Note to Gonzales on CIA Prosecution Preceded Firing of U.S. Attorney
"It's second nature to the CIA," says the former official. "Somebody's causing trouble. Get rid of them."
Although a CIA official described such a possibility as baseless, it does in fact have a precedentand strangely enough, that precedent also was set in the San Diego U.S. attorney's officemore than two decades ago.
In 1982, the CIA pressured President Ronald Reagan to fire U.S. Attorney William Kennedy, who wanted to indict Miguel Nazar Haro, the former chief of the Federal Security DirectorateMexico's secret policefor his involvement in an $8 million car-theft ring that had smuggled about 600 stolen American cars and vans from Southern California to Mexico. Kennedy complained that the CIA was blocking the indictment because, as it turned out, Haro was the agency's asset in Mexico City. Kennedy also accused the Justice Department of dragging its feet on the indictment because of the CIA pressure. After Kennedy was fired, says the former Justice official, senior CIA officials "acted like gunslingers" and warned other Justice officials not to take on the agency or a similar fate could befall them.
But an intelligence official from another agency, who is familiar with the Haro case, said that it had taken place a long time ago, when times were very different. Today's CIA, he said, would not be stupid enough to pull off such a tactic. But when that search warrant was served, says the former Justice official, the CIA would have been stunned.
"In the words of Bart Simpson," he said, "they were having a cow."