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Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 14:34:15 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: NYT Editorial: 12/8/95 1
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951209142750.28911A-100000@crl7.crl.com>

Newgroups: alt.current-events.haiti, soc.culture.haiti

The CIA and Haiti

New York Times Editorial, 8 December 1995

The performance of the Central Intelligence Agency in Haiti is a cautionary tale about what can happen when a spy organization loses sight of the clear line between providing neutral intelligence estimates and interfering with the execution of American foreign policy.

In an interview with 60 Minutes last Sunday, Emmanuel Constant, the former leader of Fraph, the paramilitary organization that terrorized Haitians in the years of the illegal junta, described his work as a paid informer for the C.I.A. Mr. Constant is now in a Maryland jail, awaiting deportation hearings, and he has a clear self-interest in invoking the agency. But whatever embellishments he may have added about his association, Government officials confirm he was paid by the agency and kept in close touch with it at atime when he was doing his best to prevent the return to Haiti of its ousted President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Mr. Constant's troubling role and other steps the C.I.A. took on Haiti two years ago leave the disturbing impression that the agency, whether deliberately or carelessly, undermined Clinton Administration plans to get Mr. Aristide back in office. The agency denies this. But looking back on the confused fall of 1993, it is abundantly clear that the C.I.A.. did not play a constructive role in Haiti policy.

After Mr. Aristide was ejected by a military coup in 1991, American policy makers flip-flopped for three years.. Some saw him as a dangerous demagogue, while others thought he represented Haiti's best hope for democracy. When it became obvious that the military junta would not step down, as it had agreed to in July 1993, pressure increased to use force to return Mr. Aristide.

It was at that crucial time, in the fall of 1993, that the Clinton Administration's intention to return Mr. Aristide to Haiti was temporarily undone by a number of developments. In October, Mr. Constant helped to organize an anti-American demonstration as an American Navy ship prepared to dock at Port-au-Prince to land American and Canadian troops to help rebuild Haiti. Fearing violence, Washington ordered the vessel to turn back.

Later that month, at the invitation of Senator Jesse Helms, who was a leading Aristide critic, the C.I.A. sent one of its top Haiti experts to brief members of the Senate. In an assessment that echoed a secret 1991 agency report on Mr. Aristide, the analyst described him as unstable, leading Mr. Helms to tell the Senate that the C.I.A. considered Mr. Aristide a psychopath. Administration officials later said the agency's conclusion was not supported by the evidence.

The agency denies it had its own policy agenda at the time or that it was trying to subvert Administration policy. But the whole episode should lead to some searching questions as the C.I.A. struggles to refashion itself. The C.I.A. has no obligation to produce intelligence reports that hew to Administration views, but it is obliged not to obstruct the execution of American foreign policy.