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We're all sometimes pleasant gentleman and I want to thank you all for coming with us today. George Bush for the CIA. I think I know you're stuck on time so I'll take anything further out which to you I'm pleased to be back. Boston looking forward to meeting tonight with the Middlesex club. The withdrawal symptoms from getting out of public life after 10 years are gradually subsiding. I came here from Houston and I'll go back to Euston and though I do plan to try to stay active in politics in the future and also try to keep up my interest in foreign affairs in the future. And I have no game
plan I'm now involved in one or two business enterprises there and I must confess to missing. Government assignments that I've had on the other hand why it's nice to be able to participate in politics again as well so that very brief brief combo's brief comments please let me try to answer or dodge your questions depending on how deeply you want to probe into matters that I might feel inclined not to discuss because of my security agreements that are still as far as I'm concerned. In fact Mr. Bush's spokesman actually a member of the delegation of the U.N. commission here writes US dollar today probably apologize for what he said was a USA version of the Marxist government of late President Salvador Allende in Chile. So you feel appropriate. Well I don't I didn't see the apology I don't know the context of it was it was a lone stand which I was pretty
tight with a fellow that we could call Mr. Tyson he says I know who we is and therefore I don't really have any any any feeling I mean I have when I was director of the Central Intelligence Agency I get asked all the time about a year and the atter affirmed of the Senate report as they left on Friday. Bill the foreign intelligence capability second to none and not look back so I'm not I'm not sure I would have done that frankly. You feel good from what you do know what you can tell us the United States was perhaps guilty of wrongdoing in Chile either through the CIA or any other agency. Well I don't think the presidents who approved the actions felt so at the time. You know it's hard to how one would judge the Bay of Pigs in this in this climate I mean in those in those days. A problem that a lot of people had with the Bay of Pigs was that it didn't work.
And I but these times of change and conditions of change you gotta new new mores that affect not only political action but affect political campaign contributions and all of these things so I don't I'm not one who feels that one ought to go back and use 977 moral judgments to pass historic pass judgment on things that happened. Then I simply want to get bogged down into them are you more right or the right direction. Some are sure some are on the other hand I was very pleased the other day too. When I saw President Carter speak out rather forcefully on the need for secrecy in certain things for example some say that was inconsistent with his campaign but I don't think so I think he wasn't addressing himself as narrowly in the campaign as he was when he became president. To a certain specific thing so I think generally the new mores are good particularly in the field to
mention campaign financing and these things I encourage that I was when I was a member of Congress was you know I think rather in advanced ahead of my time in terms of financial disclosure and that kind of thing so I felt that there's plenty of need for that how I'm going to move forward. Or do we get our money's worth. Well of course I'm not going to comment on. Anything about the payments but I would simply say that I concur with the president's statement where he found nothing illegal or immoral in regards to what he looked into. Do you believe it's appropriate role for the Central Intelligence Agency to engage in a destabilization or overthrow of former governments. You said you don't want to look retrospectively do you think this is the sort of thing that the CIA should be engaged in the future. Well let me make let me make of trying to clarify because questions I've been asked on CIA all so far all indicated very overwhelming interest and covert
action very little intelligence on the intelligence side of the CIA's its major function it produces foreign intelligence collects intelligence and produces intelligence that's its role. It does it very well indeed. A figure that was used was a covert action which used to be a big percentage of the budgeting is less than something like 2 percent of the entire CIA budget. And for those who looked into it they know that overthrowing governments is not a day to day operation northwoods something that occupies any kind of resource now. If indeed let me ask you I'll answer your question by proposing a hypothetical one. If we all it had ninety nine hundred percent hindsight and we had saw seen at all Hitler coming down the
pike. And we could have seen but by supporting an opposition party in Germany to Hitler which may have destabilized Hitler it might have saved the world the lives of two million Jews and many allied soldiers and many Soviet soldiers. My question to you sir would be would political action of this case and in this case have been worthwhile. And I think most people would answer yes so every president has found it somewhere in between a. Doing nothing and having a full military action that a covert capability has been needed by his by his country and the way it works now is it's properly staffed out. It is there's findings by signed off on by the secretaries of state secretary defense attorney generals an observer of this director of central intelligence and the president in writing makes a finding then it's reported to seven committees the United States Congress so
I think the interest of the American people are adequately protected by these procedures and that's not to say that the new administration will come by her. So I understand you properly that you do believe that it is a proper role even if sometimes a 2 percent rule for the CIA to engage in destabilization or active overthrow if you will but there again I'm just let me trade up misled you. The 2 percent is not entirely if you are or even if. A small a small percent of the 2 percent might be deep destabilization. A lot of things might be supporting existing regimes So you knew I'm not going to go into detail on covert action but I think if a president under the procedures that are followed would take action that would de-stabilize a Hitler. I would be one who would support that yes. How do we protect the interests of the American people against the interests of some of the multinationals it might be more influential and could the American people
generally in some of these decisions that are made about covert activities. I don't think the multinational speaking from my own experience have a damn thing to do with what decisions are reached in terms of anything I'm talking about since I've been director at absolutely nothing. If you're Bush I don't think that's even a concern in talking about the moral climate. How do you feel that considering the sudden urge to constantly get things out in the public and away from either covert activities or payments or what have you that intelligence gathering agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency can be effective. Can it do its job. Yes we have to be out in the open. It can do its job it is we are producing in my view. The best foreign intelligence in the world. I think it's an oppressive intelligence and a lot of it of course a lot of intelligence is collected from overt sources. As you may know we're all around the world. But
I think it I think it can work. I do favor and I said so when I was director to consolidated oversight as opposed to proliferation of oversight I made 51 trips as director in something like eight months Congress was in session reporting to the Congress now that was fine and our staff did much more but there's a certain few placation of effort that I think President Carter properly addressed himself to the other day that yes we can do what your question asked and are doing it in my opinion. So you don't feel the congressional watchdogs or rendering agency which was you know I don't in fact I think it's been a I think congressional oversight is. A very appropriate function of the Congress and I think the Central Intelligence Agency should cooperate fully with the properly constituted committees and it is as far as I know it was I can guarantee you when I was there cooperating fully.
So I don't I don't I was concerned when I first went there at the end of the kind of the hysteria that surrounded some of the public some of the disclosures allegations some true some false as to whether people would come forward and volunteer sensitive information if they thought they were going to read their names in the paper. But that I think is that is quieted somewhat and I don't think that that's proving to be detrimental to the production of good intelligence. Recently Newsday the Long Island publication printed allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency used bacteriological agents specifically the African Swine Fever Virus in in Cuba to quote destabilize unquote. During your term as director of the Central Intelligence allegation incidentally totally false. And it was printed Incidentally I mean if I could interrupt a second it was picked up and used by an editorial in The New York Times to say that if we're not
saying whether it's doing it or not but if it's doing this kind of thing therefore we need certain controls on the agency that has been officially denied by the CIA. But it's very difficult to prove negatives in this but my basic question is during your term as the director of the CIA did you ever authorize any use of any chemical or biological warfare agents. No I did not but I think it's properly against the law and properly covered in the President's Executive Order eleven 9 0 5 which says don't do that. So but we're still living with those kinds of allegations falso way maybe. And I'm surprised that that is even even a source does the question does the other states point out does the other side use such occasions. Not going to comment on that. Do you feel we are the nice guys of the intelligence community or the Soviets as nice as we really are. Well I don't know what you mean I was not going to talk about not using
not using chemical or biological agents that this would be against the law and it is to get suppress executive are we the only country that worries about things like that. I expect we will worry more about him than other less open societies Yes. And you don't but you don't feel that personally intelligence gathering function. Well I don't think use of chemical chemicals like this has a damn thing to do with the gathering of intelligence. But what about the sand separating those two OK what about the 2 percent rule of subversion that you talk while out of place I feel I must be let far lesser take you and I thought first place I tried to suggest and separate out that covert action does not necessarily mean subversion. And 2 percent was a figure of less than 2 percent that's used for covert action. It was a figure that was made public sometime last year compared with maybe 40 or 50 percent in the past. So now it was a question again. Do you feel that we are hurting. Are you feel that the CIA's be hurt. It's
total overall actions by perhaps going along with certain rules and regulations that I say right now I don't think so I do worry about. And I so inform some of the senators of that that we ought to take a look at some of the guidelines on counterintelligence. I worry that whether those guidelines have been drawn too narrowly to make our counterintelligence capability less effective than it might be but I don't worry about it in terms of the production of intelligence. What would you say we have you surmise best for the whole of religion. There was a lot of money on it. Michael how much book I wonder if you are people who money was remember when you were your own confirmation hearings as head of the CIA you would just come from where you are you are as a result of this. Son of God why do you go over there you know don't really work so you are right there in front you know and I think
that's a good thing for a moment. Well I think that's a very good point there are some things we do know but facts certain and there are some things when specially when you get into the field of intentions governmental changes in a very highly controlled closed society works extremely difficult to to know everything so I hope I haven't left the impression that when I say we have the best that we know everything there is to know but I think there are some areas where it is almost impossible to predict changes what's going to happen so the intelligence is less than perfect but it's still the best there is water for a man who is No. Well that's not true that we never heard of him. You and I have heard of it but I had not thought that he would become president become premier of China. I needed Madame which I was reminded of after trying to give us a restaurant recently with prison.
So that the CIA as it now stands has got the call and he was much more focused too heavily on what kind of gadget free space satellites with not enough on the human eye. Probably why we should need more human covert voile so gallantly clandestinely pointed out. You'll excuse the professional professional. I don't I don't I don't I don't agree with that I do think that there is much more emphasis on technological means of collection but I think you need a combination I think we're getting and I have indicated and I thought you know that there are some concerns as to whether you're getting all you can from clandestine sources and when an agent thinks that his name's going to be spread over that some newspaper or other there's a likelihood of bits of that happening in his thus showing damage to him and his family. So I doubt that you know I'm sure some don't come forward that might want to volunteer the information but I would expect Mr. Hart
is out of touch too and doesn't know exactly how that's working now so I think there I think he puts his finger on a general point of this. You know that it is worth some analysis but I'm not concerned about you know Castro and a couple of recent interviews have alleged all sorts of Youri intricate and sort of strange plots against his life by such things as Machine Gun fact cameras and all sorts of attempts to poison him without breaking your oath of security or what have you is Mr Castro need being accurate or is he perhaps only in many of his statements relating to the CIA for example of downing the plane in the Barbados a while back and or simply one trip. Fortunately many times he speaks five. Most people recognize that he is not. Speaking truth and what about attempts on his life with their CEO. I refer you to the Senate investigations board where there are
valid concerns of those also. Right. Well I guess some of the senators that are in that way the majority of them currently on the committee felt that way. Oh well my feelings was that if he'd answered you know hung in there and gone through the rather difficult and tough questioning and satisfied the Senate on the points they raise that he could have been an effective director I know I just hark back to my own confirmation hearings for where the where the problems were somewhat different but it wasn't a bed of roses and I know you were in the trenches activity and doing live very there is it is the hearings very emotional hearings were drawing you can close and all kinds of allegations were made as to whether I could effectively run that agency or whether an outsider like me particularly one with a political past could get the support from the intelligence community
and I found that once I was confirmed I did get the support of the intelligence community and I wouldn't have been confirmed though if I couldn't have answered certain. Once to the satisfaction of the Senate so if he'd been confirmed I think you could have done the job right. Man it was too much up on Capitol Hill right now there's a lot of controversy over these this pair of assassinations. Would you care to comment on whether or not the house is wasting its time trying to dig into these two cases. Well I don't I don't I really haven't followed Kay Graham the details of it since I left Washington a few weeks ago. My own view when I was at the agency was at the agency and I know the bureau I would feel the same way about the bureau should cooperate fully with the committees of the committee in order to do one thing and laid to rest the understandable that out there that exists in the American people's minds about the assassination of President Kennedy and
and Martin Luther King. I mean and so do you feel that there's been satisfactory answers to both of those assassinations the so I haven't looked into it enough personally in terms of the detail but I'm the only question I got and the only problem I got in answering your question is I'm not sure that the hearings as there are now. Going forward could indeed have the credibility to lay to rest the uncertainties that exist but my position was when I was in as director and remains that the agency should cooperate fully and hope in and I would hope that out of what happened the doubt that exists in many people's minds would be laid to rest. I am convinced the CIA has absolutely nothing to hide and that kind of an investigation. Mr. Bush your appearance your live you going to be discussing the CIA or you can be talking about rebuilding the Republican Party. I'm going to be talking a little bit about the combination of where
I think. The world is in terms of what kind of the potential for peace and then about the Republican Party. I'm not going to be discussing the CIA you know because you state some people saying maybe writing are jeopardizing others say oh yeah foreign policy you know I say wait and say Bill Safire it was take time wait and see how that works. As of now that was the coverage you signed years you have it I guess you were I don't think that I don't think the returns are in yet. And therefore you certainly respect a person feel strongly about human rights. But one also various positions I've been in I realize the great sensitivity in terms of the internal affairs of the country. And therefore I'd say it's just it's just really too hard to say how it's going. Bill Safire has a candidate for president United States care to comment.
Ten O'Clock News
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George Bush in Boston
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Ten O'Clock News was a nightly news show, featuring reports, news stories, and interviews on current events in Boston and the world.
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Former CIA director George H. W. Bush speaks on national security and foreign affairs. In regards to relations with South American countries, Bush explains his belief that one should not use 1977 morals to pass judgment on events that happened in the past. Denies allegations that the CIA used the African Swine Fever Virus in Cuba to "destabilize". Also denies that he ever authorized any use of chemical or biological warfare agents. He touches briefly on his potential candidacy for presidency.
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Chicago: “Ten O'Clock News; George Bush in Boston,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 28, 2021,
MLA: “Ten O'Clock News; George Bush in Boston.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 28, 2021. <>.
APA: Ten O'Clock News; George Bush in Boston. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from