WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Pentagon officials Monday denied assertions Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to resign and kidnapped by U.S. military forces.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., told Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" Aristide says he was "kidnapped by Americans" and the coup was completed with the help of the American embassy.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers said U.S. Marines were not involved in Aristide's ouster although they may have provided security for his convoy when he left the presidential palace for the airport.
The State Department contracted a plane to carry Aristide and his small party, presumably to the French-speaking Central African Republic.
"Before the United States made a decision to send in some elite element of an interim multinational force we had, I believe in hand, a letter of resignation signed by the president (Aristide)," Rumsfeld said.
Waters said Aristide told her by phone an American diplomat backed by U.S. Marines directed him to leave Haiti immediately.