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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clinton Gives CIA Go-Ahead To Destabilize Yugoslav Regime

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Bill Clinton has approved a covert action program that calls for the CIA to try to destabilize the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, U.S. officials said.

The president has signed a secret "presidential finding" authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency to try to weaken Milosevic's hold on power, and open the way for a new government in Belgrade, the officials said.

Since Yugoslavia bowed to NATO's demands, Clinton and other NATO leaders have made clear that they want Milosevic out of power, saying that until that happens Yugoslavia - except for Kosovo - will get no help from the West in rebuilding.

The covert plan for Yugoslavia was first reported in Newsweek magazine.

Few details of the new covert action plan, which officials say was approved by the president earlier this year, are known.

The plan does not include U.S. military assistance for the Kosovo Liberation Army, the officials said. But they say it does call for computer attacks on foreign bank accounts held by Milosevic and other Serbian leaders, such as draining assets or altering banking records.

Milosevic has moved large amounts of money from Yugoslavia into bank accounts in Russia, Switzerland, Cyprus and, more recently, Lebanon, according to U.S. officials.

A Treasury Department expert and other U.S. officials first traced Milosevic's money to Cyprus in 1993. Cypriot officials have denied any knowledge of Milosevic's use of banks in their country.

Although Milosevic has been indicted on charges of war crimes by the international tribunal at The Hague, the United States has no plans to kidnap him and bring him to justice.