ACCESSION NUMBER:233787 FILE ID:EP-406 DATE:07/02/92 TITLE:SENATE POW/MIA COMMITTEE VOTES UNANIMOUSLY TO DECLASSIFY PAPERS (07/02/92) TEXT:*92070206.EPF *EPF406 07/02/92 * SENATE POW/MIA COMMITTEE VOTES UNANIMOUSLY TO DECLASSIFY PAPERS (Article on Senate Select Committee meeting of July 2) (690) By Jane A. Morse USIA Staff Writer Washington -- The Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs unanimously passed a resolution July 2 that asks the president to declassify and publicly release all documents pertaining to POWs and MIAs. The resolution calls for the president to "expeditiously issue an Executive Order requiring all Executive branch departments and agencies to declassify and publicly release, without compromising U.S. national security, all documents, files and other materials pertaining to POWs and MIAs." Declassification would begin with documents currently within the Committee's possession, but would also include documents in the possession of a long-list of government agencies. Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (Democrat of Massachusetts) explained that "The Executive Order we seek would lead to the rapid -- and by that we mean weeks, not months -- declassification of materials currently within the possession of the Committee and of the Kissinger and Nixon papers.... "We take this action because more than two decades of excessive secrecy has seriously harmed efforts to resolve questions about our missing servicemen and contributed greatly to public confusion and mistrust," Kerry added. "Our interest is not limited to Department of Defense or Defense Intelligence Agency documents or to the traditional 'POW-MIA case files,'" Kerry said. "They tell only a part of the story. We are requesting documents wherever they exist within the Executive branch, including documents from this president and previous presidents." The current list of documents the Committee requests be declassified includes: the papers of Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush, and of former NSC Advisor and later Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; live sighting and hearsay reports; casualty files; DIA historical files; current DIA POW/MIA policy files; last known alive/in captivity files; DIA intelligence files; files of former Defense Secretaries Clements, Weinberger, and Carlucci; files of former Deputy Defense Secretary Clements and Assistant Defense Secretary Armitage; National Security Agency product reports; service intelligence files; Joint Chiefs of Staff documents; Central Intelligence Agency documents; all related imagery collected by National Technical Means; National Security Council documents; related State Department telegrams, and the files of Frank Sieverts, formerly the special assistant for POW/MIA matters to the secretary of state during the 1973 Operation Homecoming. Kerry said the Commitee would request declassification and public release of other relevant documents as they come to the Committee's attention. In their letter to the president, which was hand delivered July 2, the Committee asks that already-redacted documents now in the possession of the Committee be declassified and released in time for the Committee's hearings which are tentatively set for August 4-5. Additionally, the Committee requests the Nixon and Kissinger papers be declassified no later than 1ugust 13. The Committee also unanimously approved the Robb-Grassley Motion, which calls for the Committee Chairman "immediately upon the reconvening of the Senate after the July recess to call a meeting of the Committee on July 23 to evaluate progress and consider initiating alternative formal declassification means, if necessary." "Our Committee is scheduled to expire at the end of this year," Vice Chairman Bob Smith pointed out. "Because we are sunsetted, every week, and indeed every day, is precious, and we must keep this in mind." Senator John McCain (Republican of Arizona), who himself was a POW in Hanoi for eight years (1965-1973), devoted a large portion of his remarks to defending Senator Kerry against allegations that Kerry destroyed some documents that were part of the committee's deliberations. McCain also decried those "deranged" individuals who "have convinced themselves that there is a massive conspiracy to prevent the return of our POWs. "We do not have a shred of evidence of a conspiracy," McCain said. Such allegations, he said, "libel hundreds, if not thousands of uniformed members of our armed services, whose complicity would be necessary to effect this." Senator McCain's father, Admiral John McCain, Sr. was CINCPAC in Honolulu at the time then-Navy Lieutenant Commander McCain was shot down over North Vietnam and taken prisoner in 1965. NNNN .