Negroponte and the death-squad connection

The NY Times’ Feb. 18 front-page profile of John Negroponte, Bush’s appointment as Director of National Intelligence, did at least mention—albeit towards the end, at the bottom of page 16—"allegations that he played down human rights violations in Honduras when their exposure could have undermined the Reagan administration’s Latin American agenda." (NYT, Feb. 18)

The story failed to note that Honduran human rights organizations have held Negroponte personally responsible for the torture and "disappearance" of dissidents, since he was US ambassador in the early ’80s, a time when Honduras was a virtual CIA puppet state—a reality brought back to light by the DC-based Nicaragua Network when Bush appointed Negroponte UN ambassador in 2001.

The Times profile did recall how Negroponte cut his teeth as a foreign service political officer in Vietnam in the ’60s, then served on the National Security Council under Henry Kissinger, then briefly fell out of favor for opposing the 1973 peace accord that ended massive US involvement in the war. He was resurrected in the ’80s, when his experience and hardline stance were useful to the Reagan administration in Central America. He was rewarded for his success in Honduras by being appointed under the first President Bush as ambassador to Mexico—in the critical period when NAFTA was being negotiated.

Actually scoring lower points than the Times is the usually more progressive Newsday, which credulously cites "Vincent Cannistraro, who ran the CIA’s Central American task force at the time, [saying] that Negroponte, whom he knew well, had no knowledge of death squads operating in Honduras."