National Security Archive: THE PINOCHET FILE: U.S. DECLASSIFIES MISSING DOCUMENTS IN THE LETELIER-MOFFITT CASE

8 October 2015 — National Security Archive

THE PINOCHET FILE: U.S. DECLASSIFIES MISSING DOCUMENTS IN THE LETELIER-MOFFITT CASE FINALLY THE VERDICT OF HISTORY ON PINOCHET’S ROLE IN TERRORIST ACT

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 532

Edited by Peter Kornbluh

For more information, contact: Peter Kornbluh: 202.994.7116 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu.

Washington D.C., October 8, 2015— Chile’s intelligence service assassinated exiled critic Orlando Letelier with a car bomb in 1976 on “direct orders” from Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, according to newly declassified documents personally delivered this week by Secretary of State John Kerry to Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.

The 282 documents posted online today by the State Department total over 1,000 pages; they include a 1987 cable drafted by the State Department’s intelligence bureau summarizing a series of informants’ reports from years earlier in 1978, including the assertion by the head of Chile’s intelligence agency, Manuel Contreras, that “he authorized the assassination of Letelier on orders from Pinochet,” on “direct orders from Pinochet.” Among the dozens of records released today were multiple witness interview transcripts by FBI agents working with Chilean detectives during a unique investigation undertaken in 1999/2000 by the Clinton Justice Department into General Pinochet’s personal role in ordering and covering up an act of international terrorism in Washington D.C. on September 21, 1976.

On that day, agents of the Chilean secret police detonated a bomb under the car of former Chilean foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, killing him and his colleague, Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Her husband, Michael Moffitt, was the sole survivor of the terrorist attack. Until 9/11,the car-bombing was the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed in the U.S. capital.

Archive senior analyst Peter Kornbluh, author of The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier of Atrocity and Accountability (New York: New Press, 2003, 2013), described today‘s release as “a triumph for declassified diplomacy.” Kornbluh’s essay posted today on the National Security Archive web site, http://www.nsarchive.org, explains the background of the Letelier case documents, and the lengthy behind-the-scenes effort to obtain their declassifcation and release.

The Archive also posted the January 22, 1987,cable summarizing intelligence on Pinochet and DINA’s role in the assassination which quotes Contreras as telling a confidant “he authorized the assassination of Letelier on orders from Pinochet.” Contreras is also quoted as telling Chilean military investigators that “all foreign operations had been approved by Pinochet and that [Contreras] had left sealed documents in several places in the event of his, Contreras’ death.”

Check out today‘s posting at the National Security Archive – http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB532-The-Letelier-Moffitt-Assassination-Papers/

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________________________________________________________ THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.