THE PHONY WAR
An Interview with DEA Veteran Celerino Castillo
The following is an interview with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
veteran agent Celerino Castillo, first published in The New
Federalist, October 24, 1994.
Before beginning, by way of a preface, let me state a few things.
Officer Jack McLamb (retired) of the Phoenix Police Department,
in a speech given to his fellow police officers, had this to say:
...there's been much research, much research, and much
documentation to the fact -- and I say fact, fellow police
officers (We've got some female police officers here too.
Thank you for coming.), -- but I'm telling you, I want you to
hear this, I'm talking about fact that we can prove, we've
got the evidence -- an evidentiary foundation that would
stack as high as I am, the evidence, I've seen it -- that
the U.S. government, certain factions of the U.S. government,
have been involved in importing the majority of drugs in the
United States since the '60s. Since 1960....
We have, folks, in the United States, a phony war on drugs.
Then there's former DEA agent Mike Levine, author of Deep Cover
and The Big White Lie, speaking at Northern Illinois University
The drug war's a sham. I threw my life to the winds believing
in the war against drugs. If I died, I believed I was dying
for a just cause....
I realized the reality of what I was doing never quite
matched what the public was seeing. DEA was designed to put
itself out of business but that doesn't happen. The opposite
happens. It's always, "We need more."
...It's all a show... The drug war is the laughing stock of
My guess is that there is a moment of truth that comes to our
soldiers in the "War Against Drugs"; a moment when they realize
it's all a crock. It seems that most choose to lay low and hang
onto their jobs when that moment of decision arrives. A few,
though, have got something that you could call "honor". When
their moment of truth arrives, they are unable to rationalize
themselves into a "go along to get along" lifestyle.
But this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world
ends, not with a bang but with a whimper. A thousand little
compromises, a thousand little rationalizations, and we have got
a world of trouble. Thank God that not all of our soldiers in
this "War Against Drugs" have turned out to have the souls of
petty bourgeois shopkeepers. Thank God there have been some great
souls among them.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
[September 27, 1994]
I'd like to go immediately to the very interesting book that
you've put together [Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug
War]. On page 132 of that book, you describe a kind of cameo
appearance by Vice President George Bush. I believe this was in
Guatemala City in January of 1986, and that would have been
shortly after the inauguration of the new Guatemalan President
Cerezo. I'd just like to acquaint our viewers with that
conversation, the events that led up to it, that followed it, and
revolved around it, because this seems to sum up the heart of the
Basically, what happened there, was that at that time, Jan. 14,
1986, to be exact, George Bush was in Guatemala City. At the same
time that George Bush was there, I also saw Calero, head of the
Contras, and Oliver North. And I met George Bush at the cocktail
party at the ambassador's residence, and basically, what he was
doing, was walking around, shaking hands with everybody. And he
came up to me, and asked me what my job description was as DEA
agent. And I told him that I conducted international narcotics
investigations on traffickers down in Central America. I also
advised him that I was the agent in charge of reporting for El
Salvador, and I forewarned him that there were some funny things
going on at Ilopango Airport, with the Contras. He shook my hand,
he smiled, and he just walked away from me, without saying
another word. From that moment, I knew he knew something about
- That's what you write: "He simply smiled and walked away, seeking
another hand to shake. After that exchange, I knew that he knew."
- That's correct.
- What did George Bush know, and when did he know it?
- Before my arrival in Guatemala, we had received intelligence that
the Contras were heavily involved in narcotics trafficking.
Basically, I was forewarned by the country attache' in Guatemala,
Bob Stia, upon my arrival, that there was a covert operation
being conducted by the White House, and run by Oliver North at
Ilopango in El Salvador.
- So this was your official superior in the DEA?
- That's correct.
- And the first thing he did when you arrived in the country was to
tell you: Look, this is now the scene of a covert operation with
Oliver North, and they're running drugs. [CN -- See, kiddies? Run
drugs, and you too can grow up to be a U.S. Senator.]
- That's correct, and since we had obtained intelligence already
about the Contras being heavily involved in narcotics
trafficking, he advised me to stay away from it and not to get
involved in the investigation, because that would mean that if I
started reporting that information to Washington, I would be
kicked out of El Salvador and Guatemala very quickly.
-+- The Ilopango Connection -+-
- Now, when you say the "Contras," does that mean all the
Contras? Were there groups that were more into it, that were less
into it? Was there Calero, were there others in that group? Was
it a universal thing, that all the Contras were into drugs?
- It was a universal thing. The DEA refused to accept that answer,
but we had intelligence gathered from all parts of Central and
South America in regard to the narcotics trafficking going on. We
had cables from the country attache', Bobby Nieves in Costa Rica,
advising us to look into Hangars 4 and 5 at Ilopango. And of
course, Hangars 4 and 5 were bought and paid for by the U.S.
government -- the CIA and the National Security Council.
- Ilopango Airport: What is that? Is that a large commercial
- No. Ilopango Airport is the military airport with civilian small
planes that arrive at Ilopango. And it's a military base, but
most international pilots who fly small planes get to arrive at
- Tell us what the atmosphere was at Ilopango in the middle of this
Contra dirty war, 1985, '86, '87.
- We had major narcotics trafficking going through Ilopango from
Costa Rica, which is further south. We had obtained a lot of
intelligence. We had an informant placed at Ilopango who actually
did the flight plans for the Contra pilots, and everybody spoke
freely about the loads that they carried, the monies that they
took to the Bahamas and to Panama for laundering.
All this was reported to the U.S. Embassy, to the CIA, to
Washington, DEA headquarters; and nobody wanted to do anything
- Tell me just briefly: what kinds of planes were these, where were
they coming from, where were they going?
- The cable that we received from Costa Rica in April of 1986 came
in from the country attache', Bobby Nieves, like I stated before,
and was for us to check Hangars 4 and 5, that they had very
reliable information pertaining to the trafficking from around
Central and South America into those two hangars.
It turned out that of those two hangars, one was run by the CIA,
and the other one was run by Felix Rodriguez,
[CN -- This man, Felix Rodriguez, also shows up in connection
with activities surrounding Terry Reed and the Mena Airport
operation. Rodriguez is also reportedly the man who killed
who ran the Contra operation at Ilopango.
- These, then, were not jets that you would see at an American
airfield, but these were smaller planes?
- Yes, smaller planes, like Caravans, Pipers, Cessnas. They were
coming in without being inspected by the Customs officials, or
As it turned out, the informant who did the flight plans actually
gave us copies of all the flight plans of all these Contra
pilots, and when we ran checks on the names of all these pilots,
they were all documented in DEA files as narco-traffickers. Yet
they were being hired by the CIA, Felix Rodriguez, and everybody
else, who were trying to obtain U.S. visas for them to go to the
U.S. -- even though they were documented traffickers.
- So, these planes would then fly north. Could they make it all the
way to Miami?
- They would go to Miami, they would go to Texas. They were going
to California; anywhere that they were able.
For example, a Contra pilot was arrested in late '85 in south
Texas with five-and-a-half million dollars cash. It was Contra
money. You know, you carry credentials from the President of El
Salvador, from the Chief of Staffs in El Salvador, the Chief of
the Air Force and so forth; they were all very well protected,
and every single pilot talked about how they had permission to
run narcotics, because they were working for the Oliver North
-+- The Rodriguez Dossier -+-
- Now, you've mentioned Felix Rodriguez, Max Gomez. I happen to
have read his autobiography, and he's somebody who participated
in the Bay of Pigs invasion back in the early 1960s, and it's
speculated that George Bush was involved in that.
[CN -- According to Brigadier General (retired) Russell S.
Bowen (The Immaculate Deception), "The truth is that Bush
has been a top CIA agent since before the 1961 invasion of
Cuba, working with Felix Rodriguez and other anti-Castro
Certainly, Felix Rodriguez has been with George Bush for a very,
very long time, and what you can see in that book is, he's got a
signed photograph from George Bush telling him what a great
patriot he is.
Would you agree with that judgement on Felix Rodriguez/Max Gomez?
- No, sir. If you go back to the Vietnam War, we have intelligence
where the CIA and those individuals were heavily involved in
trafficking heroin into the U.S. in bodybags and so forth.
So, Felix Rodriguez was documented, in our DEA files, as a
trafficker. He was a retired CIA agent, and they brought all
these people who were heavily involved. If you go back, most of
these Bay of Pigs operatives were all documented traffickers, who
all served time for narcotics trafficking, for gun-running. They
were all criminals; yet, they were being hired by the Oliver
North Contra operation to run the illegal narcotics trafficking
out of Ilopango [Airport].
- Now, Felix Rodriguez has a DEA file.
- That's correct, sir. I myself documented him involved in
trafficking with the Contras, and so forth.
- Does Oliver North have a DEA file?
- That's correct, sir. As a matter of fact, there's a 1991 file on
Oliver North for smuggling weapons from the U.S. into the
Philippines with known narcotics traffickers, and I'm talking
about a 1991 case. I'm not going back to the Contra issue.
- This is after the television appearance, after the great 1987
- That's correct, sir. Absolutely.
- Can you make a Freedom of Information Act request, to get hold of
Oliver North's DEA file?
- I tried that already, and they cited the privacy act. I asked for
my own files, that I wrote on the Contras and different
individuals, and these requests were denied.
- So, I can imagine that there would be a lot of voters around
Virginia and elsewhere who would like to have a look at Oliver
North's DEA file again, with an incident from 1991?
- That's correct. One of the questions I've always been asked is,
Why can't the White House get that?
Somebody else has to answer that. I don't know. It's there. They
just need to get that. That file is out of the Washington office
here in Washington, D.C.
- That certainly makes you think twice.
Now, did you ever see Felix Rodriguez running around Ilopango?
- Yes, sir. I saw him running around Ilopango. I used to see him
around the U.S. Embassy, having lunch with the ambassador and
others. Col. Steele from the U.S. Military Group [was] down
there. I saw him everywhere.
-+- Coverup -+-
- And how about Oliver North? Did you ever see him there?
- I saw Oliver North in Guatemala, not in Salvador.
- And what were the circumstances where you saw Oliver North?
- Well, that's when I met George Bush, on Jan. 14, 1986...
- Could you just give us an idea of what kinds of people were
telling you about these activities, and what they were telling
- Well, go back to Ilopango. We had an informant who had worked
there, at Ilopango, for many years. He had given reliable
information to the Consulate General there, Robert Chavez, at the
U.S. Embassy, and some cocaine had been seized before. So, this
guy was very reliable. He had been reporting all this activity on
We had another informant who was also placed to work at Ilopango,
Salvador, and Guatemala, who was a documented informer going back
to 1981, who gave us a lot of the intelligence that we had on
this Contra operation.
- Let's now turn to what you did with the information that you got,
and how you reported it. I understand from your book that one of
the first people you tried to tell about this was the U.S.
ambassador to Salvador, Edwin Corr.
- That's correct. Once we obtained a lot of the intelligence and we
started writing reports, we went to the U.S. ambassador, we went
to the CIA Chief of Station, Jack McCavett, in Salvador, and Col.
Steele, who was a U.S. Military Group commander.
There was an individual, an American, who lived in El Salvador,
who was a civilian, and as it turns out, he was working for the
Oliver North Contra operation. And when we received all this
information, we reported it. I personally reported it to my boss,
first of all, Bob Stia, who kept forewarning me about my
reporting on the Contras because it was going to come back and
hurt us in Guatemala.
- Did he suggest it was going to be bad for your career?
- It was going to be bad for my career and his career, and he had a
couple of years left to retire, and not to make any waves. I told
him that if I actually found any evidence, that I would continue
to report the allegations that the Contras were involved in
I went to the U.S. ambassador, Edwin Corr. He told me right off
that it was a White House covert operation run by Col. Oliver
North, and for me to stay away from it.
- So that's now the second time you got official testimony and
corroboration that Oliver North was running these activities,
first from Mr. Stia, and then from Ambassador Corr. Two different
- That's right. Then I went to Jack McCavett and Jack McCavett's
answer to me was the fact that they were being ordered to support
the Oliver North Contra operation, to go above and beyond to
support them; and also Col. Steele with the U.S. Military Group.
He, of course, was the liaison officer from the U.S. embassy into
the Salvadoran military.
- Mr. Stia, your immediate superior: did he have the option of
rejecting your reports, telling you to tear them up, or file
them, or rewrite them? Or did he have to sign off on them and
send them to Washington?
- One of the things a lot of people don't understand is the fact
that every time I wrote a report, or sent a cable off to
Washington, it had to be approved by my supervisor (who was Bob
Stia) and signed off by the ambassador of whatever country I
was sending the cable out to. So, everything was approved.
Whether DEA Washington did anything with it was a different
story. And we had a place up there they called the "Black Hole";
all these reports went in there, and they were never distributed
to the right people.
-+- Laundering the Profits -+-
- Can you remember the date of your first dispatch to Washington
that basically stated these facts?
- We go back to early 1986. The cable came in from Costa Rica in
April, so we continued to follow up on the request to conduct an
extensive investigation into Hangars 4 and 5, and cables started
coming and going.
Costa Rica was giving us the information that narcotics were
leaving from Aranchez airstrip in Costa Rica into Ilopango. Of
course, our informant at Ilopango was being told, by the pilots
when they were leaving, how much dope they were taking, how much
money they were flying into the Bahamas or Panama.
At one point, he saw $4.5 million cash taken from Ilopango into
Panama, to launder. These were incidents that were reported. We
have a time and date for one of the pilots, Chica Guirola,
departing El Salvador to the Bahamas where he was airdropping
monies on the Contras -- the profits of narcotrafficking.
- Do you get the impression that the narcotics ultimately came from
people like the Medellin cartel, or the Cali cartel, or people
- I had a CIA agent in El Salvador who actually came up and asked
me: How do you expect us to support the Contras when Congress cut
aid to the Contras? How are they going to support themselves?
Which means that we have to sleep with the cartels.
And basically, during the Kerry Committee [i.e., Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and
International Operations] hearings we had a lot of informants, a
lot of individuals who flew for the Contras, who gave testimony;
but their credibility was not that good, because they were known
traffickers, and so forth. But there was a lot of testimony, a
lot of evidence to the fact that there was a lot of narcotics
- O.K. You've mentioned the Kerry Committee. I guess that's Sen.
Kerry of Massachusetts, the Senate Investigating Committee '85,
You tried to tell part of your story to them. Am I right? You
tried to inform them of what you knew?
- No, not the Kerry Committee. As a matter of fact, on Oct. 22, in
1987, I got a call from Washington requesting for me not to close
the files on the Contras because the Kerry Committee wanted
copies of my reports, and under the Freedom of Information Act,
if it's a closed case they cannot have access to it.
During the Kerry Committee, we had Mark Richards, who is an
assistant U.S. attorney... He was involved in a meeting with 25
individuals from the DEA and the Department of Justice who
refused to give this information to the Kerry Committee.
- This was the committee that investigated this "frogman"
- Yes. We had the "Frogman Case" going back to 1985. A couple of
Columbians and Nicaraguans were trafficking in large quantities
of cocaine into San Francisco. It was called the "Frogman Case"
because they were bringing ships into the San Francisco area, and
a couple of frogmen would go out there and take the coke.
As it turns out, on their own testimony, testifying before the
committee, they reported that the profits from those sales of
narcotics were going to the Contras. So, we start there. In
December of 1985, a CNN reporter broke the story on the Contras'
involvement in narcotics trafficking.
So, the investigation into it started; but at no time did the
Kerry Committee ever contact the agents down in El Salvador who
actually conducted the investigation. I sat there and I waited
for the phone to ring, and nobody ever called so that I could
testify before that committee to advise them that large
quantities of drugs were being trafficked by the Oliver North
- You later also tried to get in touch with the special prosecutor,
Lawrence Walsh, in order to look into this entire matter.
- That's correct. Right before I left the agency in 1991, I
secretly met with Mike Foster, the FBI agent assigned to the
Iran-Contra committee, Walsh's committee, with my attorney
present. He came, and he was just stunned when he saw copies of
my reports, cables, etc.
His thing was the fact that he had asked the DEA, that Walsh's
committee had asked and requested all this information from DEA,
and DEA denied the fact that there were such reports.
Basically, he was just stunned by what I showed him there. He
said, "You know, if we can prove that the Contras and Oliver
North were heavily involved in narcotics trafficking, it would be
like a grand-slam home run."
We left it that I would try to get this girl named Sandrita from
Salvador into the U.S. so that she could be debriefed by Walsh's
committee with regard to her personal knowledge of narcotics use
by some of the Contra pilots and some NSC individuals.
- Well, it looks like you attempted, at one point or another, to
bring your revelations, these charges, to the attention of the
State Department, the Special Prosecutor, the FBI, the CIA. Did
you ever talk to Customs?
- Yes, I sure did.
One of the things is that the DEA has not acknowledged the fact
that there are such reports. Yet, on the Kerry Committee and its
report, we have the DEA assistant administrator, Dave West, in
talking about the Nicaraguan war, saying that it is true that
people on both sides of the equation in the Nicaraguan war were
drug traffickers, and a couple of them were pretty significant.
Well if the DEA denies that, why is this man saying this?
We have the CIA chief of Latin American countries down there
stating, in the Kerry Report: We suspected drug trafficking by
the resistance forces. This is not a couple of people, it's a lot
So, we have contradictory statements from both the State
Department and the DEA, to the fact that the Contras were heavily
involved in narcotics trafficking.
- When you sent these reports into Washington, who in the DEA would
get those on his desk?
- Well, first of all, the chief of Latin American countries was
John Marsh, who now, I understand, is the third-ranking DEA
- He's moving up the ladder.
- He's moving up the ladder. He is the individual who is
responsible for the cover-up of the Contras involving narcotics
trafficking. He gave me a letter of "reprimand", I guess you
could say, when I refused to stop reporting on the Contras'
involvement in narcotics trafficking. He actually wanted me to
use the word "alleged". I explained to him: How can I use the
word "alleged" when I'm seeing all this that's happening in
Ilopango? We have reliable informants in there. And he went back,
and he stated the same thing, that it would mean the end of my
career in Latin America if I kept reporting this.
-+- Assassination Threat -+-
- And I understand that then the DEA actually investigated you,
that is, they sent some people to check up on what you were
- That's correct. The pressure was on, "the hammer dropped", as
they say. They came down gunning for me.
When Kiki Camarena got killed in 1985, the administrator for the
DEA came out with a memo stating that no DEA agent is to travel
by himself in a foreign country; yet, that did not apply to me,
because I was one of two agents to cover four countries in Latin
America, which were Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
- Two agents for four countries? That was called the "war on
- That's correct. That was called the "war on drugs in Central
America", and I was being forced to travel by land, mind you,
through guerrilla territory.
- "By land" means in a car, on a country road, where guerrillas are
- That's correct. It's a three to four hour drive.
- Did you have an armed escort?
- No, sir, I drove by myself, and most of the time my only back-up
was my informant, who travelled with me. And of course, the DEA
manual states that you cannot be with an informant by yourself;
yet, DEA refused to give out any back-up agents. That's what
happened to Kiki Camarena. Kiki had to work by himself. [CN --
Kiki Camarena was a DEA agent slain in the line of duty in Mexico
We had Victor Cortez meeting with an informant in a restaurant,
he gets grabbed. Why? Because there was nobody to back him up.
And while our lives were being put on the line out there,
carelessly, by the DEA, the DEA refused to do anything about it.
- So the resources are totally inadequate.
- Totally inadequate, and unsafe.
- Worse than that, though, it sounds like somebody was trying to
get you bumped off, or would have been glad to see you bumped
- That was at the very end of my career, where there was an OPR
investigator, Tony Ricevuto. We have a Guatemalan colonel who
puts a contract on me [i.e., offers to pay money in return for
the murder of Castillo], who's going to assassinate me. We had
tape recordings on him, on how he's going to assassinate me in El
Salvador and blame it on the guerrillas. And Tony Ricevuto, a
senior inspector, goes into Guatemala and speaks to the U.S.
ambassador there, requesting a U.S. visa for this colonel so that
he can testify before the BCCI [Bank of Credit and Commerce
International] investigation in Miami.
In other words, telling them that it's o.k. that he's going to
assassinate me, but they want him to testify in a trial in Miami!
That's when I knew that I was going to get hurt sooner or later.
- This would have fit into a kind of general liquidation of all
sorts of people in 1986, 1987, 1988, who were very knowledgeable
about different sides of Iran-Contra. You can think of Olof
Palme, you can think of people in Germany...
- There were people being taken out [i.e., murdered].
- Eyewitnesses were disappearing, they were dropping left and right
in those years. [CN -- They're "dropping left and right" in these
years also, e.g. see "The Clinton Body Count" by Linda Thompson.]
- That's correct, and I was one of them who was going to be taken
out by the DEA, because they could not justify the fact that this
individual was going to assassinate me. There was a case out of
Houston, Texas, that was conducting the investigation; yet, my
own people at DEA wanted to get him to the U.S. to testify. It
was more important to them that he testify before the BCCI
investigation, than my security.
Mind you, while I was down in Central America, during my career
with the DEA, I kept a daily journal of everything.
Case file numbers, individuals I talked to, people who called me
to tell me to close the files, everything that the DEA had
conducted illegally, condoning murders that the DEA knew about,
down in Central America, killings and assassinations of Columbian
traffickers; the massacre of them. I have passports to prove my
allegations, and this was done with the knowledge of the DEA.
- To the bottom line: The net result of everything you sent in to
DEA headquarters in Washington, was what?
- Was suppressed, I guess the word is... To this day, they continue
to cover up the fact that there was a lot of intelligence
involving the CIA, involving Oliver North's Contra operation.
I have pictures, I have photos, I have documents. I have
everything that can justify what I'm saying. It's just that
people refuse to acknowledge the fact that this was going on.
There was a cover-up being conducted by the DEA on orders from
the White House.
- Now, if you had to formulate charges against Oliver North, what
would you charge him with?
- First of all, the violation of the Federal Narcotics Law, which
states, in general, the fact that if you have knowledge that
narcotics trafficking is being conducted, and you don't do
anything about it, you can go to jail for that.
- Now, Oliver North says he's "the most investigated man on the
planet". He says, well, this is all done to death. We've been
over this terrain a million times. Nothing has ever been found.
Do you think that the investigations up to now have been adequate
on precisely this key topic?
- No, sir, not at all. To start off with, it was inadequate
investigation. "The most investigated man on the planet" -- they
should have contacted the agents in Salvador, the people who
actually conducted the investigation on the Contras...
- Have you found, I guess you've mentioned this now in the course
of our talk, but corroboration: have you found other people,
other sources, who also can document what you saw?
- I want to go back a little bit. In September of 1986, we had an
individual who was an American, who was Oliver North's right-hand
man down in El Salvador. He was a civilian. He worked out of
Ilopango Hangars 4 and 5. He was a documented narcotics
trafficker, all the way from Panama. We call him, in the book,
"Brasher", and we hit his house. I built up a unit there, and
they hit the house. At his residence, we found what was a Contra
supply operation. We found U.S. military munitions, heavy guns,
cases of explosives, C4.
- In a private home of a friend of Ollie North?
- Yes, in a private home. Cases of grenades, sniper rifles,
uniforms, military equipment; and it was all U.S. military issue,
brand new, some of it.
Before I hit his house, I went to the U.S. ambassador, who denied
the fact that ["Brasher"] worked for the U.S. embassy; I went to
the U.S. Military Group commander, who denied that ["Brasher"]
worked for them. I went to the CIA, who denied. All three of
those people told me that ["Brasher"] was working for the Oliver
North Contra operation.
At the residence, all his vehicles had license plates for the
U.S. embassy. We found radios belonging to the U.S. embassy. We
found weapons belonging to the U.S. embassy. Yet, this individual
was a documented narcotics trafficker working for the Oliver
North Contra operation.
-+- Planeloads of Cocaine -+-
- If you had to go back and estimate, could you give some kind of a
ballpark figure of how much drugs, I guess in this case it means
cocaine pretty much, how much cocaine, crack cocaine and other
kinds of cocaine, came into the United States as a result of
- We had thousands of kilos that came in. We had surveillance set
up up there. We saw the planes coming in. We had reports where
they came in, they dropped it off at Hangars 4 and 5; yet, we
were not allowed to touch it.
- Could you just estimate, if at all possible, what percentage that
might have been of the total drug-trafficking flow into the
- Maybe one percent -- and that's a lot. One percent is a lot.
Now, you're asking me about monies? Millions of dollars...
We have a guy who was an honorary ambassador to Panama, who flew
four-and-a-half million dollars from Ilopango into Panama. This
was reported to the DEA Washington...
- Later on, toward the end of his term in office, George Bush came
along and pardoned quite a number of the top figures in this, and
I guess that had the effect of shutting down most of what was
left of the official investigation.
What do you think of George Bush pardoning these people?
- George Bush was trying to save himself, and pardoning these
people who were known traffickers was a slap in the face to us,
the DEA agents who were out there putting our lives on the line,
going undercover in Third World countries.
- And you've done undercover operations in Central America
- That's correct. So the fact that we could have another branch of
our government heavily involved in narcotics trafficking was just
devastating to me. And a lot of people go into the government and
spend twenty years and then retire; it didn't take me twenty
years to figure out that my own government was heavily involved
in narcotics trafficking, and putting our lives on the line.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we lost five agents in Peru. We
cannot work with Third World countries that are heavily involved
in narcotics trafficking.
We had documented reports on Third World countries. For example,
Guatemala. Guatemala is heavily involved in narcotics
trafficking. The Cerezo government was heavily involved, sleeping
with the cartels. Yet, it was a democracy, and the U.S.
government did not want to do anything about it.
I went undercover on a Congressman down there. He was going to
sell me 200 kilos of cocaine. When they came down to arrest them,
I was told by the U.S. embassy not to arrest him, because we were
not there to embarrass the Guatemalan government, but we were
there to help it.
The same thing happened in El Salvador. All the weapons that were
being seized by the guerrillas were being sold to the cartels.
So, we spent $1.5 million a day in El Salvador for the past
10 years, and they couldn't win the war.
- Well, let's sum up now. We have a few minutes left. Do you think
that Oliver North is qualified to be a United States Senator?
- No. He is a convicted felon. He lied to Congress, he is a chronic
liar. He lies to everybody. A lot of people feel that he can be
forgiven for what he did, but what I don't think they realize is
the fact that he cannot justify the narcotics trafficking that
his organization conducted in the 1980s. And he cannot guarantee
to me the fact that nobody, or none of those drugs that were
being smuggled into the U.S., that people died of, was not Contra
cocaine. So, he's got to take responsibility for what is
happening on our streets today, the cocaine epidemic that we
We have more cocaine on the U.S. streets now than we did ten
years ago; yet, we spend billions of dollars in Third World
countries trying to combat this trafficking.
But Oliver North should be in jail, and not be running for the
- Would you think that the Virginia voters ought to have the right
to see Oliver North's DEA file?
- Absolutely. It's there. Whether the DEA wants to continue the
conspiracy to cover it up is a different story...
- You tried to tell your story inside the federal agencies for
quite a number of years, we've seen, with very limited results,
and then you turned to your book, Powderburns.
What made you decide to get into writing books?
- I was sick to my stomach when I saw Oliver North up there.
Everybody looked up to him as a hero, "Oliver North for
President", and so forth.
I had to tell my story...
I can live with myself now. North has to hide. What conscience
does he or his family have, that they know that his organization
is responsible for a lot of deaths in the U.S.? For the epidemic
cocaine addiction that we have? What does his family think about
- Well, I understand you're going out on the stump in Virginia now,
in the closing days of the election campaign?
- Yes, that's correct. I've always made the assumption that I'm
going to go out there and try. I'll never quit. I'll go out
there, tell them what I know. If people want to listen to me, I'm
there. If they don't, it's their prerogative. It's a free
country. If they want to elect an official who is a documented
trafficker and a convicted felon, then that's their prerogative.
"Justice" = "Just us" = "History is written by the assassins."