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Wednesday, March 12, 1997

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  • CIA Hearings on Anthony Lake

    Today, we’re broadcasting from the Hart Senate Office building —-
    Hearing Room 216 to be precise -— where nominee Anthony Lake is
    expected to face more sharp questioning from some Republican
    opponents on the committee, notably Chairman Richard Shelby, a
    Republican from Alabama.

    These hearings come at a crucial time for the country’s
    intelligence agencies and for the Clinton administration. The
    estimated $30 billion intelligence budget is already $10 billion
    higher than all other U.S. foreign relations programs combined, and
    spies outnumber diplomats in some US embassies. And as director of
    Central Intelligence, Lake would be in charge of the entire
    intelligence establishment, including the CIA, and the National
    Security Agency which, in fact, is larger than the CIA.

    Despite the huge financial support for intelligence programs in
    Congress, the intelligence establishment faces deep problems. The
    CIA has been rocked by spy scandals — notably the case of Aldrich
    Ames who was convicted of selling secrets to the Soviet Union and
    Russia — as well as by questions about the relevance of a huge
    intelligence bureaucracy in the post-Cold War period.

    Just as important, the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency have
    been stung by repeated revelations of their role in organizing and
    supporting narcotics trafficking, anti-democratic and repressive
    military regimes, and death squads in Guatemala and Haiti.

    But Richard Shelby, the Alabama Republican who leads the
    Intelligence Committee, and his Senate counterparts will probably
    not raise the issue of CIA human rights abuses. Instead, Shelby is
    expected to focus on Lake’s alleged ethics violations, including
    Lake’s failure to sell his personal stock holdings in Exxon, Mobil
    and other energy companies despite White House officials telling
    him to. The Committee is also expected in the days ahead to examine
    some of the major areas of the Clinton foreign policy that were
    under Lake’s control as National Security Advisor the past four
    years. These include what Lake knew about Chinese missile sales to
    Pakistan; his failure to tell Congress about President Clinton’s
    tacit approval of Iran’s arms shipments to Bosnia’s Muslims in
    1994, and whether Lake played down alleged political murders in
    Haiti under the government the White House helped install in 1994.

    Lake also is coming under fire over his role in the campaign
    finance scandals now rocking the White House. Chair Richard Shelby
    brought up the issue yesterday of Lake’s knowledge of an FBI
    briefing to his senior staffers about an alleged Chinese government
    plan to influence Congressional races by funneling money to

    TAPE: RICHARD SHELBY, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence

    CO-HOST: LOU WOLF, the editor of Covert Action Quarterly.