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Congressional Record, Volume 131, Number 48, April 23, 1985



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United States of America Congressional "Record th PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 99 CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION Vol. 131 WASHINGTON, TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 1985 So. 48 Senate Mr. HECHT. Mr. President. The subject under discussion today is covert action concerning Nicaragua. This subject is of grave importance for the nations concerned and indeed the whole Caribbean-Central American region. What needs to be emphasized is that the position the United States takes on this issue now has far-reaching strategic consequences for relationships between the United States and the Soviet Union. It will also materially affect the fate of lesser totalitarian dictatorships like Cuba and many small nations struggling to keep free and independent of Communist internal rule or Soviet predominance. It is an exceptional situation confronting this country and the Congress has a heavy responsibility to deal with it wisely. Covert action by the intelligence agencies of the U.S. Government should be an exceptional act, but it is entirely legitimate when it is Presiden-tially authorized to carry out essential national security programs abroad when overt means are inappropriate or will not suffice to counter a serious threat to American interests. Such a threat exists in Central America today. The crucial conflict zone is Nicaragua, where a dictatorship supported directly by the Soviet Union and Cuba is trying to suppress liberty inside Nicaragua and export violence and instability across its borders. I wish to state categorically that I believe it is within the constitutional prerogatives of the President as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Chief Executive of the U.S. Government to authorize covert special activities by intelligence agencies to support national foreign policy objectives abroad in ways that conceal and do not acknowledge publicly the role of the United States when this course is safer or more effective than open military operations. Finally, we must turn to the key question of whether covert action is justified now. It is a much broader question. It is one the Congress must examine with their eyes fixed on long term challenges to the security of our Nation, its moral values, and political institutions. ! As one who has served as a counterintelligence agent behind the Iron Curtain, I say yes, covert action in Central America is juistified because the kind of covert action in which we are, or ought to be, engaged is both strategic and defensive. By this I mean it is designed to counter the forward thrust of Soviet political and military domination of important regions of the globe. The 1980's certainly present a grave challenge to the future of American national security, economic well-being, and the political process of representative government in an open society. Political oppression and outright captivity are widespread in our troubled time. It is possible, though not inevitable, that this decade is one of the permanent turning points in history. The fate of Nicaragua could be one of those turning points. It is conceivable that the Russians could, by superior forward political planning, create a worldwide trend toward totalitarian governments ruled by one-party Communist dictatorships hostile to the United States and other open societies. Stalin in his own heyday hoped for exactly this achievement. He made a mighty surge forward in both East Europe and Northeast Asia but failed to achieve a decisive preponderance of power. It is patently still the strategy of the leaders of the Soviet Union to increase and expand the reach of their power, neutralizing U.S. military capabilities with the threat of nuclear war implicit in the gigantic Soviet military weapons buildup of the 1970's and destroying the political will of non-Communist countries to pay the price of local and regional self-defense. This Leninist strategy is long-established and well understood by Communist party leaders. Russian leaders believe in the maxim, enunciated by their one-time Chinese comrade, Mao Tse-Tung, that political power grows from the barrel of a gun. They want to dominate and exploit the resources and the technology of the world. They have no fixed timetable. They prefer to win concessions from weak and fearful foreign governments without actually waging wars that would damage the economic infrastructure whose output they covet. Consequently, the United States faces a persistent hostile behavior pattern in conflicts below the level of organized, declared warfare. Make no mistake: Our form of free society and our influence abroad are the targets of the conflict in Central America above and beyond the local stakes. What Soviet Communist leaders have in mind is the gradual psychological undermining of national will in target States and the establishment of political control when local circumstances permit. The process is not easy to contain. It is like ocean waves eroding shores of freedom. The United States should use every diplomatic and informational device at its disposal to explain that the "War of National Liberation" waged in Central America from a base in Nicaragua is simply Leninist double talk for a, war destabilizing governments cooper-, ative with the United States by terror-, ism, political revolutionary action, and guerrilla warfare. These wars are fought to create a new Communist dictatorship beholden to Moscow. With extensive Soviet and Cuban guidance, the Sandinista regime is close to establishing a typical Leninist-model dictatorship over a small nation whose people want to have political and economic freedom. A new nation under Communist control often provides a base for exporting revolution to other neighboring States marked for the next destabilizing assault. Nicaragua is playing this role, supplying the arms and leadership for guerrilla war against El Salvador where a pluralist elected government struggles for stability. President Reagan accurately views Nicaragua as a classical case of a revolution that raised Democratic hopes but went sour in the totalitarian mode. Nicaragua thus became a State created by terrorism directly sponsoring further terrorism around it. The Sandinista regime in Nicaragua exhibits all the elements of the spreading danger of State-sponsored terrorism. The criminal nature of the acts, the clear identity of the State sponsors as perpetrators, the admitted Leninist revolutionary strategic objective, the intended totalitarian outcome' and violent methods can be seen in detail in the events that have taken place over 6 years. To implement an active counter-measure policy against State-sponsored terrorism, the United States must be prepared to have recourse to a full range of responses. There is no easy solution that guarantees success. We must meet our own responsibilities to defend American interests and the security of friendly States or groups abroad in order to maintain American ideals and goals. Secretary Shultz argues that U.S. responsibilities as a leader of the free world require bold action, at times covert in the sense that the detailed moves as distinct from the policy must be kept so as to pre-empt revolution^ ary successes by Soviet sponsored forces. He said: If we shrink from leadership, we create a vacuum into which our adversaries can move. Our national security suffers, our global interests suffer, and yes, the worldwide struggle for democracy suffers. While Secretary Shultz did not specify when or how defensive and deterrent measures should be employed, he made it clear that both covert paramilitary assistance and open military support can justifiably be extended to "those struggling against the imposition of Communist tyranny" on the basis of the "inherent right of individual and collective self-defense against aggression." It is unthinkable to me that the Congress of the United States can take a stand on the other side of this grave issue.