Chilean Junta Plotted To Kill Then-NYC Mayor Ed Koch
“I’m sorry, Ed. There’s nothing I can do.” That’s what a new book says then-CIA boss George H. W. Bush told then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch about threats made against him by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. As a congressman, Koch had made statements against South America’s fascist generalissimos.
Ed Koch’s status as a beloved New York City mayor hid a shocking untold history: the late politician was the target of a widespread South American terror operation’s 70s-era assassination plot, a new book revealed Tuesday.
While still serving as a New York congressman working to oust ruthless despots from beleaguered countries like Chile and Uruguay, Koch received a phone call in 1976 from then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush telling the future mayor to watch his back.
Just days before, Washington saw its worst act of terror ever when an exiled Chilean ambassador was snuffed out with a car bomb on Embassy Row. Bush called to tell Koch he was next, and there was nothing he could do.
‘Listen, my agents have gotten news that there’s a contract out on your life,’ Bush told the horrified four-term congressman in a conversation recalled to author John Dinges by Koch.
In Dinges’ book The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents, the author reveals that Bush and the CIA knew of the South American terror network’s designs on Koch but failed to tell him until the headline grabbing death of Orlando Letelier.