priests were used as agents
THE Central Intelligence Agency said last week that it had used only 21 religious personnel for either covert action or the clandestine collection of intelligence, according to a report issued by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
These 21 people were involved in 14 separate "relationships," the report said. Of the 14 separate "relationships," four were operative in August last year and the CIA said they were used "only for intelligence collection, or, in one case, for a minor role in preserving the cover of another asset." The remaining ten "relationships," ended within the last five years.
"In six or seven cases," the report said, "the CIA paid salaries, bonuses or expenses to the religious personnel, or helped to fund projects run by them."
Most of the individuals "were used for covert action purposes. Several were involved in large covert action projects of the mid-60s, which were directed at 'competing' with Communism in the Third World." Some of the religious personnel were involved "in media activity."
The "most damaging" of the recent incidents, the report said, "appears to he that of an American priest serving the CIA as an informant on student and religious dissidence."
It added: "The most serious
Abbot to attend Scots assembly
Abbot Donald McGlynn of Nunraw is to be the official Catholic observer at this year's General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on May IS.
He will he the seventh official Catholic observer to attend.
He has been Abbot of the Cistercian Abbey at Nunraw, near Haddington, East Lothian, since 1969. Last year he became President of the Council of Major Religious Superiors of Scotland. issue is the question of the confidentiality of the relationship among members of the clergy and their congregations."
The report did not name names in any of its sections on religious, journalists or others working secretly with American intelligence agencies.
On February 10, the report said, the CIA announced it had "no secret paid or contractual relationships with any American clergyman or missionary. This practice will he continued as a matter of policy."
The Intelligence Committee said it "welcomes this policy with the understanding that the prohibition against all 'paid or contractual relationships' is in fact a prohibition against any operational use of all Americans following a religious vocation.
"Making operational use of United States religious groups for national purposes both violates their nature and undermines their bonds with kindred groups around the world."
This was the major argument offered by American missionary groups against Church involvement in CIA activities.
The most publicised instance of such co-operation involved a tharge by Fr James Vizzard, S.J., that a Belgian Jesuit. Fr Roger Vekemans, had accepted. 55 million (about £2.7m) in secret funds from the CIA in the early 1960s to help finance an educational programme in
Fr Vekemans has denied the charge, but Fr Vizzard has stuck to his story.
A major concern for American missionaries was the conscious or unknowing providing of information to CIA agents. In many instances, some missionaries complained. a friendly American Embassy official gathering information from a missionary in conversation was in reality a CIAbagent The report cited an eRample of an early relationship between the CIA and religious personnel.