Human Rights

Americas 3. World War - Page 3

Article Index
Americas 3. World War
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
All Pages

I thought about this. I had to work with the sadistic police chief. When I reported that he liked to carve people with knives in the CIA safe-house - when I reported this to my bosses, they said, `(1). The post was too important to close down. (2). They weren't going to get the man transferred or fired because that would make problems, political problems, and he was very good at working with us in the operations he worked on. (3). Therefore if I didn't have the stomach for the job, that they could transfer me.'

But they hastened to point out, if I did demonstrate a lack of `moral fiber' to handle working with the sadistic police chief, that I wouldn't get another good job in the CIA, it would be a mark against
my career.

So I kept the job, I closed the safe-house down, I told my staff that I didn't approve of that kind of activity, and I proceeded to work with him for the next 2 years, pretending that I had reformed him, and he didn't do this sort of thing anymore. The parallel is obvious with El Salvador today, where the CIA, the state department, works with the death squads.

They don't meet the death squads on the streets where they're actually chopping up people or laying them down on the street and running trucks over their heads. The CIA people in San Salvador meet the police chiefs, and the people who run the death squads, and they do liaise with them, they meet them beside the swimming pool of the villas. And it's a sophisticated, civilized kind of relationship. And they talk about their children, who are going to school at UCLA or Harvard and other schools, and they don't talk about the horrors of what's being done. They pretend like it isn't true.

What I ran into in addition to that was a corruption in the CIA and the intelligence business that made me question very seriously what it was all about, including what I was doing ... risking my life ... what I found was that the CIA, us, the case officers, were not permitted to report about the corruption in the South Vietnamese army....

Now, the corruption was so bad, that the S. Vietnamese army was a skeleton army. Colonels would let the troops go home if they would come in once a month and sign the pay vouchers so the colonel could pocket the money. Then he could sell half of the uniforms and boots and M-16's to the communist forces - that was their major supply, just as it is in El Salvador today. He could use half of the trucks to haul produce, half of the helicopters to haul heroin.

And the Army couldn't fight. And we lived with it, and we saw it, and there was no doubt - everybody talked about it openly. We could provide all kinds of proof, and they wouldn't let us report it. Now this was a serious problem because the south was attacked in the winter of 1975, and it collapsed like a big vase hit by a sledgehammer. And the U.S. was humiliated, and that was the dramatic end of our long involvement in Vietnam....

I had been designated as the task-force commander that would run this secret war [in Angola in 1975 and 1976].... and what I figured out was that in this job, I would sit on a sub-committee of the National Security Council, this office that Larry Devlin has told me about where they had access to all the information about Angola, about the whole world, and I would finally understand national security. And I couldn't resist the opportunity to know. I knew the CIA was not a worthwhile organization, I had learned that the hard way. But the question was where did the U.S. government fit into this thing, and I had a chance to see for myself in the next big secret war....

I wanted to know if wise men were making difficult decisions based on truly important, threatening information, threatening to our national security interests. If that had been the case, I still planned to get out of the CIA, but I would know that the system, the invisible government, our national security complex, was in fact justified and worth while. And so I took the job.... Suffice it to say I wouldn't be standing in front of you tonight if I had found these wise men making these tough decisions. What I found, quite frankly, was fat old men sleeping through sub-committee meetings of the NSC in which we were making decisions that were killing people in Africa. I mean literally. Senior ambassador Ed Mulcahy... would go to sleep in nearly every one of these meetings....