New Evidence: Top Intel Nominee Lied About Knowing of Massacre

For Immediate Release

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Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

New Evidence: Top Intel Nominee Lied About Knowing of Massacre

WASHINGTON - ALLAN NAIRN
Currently in Indonesia, Nairn is available for a limited number of interviews with major media outlets. A noted independent journalist, he runs the weblog "News and Comment."

He just wrote the piece "U.S. Intel Nominee Lied About '99 Massacre. U.S., Church Documents Show Adm. Dennis Blair Knew of Church Killings Before Crucial Meeting," which states: "On the eve of his Senate confirmation hearing [January 22], new information has emerged showing that Adm. Dennis Blair -- President Obama's nominee for U.S. Director of National Intelligence -- lied about his knowledge of a terrorist massacre that occured before a pivotal meeting in which Blair offered support and U.S. aid to the commander of the massacre forces.

"The massacre took place at the Liquica Catholic church in Indonesian-occupied East Timor two days before Blair met face-to-face with the Indonesian armed forces commander, Gen. Wiranto (the massacre occurred on April 6, 1999; Blair and Wiranto met April 8). ...

"Blair's support at that crucial April 8 meeting buoyed Wiranto, and his forces increased the Timor killings, which came to include new attacks on churches and clergy, mass arsons, and political rapes."

Nairn noted: "Blair has defended himself by claiming that he went into the meeting with Wiranto not yet knowing of the Liquica massacre. The Associated Press reported this month, in a January 9 dispatch: 'Blair has said he only learned of the massacre a few days after the meeting.' ...

"But now, contemporaneous records have emerged -- from the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, and from the Catholic Church -- showing that the massacre was publicly described by Timor's Bishop one day before the Blair-Wiranto meeting, and that while Blair was in Jakarta preparing for the meeting, U.S. officials who were there with him were discussing the massacre in graphic detail."

BRAD SIMPSON
Simpson is assistant professor of history and international affairs at Princeton University and director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project at the National Security Archive.

He said today: "In written testimony to be delivered to the U.S. Congress today, Director of National Intelligence nominee Adm. Dennis Blair has said that there is 'an obligation to speak truth to power' and 'a need for transparency and accountability' in intelligence work. Blair had such an opportunity when he was confronted with the graphic reality of Indonesian massacres in East Timor in April 1999 and directly instructed to rein in those carrying out the killings. As abundant declassified U.S. documents suggest, however, Blair evaded the truth and chose apologetics over accountability for Indonesian military officials committing crimes in East Timor. This record does not bode well for Adm. Blair's prospects as an agent of the kind of radical reform of intelligence and interrogation tactics that the U.S. needs and that President Obama has promised."
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