FILE ID:95033001.PPO




(To study possible complicity by U.S. agencies) (440)

By Alexander M. Sullivan

USIA White House Correspondent

Washington -- President Clinton March 30 ordered a broad investigation

of possible complicity by U.S. agencies in the deaths of Americans in


The spreading tale of possible abuses by the Central Intelligence

Agency (CIA), the U.S. Army and other American agencies was fueled by

a new charge lodged by a Defense Department consultant -- that his

free-lance journalist brother and another American were killed by the

Guatemalan military in 1985. Samuel Blake said in a New York Times

article that State Department and CIA officials helped Guatemala cover

up facts about the deaths of Nick Blake and photographer Griffin


Clinton ordered the Intelligence Oversight Board to look into their

deaths and the murders of Michael Devine and Efrain Bamaca Valesquez,

as well as the torture of a nun, Sister Dianna Ortiz, in 1989. White

House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton had ordered the board

to review "any and all aspects" of all five cases.

McCurry said Clinton "is concerned about recent allegations

surrounding these incidents and is committed to determining all

related facts." Upon completion of the review, he said, the president

"intends to take any and all appropriate action." He will also,

McCurry said, make public "as much information about the review as


Investigations of the Devine and Bamaca deaths were already underway

by the Defense Department, the State Department, the CIA, the Justice

Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the

National Security Agency (NSA). The Senate Intelligence Committee has

scheduled a public hearing on the matter April 5.

The activities of American agencies in Guatemala came to renewed

public attention last week when Representative Robert Torricelli wrote

Clinton asserting that Bamaca's widow, Jennifer Harbury, had been

misled by U.S. officials who withheld knowledge of her husband's

death. Torricelli later said documents pertaining to the deaths of

Bamaca and Devine were being shredded by the NSA and the Army.

Torricelli is a member of the House Committee on Intelligence.

McCurry told reporters in Tallahassee, Florida, where Clinton is

traveling, that the president had ordered steps taken to prevent

further shredding of documents. The FBI is looking into the

possibility such records may have been destroyed, Deputy Attorney

General Jamie Gorelick said in Washington.

Questioned about a news report stating U.S. funds continued to flow

clandestinely to the Guatemalan military after the Bush administration

had publicly cut off financial assistance, McCurry said, "I don't have

any information I can share on that."