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U.S. PROBE OF GUATEMALA DEATHS FINDS NO CRIMINAL WRONGDOING

A Justice Department inquiry into how U.S. officials dealt with two killings in Guatemala linked to the CIA has yet to find any criminal wrongdoing, according to Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick.

But the department has not received reports on similar inquiries by the CIA inspector general, the National Security Agency and the Pentagon, she said at a news conference Thursday.A separate FBI criminal investigation into allegations that NSA and Army records about the killings were being destroyed also "should be wrapped up shortly," Gorelick said. That probe also has found no criminality so far, according to a senior department official, who demanded anonymity.

The inquiries were ordered by President Clinton after Rep. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., alleged last month that the CIA hid the involvement of one of its informants, Lt. Col. Julio Alpirez, in the death of American innkeeper Michael Devine in 1990 and the death of Guatemalan rebel commander Efrain Bamaca Velasquez in 1992.

The Justice Department inspector general "is specifically looking at what the CIA told us, what we understood from their report, what we understood our obligations to be, how we followed up, etc., and if there are lessons to be learned from that, we will learn them and use them," Gorelick said.

"Right now, we do not have any basis for a criminal inquiry on the larger issue, apart from the obstruction of justice" being examined by the FBI, Gorelick said. "But we don't have the basic information yet from our colleagues in the rest of the government.

"Once all of those are done, the Department of Justice will look at the complete picture" and decide whether any criminal investigation is warranted, she said. After that, the Intelligence Oversight Board will begin a broad inquiry into CIA activity in Guatemala.

An interim report to the National Security Council early this month from the Justice Department's inspector general said the CIA told Justice Department officials about the Devine killing in 1991 and wanted to go after Alpirez, but Justice Department officials concluded Alpirez could not be indicted under U.S. law because the killing was not a terrorist act meant to influence a government, officials have said.