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CIA Director Denies U.S. Link to Haiti Attaches

October 07, 1994|From Reuters

NEW YORK — U.S. intelligence agencies helped establish the feared Haitian paramilitary group FRAPH after the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the magazine The Nation said in a report released Thursday.

CIA Director R. James Woolsey denied the report in Washington with a terse "no." When pressed for an elaboration, he added: "When I say no, I mean no."

The magazine said Emmanuel Constant, leader of the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, named his U.S. handler as Col. Patrick Collins, a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency attache in Haiti.

The Nation quoted Constant as saying Collins began pressing him to establish an organization "that could balance the Aristide movement" and do intelligence work against it. Constant's discussions with Collins began in September, 1991, after the military coup against Aristide, and resulted in what later became known as FRAPH, the report said.

"No agency of the U.S. government ever funded FRAPH, we never directed FRAPH, we never had any operational relationship with FRAPH," a senior U.S. official said.

The official said Collins was the defense and army attache to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince from 1989 to 1992 but was not in contact with Constant nor was he at the headquarters of the coup leaders at the time Aristide was toppled.

The Nation report also said documentary evidence confirmed in part by Constant indicates that a group of attaches , or paramilitaries, have been paid for several years by a U.S.-funded project that keeps files on the movements of Haiti's poor.

Woolsey's denial followed a closed meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Not all senators were satisfied with his denial, although committee Chairman Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) said he was.

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