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Thread: Negroponte Confirmed As Director Of National Intelligence

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Negroponte Confirmed As Director Of National Intelligence

    Negroponte Confirmed as Director of National Intelligence

    Published: April 22, 2005

    WASHINGTON, April 21 - The Senate confirmed John D. Negroponte on Thursday as the country's first director of national intelligence, with key senators urging him to assert his power quickly over the nation's 15 spy agencies, improve their sharing of information and upgrade their intelligence collection on terrorism and other threats.

    The 98-to-2 vote was a strong endorsement for Mr. Negroponte, a 65-year-old longtime diplomat, as he seeks to lead the intelligence agencies out of a period of intense criticism for their failure to prevent the 2001 terrorist attacks and their inaccurate reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

    The only no votes came from two Democratic senators, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Mr. Wyden said he opposed confirmation because he believed that Mr. Negroponte had played down human rights abuses when he served as ambassador to Honduras in the 1980's and that Mr. Negroponte had given evasive answers to questions at his confirmation hearing on April 12.

    Michael V. Hayden, director of the National Security Agency for the last six years, was confirmed as principal deputy director of national intelligence. The Senate also approved his promotion from an Air Force lieutenant general to full general.

    Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who is chairman of the Intelligence Committee, praised Mr. Negroponte as the right man for a daunting job. "I am convinced that he has the character, he has the expertise and he has the leadership ability to successfully meet these challenges," Mr. Roberts said.

    Noting that intelligence reform legislation signed by President Bush in December left "certain ambiguities" about the power of the new post, Mr. Roberts said it would be up to Mr. Negroponte to resolve them. Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the committee's ranking Democrat, said Mr. Negroponte would have to show that his job "supercedes" even that of the defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    "Reform of the intelligence community will involve stepping on the turf of some of the most powerful bureaucracies in Washington, first and foremost among them the Department of Defense," Mr. Rockefeller said.

    President Bush, whose support will be critical to establishing Mr. Negroponte's standing, issued a statement congratulating him. "As the D.N.I., Ambassador Negroponte will lead a unified intelligence community as it reforms and adapts to the new challenges of the 21st century," Mr. Bush said.

    The creation of the intelligence director's job, the most significant reorganization of the spy agencies since the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, is intended to force better coordination of the competitive and secretive agencies.

    For Mr. Negroponte, the job is the culmination of a four-decade career in government service that has included five ambassadorships, most recently in Iraq. As a diplomat he worked closely with C.I.A. officers abroad and was a consumer of reports from the C.I.A., the National Security Agency and other agencies.

    Mr. Negroponte and General Hayden are to preside over a staff of more than 500 people. President Bush last Friday named John Russack, the Energy Department's intelligence chief, to one important job, that of program manager, in which he will oversee information-sharing by the intelligence agencies.

    Though Mr. Roberts and Mr. Rockefeller both praised Mr. Negroponte and General Hayden, they clashed over Mr. Rockefeller's call for the committee to investigate the detention and interrogation practices of the intelligence agencies.

    Mr. Rockefeller, who has sought such an investigation for three months, said the committee had "abdicated its responsibility to the media" by failing to pursue cases of abuse and death of detainees in American custody in Afghanistan and Iraq. Investigations to date have focused on the conduct of the military but not the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies, he said.

    Mr. Roberts strongly objected. "I am fast losing patience with what appears to me to be almost a pathological obsession with calling into question the brave men and women on the front lines of the war on terror," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ambassador to Honduras
    From 1981 to 1985 Negroponte was the U.S. ambassador to Honduras. During his tenure, he oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year. At the time, Honduras was ruled by an elected but heavily militarily-influenced government. According to The New York Times, Negroponte was allegedly involved in "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua." Critics say that during his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systematic.

    Negroponte supervised the construction of the El Aguacate air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the U.S., and which some critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s. In August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site.

    Records also show that a special intelligence unit (commonly referred to as a "death squad") of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and the Argentine military, kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including U.S. missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.

    In May 1982, a nun, Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had worked for ten years in El Salvador, went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras to investigate the whereabouts of thirty Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Óscar Romero's assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing. However, in a 1996 interview with The Baltimore Sun, Negroponte's predecessor, Jack Binns, said that a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women Bordes had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, and then later thrown out of helicopters alive.

    In early 1984, two American mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contras after the U.S. Congress had banned further military aid. Documents show that Negroponte brought the two together with a contact in the Honduran armed forces. The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any U.S. involvement, despite Negroponte's introductions of some of the individuals. Other documents detailed a plan of Negroponte and then-Vice President George H. W. Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government.

    During his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Honduras, Binns, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, made numerous complaints about human rights abuses by the Honduran military and claimed he fully briefed Negroponte on the situation before leaving the post. When the Reagan administration came to power, Binns was replaced by Negroponte, who has consistently denied having knowledge of any wrongdoing. Later, the Honduras Commission on Human Rights accused Negroponte himself of human rights violations.

    Speaking of Negroponte and other senior U.S. officials, an ex-Honduran congressman, Efrain Diaz, told The Baltimore Sun, which in 1995 published an extensive investigation of U.S. activities in Honduras:

    Their attitude was one of tolerance and silence. They needed Honduras to loan its territory more than they were concerned about innocent people being killed.
    The Sun's investigation found that the CIA and U.S. embassy knew of numerous abuses but continued to support Battalion 3-16 and ensured that the embassy's annual human rights report did not contain the full story.

    Substantial evidence subsequently emerged to support the contention that Negroponte was aware that serious violations of human rights were carried out by the Honduran government, with the support of the CIA, if perhaps not with its direct approval. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, on September 14, 2001, as reported in the Congressional Record, aired his suspicions on the occasion of Negroponte's nomination to the position of UN ambassador:

    Based upon the Committee's review of State Department and CIA documents, it would seem that Ambassador Negroponte knew far more about government perpetuated human rights abuses than he chose to share with the committee in 1989 or in Embassy contributions at the time to annual State Department Human Rights reports. [1] (

    Among other evidence, Dodd cited a cable sent by Negroponte in 1985 that made it clear that Negroponte was aware of the threat of "future human rights abuses" by "secret operating cells" left over by General Alvarez after his deposition in 1984.
    In April 2005, as the Senate confirmation hearings for the National Intelligence post took place, hundreds of documents were released by the State Department in response to a FOIA request by the Washington Post. The documents, cables that Negroponte sent to Washington while serving as ambassador to Honduras, indicated that he played a more active role than previously known in managing the US covert war against the Sandinistas. According to Post, the image of Negroponte that emerges from the cables is that of an exceptionally energetic, action-oriented ambassador whose anti-communist convictions led him to play down human rights abuses in Honduras, the most reliable U.S. ally in the region. There is little in the documents the State Department has released so far to support his assertion that he used "quiet diplomacy" to persuade the Honduran authorities to investigate the most egregious violations, including the mysterious disappearance of dozens of government opponents. [2] (

    The New York Times wrote that the documents revealed a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan's strategy. They show he sent admiring reports to Washington about the Honduran military chief, who was blamed for human rights violations, warned that peace talks with the Nicaraguan regime might be a dangerous "Trojan horse" and pleaded with officials in Washington to impose greater secrecy on the Honduran role in aiding the contras.

    The cables show that Mr. Negroponte worked closely with William J. Casey, then director of central intelligence, on the Reagan administration's anti-Communist offensive in Central America. He helped word a secret 1983 presidential "finding" authorizing support for the contras, as the Nicaraguan rebels were known, and met regularly with Honduran military officials to win and retain their backing for the covert action. [3] (

    According to investigative journalist Robert Parry ( the cables suggest that Negroponte was so committed to his mission of making Honduras a base for Nicaraguan contra rebels that he routinely ignored troubling evidence about the Honduran government. At the time, the Reagan administration also had no interest in hearing critical information about key allies, like Honduras.

    During his four years in Honduras, Negroponte often cast “a friendly eye” at the Honduran government, insisting that he was unaware of evidence of “death squad” operations that eliminated hundreds of political dissidents. He also turned a blind eye to the military’s role in making Honduras a way station for drug traffickers.[4]
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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