David Atlee Phillips (right) and the composite sketch
of Antonio Veciana's "Maurice Bishop" (left)
LIBEL SUIT ENDS
CHALLENGE-BACKED RETIRED CIA OFFICER WINS RETRACTION
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT OF RETRACTION WAS MADE A PART OF THE PUBLIC RECORD IN THE UNITED STATES COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON FEBRUARY 14, 1986 IN SETTLEMENT OF A SUIT FILED BY DAVID ATLEE PHILLIPS AGAINST THE AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS OF THE BOOK "DEATH IN WASHINGTON"
On June 25, 1980, a press conference was held in Washington, D.C., at the Methodist Church at 502 Maryland Avenue, N.E., 20002. Participants in the press conference were Donald Freed, Fred Simon Landis, William F. Pepper and John Cummings.
At the press conference, an invited media audience was told that David Atlee Phillips, a former officer of the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA"), headed a conspiracy to cover up facts concerning the assassination of former Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier, and Phillips and other ex-intelligence officers were accused of a number of crimes. Further, it was stated that the Association of Former Intelligence Officers ("AFIO"), a non-profit organization of ex-intelligence men and women from all intelligence services, was involved as an institution in the crimes attributed to Mr. Phillips. These allegations were made orally and in printed material distributed at the press conference.
In October 1980, Death in Washington, a non-fiction book co-authored by defendants Freed and Landis, with an introduction by William F. Pepper, was published. The book repeated and elaborated on the charges against Mr. Phillips and other former intelligence officers, and AFIO. Mr. Phillips was accused of the following crimes in the period after he retired from CIA: obstruction of justice; being an accessory after the fact to murder; an accessory before the fact to murder; conspiracy to defame; and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Further, in addressing the circumstances of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the book contained a photograph of Mr. Phillips, captioned "The Other Lee Harvey Oswald."
The undersigned defendants, Freed and Landis, now retract any charges or allegations that they have made against Mr. Phillips, individually or collectively, publicly or privately. They had no intention of charging or suggesting that Mr. Phillips played any role in the assassination of Orlando Letelier, that he was an accessory before or after the fact of that murder, or that he had any connection with Lee Harvey Oswald. They regret that any such statement or implication found its way into the press conference or into Death in Washington.
As to the other charges, because of Mr. Phillips' long career in the CIA, secrecy requirements imposed by the CIA and enforced by the courts made it difficult for Messrs. Freed and Landis to secure necessary evidence for their accusations.
The undersigned authors, after requesting that the above-captioned actions [Civil Actions No. 81-1407 and No. 81-2578] be settled out of court, have agreed to a financial settlement with the plaintiff.
Lawrence Hill & Co. Publishers, Inc. published Death in Washington. In the light of the foregoing statements by the authors, the publisher expresses its regrets that the book as published contained the statements now retracted by the authors.
/s/ Donald Freed, Fred Simon Landis, John Cummings, and Lawrence C. Hill Publisher.
For additional information contact:
Post Office Box 34320
Bethesda, Maryland 20817
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