Members of Congress Call on Clinton to Release Key Information on General Pinochet to Spanish Judge

21 October 1998

It is our understanding that the United States has materials and other critical information that will help link Pinochet directly to acts of international terrorism.

TNI and the Pinochet precedent

Members of Congress Call on Clinton to Release Key Information on General Pinochet to Spanish Judge
Washington, 21 October 1998

Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The October 17 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London is a good example of how the goals you outlined in your anti-terrorism speech at the United Nations can be put into practice. Indeed, when the rule of law is applied to combat international lawlessness, humanity's agenda gains.

We are writing to urge you to reinforce your eloquent words at the recent United Nations General Assembly session by joining with the British government in fully cooperating with the precedent-setting case against Chilean General Augusto Pinochet in Spain. Specifically, we call upon you to ensure that the US government provides Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon material related to Pinochet's role in international terrorism - material and testimony that the US government has thus far withheld.

You will recall that on June 3, in response to a congressional request, you wrote to assure us that the United States would "continue to respond as fully as we can to the request for assistance from the Government of Spain" for information on the case against General Pinochet and other Chilean military officials accused of international terrorism and crimes against humanity.

It is our understanding that the United States has materials and other critical information that will help link Pinochet directly to acts of international terrorism. These materials and information were obtained during the US investigation of the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a Chilean exile, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, his American colleague. They were brutally murdered in Washington, D.C., in 1976 when a bomb exploded under their car while driving around Sheridan Circle on their way to work. The assassination was determined to be the work of the Chilean secret police. It was also alleged, but unproven at the time, that Pinochet was directly involved in the killings.

Unfortunately, we have been informed that the US Justice Department has given only public documents to the Spanish judge, and has not ordered any classified material to be delivered. In addition, the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to obtain testimony from key witnesses in the case against Pinochet and other former military leaders has not elicited key testimony from people convicted in the Letelier-Moffitt killings.

We have also learned that the Spanish judge is planning to submit an expanded Rogatory Commission requesting in detail the documents and witness testimony the US government should provide.

We urge you to direct the Justice Department and other relevant agencies to act with haste in delivering the appropriate solicited material. Your involvement now will send a clear signal that you plan to take all steps necessary to stop international terrorism and bring to justice those responsible for heinous crimes against humanity, including the killing of an American citizen on American soil.

We note that the Spanish judge's petitions are based on the European Convention on Terrorism that requires signatories to cooperate with each other's judicial processes in cases of terrorism. Certainly, the United States has a stake in becoming part of this process. In addition, the Justice Department previously determined that Spain properly requested documents from the United States based on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, signed by Spain and the United States.

We appreciate your commitment to stop international terrorism. We strongly believe, however, that without concrete actions to back up your commitment, international terrorism will continue unabated. The case against Pinochet and his allies presents a significant opportunity to work with the world community to punish those responsible for international crimes in Chile, the United States, and elsewhere. We strongly urge you to support Britain and Spain by releasing critical information to the Spanish judge as quickly as possible. We understand that some of the materials in question are of a classified nature. We believe steps can be taken to comply with Spain's request without compromising US security interests and that these steps must be taken immediately. The world is watching closely as you consider this request. Absent our firm response, terrorists will continue to believe they can act with impunity.

October 21, 1998

List of Signatures on Letter from Congress
to President Clinton Regarding Gen. Augusto Pinochet

George Miller
John Conyers
Nancy Pelosi
John Olver
Maurice D. Hinchey
Alcee L. Hastings
Cynthia A. McKinney
Howard L. Berman
Bob Filner
Anna G. Eshoo
Henry A. Waxman
Jim McDermott
George E. Brown, Jr.
Neil Abercrombie
Barbara Lee
Sam Gejdenson
Bernard Sanders
Lane Evans
John F. Tierney
Martin Olav Sabo
Rosa L. DeLauro
Lynn C. Woolsey
Carolyn B. Maloney
Barney Frank
Lloyd Doggett
Frank Pallone
Charles B. Rangel
David E. Bonior
Nita M. Lowey
Danny K. Davis
James P. McGovern
Pete Stark
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Lucille Roybal-Allard
Marcy Kaptur
Elijah E. Cummings