letelier assassination. On 3 November 1977, Contreras was
transferred to a function unrelated to intelligence so CIA severed all
contact with him.
Nonetheless, CIA intelligence reporting continued
to follow Contreras' activities closely. After a short struggle
to retain power, Contreras resigned from the Army in 1978. In
the interim, CIA gathered specific, detailed intelligence reporting
concerning Contreras' involvement in ordering the Letelier assassination.
While some of this material has been released, some remains classified
and another portion has been withheld at the request of the Department
of Justice, which continues to pursue the investigation.
Throughout the post-coup period, the CIA collected
and disseminated to the intelligence and policy communities extensive
reporting concerning human rights issues in Chile. Some of this
information came from contacts with mixed reputations. The intelligence
included a wide variety of information, including:
CIA also received information on "Plan Z"-purportedly
drawn up by Allende's Popular Unity coalition in the late period of
the Allende Government to assassinate important political and military
persons opposed to its leftist agenda. When allegations of the
existence of "Plan Z" first surfaced, the CIA noted that it probably
was disinformation manipulated by the Junta to improve its image and
to provide justification for its activities. Allegations that
reports about "Plan Z" were part of a joint CIA-Chilean operation
are inaccurate, although military officers with whom the CIA had contact
prior to the 1973 coup were involved in the drafting the "White Book,"
in which allegations of "Plan Z" were a main feature.
The CIA first reported human rights abuses by the
Junta on 15 September 1973, just days after the coup. CIA
reported that the Chilean security interrogation units were dealing
with suspected opponents in an extremely rigorous manner. A 22 September
report noted that prisoners at the National Stadium were harshly treated
in the first days after the coup. On 28 September, CIA reported
that 27 cadavers, some showing signs of torture and mutilation, had
been recovered from the Mapocho River. On 9 October, the
CIA reported that Soviet non-diplomatic technicians in Chile had been
repeatedly threatened and verbally abused; some of those later tried
were beaten or injured. On 25 October, CIA reported that
General Sergio Arellano Stark had given instructions resulting in the
summary execution of 21 political prisoners. On 3 November, the
CIA reported that, despite a government decree to end summary executions,
20 bodies were found shot in the San Carlos Canal. On 12 November,
the CIA reported concerns within the PDC about human rights abuses.
On 18 January 1974, CIA reported that Chilean politicians across
the political spectrum were weighing the possibility of bringing the
issue of government human rights abuses to the attention of the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights.
It was apparent that the 17 January 1974 Chilean
government circular prohibiting torture and providing instructions for
the handling of prisoners was a public relations ruse. CIA reporting
indicated that the Chilean security forces did not, and probably would
not, observe the stated policy. Although the State Department
and Embassy had the primary role in human rights reporting, the clandestine
nature of Chilean security services' human rights practices required
CIA collection efforts. In late January 1974, the CIA directed
that all appropriate CIA officers task their clandestine assets to report
on torture in Chile.
Over the next 17 years, the CIA reported information
available from its contacts concerning human rights abuses in Chile.
As the left later regained strength, intelligence reporting included
the plans, intentions, capabilities and terrorist acts of the left.
During the transition from military to civilian rule, intelligence reporting
followed the political issue of how human rights investigations and
prosecutions would be handled.
A review of CIA's files has uncovered no evidence
that CIA officers and employees were engaged in human rights abuses
or in covering up any human rights abuses in Chile.
of US Citizens
Allegations of CIA complicity in the death of American
citizen Charles Horman, Jr.-an expatriate who supported Allende
and was murdered in the aftermath of the coup in 1973-are unfounded.
Similarly, CIA had no prior knowledge of the circumstances leading to
the death in Chile of US citizen Frank Teruggi in 1973 or the disappearance
of US citizen Boris Weisfeiler in 1985.
Nevertheless, some clandestine contacts of the
CIA were involved in human rights abuses. The CIA, at the direction
of and with the full concurrence of senior US policymakers, maintained
official contacts with various security services. At the same
time, the CIA maintained clandestine contacts with selected members
of the Chilean military, intelligence and security forces, both to collect
intelligence and carry out the covert actions described above.
There is no doubt that some CIA contacts were actively engaged in committing
and covering up serious human rights abuses.
As a result of lessons learned in Chile, Central
America and elsewhere, the CIA now carefully reviews all contacts for
potential involvement in human rights abuses and makes a deliberate
decision balancing the nature and severity of the human rights abuse
against the potential intelligence value of continuing the relationship.
These standards, established in the mid-1990s, would likely have altered
the amount of contact we had with perpetrators of human rights violators
in Chile had they been in effect at that time.