Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, most Americans are understandably outraged by reports that Aldrich Ames--a former high-ranking CIA official--sold vital national security information to Russia and the former Soviet Union. Such treasonous activities may very well have cost the lives of many courageous people who helped the United States in the struggle to win the cold war.
We may never know the full extent of the damage to U.S. national security interests Aldrich Ames may have caused. But we can safely assume that one of the vital interests harmed by the Ames espionage is the U.S. ability to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.
Bear in mind: Not only did Ames have access to the most sensitive CIA information concerning Russia and the former Soviet Union--he also had access to some of the most sensitive information concerning the war on drugs. At the time of his arrest, Ames was a top official in the CIA's office of narcotics intelligence.
The possibility that Ames passed sensitive information to the KGB concerning the war on drugs prompted the Wall Street Journal to publish on March 10 an interesting article headed, `The KGB and America's War on Drugs.' The article stated what many of us have contended for years--that the KGB used moles like Aldrich Ames to sabotage the U.S. battle against the international narcotics trade.
It will surprise no one that the KGB sought to undermine the U.S. war on drugs. The KGB was institutionally dedicated to the destruction of the United States of America; therefore, the KGB's involvement in narcotics trafficking makes perfectly good sense. Drugs have been an increasingly destructive force in our society for decades, poisoning our youth and fanning the flames of violence in our cities.
Yet, for some reason, Mr. President, the State Department has been less than aggressive in addressing the role that the KGB--and Soviet allies such as Cuba--have played in the tidal wave of illegal narcotics pouring into the United States.
This, I submit, has been a bipartisan folly. As long ago as January 1987, I pleaded with the administration to investigate this matter. Two years later--on July 26, 1989--the Foreign Relations Committee held hearings on Cuba's involvement in narcotics trafficking. To my knowledge, however, a serious investigation was never undertaken despite the pleadings by me and others.
The pattern of ignoring clear evidence that the KGB and Cuba were linked to illegal drugs is reminiscent of the way the bureaucrats stonewalled congressional investigations into
Manuel Noriega's activities. Only after pressure from Congress and an indictment by a Miami prosecutor did the State Department address the serious allegations against Manuel Antonio Noriega. Sadly, the bureaucrats have been not one bit more interested in probing the KGB and the Cuban connection with narcotics trafficking. The Wall Street Journal sensibly put it this way: `Rumors in the 1980s about KGB or Cuban involvement in the drug trade were routinely pooh-poohed by State Department and CIA types.'
Well, Mr. President, the bureaucrats were forced to face the facts about Manuel Noriega, but I see no evidence that they learned anything regarding KGB and Cuban involvement in drug trafficking.
I confess that I do not know the extent of the KGB's involvement in narcotics trafficking under Boris Yeltsin. I like President Yeltsin; I've met with him every time he has visited Washington. But, the fact remains, as the Aldrich Ames case shows, that Boris Yeltsin has not stopped the KGB from spending untold millions to spy on the United States. This may or may not be entirely his fault. I'm not sure anyone knows how much control President Yeltsin has over the KGB.
But the question begs to be asked, Mr. President: Where is Russia now getting the money to finance its KGB operations--which are as vigorous as ever? The Soviet Union financed some KGB operations with hard currency earned from narcotics trafficking in years past. Russia--with its devastated economy--seems more likely than the Soviets to rely upon narcotics trafficking to pay some intelligence bills. It is certainly to be hoped that the Russians are not siphoning off U.S. foreign aid to pay its KGB bills.
It is well known that the KGB and Cuba did work hand in glove with Colombian drug traffickers, and Fidel Castro and the Soviets got quite a return on their `investments.' They helped poison America's youth while raking in millions in profits--some of which, without doubt--went to finance intelligence operations aimed at the United States and our allies.
The established fact that Aldrich Ames was on the KGB's payroll while a top official in the CIA's narcotics intelligence unit--combined with the fact that the KGB has a history of involvement with international narcotics trafficking--underscores the conclusion that there is a serious need to look into the KGB's connection with narcotics trafficking.
But incredibly, Mr. President, the United States Government actually shares narcotics intelligence with Russian allies involved in the drug trade--and, yes, that includes Cuba. The U.S. State Department's `International Narcotics Control Strategy Report' for fiscal year 1993 confirms that the United States Government exchanged law enforcement information with the Cubans. That report does grudgingly admit that Cuba plays a role in the illicit drug trade. And the fiscal year 1994 report--just delivered to Congress--gives a glowing account of Cuba's efforts to combat the drug trade, but admitting that there is little evidence to support or
refute Cuba's claim that it neither produces nor consumes illicit drugs.
Mr. President, let us not forget that Cuba is the country that Presidential candidate Clinton called an `island of tyranny.' He described Fidel Castro as one of the world's `most ruthless dictators.' The State Department routinely certifies Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism; and it is no secret that Castro has been profiting from the drug trade for decades.
Notwithstanding the tough campaign rhetoric, the Clinton administration has turned a blind eye to Cuba's continued links with narcotics trafficking. At a November 4, 1993 Foreign Relations Committee hearing, I asked Secretary Christopher whether the United States shares intelligence or law enforcement information with Cuba, and the Secretary said `we do share [drug] enforcement information with the Cubans * * *. Cuba occupies a strategic location astride drug routes into the United States.' He went on to say that `such exchanges are clearly in the national interests of the United States.'
That may be, Mr. President, but the Secretary of State needs to ponder the serious allegations that Fidel Castro has been involved in narcotics trafficking for more than 20 years, charges which must be taken just as seriously as those against Manuel Noriega. It is inexcusable for the administration to ignore allegations against Castro just as past administrations ignored allegations against Noriega.
President Clinton did Fidel Castro a favor by not including Cuba in the list of major illicit narcotics producing and transit countries submitted to Congress on April 1 of this year. The President identified 26 countries as being major narcotics-producing and transit countries. Western Hemisphere nations on that list include: Brazil, the Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama, and Peru.
Mr. President, this is deja vu all over again. The Secretary of State told Congress with a straight face that sharing intelligence with Manual Noriega is in the U.S. national interests. Exchanging narcotics trafficking intelligence with Fidel Castro makes no more sense than sharing intelligence with Noriega. The administration might as well share drug enforcement information with the Colombian drug cartels.
The simple truth is that all of this is not in the best interest of the United States. More likely, Castro uses U.S. intelligence to tip off his business partners and to knock off his competitors. If Castro were serious about the international drug problem--and of course he is not--he is serious about raking in the countless millions in blood money.
If Fidel Castro really wants to be helpful, the first thing he could do would be to hand over to U.S. authorities all of those Cubans who have been indicted for narcotics trafficking. He could shout down the air corridors over Cuba that continue to be used extensively by drug
smugglers. He could order the Cuban Navy to seize boats trafficking drugs through Cuban waters. He could crack down on his closest advisors--including his brother--who are profiting from drug trafficking.
But, Mr. President, don't hold your breath until Castro does any of the above. He and his cronies are into the drug trade up to their ears, and the administration knows it. Even the Washington Post reported in February that files and a videotape belonging to slain drug lord Pablo Escobar implicated Raul Castro in narcotics trafficking--Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, and his Minister of Defense. There was plenty of evidence prior to this discovery to indict Raul Castro, but he has yet to be indicted.
Castro's Chief of Staff of the Cuban Navy, Admiral Aldo Santa-Maria has been indicted in the United States. The Cuban Ambassador to Nicaragua has also been indicted. By the way, this criminal also stole a house in Nicaragua from an American citizen with the Sandinista's blessings. Many other top Cuban officials have been indicted in the United States for drug trafficking in the past 10 or 15 years.
And yet, Mr. President, some at the Organization of American States want to welcome Cuba into the club. I cannot imagine that the President will agree to allow this. Cuba was kicked out for good reason, and no thought should be given to allowing Cuba back into the OAS before Cuba is rid of Fidel Castro. Castro and his gang should know that the United States Ambassador to the OAS, Harriet Babbitt, told the Foreign Relations Committee that the United States `strongly opposes Cuba's reinstatement into the OAS.'
Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid that the United States is giving Russia, Russia is still spying on us, and still aiding Fidel Castro. On April 1, Secretary Christopher certified that Russia was not giving assistance to Cuba, as required by the Cuban Democracy Act. The Secretary's justification for the certification said that Russia did not make available to Cuba concessional credit. But then the Secretary contradicted himself in the same report by saying that Russia made available to Cuba $380 million in low interest rate loans in 1993.
Russia refuses to rein in her Cuban ally, Mr. President. Russia stands by Fidel Castro, and the reason is simple: Cuba is an important intelligence asset to Russia. The KGB continues to operate an important intelligence listening post in Cuba which allows it to eavesdrop on much of the eastern seaboard of the United States. It wouldn't be surprising if this listening post is funded, at least in part, by drug money. Perhaps Aldrich Ames can shed some light on all of this.
Sharing any kind of intelligence with Fidel Castro is absurd on its face. Castro must be laughing at the State Department all the way to the bank.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that an article from the March 10, 1994, Wall Street Journal be printed in the Record at this point.
There being no objection, the article was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
In all the fuss following the arrest of top CIA agent and alleged Moscow mole Aldrich Ames, some key questions have gone unasked. Media attention has focused on Mr. Ames's activities as CIA head of Soviet counterintelligence, where he allegedly betrayed to their deaths some 10 Soviets working for America. But what Mr. Ames was doing after he left this post has been largely ignored.
Aldrich Ames was a key figure in the new American effort to thwart the inflow of narcotics into the U.S. and impede the corrupting influence of the drug barons. If his work in the CIA's operations against drug trafficking was as controlled by KGB agents as his earlier service, then the explosive power of the Ames case doubles its force.
During the late 1980s, the U.S. intelligence community increasingly shifted its emphasis from classic espionage against the Cold War rival to a new role in the war againt drugs and organized crime. (Western European intelligence agencies redeployed their resource, too.) In the happy dawn of the New World Order, George Bush thought the CIA should cooperate with its ex-rivals against common foes: organized crime, terrorism and drug trafficking. Mr. Ames became head of the CIA's narcotics intelligence department for the Black Sea countries in 1990 after his service as counterintelligence chief for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Yet all the while Mr. Ames was allegedly working for is old KGB handlers.
Could one explanation for America's sorry record in the war on drugs be that its key intelligence was going to the other side? Rumors in the 1980s about KGB or Cuban Involvement in the drug trade were routinely pooh-poohed by State Department and CIA types who could not imagine that their rivals were anything other than sincere champions of another cause. Now that the routine cynicism and corruption of the former Soviet Union is widely acknowledged, it is time to ask whether some of the cash to fund expensive KGB operations might come from the world's most lucrative milk cow--the narco-business.
Espionage experts have expressed surprise at the amount of cash the KGB is alleged to have paid Mr. Ames, far more than in most treason-for-money cases, in which the amounts are often amazingly trivial. Fewer questions seem to have been asked about whether the KGB was the only source of Mr. Ames's affluence. It seems reasonable to ask whether his visits to his second wife Maria's native Columbia might have given him access to another source of income in return for information about the CIA's antinarcotics drive.
Another question suggests itself: Did Mr. Ames betray anyone to the KGB in his new posting, as he allegedly did while counterintelligence chief?
Last August, in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the CIA's Fred Woodruff was shot dead while riding in the car of the chief of the Georgian security service. A terrible accident was the improbable verdict. But a week earlier, Mr. Ames had been in Georgia. In addition to his mission to provide U.S. training to Georgian security forces, Mr. Woodruff was allegedly investigating Georgia's role as a conduit of heroin from other ex-Soviet republics to the West.
Some informed Georgians think that Mr. Woodruff had come to believe that the men Washington had sent him to cooperate with were in fact involved in the heroin shipments. Had Mr. Woodruff reported this, Mr. Ames would have been the first man in the CIA to receive his report.
It is public knowledge in Georgia that the security forces of Edward Shevardnadze's regime are involved in the republic's rampant drug business. So severe has the problem become that even Mr. Shevardnadze recently felt obliged to undergo a heroin test to prove his credibility.
As an ex-KGB general-turned-reformer who returned to his native Georgia, Mr. Shevardnadze ought to be able to help the Clinton administration clear up any connection between Mr. Ames's visit to Georgia last year and the murder of CIA station chief Woodruff. If Mr. Ames was betraying America's war on drugs to the KGB, then the Clinton administration and the West are starting into a deep and dark abyss.
The venality of Aldrich Ames contrasts sharply with the intense, if twisted, ideological treason of a Kim Philby. How many other unhappily salaried Western intelligence officials cooperating with the ex-KGB in the war on drugs have also been tempted by the rich pickings of betrayal in the postideological age?