The CIA's Murder Manual
United Press International
U.S. Orders Probe of CIA Terror Manual
Casey spared top officials of discipline for Contra manual
Outside site: CIA Support of Death Squads
The CIA's Murder Manual
The Washington Post
October 21, 1984, Sunday, Final Edition
Outlook; Editorial; C6
THE CIA manual advising Nicaraguan guerrillas how to kidnap, assassinate, blackmail and dupe civilians is an appalling production, and its disclosure has produced a first-class storm. The Democratic ticket has seized on the manual as evidence of the darkest and least defensible tendencies of the Reagan administration's foreign policy; no doubt Walter Mondale will bring it up in his debate with President Reagan tonight. Mr. Reagan himself is desperately trying to flee responsibility for the document. He is doing just about everything, Sen. Daniel Moynihan suggests, except to blame it on Jimmy Carter.
The damage, however, has been done -- several sorts of damage. To the extent (unclear) to which the manual's advice was applied, people have died and a whole style of terror and counter-civilian violence and deception has been condoned. The democratic elements of the Nicaraguan insurgency will now be widely represented -- misrepresented, we believe -- as people who need and use terror to make their way. In this regard, the disclosure cannot fail to lengthen the already very long odds against revival of CIA funding for the contras when the current suspension of funds ends next March.
The Reagan CIA's earlier inspiration in Nicaragua, to mine the harbors, had brought the United States worldwide embarrassment. This incident aggravates those diplomatic costs. Further, it is taking the CIA back to the atmosphere of scandal that drenched it in the mid-1970s -- this in an administration quick to boast that it has restored the morale as well as the effectiveness of American intelligence.
The premise of covert action is that it can be properly conducted and effectively overseen. But in this case the CIA surrendered its professional judgment to a lame-brained idea launched on the political side of the government, and an uninformed Congress lagged months behind the deed. The manual tramples upon legislation specifically outlawing assassination as a tool of American policy. It mocks the American government's campaign against state-sponsored terrorism. It flouts the statutory requirement for the CIA to "report (to Congress) in a timely fashion . . . any illegal intelligence activity."
The president has ordered an investigation. This is not a terribly complex affair, so the investigation should take, perhaps, an hour and a half. The measure of Mr. Reagan's seriousness will be whether the findings are reported before Nov. 6.
United Press International
November 1, 1984, Thursday
A House Intelligence Committee member accused the CIA Thursday of breaking the law with a manual instructing Nicaraguan rebels on what critics say amounts to political assassination.
Rep. Norman Minetta, D-Calif., in a statement from his Washington office, said he plans to ask the panel to hand over any evidence of CIA wrongdoing to the Justice Department ''so that individuals who broke the law can be prosecuted.''
Minetta also said the CIA has refused to let the committee question the report's author, an individual known as Kirkpatrick and said to be a CIA contract employee.
''We know who he is, and the CIA knows where he is, and they just refuse to let us talk to him,'' said Minetta.
The agency's inspector general's office, ordered to investigate the matter by President Reagan, has completed its inquiry, a presidential aide said Thursday.
The report, however, must be examined by an intelligence oversight board before it is passed on to Reagan before CIA Director William Casey will be available to either the House panel or its Senate counterpart, sources said.
That, coupled with the reluctance of the Republican-controlled Senate committee's reluctance to deal with the issue immediately, likely will put any final disposition off until well after the elections.
President Reagan has pledged to fire those responsible for distribution of copies of the 1983 booklet for ''Contras'' fighting Managua's Sandinista government containing a portion on how to ''neutralize'' public officials.
Minetta said he believes the CIA has broken the law by producing a manual with instructions on overthrowing the Nicaraguan government ''at a time when it clearly is against the law for any U.S. agency to participate in attempts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.'' He also said the CIA broke the law by failing to report the manual to the congressional intelligence committees.
Recent news reports, based largely on interviews with Contra leaders, have indicated the manual was produced by the CIA to limit atrocities committed by the guerrillas. Minetta said if that is accurate, the CIA did not tell the committees of violent acts by the rebels ''and all they did was professionalize the terror.''
The manual, which surfaced in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign, is titled ''Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare.'' It largely discusses non-violent ways for rebels to win support from civilians they encounter.
However, a section on the ''selective use of violence for propagandistic effects'' says: ''It is possible to neutralize carefully selected and planned targets'' such as local officials.
The booklet does not define ''neutralize,'' nor does it use the word assassinate.
The pamphlet also suggests hiring professional criminals for various tasks, including demonstrations at which civilians are killed by government forces ''in order to create a 'martyr' for the cause.''
Disclosure of the booklet has caused a furor in Congress, with several Democrats calling for Casey's resignation. Others have asked for a probe by the General Accounting Office to see if federal funds were illegally spent producing the material. And there has been a request to the Justice Department to use the Ethics in Government Act to appoint a special counsel to look into the matter.
U.S. Orders Probe of CIA Terror Manual
Facts on File World News Digest
October 19, 1984
Pg. 764 A2
President Reagan Oct. 18 asked the director of the Central Intelligence Agency to investigate a manual issued by the agency that instructed Nicaraguan contras in techniques of political assassination and guerrilla warfare.
The Associated Press had gained a copy of the manual, called "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War." An AP dispatch disclosing its existence was widely published in the U.S. press Oct. 15.
The authenticity of the manual was reported to have been confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources. According to the sources, the manual was distributed to the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), a contra group based in Honduras. FDN leader Adolfo Calero Portocarrero had denied that the manual came from the CIA. In comments reported Oct. 15, he said the primer contained "some things we would not accept and we do not practice." He said, "It talks about terror, which is something we haven't done."
The focus of the manual was on political propaganda. It described how to build a guerrilla force and train guerrillas "in psychological operations and their application in the concrete case of the Christian and democratic crusade in which the freedom commandos [contras] are engaged in Nicaragua."
However, the manual also endorsed the "selective use of violence" and gave instructions on how to blow up public buildings and blackmail ordinary citizens.
The manual did not use the words "assassinate" or "kill," but it did refer to "neutralizing" specific targets.
An executive order signed by President Reagan in 1981 prohibited U.S. government employees from engaging in or conspiring to engage in assassination. It stipulated that intelligence agencies could not "participate in or request any person to undertake activities forbidden by this order." [See 1981, p. 751D3]
Among the suggestions included in the manual were the following:
* "Selected targets" such as judges, police and state security officials could be "neutralized." The manual said, "For psychological purposes . . . it is absolutely necessary to gather together the population affected, so that they will be present, take part in the act, and formulate accusations against the oppressor." Rebels should explain to the people why targeted individuals should be "replaced"; it cited reasons such as the "unjust, indiscriminate" nature of the Sandinista regime.
* Guerrillas should infiltrate "workers' unions, student groups, peasant organizations, etc., preconditioning these groups for behavior within the masses, where they will have to carry out proselitism for the insurrectional struggle in a clandestine manner." A "psychological war team" would "prepare in advance a hostile mental attitude among the target groups, so that at the decisive moment they can turn their furor into violence." The manual cautioned that the propaganda teams initially "should not mention their political ideology."
* After a rebel uprising had occurred, "if possible, professional criminals should be hired to carry out specific, selective 'jobs.' "
* Guerrillas should arrange for the deaths of sympathizers to create "martyrs" for their cause. They were advised to lead "demonstrators into clashes with the authorities, to provoke riots or shootings, which lead to the killing of one or more persons, who will be seen as the martyrs; this situation should be taken advantage of immediately against the government to create even bigger conflicts."
* Individuals should be drawn into meetings with rebel leaders, who would not disclose their identities. If the individuals failed to cooperate, the guerrillas should threaten to expose them to the police.
* If it "becomes necessary" to shoot a fleeing citizen in a town occupied by guerrillas, the guerrillas should explain that the citizen was "an enemy of the people" who would have "alerted" the Sandinistas, who would then have carried out "acts of reprisals, such as rapes, pillage, destruction, captures, etc."
House Intelligence Panel Probe Set -- Disclosures about the CIA manual brought an angry response from Democrats in Congress. Rep. Edward P. Boland (D, Mass.), chairman of the House Select Intelligence Committee, announced Oct. 17 that the panel was already conducting an investigation, initiated after it received a copy of the manual Oct.1
Boland proclaimed that he was "appalled by the image of the United States that the primer portrays" and charged that the manual "embraces the communist revolutionary tactics the United States is pledged to defeat." Boland contended that the manual, like the mining of Nicaraguan harbors by CIA-trained rebels revealed earlier in the year, was "a disaster for American foreign policy." [See p. 317G2]
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D, Mass.) argued that "aiding and abetting a strategy of political assassination is unacceptable in American foreign policy." Other lawmakers asserted that the manual violated the rules governing the CIA.
House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. Oct. 18 called for the resignation of William Casey, the director of the CIA, and said the General Accounting Office had been asked to investigate.
President Reagan Oct. 18 ordered Casey to initiate an investigation by the CIA's inspector general. In a statement issued by White House spokesman Larry Speakes, the President asked for an inquiry into "the possibility of improper conduct on the part of employees of the CIA." He also ordered a probe by the Intelligence Oversight Board.
Speakes said "the tactics contained in the manual would never have been condoned by the President or the national security community."
Administration officials were reported to have stated privately that the manual had been written by an "overzealous" independent low-level employee under contract to the CIA.
The manual had not been cleared for publication, the sources said, and was "clearly against the law" as outlined in the 1981 directive.
The administration was also reported to be investigating another CIA publication, a comic book instructing Nicaraguan citizens opposed to the Sandinista government in sabotage techniques. Among the suggestions were: "Stop up toilets" with sponges; "telephone to make false hotel reservations"; "hoard and steal food from the government," and "cut and perforate the upholstery of vehicles." The aim of the sabotage techniques was to "paralyze the military-industrial complex of the traitorous Marxist state."
Casey spared top officials of discipline for Contra manual
United Press International
February 8, 1987, Sunday
CIA director William Casey chose not to discipline two senior agency officials whom he had been told authorized a 1984 manual urging Contra rebels to assassinate Nicaraguan community leaders, according to Rep. Norman Mineta, D-Calif.
One of the two CIA officials has since been linked to the secret shipment of arms to Iran.
The disclosure of the CIA's publication of the Contra manual caused a stir during the 1984 presidential race, leading President Reagan to promise that action would be taken against all agency officials involved in its preparation.
Casey, who resigned last week after he underwent surgery Dec. 18 for a brain tumor, did discipline five mid-level CIA officials for their roles in preparing the manual -- imposing sanctions ranging from written reprimands to suspension without pay.
But he elected to take no action against two senior officials, Duane Clarridge and Ray Doty, though he had evidence that they were responsible for planning and approving the manual, said Mineta. The congressman served on the House intelligence committee when the matter arose in late 1984.
Casey told the intelligence panel during a closed session that he felt Clarridge and Doty should not be punished for what he described as a minor infraction after their many years of service to the agency, Mineta said in a recent interview.
Details of Mineta's account were supported in interviews by an administration official and a second congressional source, who both requested anonymity.
Clarridge, in testimony to the committee two years ago, said he had acknowledged to the CIA inspector general's office that he was ''fully responsible'' for the manual as chief of covert operations for Central America, Mineta said.
But Casey asked the inspector general, who was investigating which CIA employees were responsible for preparing the manual, not to name Clarridge in his classified November 1984 report, Mineta said.
''Casey made sure Clarridge was protected and that his name was not in the report,'' Mineta said. ''Casey was his angel -- they were very, very close.''
Casey also decided to disregard the recommendation of the inspector general's report that Doty, paramilitary chief for Latin America, be disciplined, Mineta said.
The 90-page manual, ''Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War,'' written in Spanish, advised Nicaraguan rebels to kidnap and ''neutralize selected (Nicaraguan) government officials,'' a phrase understood by Contra leaders to mean assassination.
The manual also called on rebels to blackmail Nicaraguan citizens into joining the Contras, to hire criminals to carry out ''selective jobs,'' and to arrange the deaths of rebel supporters so they would become ''martyrs.''
Neither Clarridge nor Doty could be reached for comment.
Casey, who is recovering at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, defended the manual in a 1984 letter to members of Congress. He said its purpose was to make the rebels ''persuasive in face to face communication'' and that its stress was ''on education, avoiding combat when necessary.''
CIA spokeswoman Sharon Foster said the agency does not comment on internal affairs or questions about the manual.
During an October 1984 presidential campaign debate with Democratic candidate Walter Mondale, Reagan said that ''whoever is guilty (of preparing the manual), we will deal with that situation and they will be removed.''
The next month a White House spokesman, without mentioning Doty or Clarridge, said Reagan had approved the inspector general's report recommending discipline of several mid-level officials.
Clarridge's role in a 1985 arms shipment to Iran now is being investigated by congressional committees looking into the Iran-Contra affair.
Clarridge, who was transferred to Europe after the manual controversy to take charge of covert operations there, helped Lt. Col. Oliver North of the National Security Council ship U.S. weapons to Iran in November 1985, the recently released Senate intelligence committee report said.
Casey's punishment of mid-level officials on the manual became public in late 1984 when several protested their punishments by refusing to sign disciplinary notes intended for their personnel files.
But few other aspects about the inner workings of the CIA in the aftermath of the manual controversy have been made public until now.
Mineta recalled Casey testifying to the intelligence committee in late 1984 that Clarridge and Doty ''had been serving the community in a good way for all these years.''
''There's no reason to discipline them for one little slipup,'' he quoted Casey as saying.
A report by the committee staff recommended that the panel urge the disciplining of Clarridge and Doty, but the divided members voted not to do so, a congressional source said.
Mineta said some committee members were ''incensed'' when they found out Clarridge was not going to be disciplined.
Clarridge initially denied to the panel that he had played any part in preparing the manual but finally acknowledged planning and approving it ''once he saw we had all the goods on him,'' Mineta said.