Former Pinochet Officer, Investigated for Torture and Murder, Taught at Pentagon

‘His hiring undermines our moral authority on both human rights and in the war on terror,’ says former intelligence officer

A former member of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime taught at the Pentagon’s top university for 13 years, despite repeated complaints from his colleagues about his past as a torturer and murderer of political dissidents in the South American nation.

Jaime Garcia Covarrubias is charged in Santiago with leading the executions of seven people in 1973 following a U.S.-backed coup, allegations which the U.S. State and Defense Departments were aware of when they renewed his visa and allowed him to keep teaching at the National Defense University’s William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, according to a McClatchy investigation.

“His hiring undermines our moral authority on both human rights and in the war on terror,” Chris Simmons, a former Defense Intelligence Agency and Army intelligence officer who specializes in Latin America, toldMcClatchy. “If he is in fact guilty of what he is accused of, he is a terrorist. Then who are we to tell other countries how they should be fighting terrorism?”

At Firedoglake, investigative journalist Kevin Gosztola writes:

Attention to Covarrubias’ employment at the National Defense University (NDU) comes just after State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki maintained during a press briefing the US has a “long-standing policy” to not support coups. She suggested the U.S. “does not support political transitions by nonconstitutional means.” They must be “peaceful and legal.”

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