An article yesterday on the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act incorrectly stated that half of $60 million in CIA covert aid for rebel forces in Angola is to be set aside in a restricted account, subject to release by the two congressional intelligence committees. Only half of the "lethal assistance" to the rebel forces, or about $15 million, is to be set aside. (Published 10/25/90)
Senate and House intelligence conferees agreed yesterday to cut covert aid to anti-government forces in Afghanistan by more than 10 percent, and also ordered a reduction in secret funding for the non-communist resistance in Cambodia, according to informed sources.
Aid to rebel groups in Afghanistan was pegged at $250 million, a reduction of $30 million from last year's level, the sources said. In addition, they said, half the money is be held in reserve, its release subject to further congressional approval.
The covert aid allocations were contained in a classified section of the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act, which conferees reported out yesterday along with a 75-page public report.
The report sets out new rules for the conduct of Central Intelligence Agency covert actions and calls for less duplication of effort in military intelligence agencies. It also contained rare public discussions of the CIA's aid programs in Angola and Cambodia, although details and funding levels remained classified.
Under the new rules for covert action, the president must approve each such action in writing and may not retroactively approve covert actions that have taken place. But excluded from the definition of "covert action" -- and thus from the need for explicit presidential approval -- are disinformation and propaganda programs, "traditional counterintelligence activities" such as double-agent operations, "traditional military activities" such as hostage-rescue operations and activities whose "primary purpose" is to collect intelligence.
The conferees said assistance to the non-communist resistance (NCR) in Cambodia may not include weapons and must comply with existing law prohibiting support for the Khmer Rouge, with which the NCR has been allied. More than a million Cambodians died when the country was under Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 until the Vietnamese invaded in 1979.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted last summer to cut off all funds for the NCR, estimated at $10 million for military training and supplies, but the House committee restored some of the funds.
The conferees agreed to keep covert aid alive, but emphasized that it should be used to "promote the Cambodian peace settlement" and be transformed soon into "an overt, acknowledged program of U.S. assistance."
Congressional support for the Afghan rebels has been diminishing since Moscow withdrew its troops last year and Islamic fundamentalist factions of the resistance began expressing increased hostility toward the United States. There is also growing concern about reports of heroin trafficking by some Afghan guerrillas and Pakistani military officers.
The conferees authorized a full $60 million in CIA aid for Jonas Savimbi's rebel army in Angola, sources said, but ordered half of that amount put in "a restricted account." The two intelligence committees would have to act separately on any administration request for release of the money.
In an effort to encourage the Soviet-backed regime in Luanda to move toward a settlement, the conferees also provided for suspension of lethal aid to Savimbi's forces -- now slightly under $30 million a year -- if President Bush certifies that the Angolan government is moving toward a cease-fire, proposes "a reasonable and specific timetable" for free and fair elections and that the Soviet Union has withdrawn its military support and advisers from the country.
If Bush does not make such a certification by next March 31, the conferees require him to submit a report explaining why and what additional measures are needed for certification.