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U-2 Pilot Powers Vindicated in Senate

Mar. 6, 1962 - Senators joined the C.I.A. today in an extraordinary gesture to vindicate the honor of Francis Gary Powers. The U-2 flier, whose capture and trial in the Soviet Union created an international furor in 1960, was absolved by the C.I.A. of any suspicion of dereliction. He appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for public testimony. For a man who, 20 months ago, was criticized in Congress and in the country for not killing himself, it was a hero’s redemption. At one point, Mr. Powers drew stormy applause from the thronged Senate caucus room when he told the committee that during his Soviet captivity, “There was one thing I always remembered — and that was that I am an American.” The C.I.A. issued a 10-page summary of its findings in the Powers case. The report said that the pilot had faithfully fulfilled his instructions on how to act in case of capture and had met “his obligations as an American.” The report refuted the idea that the agency expected some of its employees to commit suicide rather than let their missions be betrayed. A needle treated with a lethal poison carried by Mr. Powers on his mission was not even mandatory equipment, but an item that pilots could carry if they chose, the report said.

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