From............. VEIL


ISBN: 0-671-60117-2

Page 242

IF CASEY WAS going to sell the Nicaragua operation in the Democratic House, he would have to hold conservative Democrats from the South and the West. One such person was Dave K. McCurdy, a thirty-three year-old Democratic congressman from Oklahoma, who had joined the House Intelligence Committee that January. An Administration friend and avidly pro-defense, McCurdy was assumed to buy the whole Reagan foreign-policy and defense-program package. In a private conversation, Casey told McCurdy that the CIA would "do whatever it takes" to influence the Sandinista government. McCurdy had a feeling of slipperiness in his discussions with Casey.

At one hearing, McCurdy asked Casey how much the Sandinistas were spending on schools, roads and hospitals in their country.

"I don't know," Casey snapped. There was a tone of intolerance that reverberated through the secure committee room on the top floor of the Capitol building. It was a small room, and the congressmen were arranged around a built-in horseshoe table. Casey was on edge. He was making it clear that he found the hearing tedious and McCurdy's inquiry silly and irrelevant.

McCurdy asked whether this was because Casey himself didn't know, or whether the CIA didn't have the information. "What's your point, Mr. Congressman?" Casey asked. "I grew up in rural Oklahoma," McCurdy said, "and you ought to understand why we are Democrats in rural Oklahoma."

McCurdy went on to explain about FDR's New Deal and the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) that had brought the farmers of Oklahoma into the twentieth century. And the question, he said, is whether the Sandinistas are on that road. Are they winning the people?

Casey got the point and became somewhat more approachable. The Catholic Church was opposing the Sandinistas, he said, and if there were truly free elections in Nicaragua the Sandinistas would not win.

Mr. Woodward does not inform his readers that head

of the CIA William Casey was a Knight of Malta Roman Catholic.