Recently disclosed US State Department and CIA records cast a new light on the Letelier assassination, revealing that the US had extensive awareness of a secret assassination operation and suggesting that US officials called off actions that might have stopped it.
In May of 1978, the CIA’s National Foreign Assessment Center issued this comprehensive analysis of the Pinochet regime’s responses to being identified as responsible for the September 1976 car bomb assassination of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt in Washington DC.
While recently declassified documents are conspicuously lacking in information about the US role in helping Pinochet take and consolidate power, they are rich in detail about the inner workings of his bloody regime.
A document bearing the signature of an imprisoned Chilean military officer appears for the first time to directly implicate Chile's former president, Gen. Augusto Pinochet, in the 1976 ntelligence operation that resulted in the car bomb assassination in Washington of exile leader Orlando Letelier.
CIA Director George Tenet is refusing to declassify hundreds of records on CIA covert intervention to destabilize the democratically elected government of Allende and support the violent consolidation of the Pinochet dictatorship.
Treading into a political and diplomatic confrontation it tried to avoid, the US has decided to declassify some secret government documents on the killing and torture conducted by the former Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet.
The prosecution of Pinochet, whose name became a virtual synonym for state-sponsored terror during his seventeen-year regime, has become a historic turning point for international and national efforts to hold him and other tyrants accountable.