1 September 1996

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Boxer:

I write in response to your letter of August 28, 1996, concerning the allegations made by the San Jose Mercury News that the Central Intelligence Agency engaged in drug trafficking to support the Contras in their effort to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Specifically, the Mercury News alleges or infers a relationship between the Agency and drug smuggling activities in which two Nicaraguan Nationals, Oscar Danilo Blandon Reyes and Juan Norwin Meneses Cantarero, were engaged.

I consider these to be extremely serious charges. The review I ordered of Agency files, including a study conducted in 1988 and briefed to both intelligence committees, supports the conclusion that the Agency neither participated in nor condoned drug trafficking by Contra forces. in particular, the Agency never had any relationship with either Blandon or Meneses, nor did it ever have information concerning either of them withheld in the trial of Rick Ross.

Although I believe there is no substance to the allegations in the Mercury News, I do wish to dispel any lingering public doubt on the subject. Accordingly, I have asked the Agency's Inspector General to conduct an immediate and thorough internal review of all the allegations concerning the Agency published by the newspaper.

I will write again to report to you when the Inspector General's review is completed. I have asked that the review be finished within 60 days.


John Deutch
Director of Central Intelligence Agency