CIA to act on Guatemala abuses CIA officials face sack over Guatemala abuses

RUPERT CORNWELL

Washington

John Deutch, the CIA director, was yesterday preparing to dismiss or punish up to a dozen of his "operatives" for enlisting suspect agents in Guatemala and covering up glaring evidence of human rights abuses there in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.

The threatened sanctions, among the heaviest in the CIA's history and said to be the first to punish covert operatives for offences connected to human rights, contrast with the kidglove treatment of those involved with the debacle of Aldrich Ames, the worst spy in the agency's history. In spite of massive evidence of internal CIA bungling, no one was dismissed or even demoted.

That fiasco, however, led to the appointment of Mr Deutch, a no-nonsense former deputy defense secretary, with a mandate to put the CIA's house in order. The recommendations of a special internal review board, set up to look into the agency's behaviour in Guatemala, give him his most visible opportunity so far to do so.

Facing possible dismissal are two high-ranking officers, Terry Ward, chief of covert operations for Latin America between 1990 and 1993, and Frederick Brugger, station chief in Guatemala City for much of that period. Mr Deutch was due to announce their fate to Congressional intelligence supervisory committees yesterday.

Close ties have recently come to light between the CIA and senior Guatemalan military officers - some of whom were on its payroll - responsible for killing and torturing thousands of civilians in their long and brutal campaign against a left-wing guerrilla movement in the country. These crimes, it is alleged, were ignored or covered up by CIA staff. Some officers are said to have destroyed the incriminating reports. Earlier this year, Washington was forced to cut off military aid to Guatemala's regime, following an outcry over the murder in the early 1990s of Michael DeVine, an American innkeeper, and Efrain Bamaca, a left-wing radical and guerrilla, married to an American civil rights lawyer, Jennifer Harbury. Implicated in the killings was Colonel Julio Alpirez, a Guatemalan officer who was then in the service of the CIA.

The review board was then set up, delivering the conclusions that are said to have caused "uproar" in the agency's Latin American section.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits