Some Ways We Got Where We are Today

From the “official” government investigation: http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/websites/www.cia.gov/www.cia.gov/cia/reports/cocaine/contents.html

ALLEGATIONS OF CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CIA AND THE CONTRAS IN COCAINE TRAFFICKING TO THE UNITED STATES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

KEY FINDINGS

Did CIA conspire with or assist Contra organizations or Contra-related individuals in narcotics trafficking to raise funds for the Contras or for any other purpose?

CIA and CIA Employees. No information has been found to indicate that CIA as an organization or its employees conspired with, or assisted, Contra-related organizations or individuals in drug trafficking to raise funds for the Contras or for any other purpose.To what extent was CIA aware of allegations or information indicating involvement by Contra organizations or Contra-related individuals in drug trafficking? What did CIA do after becoming aware of such allegations or information?

Contra-Related Organizations. CIA received information that one Contra-related organization ADREN “15th of September” group–engaged in drug trafficking for fund raising purposes. This anti-Sandinista group formed in 1980 and disbanded in January 1982. No information has been found to indicate that other Contra organizations engaged in drug trafficking for fundraising or any other purpose, although individual members were alleged from time to time to be involved in drug trafficking.

Contra-Related Individuals–Southern Front. CIA received allegations or information regarding drug trafficking by Contra-related individuals in the Southern Front that operated from Costa Rica. In 1984, CIA received allegations that five individuals associated with the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE)/Sandino Revolutionary Front (FRS) were engaged in a drug trafficking conspiracy with a known narcotics trafficker, Jorge Morales. CIA broke off contact with ARDE in October 1984, but continued to have contact through 1986-87 with four of the individuals involved with Morales.

The Morales Connection. In December 1988, the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations published a report entitled “Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy.”One section of that report summarized the involvement of ARDE/FRS members with drug trafficker Jorge Morales based upon Department of State information: Information developed by the intelligence community indicates that a senior member of Eden Pastora’s Sandino Revolutionary Front (FRS) agreed in late 1984 with (Morales) that FRS pilots would aid in transporting narcotics in exchange for financial assistance . the FRS officials agreed to use FRS operational facilities in Costa Rica and Nicaragua to facilitate transportation of narcotics. (Morales) agreed to provide financial support to the FRS, in addition to aircraft and training for FRS pilots. After undergoing flight training, the FRS pilots were to continue to work for the FRS, but would also fly narcotics shipments from South America to sites in Costa Rica and Nicaragua for later transport to the United States. Shortly thereafter (Morales) reportedly provided the FRS one C-47 aircraft and two crated helicopters. He is reported to have paid the sum of $100,000 to the FRS, but there was no information available on who actually received the money.

In addition to the five individuals associated with ARDE, CIA received drug trafficking allegations or information concerning 16 other individuals who supported Southern Front Contra operations based in Costa Rica.

Contra-Related Individuals–Northern Front. CIA also received allegations or information concerning drug trafficking by nine Contra-related individuals in the Northern Front, based in Honduras.

Other Individuals Involved in the Contra Program. CIA received drug trafficking allegations or information concerning five individuals who were used to support the Contra program.

Companies, Pilots and Other Individuals Working for Companies Used in Support of the Contra Program. CIA received drug trafficking allegations or information concerning pilots and two other individuals who were associated with companies that provided support for the Contra program. CIA also learned of drug trafficking allegations or information concerning three companies that were used to support Contra activities from 1984 until at least 1988.

CIA received drug trafficking allegations or information concerning an individual who flew Contra support missions from Ilopango Air Base in El Salvador in 1985 and 1986.

CIA also received other information in 1986 to 1989 regarding additional suspicious activities,individuals and aircraft at Ilopango Air Base. However, no information has been found to indicate that CIA was aware that this information indicated that Contra-related organizations or individuals used Ilopango Air Base for drug trafficking.

A January 21, 1988 Headquarters cable to CIA personnel in Central America that were directly involved in supporting the Contra program also summarized that statutory restriction.

On April 9, 1987, Acting DCI Robert Gates sent a memorandum to the Deputy Director for Operations(DDO) Clair George stating that it was imperative that CIA avoid involvement with individuals tied to the Contra program who were “even suspected of involvement in narcotics trafficking.” The Gates memorandum instructed the DDO to vet contract air crews, air services companies and subcontractors with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), U.S. Customs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to ensure that the Agency would not be involved in any way with individuals suspected of being involved in drug trafficking.

Were relevant CIA regulations and policies timely and adequate? Then-current CIA regulations and policies did not address a number of drug trafficking issues that were repeatedly encountered by Agency managers and personnel during the Contra program: CIA had no published regulations or policies that addressed CIA employees’ contacts with individuals or companies that were known or suspected to have been involved in drug trafficking, unless they were part of a counter narcotics operation or program. The Contra program was not such an operation or program. CIA had no regulations or policies regarding CIA’s responsibilities to identify and pursue allegations or information indicating that organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking. CIA had no regulations or policies that required that information be requested from DEA, the Customs Service, or U.S. Government entities, other than the FBI, regarding individuals or entities of whom CIA had knowledge of drug allegations or information.

ADCI Gates’ April 1987 memorandum stating that it was imperative that CIA avoid involvement with individuals in Central America who were even suspected of narcotics trafficking was not issued in any form that would advise Agency employees generally of this policy. Agency personnel involved in the Contra program were not generally notified until January 1988 of the prohibition in the Department of Defense and Military Construction Appropriations Act for FY 1987, which went into effect in October 1986, on assistance to any group that retained in its ranks any individual who was found to engage in drug smuggling. A number of CIA personnel who were involved in the Contra program say they were aware of the statutory proscription prior to 1988, but no written guidance was provided to Agency personnel for determining that an individual had been “found to engage in drug smuggling” under the FY 1987 provision.

Recollections of CIA Personnel Regarding Alleged Drug Trafficking by the Contras. Notwithstanding the shortcomings in applicable regulations and policy, many employees and former employees say today that they understood the potential seriousness of information that linked participants in the Contra program to drug trafficking. Indeed, many say they believed that the Agency’s policy was not to have relationships with such persons.

CONCLUSIONS Were CIA actions in dealing with Contra-related organizations or individuals that were subject to allegations or information indicating they were involved in drug trafficking consistent with relevant statutes, regulations and policies?

Statutory Requirements. The provision in the FY 1987 Department of Defense and Military Construction Appropriations Act called for a cutoff of funding to any Contra group that retained a member who “has been found” to engage in drug smuggling. During the period from October 1986 until December 1987 in which this prohibition was in effect, CIA was aware of allegations or information of varying credibility suggesting that ten Contras may have been involved in drug trafficking. Additional actions could have been taken by CIA in each of these cases to determine the credibility of the allegations and information in order to comply with the intent and spirit of the legislation.

Executive Branch Requirements. CIA crimes referrals practices pertaining to potential federal narcotics violations were consistent with the applicable provisions of Executive Orders 12036 and 12333, the Attorney General Guidelines under E.O. 12036 and the 1982 MOU between the Department of Justice and CIA under E.O. 12333. No information has been found to indicate that the non-inclusion of narcotics violations by assets in the crimes reporting requirements of the 1982 DoJ-CIA MOU was intended to protect Contra activities.

CIA Policies and Practices. CIA acted inconsistently in handling allegations or information indicating that Contra-related organizations and individuals were involved in drug trafficking. In some cases, CIA pursued confirmation of allegations or information of drug allegations. In other cases, CIA knowledge of allegations or information indicating that organizations or individuals had been involved in drug trafficking did not deter their use by CIA. In other cases, CIA did not act to verify drug trafficking allegations or information even when it had the opportunity to do so. In still other cases, CIA deemed the allegation or information to be unsubstantiated or not credible.

With respect to air services companies, contract air crew members and other companies that were used to support the Contra program, CIA took prompt action in responding to ADCI Gates’ April 9,1987 instructions by requesting relevant information from U.S. law enforcement agencies in addition to the FBI. However, CIA’s actions in response to information received from law enforcement agencies that indicated a possible drug trafficking connection by air services companies and individual crew members were inconsistent. Despite such information, several pilots and one mechanic continued to be associated with their companies in support of the Contra program.

To what extent did CIA share allegations and information indicating that Contra-related organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking with other U.S. Government entities?

Congress. Although records of congressional briefings in this regard were incomplete and often lacked specific detail, CIA briefings of the congressional intelligence oversight committees on Contra-related matters occasionally included allegations or information indicating involvement by Contra-related organizations or individuals in drug trafficking. CIA determined what was responsive to the requirement of keeping the congressional intelligence oversight committees “fully and currently”informed about Contra-related drug allegations. CIA did inform the intelligence oversight committees in a timely manner of the 1984 allegations of association by ARDE members with drug trafficker Jorge Morales and their agreement for Morales to provide aircraft in exchange for facilitation of drug transport. However, CIA did not inform Congress of all allegations or information it received indicating that Contra-related organizations or individuals were involved in drug trafficking. During the period in which the FY 1987 statutory prohibition was in effect, for example, no information has been found to indicate that CIA informed Congress of eight of the ten Contra-related individuals concerning whom CIA had received drug trafficking allegations or information.

Law Enforcement and Other Agencies.The March 1982 DoJ-CIA Crimes Reporting MOU did not require that CIA report to DoJ narcotics trafficking violations by assets, or independent contractors associated with the Contras because assets and independent contractors were not defined as”employees” for crimes reporting purposes. However, the 1982 MOU gave CIA discretion to report offenses not included in the MOU. This discretion was exercised in 1984 when information pertaining to association by Southern Front Contra members with drug trafficker Jorge Morales was reported to DoJ. It also was exercised in a 1988 referral to DoJ of allegations of drug trafficking concerning another Contra official. Allegations and information indicating drug trafficking by 25 Contra-related individuals was shared in a variety of ways with other Executive branch agencies, including law enforcement agencies as formal intelligence reports, cables and briefings in Washington, D.C., and the field. However, no information has been found to indicate that any U.S. law enforcement entity or Executive branch agency was informed by CIA of drug trafficking allegations or information concerning Contra-related individuals and assets. Beginning in January 1988, CIA began providing a U.S. law enforcement agency’s regional office in Central America with information received by CIA regarding possible drug-related or other suspicious activities at Ilopango Air Base.

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