Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, said yesterday that he is not satisfied with the Reagan administration position that it is not supplying aid directly or indirectly to Nicaraguan "contra" rebel groups.
In an interview, Addabbo said "we had certain information" that prompted him to ask Secretary of State George P. Shultz in a letter earlier this month whether U.S. aid to Israel, Honduras and/or El Salvador was being passed to rebel groups seeking to overthrow Nicaragua's leftist Sandinista government. Congress cut off direct U.S. aid to those groups last year.
Shultz replied, according to Addabbo, that U.S. aid is strictly controlled and not being passed on but said Washington has no control over what other governments do with their funds.
"No, I'm not satisfied," Addabbo said. "It wasn't a fishing expedition . . . . I believe something is there."
Addabbo said he plans to summon administration officials to subcommittee hearings next month "to find out how much control they do have" over aid money. "I can give a dollar to help you and you go give your own dollar to help some other guy. That means you don't need my dollar in the first place," Addabbo said.
He added that high-ranking Israeli officials have convincingly denied providing aid to the rebels and said he believes that the aid is coming "from other channels."
Rebel groups have estimated that they receive $1 million a month in military and humanitarian aid from private and international sources.
The administration has requested $14 million for the Central Intelligence Agency to provide a fourth year of aid to the rebel groups, which claim to have more than 15,000 armed fighters attacking economic and military targets in Nicaraguan border areas.
Critics have opposed the program on grounds that its covert nature makes it difficult to control and to discuss publicly, and they have argued that the rebels have engaged in murder, torture and other human-rights violations.