WASHINGTON (Jun. 13)
State Department spokesman Robert J. McCloskey said today in response to queries about the London report that State Department information is that Sirhan Bashira Sirhan came to the U.S. in January, 1957, with his family and it has no evidence that he left America and returned to the Middle East subsequently.
Official sources in the Departments of State and Justice disclosed today that the Government has much more information on Sirhan than has been made public. But while the Government will no doubt provide the prosecution with any evidence needed to convict the accused, there is no intention of disclosing any of the facts at this time, they said.
Justice Department attorneys cited previous revelations of alleged evidence against Sirhan by Los Angeles Mayor Samuel Yorty and complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union that this compromised Sirhan’s right to a fair trial. But State Department officials have stressed that in the interests of national security they must suppress any findings that might inflame passions against the Arabs. At this juncture, it was pointed out, the U.S. is trying to rebuild its relations with the Arab states that suffered badly in the aftermath of last June’s Six-Day War.
A top priority is the avoidance of any disclosure that might embarrass the Administration’s policy of rearming Jordan and its support of the Hussein regime, it was reported. Nevertheless, Congressmen have started to speculate that the assassination was in line with the proclaimed terrorist policies of El Fatah, the principal Arab guerrilla band that operates against Israel, mainly from bases in Jordan.