Investigators Seek Evidence Implicating the CIA in 1976 Murder of Chilean Diplomat on U.S. Soil

Investigators Seek Evidence Implicating the CIA in 1976 Murder of Chilean Diplomat on U.S. Soil
Augusto Pinochet, who died in 2006. (Wikimedia Commons)

Recently declassified documents make it clear that the brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet ordered the killing of Chile’s former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier near the White House in 1976. However, an important question remains: Did the CIA have anything to do with the assassination?

From The Guardian:

General Augusto Pinochet directly ordered the 1976 assassination of a Chilean diplomat who was killed in a car bomb in Washington DC, according [to] top secret US intelligence documents declassified by the Obama administration.

The documents, which were handed to the Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday in Santiago by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, also show that the former dictator was so concerned with covering up his role in the murder that he planned to assassinate his own head of intelligence, General Manuel Contreras. ... Letelier, who had once been Chile’s ambassador to the US, was murdered on 21 September 1976 by a car bomb planted under the driver’s seat of his vehicle just a mile from the White House. ... Investigators in the US and Chile are poring through the records searching for evidence that CIA officials had forewarning but did not stop the assassination plan.

Speculation that the CIA was aware of the plot to kill Letelier is based on previously declassified records showing that Manuel Contreras was paid by the CIA before the bombing and was in regular contact with top officials at the spy agency.

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