Declassified Documents Reveal Plot to Assassinate Ed Koch

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 10:50 AM

By Courtney Coren

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In 1976, the Chilean secret police plotted to assassinate then-New York Congressman Ed Koch due to his efforts to end $3 million in aid to Uruguay, a close ally to Chile.

The news came to the future New York City mayor from then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush in October 1976, who told Koch that "there's nothing I can do about it," Politico is reporting.

When Koch asked Bush what he should do, the only advice the CIA director had for him was to "be very careful."

Just weeks before, on Sept. 21, the former Chilean ambassador, Orlando Letelier, was assassinated in Washington, D.C., in the middle of morning traffic, which gave the threat significant credibility. Letelier's assassination came after other successful assassinations of supposed traitors by the same group threatening Koch's life.

Violence had broken out in South America after the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, was deposed in 1974 and replaced with Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

According to Politico, Koch decided that the way to defeat the Soviet Union was through a solid human rights agenda, and he didn't think the United States should align with the brutal dictators who were popping up across South America. He wanted to find a way to weaken their stronghold.

Little did he know that his efforts would turn him into a target for several South American countries that were conspiring to take out those who opposed them, according to recently declassified U.S. documents.

While the threat was of great concern, it did not stop Koch's efforts to weaken the South American dictatorships.

In 1977, Koch left Congress to run for New York City mayor, and the South American group that had targeted the former congressman found other opponents.

According to Politico, no one knows how close the group came to attacking Koch.

He died in 2013 in New York City at age 88.

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