Leon Panetta and the Marxist Institute for Policy Studies
The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is a Marxist think tank that was supportive of communist regimes such as Cuba and Sandinista Nicaragua. Human Events newspaper said:
“IPS…has been a driving force for radical change and socialism in the U.S…and has supported Communist regimes such as Cuba and North Vietnam and CIA defector Philip Agee.”
Perhaps the most controversial figure ever associated with the IPS was Orlando Letelier, the former top official of the Marxist Salvador Allende regime in Chile who was identified as both an associate fellow of IPS and a director of the IPS international branch, the Transnational Institute, which is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Letelier began working for IPS after Allende was overthrown by a popular military coup in 1973.
Letelier was thought to have been opposing the new military regime in Chile because he wanted to restore "human rights" in his native land. But he was exposed by papers found in his briefcase after his murder in 1976 to have been secretly promoting Communist goals, with the assistance of Cuba.
The papers contained a letter addressed to Letelier datelined, "Havana, May 8, 1975," which showed that Letelier had received a $5,000 payment and a promise of another $1,000 a month "from here" to support his activities. The letter was signed by Tati Allende, who was living in Cuba and married to Luis Fernandez Ona, identified by U.S. intelligence as a top official of the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI.
Another important item in the Letelier briefcase was an address book, revealing that Letelier had contacts with Soviet and Cuban officials in Washington and New York, some of them identified by U.S. intelligence as Communist intelligence operatives, as well as a large number of prominent journalists.
One journalist for whom both home and office phone numbers were listed was Laurence Stern, who served as national news editor at the Post. Stem emerged into the spotlight of left-wing activities when he was identified as a "participant" in the 1974 founding conference of the Center for National Security Studies (CNSS), the
When Stern died in 1979, a large, well-dressed, dark-skinned man appeared at his memorial service, shook hands with Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and others, and declared:
"I am from Cuba. I am a Marxist-Leninist. I am human. Larry Stern was one of my friends, one of my best friends. I loved him."
The speaker was Teofilo Acosta, a first secretary at the Cuban Interests Section (Castro's embassy) in Washington, and one of the many Communist-bloc contacts that Letelier had listed in his address book. A defector from the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI, identified Acosta as a.Cuban intelligence agent.
Panetta and his wife were members of the “Celebration Committee” that highlighted the 20th anniversary of IPS in 1983, the same year the organization launched a series of conferences with the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada, a front for Soviet intelligence activities.
For more on the IPS, please read ASI President Cliff Kincaid’s report, “The Institute for Policy Studies and America's Enemies.”