October 30, 1992
Memorandum for the Record
From: John F. McCreary
Subject: Obstruction of the Investigation
1. I am concerned that recent lines of investigation have been seriously compromised by leaks of sensitive information by the Committee Staff Director to the Department of Defense. Leaks to the Department of Defense or other agencies of the Executive Branch of my Memoranda for the Record are interfering with follow-up discussions with useful witnesses. Moreover, they are endangering the lives and livelihood of two witnesses.
Leak of Information on Jan Sejna
2. Irrespective of leaks outside the government, Bill LeGro, attended a meeting of the US-Russia Joint Commission group in Washington on 28 October 1992 at the Department of State. The discussion featured information provided by Sejna. LeGro stated that Ambassador Malcolm Toon called for his dismissal. DIA personnel defended Sejna as to his expertise on Central Europe, but not as to his information on other areas, particularly POW related.
3. Irrespective of leaks outside the government, Bill LeGro attended a meeting of the US-Russia Joint Commission group in Washington on 28 October 1992 at the Department of State. The discussion featured information provided by Sejna. LeGro stated tat Ambassador Malcolm Toon call for his dismissal. DIA personnel defended Sejna as to his expertise on Central Europe, but not as to his information on others areas, particularly POW related.
4. On 30 October 1992, I learned from Bill LeGro that he was directed to read a letter from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Select Committee that discredits Sejna's information. The letter reportedly indicates that Sejna's information has been checked and not been confirmed by his former government. At the time this letter was received, the Staff had decided to take Sejna's deposition but had not yet scheduled a deposition of Sejna. In addition, my MFR was written from memory, and did not do justice to all that Sejna stated, either in detail or in context. As of this writing, we do not know what Sejna knows or will say under oath, yet his testimony has already been written off. This anticipatory discrediting of a Select Committee potential witness is tantamount to tampering with the evidence.
Suspected Leak of Information on Le Quang Khai
5. The second issue of suspected misconduct concerns witness Le Quang Khai. Although Le made a public statement concerning POWs on 12 September 1992, no agency of the US government contacted him concerning his POW information. He told me on 26 October that some men who represented themselves as FBI agents contacted him to attempts to recruit him to return to Vietnam as a US intelligence agent for six months. After which his request for asylum would be favorably considered.
6. On 30 October, Mr. Robert Egan of Hackensack, New Jersey, who is a close friend of Mr. Le and the intermediary whereby the Committee Staff met Mr. Le, informed McCreary and LeGro that the FBI had again contacted Mr. Le. A person representing himself as an FBI person called on 30 October to set up a meeting with Le to discuss Le's working as an intelligence agent for the FBI's POW/MIA office.
7. So far informal checks indicate there is no such office. Secondly, this contact occurred three days after my return from taking Le's deposition in Hackensack on 26 October. I observed a copy of the MFR with apparent routing designators written in the top margin on the desk of Frances Zwenig on 28 October.
8. The contact with Le two days after preparation of my MFR, despite the passage of a month since his public declarations, is highly suspicious and more than coincidental. The circumstances of both contacts in which persons identifying themselves as FBI without showing credentials or other evidence of authenticity or authority and also making a pitch to recruit Le are also highly suspicious.
9. An internal Department of Defense Memorandum identifies Frances Zwenig as the conduit to the Department of Defense for the acquisition of sensitive and restricted information from this Committee. Based on the above sequences of events, I must conclude that Frances Zwenig continues to leak all of my papers to the Defense Department. Her flagrant disregard of the rules of the Senate and her oath of office are now jeopardizing the livelihood, if not the safety, of
Senate witnesses. In addition, the Department of Defense's continuing access to sensitive Committee Staff papers is resulting in obstruction of the investigations by the Senate Select Committee by various agencies of the Executive Branch.
John F. McCreary
INTERIM REPORT ON POW/MIA'S (Senate - October 27, 1990)
Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, as ranking member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, I have today sent an interim report to the Republican members of that committee on the sensitive topic of our POW /MIA's . This report has been prepared by minority staff members of the committee for the minority members. It is a preliminary report, with preliminary findings, on an investigation which has been in progress for 1 year.
Mr. President, this report is particularly significant because it is the first time that the Department of Defense [DOD] has permitted any outside oversight of its process of accounting for POW /MIA's . DOD has in its files 1,400 so-called live-sighting reports, but it has never acknowledged that any of these reports pertained to living American personnel. The reports are in general classified, but not highly classified. Nevertheless, DOD has asserted that the reports are too sensitive for oversight even by properly cleared and trained professional personnel.
To its credit, DOD finally relented, and allowed outside professionals on the minority committee staff to examine the files under very stringent conditions of access. Only about one-third of the files have been examined so far, but already the investigators have found serious errors in the methodology of DIA analysts in a disturbingly large number of cases.
Other preliminary findings include the following:
First, after the return of 591 POW's in Operation Homecoming in 1973, the Department of State and DOD publicly declared that no more POW's remained alive in Southeast Asia.
Second, nevertheless, a year later, DOD analysts still believed that POW's were alive in Southeast Asia.
Third, DOD analysts systematically rejected, or declared not pertinent, vitually all of the 1,400 live-sighting reports in its files.
Fourth, having declared beforehand in 1973 that no prisoners remained alive, DOD subsequently made case-by-case determinations that each name on the POW /MIA list should be presumed dead, based upon the rejection of the live-sighting reports and other evidence.
Fifth, in contrast to DOD's disinterest in confirming live-sighting reports, DOD has placed a disproportionate emphasis on identifying supposed sets of POW remains, resulting in a significant percentage of misidentifications. DOD seems more interested in finding dead POW's than living POW's .
Sixth, because U.S. covert military operations in Southeast Asia have never been revealed, it is impossible to determine whether any U.S. military personnel involved might be added to the list of known POW /MIA's . Participants in covert operations who were interviewed think that the number of covert POW /MIA's might be as large as the public list.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the interim report of the minority staff of the Committee on Foreign Relations be printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks, along with my cover letter transmitting it to Republican members of the committee.
There being no objection, the report was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
Committee on Foreign Relations,
Washington, DC, October 26, 1990.
Dear Republican Colleague: Enclosed is an Interim Report prepared by the Minority Staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on the U.S. Government's handling of the POW /MIA matter. This summary document represents a year of intensive investigation, culminating in a major breakthrough in the careful examination of DIA live-sighting reports on POW /MIAs --the first time in 17 years that an independent branch of the government has had an opportunity to make an objective evaluation of the methods used in accounting for those categorized as POW /MIAs in Southeast Asia.
On October 17, 1990, the Foreign Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Cao Thac addressed a coffee at the Foreign Relations Committee and attended by Senators of the Committee as well as invited guests. In my opinion, the Department of State's invitation to Thac to visit the United States was inappropriate at a time when the Executive Branch is still unwilling to address the hard issue of living American POWs still being held captive in Southeast Asia.
The thrust of Thac's address was to call for the acceleration of the time table for renewal of relations between the governments of Vietnam and the United States. Thac indicated that the resolution of the POW /MIA issue is one of two major areas of contention. Furthermore, Thac stated that he had agreed to all terms levied by the President through his special envoy, General John Vessey USA (Ret.). But in re-stating the terms to which he had agreed, Thac never once mentioned that the issue of living American POWs in Vietnam had been addressed.
The position of the Executive Branch is that there is `no evidence' that living Americans exist in SE Asia, nor were any left after American prisoners were returned in 1973.
Nevertheless, public opinion polls continue to suggest that 62 percent of the American people believe that U.S. POW /MIAs are still alive in Vietnam, and 84 percent of Vietnam veterans believe so. Clearly the U.S. Government no longer maintains credibility on this issue.
For this reason, a year ago, I assigned an investigation on the Minority Staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to conduct a staff investigation of the handling of the POW /MIA issue by the U.S. Government. These investigators are highly trained professionals, with a total of more than 68 years of investigative experience in the Executive Branch, including criminal investigative experience, as well as more than 17 years of experience in intelligence analysis. All served in Vietnam and are knowledgeable about the history, geography, and language of that unfortunate country.
The investigation has proceeded quietly, and without public fanfare. But much remains to be done. Information developed in the course of the inquiry was the result of the following methods: (1) face-to-face and telephonic interviews; (2) review of various classified and unclassified official documents; (3) corroborative information from government and private sources; and (4) historical research. This report is in all respects an interim report: It is incomplete and it is a summary report of conclusions which must be further tested.
The Committee on Foreign Relations has authority to engage in oversight of POW /MIA issues implicit in its broad mandate to study and review foreign policy. Senate Rule 25.1j specifically refers to the Committee on Foreign Relations matters dealing with: `[11.] Intervention abroad and declarations of war,' and `[15.] Protection of United States citizens abroad and expatriation.'
The focus of the inquiry has centered on the following questions:
1. Does the U.S. Government possess valid information concerning living POWs in Southeast Asia?
2. Has the U.S. Government failed to act on information concerning living POWs in Southeast Asia?
3. Has the U.S. Government acted improperly to intimidate, coerce, or discredit sources which have valid information concerning living POWs in Southeast Asia?
I believe that the investigators have come to valid conclusions, although of course much of the material they reviewed remains classified. Moreover, I believe that the American people have the right to see that this inquiry is pursued to a proper conclusion.
I am deeply grateful for the enormous contribution of Senator Chuck Grassley who, out of his deep concern for American service personnel, joined me at the very beginning and supported and encouraged it at every step.