Letter to Sandy Berger

The following letter was sent to Sandy Berger by Joyce Horman.

July 26, 2000

The Honorable Sandy Berger
Assistant to the President for
National Security Affairs
The White House/West Wing
Washington D.C.

Via Fax: 202 456-9490

Dear Mr. Berger:

Thank you for arranging a briefing for me at the National Security Agency, and for the decision by your staff to do a special release on June 30th of declassified records relating to the death of my husband, along with two other U.S. citizens killed in Chile. The Horman family recognizes the demanding efforts that Mr. William Leary and others at the NSC have undertaken to make this declassification possible.

I must respectfully share with you however, my disappointment at the lack of quality and quantity of the documents released last month. With the exception of the State Department, which has made a major effort to comply with the NSC directive to declassify documents on the Horman case, the release of long-awaited documents was extremely limited. It is clear to many that the CIA, the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and even your own agency have more documents in their archives than the meager handful that were provided to me on June 30th. I am writing this letter to urge you, before the final declassification on September 14, to take the steps that only you are in the position to take to assure that all relevant documents are then and there released.

The CIA is a case-in-point. The agency released only six previously classified documents specific to my husband's murder. The majority of those were significantly redacted (I send along an example for your perusal). The documents were all Washington communications - with Congress, the State Department, or other CIA officers about meetings with Congressional staffers; not a single one dated from the fall of 1973 when Charles was abducted and killed; not a single one originated with the CIA station in Santiago. It is simply beyond belief that in this case, there aren't more documents than that, particularly since a number of the embassy personnel dealing with this case have since been identified as intelligence agents under diplomatic cover.

Even a cursory reading of the few pages the CIA did release indicates the existence of other records. One document, for example, reflects a CIA briefing on Rafael Gonzalez, a central figure in my husband's case, being readied for Rep. Dante Fascell; yet no CIA documents on Gonzalez or on the briefing were declassified. Another CIA memorandum requests that the Directorate of Operations "gather all relevant Directorate documents on Charles Horman" for a meeting with the Justice Department - yet not a single DO document was declassified on June 30th. Another document refers to a number of CIA documents-descriptions of which are blacked out! - shown to Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Cowen, and an oral briefing given to him. None of the documents shown to him were declassified nor were any documents related to the preparation of the oral briefing.

The point is that more documents exist, even beyond the "10" that the CIA admit they have but claim must be withheld, all these years later. I am certain that the Directorate of Operations files, and computer systems, have not been adequately searched in response to your directive.

The Defense Department has been hardly more forthcoming. To be sure, they did release some documents; but many of the types of records I would have expected to see were not there. There were no documents from the U.S. Naval Mission, 15th Naval District in the Panama Canal Zone whose personnel met Charles in Vina Del Mar, even cable traffic relating to Charles case did go back and forth from the Mil Group headquarters in Santiago, to the Canal Zone. There are only a few documents from the U.S. Naval Mission in Valparaiso when there should be many more. Given the degree of contact both Charles and I had with the U.S. military personnel, I would have expected to see a far greater quantity of records.

I strongly believe that the Pentagon has additional documents that would shed light on my husbands' death, but are withholding them. This is of great concern to me and I need your help to identify those records and to press for their release. If they are not going to be released, even in censored form, I hereby request a list of what they are and a full explanation as to why they cannot be declassified.

To my knowledge, not a single Justice Department document specific to Charles Horman was released on June 30th. We expected to see Justice Department files relating to our law suit, Horman vs. Kissinger et.al declassified. These would include records of meetings between the Assistant U.S. attorney and officials at the Pentagon, as well as the CIA and other agencies. Routing records for any documents shown or provided to the Justice Department by the U.S. military, the CIA or any other agency that provided documents should have turned up along with briefing notes, memoranda of conversations, and other documents. Such documents would advance our knowledge of the holdings and history of these agencies and their relation to my husband's case in Chile. Where are these files? Finally, not a single National Security Council document was released on Charles Horman on June 30th. Can it be that with the level of controversy generated by the death of this U.S. citizen in Chile in the fall of 1973, and again in the summer of 1976, and by our lawsuit in 1977, 1978, there were no discussions or inquiries or memos generated by top foreign policy officials in the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations? That is just difficult to believe, let alone accept.

I would like to ask specifically for the following help: l) please send a request from your office to all agencies involved in the Chile Declassification Project to provide a compliance report to you on their search, identification and release of documents on the Horman case, and the Teruggi case since it is similar; 2) please provide me with a list of all documents, by agency, date and subject title, located but withheld from declassification during the Chile Declassification Project; 3) please send a final directive to these agencies to scour their files one more time, re-review documents still withheld, and release, on September 14, 2000, every record even remotely related to the death of Charles Horman.

In your February 1, 1999 directive on declassifying documents on Chile, you wrote that the release of these documents would help bring "closure" for the families of General Pinochet's American victims. We profoundly agree with your assessment. Please know that for the Horman family, there will be no closure until all relevant documents are declassified, once and for all.

The Horman family wishes to express our sincere gratitude for your persistence in this matter.


Joyce Horman

cc:  Mr. Arturo Valenzuela, Special Advisor to the President on Inter-American Affairs, NSC
      Senator Edward Kennedy
      Representative Maurice Hinchey
      Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
      Senator Charles Schumer
      Representative Carolyn Maloney
      Mr. William Leary, Senior Director, Records and Access Management, NSC