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THE UNITED STATES and LATIN AMERICA: The Contra Program



Two people in the know clarify for us provincials the mysteries of the Contra affair. Robert Gard writes:

"Congress passed a law precluding any US government agency with an intelligence capability from providing funding for the Contras. That obviously barred Defense (which has a Defense Intelligence Agency), State (with its Bureau of Intelligence and Research) and of course the CIA, which had funded the aid program earlier. Had Congress intended to bar all US government agencies from providing funding, why didn't it so state? The strange wording of the law appeared to invite involvement by the National Security Council, since the National Security Act that established it specified that the CIA would provide intelligence to that body rather than the NSC's having its own intelligence function".

That still does not explain how AID got into the act. Miles Seeley comments:

"I was long out of the CIA when the Contra affair happened, but mythology has supplanted facts in some operations that took place when I was on duty. None in Latin America, though, since for reasons that were probably elitist, those of us in Far Eastern or European operations thought the Western Hemisphere people were sloppy and relied too much on using money to get what they wanted. Plus, those of us in espionage and counterespionage thought of ourselves as superior beings to those in so-called Covert Operations (ie. propaganda and paramilitary).

The NSA, in my day, was not an operational arm. It did some overseeing and some evaluation of what the active operations people collected. So the idea of having a Marine Lt. Col. in charge of Contra operation always struck me as either untrue or idiotic."

My comment: It looks to me as though Rube Goldberg created the government structure. which is an indication of my age, since the young generation has never heard of him.

Ronald Hilton - 4/23/01


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