The CIA was misled about the Tlatelolco protests because it relied on Mexican presidents as a source of information





Washington, DC, October 16, 2006 - The CIA's reliance on high-level informants including the President and a future President of Mexico for "intelligence" about the student protest movement in 1968 that culminated in the infamous Tlatelolco massacre misled Washington about responsibility for the repression, according to documents obtained by journalist Jefferson Morley and posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The declassified U.S. documents reveal CIA recruitment of agents within the upper echelons of the Mexican government between 1956 and 1969. The informants used in this secret program included President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz and future President Luis Echeverría. The documents detail the relationships cultivated between senior CIA officers, such as chief of station Winston Scott, and Mexican government officials through a secret spy network code-named "LITEMPO." Operating out of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Scott used the LITEMPO project to provide "an unofficial channel for the exchange of selected sensitive political information which each government wanted the other to receive but not through public protocol exchanges."

This posting also includes the article "The CIA's Eyes on Tlatelolco," written by Morley and published in the October 1, 2006 edition of Proceso magazine. The article uses first-hand accounts from former associates, friends and family of Winston Scott, detailing how Scott relied on his friendships with Díaz Ordaz, Echeverría and other senior Mexican officials to inform Washington about the student movement whose demands challenged the government's monopoly on power.

The newly-declassified U.S. government documents and interviews shed new light on the CIA reporting on the terrible events of 1968. Winston Scott's reliance on powerful government officials for information led to one-sided reporting on the student movement of 1968, ending in the 2 October massacre in Tlatelolco. Scott relied on the government's version of the Tlatelolco killings, reporting as "intelligence information" its fictional accounts of the events.

"When the Tlatelolco crisis exploded, the CIA's Mexico station could not deliver the goods," said Kate Doyle, Director of the Archive's Mexico Project. "Jefferson Morley's important research reveals that instead of independently collecting information and analyzing what happened, the agency served as stenographer for its friends and allies in the Mexican government. As a result, the CIA helped protect Mexico's ruling party from bearing responsibility for the massacre, and delivered a muddled and misleading account of it to Washington."


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