Reporter who helped expose CIA drugs scandal remembered

In August 1996, Garry Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The San Jose Mercury News, published a trilogy of articles under the title “Dark Alliance”. In it, he openly alleged that the Reagan Administration, along with the active support of the CIA’s leadership, had allowed the Nicaraguan Contras to fund some of their operations against the Sandinistas by illegally trafficking cocaine into the United States. What followed Webb’s allegations was a barrage of demonization by virtually the entire US media industry, which discredited his professionalism and effectively ended his career. Fearing potential damage to its own integrity, Webb’s employer, The San Jose Mercury News, demoted the embattled journalist to a menial job within the newspaper, which caused him to resign in anger. In 1998, prompted mainly by Webb’s allegations, the CIA’s own Inspector General, Frederick Hitz, published a two-volume report essentially confirming most of Webb’s allegations. Hitz further revealed that the Reagan government collaborated with CIA officials to conceal crucial evidence pointing to the drug scandal. The damning report by the CIA’s own Inspector General did nothing to restore Webb’s tarnished professional reputation. The mainstream media either totally ignored Hitz’s findings or acknowledged them while continuing to brand Webb a lunatic extremist. Nobody wanted to hire him. His financial position became dire. His marriage ended. And in December of 2004 he was served a notice of eviction from his rented house in California. After all that, Gary Webb ended his life using his father’s handgun. Today The Baltimore Chronicle hosts a special report by Robert Parry remembering Webb’s exposé and revisiting the CIA-Contra drug scandal in detail. It makes essential and didactic reading for all of us interested in US intelligence reform and accountability. [IA].

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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