The White House has ordered three government agencies not to cooperate with a potentially embarrassing congressional investigation into Panamanian Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega's activities, the New York Times said on Thursday.
The investigation by the General Accounting Office is focusing on how information about drug trafficking by foreign officials influences U.S. decisions on foreign policy.The newspaper quoted Roger Feldman, the State Department comptroller, as saying all "executive branch agencies have been instructed by the White House" not to provide any of the requested information or documents until further notice.
The State Department, the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency have been ordered not to cooperate, the New York Times said.
The newspaper said the White House had instructed Defense Department officials to suspend cooperation in mid-July.
Noriega was indicted in February on drug trafficking charges by two federal grand juries in Florida. He refused a Reagan administration offer to drop the charges if he left Panama.
The investigation could touch on politically sensitive matters like the question of when Vice President George Bush, former head of the CIA, learned Noriega might be involved in drug trafficking, the newspaper said.
It said Noriega provided political intelligence to the U.S. government for years and U.S. law enforcement officials wrote six letters between 1982 and 1987 praising the Panamanian leader for his help in fighting the international drug trade.