24. CONGRESSIONAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: COMPANY MAN
      PROBES CONTRAS

The integrity of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-contra scandal was seriously compromised by the appointment of Thomas Polgar as an investigator. The appointment also might explain why CIA involvement in drug trafficking and the La Penca bombing were not explored during the televised hearings.

During the Vietnam war, Polgar, the CIA station chief in Saigon, was the object of congressional criticism because of his ongoing misinformation campaign to defend a continuing U.S. presence in Vietnam even though his own emergency rooftop departure from the embassy was only two months away. Despite his history of misleading Congress, Polgar was appointed to the Senate panel which raises undeniable conflict-of-interest issues.

Polgar is an active member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), an organization that actively lobbies Congress on behalf of U.S. intelligence activities. He served as a consultant to the Vice President's Task Force on Combating Terrorism, a group loaded with operatives who participated in the covert aid pipeline to the contras, including John Poindexter and Oliver North. He is a paid consultant for a corporate risk-analysis firm that had ties to ex-Nicarguan dictator Anastasio Somoza. And in Vietnam, Polgar worked for Theodore Shackley, a former top CIA official who facilitated arms sales to Iran.

Polgar was one of two investigators who traveled to Costa Rica to investigate such things as contra drug running and the La Penca bombing which was supposed to kill Eden Pastora, the dissident contra leader, but instead killed eight other people including one American journalist.

Evidence supporting CIA involvement in the La Penca bombing and drug trafficking was within reach of Polgar when he arrived in Costa Rica. John Hull, a U.S. rancher based in Costa Rica, would have been a logical witness to interview because of his ties to the supply network and allegations about his involvement in drug running. However, Hull told IN THESE TIMES that he never talked with Polgar. Polgar also failed to interview Peter Glibbery, a key witness to Hull's operation, who is in jail in Costa Rica.

Polgar did interview two reporters from Costa Rica's English language newspaper, THE TICO TIMES, but did not seem interested in hard facts. "His questions were subjective, what we thought about Pastora and Hull", said reporter Beth Hawkins. "Polgar didn't want to hear anything specific -- dates, evidence, sources." Nor did he even ask about La Penca.

As with Watergate, the congressional hearings on the Iran-contra issue could have helped restore credibility to our government; instead, sending a longtime CIA operative to investigate a scandal replete with CIA illegalities only further compromised the integrity of the system.

SOURCE:

IN THESE TIMES, 6/10/87, "Congressional conflict of interest: a CIA good o l' boy probes the network," by Vince Bielski and Dennis Bernstein, pp 6-7.