Werner E. Michel, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Richard “Dick” Cheney)
Improper Material in Spanish-Language Intelligence Manuals
On 9 August 1991, ASD (C3I) requested that our office investigate and report to you on USSOUTHCOM’s use of counterintelligence manuals containing objectionable material in the training of Latin American military students. We initiated our inquiry on 16 August 1991 (TAB B) and, on 4 October 1991, submitted an interim response. During our investigation, we interviewed personnel and reviewed documents in Washington, DC, at USSOUTHCOM in Panama, at Army offices responsible for the approval of training doctrine, and at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (USASOA) and the Army Intelligence School.
EVOLUTION OF THE MANUALS
Our inquiry revealed that seven Spanish-language manuals had been compiled from outdated instructional material without the required doctrinal reviews or approval. They had evolved from lesson plans used in an intelligence course at USASOA. They were based, in part, on old material dating back to the 1960’s from the Army’s Foreign Intelligence Assistance Program, entitled “Project X.” This material had been retained in the files of the Army Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
We found that neither the Army element at USSOUTHCOM nor the faculty at USASOA followed the Army policy for the doctrinal approval of the manuals. This process requires that all intelligence instructional material be developed or reviewed by “Subject Matter Experts” at the Army Intelligence School. To compound the problem, no English-language versions of the manuals were ever prepared.
In USSOUTHCOM, Mobile Training Teams distributed copies of the seven manuals listed at TAB G [See document above] to military personnel and intelligence schools in five Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru). We found that as many as a thousand copies of these manuals may have been distributed in the USSOUTHCOM area from 1987 to 1989 and at USASOA from 1989 to 1991.
In 1987, Army military intelligence (MI) officers in Panama had compiled the manuals from lesson plans used in an MI course at USASOA since 1982, as noted above. The officers assumed that the information in the lesson plans reflected current and authoritative doctrine and, therefore, sought no additional approval either from USSOUTHCOM or the Army.
At USASOA, which had moved in 1984 from Panama to Fort Benning, Georgia, the manuals were introduced into the MI course in 1989. At that time, with a bilingual MI officer now on the staff, the school assumed responsibility for MI instruction. In preparing the course, the instructor obtained copies of four of the manuals from his former organization, the Army’s 470th MI Brigade in Panama. Ironically, the material in the manuals essentially reflected information in lesson plans for the MI course at USASOA. As had been the case in USSOUTHCOM, the USASOA instructor also erroneously assumed that the manuals, as well as the lesson plans, represented approved doctrine. Thus, copies of the four manuals were issued as supplemental reading material to military students from 10 Latin American countries attending intelligence courses at USASOA until 1991. (The students came from Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.)
Approval and Review Process
In theory, the offending and improper material in the manuals should have been discovered during the Army’s existing review and approval process. It is incredible that the use of the lesson plans since 1982, and the manuals since 1987, evaded the established system of doctrinal controls. Nevertheless, we could find no evidence that this was a deliberate and orchestrated attempt to violate DoD or Army policies.
As noted in our interim report, DoD representatives in Latin American countries have been instructed to advise their counterparts that the manuals are outdated and do not represent U.S. government policy. USSOUTHCOM also continues its effort to recover the manuals; however, due to incomplete records, retrieval of all copies is doubtful ...