THE WHITE HOUSEMr. Steven Aftergood
November 30, 1999
Federation of American Scientists
307 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Dear Mr. Aftergood:
Thank you for your letter regarding the Chile Declassification Project. I appreciate your recognition of the efforts by agencies to collect, review, and declassify documents related to human rights abuses, terrorism, and other acts of political violence in Chile during and prior to the Pinochet era.
As you know, some 5,800 documents were included in the initial release in late June. Since your letter, we have released 1,100 additional documents, bringing the total released thus far to nearly 7,000. Agencies are continuing to review documents, and a final release of documents from 1968 through the final years of Pinochet's rule will take place next spring.
You expressed concern about the role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in this project. The CIA has released 600 documents thus far, and expects to release many more in the final phase of the project. In particular, the CIA's search and review of documents in the final phase will include relevant operational records, such as documents related to covert action, documents associated with the Church Committee hearings in 1975, and files disseminated outside the Directorate of Operations.
I believe that our declassification effort thus far has shed a significant amount of light on the facts of the Pinochet era, but we can and should add to that record. I have asked my staff to monitor closely the final phase of this project to ensure that all agencies fulfill their commitment to release as much information as possible about these tragic events. Again, thank you for writing and for your interest in this important project.
Samuel R. Berger
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs