PRESS RELEASE Contact: Susan Peacock


Washington, D.C. October 23, 1998 -- The CIA yesterday declassified its secret Inspector General's report on controversial CIA activities in Honduras during the 1980's. The report states officially for the first time:
  • "The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned" and were linked to "death squad activities." (p. 2)

  • "Reporting inadequacies" by the CIA station in Honduras "precluded CIA Headquarters from understanding the scope of human rights abuses in Honduras." (p. 3)

  • Some CIA notifications to Congress were "inaccurate." (p. 3)
The report indicates that the CIA knew contemporaneously about the abuses which were occurring, and did not report on them as it should have even though Honduras was the linchpin of U.S. Central America policy during the Reagan administration. Despite CIA knowledge of Honduran military abuses, more than $1 billion in U.S. taxpayers money flowed to the Honduran military throughout the 1980s.

"The CIA knew there was blood on the hands of the Honduran military but covered it up, providing impunity for rights abusers and misleading the U.S. Congress and public," noted National Security Archive Research Fellow Susan Peacock. She called the release of the IG report "a step toward the disclosure which President Clinton promised vis-a-vis human rights abuses in Latin America."

Despite the Clinton Administration's commitment to Congress to release the report to the fullest extent possible, major portions -- including critical sections on CIA involvement in "torture or hostile interrogations" and "possible accountability issues" -- are blacked out.

The IG report was released yesterday to Honduran Human Rights Ombudsman Dr. Leo Valladares. The IG investigation was prompted by Valladares' 1993 declassification request, a prize-winning 1995 Baltimore Sun series, and pressure from human rights and openness groups including The National Security Archive.

Excerpts of the IG Report - titled "Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980's (96-0125-IG)," dated August 27, 1997 - together with Dr. Valladares' most recent report In Search of Hidden Truths, can be accessed on the Archive's website :

President Reagan (left center) and Vice President Bush with Honduran President Suazo Cordoba (right center) and General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez (left) in the Oval Office in 1982. (White House photo).

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