HAITI (Senate - September 28, 1994)

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Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, I am going to be giving a little longer talk on Haiti a little bit later on this afternoon, but since we are in morning business right now I thought I would take a few minutes just to discuss a couple of items that appeared in the morning press this morning about Haiti, one directly on point and one sort of halfway on point.

I see on the front page of the New York Times this morning that there is a story that Congress is going to do a complete study of the need for the CIA and reformulating the CIA. I will just read the first few paragraphs from the New York Times this morning. It says:

Having concluded that Central Intelligence Agency cannot ably chart its course in the post-cold war world, Congress is creating an independent commission to rethink the agency's role and review its continued existence in its present form.

The new commission, being formed despite active opposition by the CIA's leaders * * * will have the broadest possible mandate to propose changes in the structure, the power and the budget as well as the very existence of the CIA * * *

`The place just needs a total overhaul,' said Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican who served six years on the Senate Select Committee in the Intelligence Committee and will be the senior Republican in January.

It goes on to quote Senator Specter:

`We are spending a lot of money on the CIA and there have been doubts for years as to whether we are getting our money's worth.'

You may ask: What does that have to do with Haiti?

Well, on the inside of the New York Times there is another article that says the CIA is reportedly taking a role in Haiti.

Well, I read the article. Basically, it says that the CIA may be involved in Haiti in terms of gathering intelligence on those that may seek to assassinate or to bring harm to Aristide and his supporters.

Now, again, Mr. President, I understand the need for intelligence, and especially in Haiti. We have 15,000 troops there, and they are at risk. So far, things have gone very well in Haiti. The people of Haiti are looking upon us as liberators. We see it every day in the paper. They are overjoyed that we have come to take over this terrible yoke of repression of their military and their ruthless police force that they have had in Haiti.

There may be instances where in the future those who wish to disrupt this process will provoke violence. It may happen soon. There may be instances where our own troops are put at an even greater risk. So we do need that intelligence and I understand that. And I am fully supportive of actions taken by our Government to get that kind of intelligence to protect our forces, to protect those now in Haiti, the parliamentarians who are bravely meeting to discuss the amnesty law, to protect President Aristide once he returns to Haiti, to make sure that we have knowledge of any actions that may be taken to provoke violence, to assassinate, to disrupt the process to restore democracy to Haiti.

But I am concerned about the CIA doing it. More specifically, I am concerned about who in the CIA will be doing it.

This Senator had an occasion a little over a year ago to have many meetings with the Director of the CIA and the people in the CIA about reports that they had come up with about President Aristide--reports which were given in secret session here with Senators just about a year ago in which it was put out. And this has all been in the popular press, so I am not divulging anything that was said in that that room. In fact, I was not in that room during that meeting. I went up later on for a different meeting. But I had countless hours of meetings with the head of the CIA and the people that work under him who had been working on Haiti for some years.

Mr. President, all I can tell you is I was greatly disturbed by the misinformation and I think the total distortion of the record of President Aristide that was given out by the CIA. I will not go into it at any great length than that here, but I could point to instances, documented, where the CIA, quite frankly, was taking certain untruths and then passing them on as though they were indeed factual.

So my concern, Mr. President, is that the very CIA operatives and people who were involved before, first of all, in opposing President Aristide when he ran for office and who were actively involved perhaps in supporting another candidate for that office who did not win, and later on the operatives who were involved in picking up and moving erroneous, false information about President Aristide and then putting it out as though it was fact; that these same people will now be operate in Haiti. That concerns me greatly.

And so I am hopeful that the legitimate need for the intelligence that we have will be carried out by individuals in the CIA or in Defense Intelligence who do not have some previous ax to grind, who maybe were divorced from this operation in the past. Because I am concerned that if we just go down that same path again with these same individuals who have shown their true colors that they have some certain ideological bent, that they have close connections with other elements in the Haitian military, that we might find ourselves, first, gaining erroneous information and erroneous intelligence information or, second, getting good intelligence information and not acting on it or diverting it in some way that will not be helpful to President Aristide and his supporters in Haiti.

So, I am very concerned about this report the CIA is now taking a role in Haiti.

It is reported here in the New York Times that the officials briefing Congress told lawmakers that one of the goals was to create a political climate that would help put into effect the agreement that former President Jimmy Carter reached with Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, Haiti's military leader, on September 18.

I do not know what that means, `to create a political climate.' And I do not know that the CIA ought to be involved in creating a political climate. If this is true, then someone better put the reins on the CIA. Their job is not to create political climates. Their role is not to support one candidate over another. Their role is to collect information and intelligence and to pass it on to policymakers--that is us, that is the President--the policymakers who then act upon that intelligence. But I daresay their role is not to create a political climate.

So, Mr. President, the Congress is now reviewing the role of the CIA, with comments from both sides of the aisle as to whether or not the CIA is effective or whether we are getting our money's worth or whether it ought to be revised and restructured. We are, right in the middle of this, in a very tense situation in a country close to our borders in which we have 15,000 troops. We have a lot at stake in ensuring that we continue on this process peacefully, that we continue on the process of returning President Aristide to his rightful place as the elected President of Haiti, in returning the parliamentarians who were elected in 1990, setting up the electoral structure in Haiti so they can again have free and fair and open elections sometime before the end of this year for their Parliament next year. We have a lot at stake. And while doing all this, I daresay it causes me a great deal of concern to think the CIA, now, is `creating a political climate.' That is not their role.

I call upon the President of the United States to rein in the CIA, to make sure that those who are gathering intelligence in Haiti not be those who were charged with that before. I think they have basically established themselves as not being credible.

We need new people down there: Defense intelligence, Navy, Army, Air Force intelligence, those who have not been tainted by any of this. I am not saying everyone in the CIA is bad, do not get me wrong. There are good intelligence people in the CIA.

So I call upon the President and Director Woolsey to make sure we have a new team down there, that we have new people gathering this intelligence, and that they are not charged with creating a political climate but only charged with what they should do: That is gathering intelligence information so our policymakers can act upon that.

So, I will have more to say about Haiti later on. I just wanted to take this time during morning business to raise these very serious questions about the role of the CIA in Haiti. After all we have done, after all our military has done in Haiti--and I do not think there is any American who does not just get a great sense of pride from what our military has done in Haiti. We see the Haitian people turning over their arms to the military, treating them like liberators, the liberators they really are, and it gives us a great sense of satisfaction and pride in our military. I do not want that undermined by people in our intelligence agencies, especially in the CIA, who have some other ax to grind.

So I hope--again I just say for emphasis sake--I hope this report is not true. I hope the CIA is not involved in creating a political climate in Haiti.

I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

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Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

The Chair recognizes the Senator from Wyoming [Mr. Simpson].