Negroponte fingered for intelligence czar

John Negroponte has been named by Bush to be the first Director of National Intelligence, a post created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act, recommended by the 9-11 Commission and signed into law in December. If confirmed by the Senate, Negroponte will oversee some 15 agencies, including the CIA, FBI, NSA, Homeland Security Dept., etc. (LAT, Feb. 17)

As Bush’s UN ambassador, Negroponte helped push through the resolutions demanding action if Iraq failed to comply with weapons inspections. Last June, he was appointed US ambassador to a "sovereign" Iraq. (See WW4 REPORT #99)

The Nicaragua Network, a DC-based group still hanging on from the 1980s Central America solidarity movement, is one of the few that seem to recall how Negroponte cut his teeth for counter-insurgency in Iraq (and perhaps now for domestic repression) as ambassador to Honduras in from 1981 to 1985, when the country was established as a staging area for the CIA’s "contra" guerilla army then trying to overturn the revolutionary Sandinista regime in neighboring Nicaragua. Hondurans who protested the handing over a large strip of the national territory to the contras were targeted for death or "disappearance" in those years by a government-linked death squad, the 316 Battalion, which ran a clandestine prison for abducted dissidents. US State Department reports, prepared under Negroponte’s supervision, found that "there are no political prisoners in Honduras."  In 1994, after a public reckoning with the abuses of the previous decade, the Honduran Human Rights Commission charged Negroponte personally with several human rights violations.

Will any of this be mentioned in tommorrow’s NY Times coverage of Negroponte’s nomination?