ciua lied to rfk

cia lied to rfk





Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 19:27 UK

CIA 'often lied to congressmen'

CIA Director Leon Panetta
Did Mr Panetta admit to lawmakers that the CIA had misled Congress?

CIA Director Leon Panetta has admitted that his agency regularly misled Congress, six members of the House Intelligence Committee have alleged.

The claims are echoed in a letter from the committee's Democratic chairman, Sylvestre Reyes.

The allegations follow a claim by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the CIA misled her about interrogation methods.

A CIA spokesman has insisted that "it is not the policy or practice of the CIA to mislead Congress".

'Significantly lied to'

The six committee members, who are all Democrats, alleged in a letter to Mr Panetta that he "recently... testified... that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all Members of Congress and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week".

"This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other periods," the letter states.

In a separate letter, Mr Reyes alleged that a "notification the Committee received [from Mr Panetta] on 24 June 2009... [has] led me to conclude that this Committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications and (in at least one case) was significantly lied to".

The BBC's Jon Donnison in Washington says that in recent months there has been much debate over how much congressional leaders were told during the Bush administration about controversial CIA interrogation techniques such as water-boarding.

In particular, our correspondent says, Republicans have accused Mrs Pelosi, a Democrat, of lying about how much she knew about such methods.

Republicans say this latest accusation from Mr Reyes in being used as a distraction to shift attention away from Mrs Pelosi.

Mrs Pelosi insists that she was not told that the CIA had used water-boarding on prisoners, and that any suggestion by the CIA that she had been notified is untrue.

The row takes place as Democrats in Congress are attempting to push through new rules governing who is allowed to declassify secret information.

They want to give the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees the power to open up classified information to the other members of their committees.

The proposal is being fiercely opposed by the Obama White House, which insists that only the president should have the power to declassify information.




(207)  From an examination of the CIA's use of organized crime in assassination conspiracies against Castro, it appears that the Agency concealed the continuation of those plots in 1962 and 1963 from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

(208)  As already indicated in section II, part B, Attorney General Kennedy had been told of the pre-Bay of Pigs phase of the plots during a CIA briefing on May 7, 1962.(267) Rather than the CIA volunteering this information about the existence of such plots, the meeting had come about when Attorney General Kennedy had inadvertently learned that the CIA had secretly utilized the services of former FBI Agent Robert Maheu and Chicago Mafia leader Sam Giancana a year earlier.(268) This information had surfaced during the course of a wiretap prosecution against Maheu; a prosecution the Agency had warned might "result in most damaging embarrassment to the U.S. Government."(269)

(209)  During the briefing CIA officials Sheffield Edwards and Lawrence Houston informed Kennedy about the Agency's use of the underworld in a 1960-61 plot to assassinate Castro.(270) As the CIA's own evidence and internal records of the plots has shown, as well as the Senate committee's investigation of the matter, Edwards and Houston told Attorney General Kennedy that the assassination efforts against Castro had begun during the Eisenhower administration, had climaxed at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and "had been terminated completely."(271)

(210)  Yet, as the CIA (272) and Senate evidence makes clear, and as the committee's investigation has confirmed, the CIA-organized crime plots were actually being reactivated and intensified at the very time that Agency officials were telling Attorney General Kennedy that they had been "terminated." (273) In the I.G. Report, it was noted that:


            The Attorney General was not told that the gambling syndicate (assassination) operation had already been reactivated, nor, as far as we know, was he ever told that CIA had a continuing involvement with U.S. gangster elements.(274)


(211)  While noting the accuracy and veracity of the preceding conclusion from the I.G. Report other statements in the I.G. Report that seemingly attempt to justify, excuse, or even deny the CIA's concealment of this important information about the plots from Attorney General Kennedy have been disturbing.






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(212)  Lawrence Houston, the CIA's former general counsel, testified in 1975 that Attorney General Kennedy had voiced strong anger over the CIA's use of the Mafia during his briefing by Edwards and Houston on May 7, 1962. (275) Houston, who testified that while Edwards was familiar with the plots, he (Houston) was not, stated that Kennedy had specifically ordered that he be personally notified before the Agency ever considered utilizing organized crime figures again.(276) Houston testified: "If you have ever seen Mr. Kennedy's eyes get steely and his jaw set and his voice get low and precise, you get a definite feeling of unhappiness."(227) Houston testified that Kennedy had stated, "I trust that if you ever try to do business with organized crime again-with gangsters-you will let the Attorney General know."(278) Former Office of Security Director Edwards similarly testified that Kennedy had demanded, "I want you to let me know about these things."(279)

(213)  In the 1967 I.G. Report, it was noted that Attorney General Kennedy believed that as a result of the meeting, he would be told of any such future actions contemplated by the Agency. The Inspector General concluded, "From reports of the briefing, it is reasonable to assume that Kennedy believed he had such a commitment from Agency representatives."(280)

(214)  The Inspector General's report then went on to conclude, however, that Edwards had "probably acted properly" in concealing knowledge of the reactivation and continuation of the Mafia plots from Robert F. Kennedy. The CIA report stated:


              The gambling syndicate operation had been taken from him, and, in retrospect, he probably acted properly in briefing the Attorney General on only that aspect of the operation for which he had been responsible and of which he had direct, personal knowledge.(281)


(215)  One page later in the report, the Inspector General went on to state: The Attorney General on May 7, 1962, was given a full and frank account of the Agency's relations with Maheu, Roselli, and Giancana in the Castro operation * * *."(282) These inconsistencies in the Inspector General's report, the official Agency document on the CIA-Mafia assassination conspiracies, demonstrate a lack of good faith. The statement that Edwards "probably acted properly" in concealing the continuation of the murder plots from Attorney General Kennedy is misleading and inexcusable. This statement is all the more disturbing when considering that the Inspector General's Office knew that Edwards' own assistant was then still involved in the plots, with Edwards' personal knowledge.(283) Further the I.G. Report's description of the briefing on May 7, 1962 as "full and frank" is also untruthful, in light of the reactivation and continuation of the plots under the direction of Deputy Director Richard Helms, CIA agent William Harvey, and mafia leader John Roselli. Additionally, the Inspector General also knew that Edwards had personally prepared a fraudulent internal memorandum for the files, in which he stated falsely that the assassination plot and utilization of john Roselli was being dropped.(284)(216)  The implications of the I.G. Report's conclusions about the adequacy and propriety of Sheffield Edwards and Lawrence Houston's









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May 1962 briefing of Attorney General Kennedy are serious. The Inspector General's Office was cognizant of the fact that Edwards had withheld---- and thereby concealed--- the continuation of the plots from the President's brother, Robert Kennedy, and more importantly, that this concealment of information concerning the Mafia murder plot was in direct disobedience to the Attorney General's personal direction.

(217)  The concealment of the reactivation and continuation of the CIA-Mafia assassination plot from Attorney General Kennedy-and hence, in all likelihood President Kennedy- was serious. The Inspector General's apparent endorsement and justification of such concealment in the report prepared for Director Helms in 1967 is also troublesome.

(218)  The Agency's withholding of information pertaining to the CIA-Mafia assassination attempts from the Warren Commission becomes all the more troubling when the withholding of the same matters from the Attorney General (who did ask for such information in 1962) is considered.

(219)  While the propriety of these Agency actions in 1962 and 1964 must be seriously questioned, the judgments and statements of the I.G. Report must be weighed just as seriously. As the most important embodiment of internal checks and balances within the Agency, the Inspector General's Office is intended to serve the function of conducting official internal reviews and investigations of potential wrongdoing and internal abuse. The findings and judgments of the Inspector General have long been integral to the continuing integrity and well being of the Agency's operations and activities.

                Consequently, the judgments reached by the Inspector General in 1967 regarding the propriety of Sheffield Edwards' actions in the briefing of Attorney General Kennedy about the assassination plots in May of 1962 tainted the function of the Office of the inspector General. To state in 1967 that Edwards had "probably acted properly" in withholding the important information that he did, and to characterize the May 7 briefing as "full and frank," represents a serious mistake in judgment. As former Director Richard helms described the plots themselves, it is "not * * * very savory."(285)


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