Henry Kissinger, Operation Condor, Letelier-Moffit Assassination


On September 21st, 1976, Orlando Letelier was assassinated in the streets of Washington, DC. The murky story of the assassination has slowly emerged in the decades since, revealing the key roles of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and Operation Condor. However, with the level of intelligence available to the United States about the Chilean dictatorship, how was the assassination able to take place at all? Was the United States complicit? This paper illuminates the role of the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, in the Letelier-Moffitt assassination by investigating declassified documents from US National Security Archive from the months leading up to the murder. While the existing historical record does not show that Kissinger was directly involved in the Letelier assassination, Kissinger could have prevented this tragedy and failed to. I suggest a variety of possible explanations as to why Kissinger failed to act; however, the full truth remains riddled with secrecy and ambiguity. Until the full historical record is revealed and efforts are made to unshroud the mystery of this story, there will be barriers to believing the words of the government, barriers to collective healing, and there will be barriers to knowing history itself.