The Curios Case Of The Stolen CIA Files

Who is trying to sabotage efforts to get to the bottom of human rights abuses in El Salvador — abuses that likely have a US connection?

A break-in targeting information about a lawsuit against the CIA is the latest in a string of apparently related thefts, data breaches and armed attacks against human rights workers who are investigating abuses committed during El Salvador’s bloody civil war in the 1980s.

Most recently, an unknown party broke into the office of Angelina Godoy, director of the University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights(CHR), and stole her computer and hard drive. These contained sensitive information and testimony regarding the Center’s ongoing investigations into human rights violations in El Salvador.

The hard drive also contained information about a lawsuit against the CIA that the CHR filed a few weeks before the theft. The suit alleges that the CIA — citing national security reasons — illegally withheld documents from CHR regarding US involvement in the country’s 12-year civil war.

The lawsuit also requests documents regarding Col. Sigifredo Ochoa Perez, a Salvadoran commander trained by US forces at the School of the Americas. Perez, who was a member of the country’s parliament until retiring earlier this year, is accused of leading a notoriously brutal government brigade responsible for two massacres of unarmed civilians, in 1981 and 1982. He is currently under investigation by Salvadoran authorities for his role in those massacres.

There were no signs of forced entry into Godoy’s office, no other valuables were taken, and the thieves didn’t take anything from other offices near the break-in site. While the CHR and UW Police can’t rule out common crime, the timing is suspicious...


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