WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration conceded last night that money was still flowing from the CIA to Guatemala's military intelligence services but said that the bulk of those payments would be suspended immediately. Senior officials said that Secretary of State Warren Christopher misspoke when he said Sunday that the payments had ceased.
The officials acknowledged that the record on the "liaison" payments needed to be corrected. The payments bought information on military matters, internal Guatemalan politics and the army's long war against a small guerrilla force, and included outright bribery.
On Sunday, Mr. Christopher, speaking on the CBS News program "Face the Nation," declined three times to give a "yes or no" answer to questions about CIA financing before finally asserting that he was confident that such payments had ceased.
A senior administration official said last night that the "liaison" payments, which totaled as much as $7 million a year during the Bush administration but dwindled considerably in recent years, would be suspended immediately.