What drug trafficking allegations was CIA aware of, and when, involving other individuals supporting the Contra program? How did CIA respond to this information, and how was this information shared with other U.S. Government entities?
. . . we have become concerned over indications of a loss of objectivity and increasing signs of "clientism" on the part of [Gomez] toward [ARDE] and [Pastora] in particular . . . . [w]hile his own performance to date has been of extraordinary value . . . it is absolutely necessary for us to ensure the strictest clarity and accuracy in our reporting on and communications with the [ARDE].
ended in late May 1987 after he married an Agency employee and subsequently initiated processing for U.S. citizenship. Efforts were made to use [Gomez] in other Agency programs; however, he was unable to [provide credible answers regarding drug trafficking]. Consequently, [Gomez] was amicably terminated effective 31 March 1988.
[Gomez] increased his estimate of cash from somewhere between $30,000 to $40,000. [Gomez] indicated he and [his brother-in-law] met an individual who was identified by the wearing of a yellow jacket. This individual then approached [them], struck up a conversation, and then provided the cash to [Gomez]. During later discussion of this incident, [Gomez] stated he knew this act was illegal at the time, but he consummated the act nevertheless. At the completion of [Gomez'] second session, testing in this area remained incomplete.
[Gomez'] brother-in-law informed [Gomez] that [his brother] had requested that he pick up $30,000 in a bar in New York City. [Gomez] stated that he accompanied his brother-in-law to the bar whereupon the brother-in-law stayed in the car while [Gomez] entered the bar and made contact with the individual who was to turn over the money. This individual took [Gomez] to an apartment where he gave him $15,000 and offered him some cocaine. [Gomez] stated he refused . . . . [Gomez] shortly thereafter, began to work for this Agency. . . . In June 1982, . . . [His brother] was arrested for drug trafficking. [Gomez] stated he had not had any involvement in narcotic trafficking activities.
Based on the interview, the interviewer believes Gomez directly participated in illegal drug transactions, concealed participation in illegal drug transactions, and concealed information about involvement in illegal drug activity.
the net impression . . . is that [Gomez] probably is concealing at least much more personal and direct involvement in drug smuggling than he can report . . . . The further impression is that . . . he probably never had any intention of revealing his true involvement in drug activity. . . .
. . . he had met a CIA agent, Ivan Gomez, in Costa Rica who, he said, was there to make sure that all the profits went to the Contras and not into the back pockets of the drug dealers and smugglers. "They [not specifically identified] told me who he was and the reason he was there, . . . It was to make sure the money was given to the right people and nobody was taking . . . profit they weren't supposed to."
(Ellipses in original.)
It is inconceivable to me that on hearing this information I--or someone else--would not put it on record. Why would I have covered it up? I would have no reason to do so. [Gomez] was an employee.
In discussions with an agent of the . . . [Drug Enforcement Administration] at the U.S. Embassy . . . [Gomez] tried to arrange immunity for his brother in exchange for his testimony against DEA agents allegedly involved in narcotics trafficking.(25) Furthermore, [Gomez] stated that he discussed his brother's case with unidentified members of the Office of Security at the U.S. Embassy . . . . Finally, [Gomez] was told by unidentified Headquarters personnel to stop pursuing the matter because he was "causing problems."
CIA personnel say they do not recall giving advice to Gomez to stop contacting U.S. Government agencies in an effort to help his imprisoned brother.
One could attribute to the memorandum the sense that [I] was fighting to keep [Gomez] on. That's not my style. Interest attenuated [in Gomez] in reality if it were going to be reported to DoJ. We were not going to the bitter end to protect him. Foreshortening of these notes could give this impression. This was not my mindset.
. . . resolve all outstanding issues if possible. C/CMS wishes to clarify situation as it pertains to [Gomez], and future employment of spouse who also is due normal reinvestigation- sticky situation. . . . SAS should initiate action [for] further polygraph testing in early 1988 to resolve outstanding issues. If favorable results are obtained . . . and clarification of any prior narcotics activities are resolved, LA [Division] can then decide if in fact they desire to employ [Gomez].
The recommended actions were concurred in by the Ground Branch Chief, the SOG Chief, the SAS Chief, and the CMS Chief, who wrote, "Concur fully with this approach."
. . . reemphasized his intentions to reinitiate action with both OS and [Office of Medical Services], after the pregnancy period, to desensitize [Gomez] to any issues of concern and conduct the next polygraph sessions in Spanish language. It is hoped that a combination of OS and OMS efforts would favorably produce desired results.
It was an extra step. There wasn't any other agenda. Here's a guy who worked directly for me. We owed it to him. I was directly involved as his former COS. It would not be seemly if I hadn't. I don't want [Gomez] to think when the going gets tough, the senior guy won't be there. I had been involved previously. It would have been very inconsistent if I hadn't continued.
. . . stated that they are desirous of finding suitable Agency employment for [Gomez] outside of SAS. They feel that [Gomez] has shown extreme dedication and courage in his work with SAS . . . they also understand that [Gomez] walked out on his last polygraph test and that he had admitted to two instances of assisting in the laundering of drug money in the United States.
[the LA Division Chief should look to C/CMS/DO for information in the case, as [Chief of CMS] had been fully briefed. If [the LA Division Chief] wanted to talk with someone else, he may want to discuss the case with [the DO Grievance Officer] . . . .
In light of the 1997 context, I'd do things differently. Strictly speaking, the situation with his brother makes [Gomez] an accessory. This was a high risk, dicey, fuzzy situation. [Gomez] was a guy who served [CIA] well. He was loyal to us. I was supportive of him throughout. My view was: Let's get to the bottom of this--whatever was bothering him on the [polygraph]. And let's salvage a good officer. What comes across now is the lack of focus on the legal aspects. I wasn't alone, obviously. It is a striking commentary on me and everyone that this guy's involvement in narcotics didn't weigh more heavily on me or the system. We were looking more heavily on this officer's contribution than this incident, accidental or not.
He points out that his characterization of Gomez as "an accessory" is "from a lay perspective, since I am not an attorney."
. . . has never been an employee of this Agency. He . . . is currently working as a[n] Independent Contractor; but he has never had a Contract External clearance. [Gomez'] employment status has been a matter of interest to OGC and the issue of required passage to DOJ hinged on this status (there is now no apparent requirement to pass to DOJ either in true name or as a John Doe). . . . It is recommended that a Memorandum for the Record be routed to OGC for their interest and final decision on passage of pertinent information to DOJ.
(Underlining in original.)
the issue of getting DoJ involved seems perfectly logical, reading through [the record regarding the ERP]. My reaction now is that [the OGC representative's] view that Gomez is not technically an employee and therefore reporting may not be required is slicing it pretty thin. With today's standards, yes we should report it [to DoJ].
He does not recall seeing a document in response to OGC's request at the ERP for a written referral. He says that his recollection is that the alleged violation was referred to DoJ.
While [Gomez] could be guilty as a principal, accessory after the fact, or of conspiracy if he knew the money was part of a drug transaction, we have no evidence that he did know that critical fact. While the receipt of $35,000 cash in a paper bag should have (and probably did) raise his suspicions, I do not feel that the information available to us is sufficient to provide a basis for inferring criminal intent. The offense that might be involved, moreover, is not a non-employee offense required to be reported under the procedures [established by the 1982 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DoJ and CIA regarding reporting of potential crimes]. (Although [Gomez] . . . has . . . been an independent contractor, he has never been an "employee" as defined in the [DoJ-CIA MOU]).
On August 11, 1987, Chase concurred with the OGC attorney's recommendation, adding a note that his concurrence was "pursuant to delegation from the General Counsel of 25 June 1986 . . . ."(27)
The FBI advised that they were aware of the fact that [Gomez] had worked for the Agency but that they had not traced him until May 1989.
The OS memorandum noted that OS had provided the FBI with an oral "summary of the security issues affecting" Gomez. According to the memorandum, "The FBI was, prior to this point, unaware of the fact that [Gomez] left the Agency under less than favorable conditions, that he had a brother convicted in federal court on felony drug charges or that [Gomez'] family was involved in the drug trade."
. . . no reply was necessary as the requested information was passed on 14 June 1989 . . . . On 30 August 1989 the FBI sent a trace request referencing the 30 June 1989 request . . . . Contact with the FBI Supervisory Agent . . . confirmed that the 30 June 1989 and 30 August 1989 traces request [sic] were for information already received in the 14 June 1989 meeting and were merely formalities. [The Supervisory Agent] advised that no new requests were being made and that it appears to be a clerical error in sending the follow-up request.
. . . served for the CIA . . . . from 1983 to 1988 when he was terminated amicably. During Subject's polygraph, [the results] precluded his continued use by this Agency. . . . FBI agent[s] . . . reviewed all available information on [Gomez] on 14 June 1984. The Office of Security reiterates that all available background on Subject has been made available to your [Headquarters].
. . . to put the best face on a truly ugly development, we could only point out that had [he] chosen to do so, he could have accepted these payments on a daily basis, thus enriching himself to an unimaginable degree. He chose not to, however, and became the bane of the narcotraffickers' existence at great personal risk to himself and to the detriment of his military career.
No information has been found to indicate that the U.S. military advisor was ever asked by CIA about the contractor's claim that the advisor had told him to accept the bribe.
Regarding the issue of narcotics trafficking since his [last interview] in 1983, [he] stated that he has never engaged in narcotics trafficking. The one incident previously reported was done only to locate drug factories . . . and ultimately raid those factories. He did relate that he had learned that members of [the Contras] had been using the private aircraft belonging to [Pastora] to smuggle cocaine into [San Jose, Costa Rica]. He denied actually seeing this activity. He stated that this was reported to him by members of [the Contras].
He was specifically [questioned] regarding any narcotics trafficking he may have engaged in since his [interview] in 1983. [CIA Security was satisfied with his answers and did not have any further questions regarding illegal drug trafficking.]
No information has been found to indicate that his allegation during the questioning concerning the use of Pastora's plane to smuggle cocaine into Costa Rica was further investigated by CIA.
. . . said that he met Rene Corvo twice, once in San Jose and once along the border area. Those meetings took place approximately six/eight months ago. [Hull] said that both Corvo and Terrell are "loose cannon" types whom he avoids at all cost.
Hull says that it was "not possible" for Corvo and the other individual to ship cocaine from his ranch without his knowledge. Hull states, "If it were going on, I would have known." Hull also notes that there were no patterns of activity at his ranch that would have been similar to the twice weekly schedule of flights that was alleged by Terrell. Hull reiterates that he is "10,000 percent" certain that he would have known about any such narcotics shipments from his ranch.
. . . . An on going [sic] drug smuggling operation connecting Columbia [sic], Costa Rica, Nicaragua and the United States, in which Resistance members and their American supporters, . . . handled the transport of cocaine produced in Columbia [sic], shipped to Costa Rica, processed in the region, transported to airstrips controlled by American supporters of the Resistance and distributed in the U.S.
The cable did not allege misdeeds by Hull.
Senator Kerry: And instead of appearing at that -- what field was it supposed to appear at?
Mr. Carlton: I can't recall the name, but I could locate it on a map.
Senator Kerry: Did you learn that that drug shipment appeared instead on another farm, another strip?
Mr. Carlton: That is what we were told by a member of the civil guard in Costa Rica.
Senator Kerry: Did he inform you that it landed on the strip and ranch of John Hull?
Mr. Carlton: Yes, that is correct.
Senator Kerry: And was Teofilo Watson, the pilot of the aircraft, at some time assassinated?
Mr. Carlton: Yes.
Senator Kerry: When was he assassinated?
Mr. Carlton: I can't recall the date, the exact date. But one of the people who was to meet Watson told him not to land at the appointed place, but to change and land elsewhere. It was supposedly waiting for him there. They killed him and then took the airplane and the drugs to Mr. Hull's ranch.
Senator Kerry: So this is the very occasion that he landed at the wrong field that he was killed. He was assassinated when he was met landing where he thought he was going, correct?
Mr. Carlton: Yes, that is correct.
The investigation of Hull . . . began after a Colombian drug trafficker, George Morales, accused the American in a television interview of links with arms and drugs [sic] trafficking and of spying for the Contras.
[Hull] stated that to the best of his knowledge he has never violated any aspect of U.S. neutrality laws. All allegations by Jack Terrell regarding cocaine movement on a farm belonging to [Hull] are false.
This cable continued by stating:
To the best of Station knowledge, [Hull] has not been involved in any type of smuggling operations. His greatest sin has been to employ Nicaraguan refugees in menial jobs on his farm.
Both [DoJ] and [DEA] were specifically asked if they have ongoing investigations of [Hull]. They both told the Staffers that there are no investigations presently in progress. However, because of the breath [sic] of the allegations made and our inability to respond to them, it is possible that [DoJ] may open an investigation of [Hull].
The cable characterized the meeting as "largely unproductive as Kerry's Staffers were unwilling to provide details and sources of information that had provided information that pointed to violations of U.S. laws."
Morales saw John Hull in his, Morales' office, with [Marcos] Aguado in 1983. However, Morales didn't meet him. He didn't want to. Hull is very well know [sic] in columbia [sic] and Central America for his activities and his reputation dealing [sic] with CIA. Morales did not want any more dealings with government people other than what he had with Chamorro and Cesar.
The SSCI transcript also noted that Fiers recounted the drug trafficking allegations by Morales against Hull:
[Morales] also claims to have unloaded--that Hull's airstrip was used in loading and unloading of drugs [and that] Morales first heard about John Hull in 1981 from a Columbian [sic] friend. Morales said it was very well known John Hull's ranch was a facility for refueling and storing drugs. John Hull was in Morales' office in July 1983 with Gustavo Velez, a Columbian [sic] friend of Morales, to arrange delivery of 40 grenade launchers from Opaloca, Florida, to El Salvador. Morales' cargo airliner flew the launchers for Hull.
According to the transcript, Fiers also said:
It is possible that John Hull's ranch was used as a transshipment point for drugs. We never had any hard proof of that other than the claims made by various convicted narcotics traffickers. It is possible it could have been used without Hull's knowledge. It is also possible he could have been a willing accomplice in using it. We just don't have any significant information about that.