Reagan did it?
November 9, 2012 10:44 PM   Subscribe

How reliable is the idea of CIA introducing or dealing crack cocaine to poor black neighborhoods in the 1980s? How involved was the CIA in drug dealing in general?

After listening to the Killer Mike song linked to on Coup threaad, and thinking that it has been a conspiracy theory among the left for decades, but I am having trouble figuring out conspiracy theory versus reality here.
posted by PinkMoose to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From the Wikipedia article for Gary Webb, the journalist who investigated and reported on the CIA's involvement in bringing crack cocaine to Los Angeles:

Though he was criticized and outcast from the mainstream journalism community, his reportage was eventually vindicated as many of his findings have since been validated: since Webb's death, both the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune have defended his "Dark Alliance" series. Journalist George Sanchez states that "the CIA’s internal investigation by Inspector General Frederick Hitz vindicated much of Gary’s reporting" and observes that despite the campaign against Webb, "the government eventually admitted to more than Gary had initially reported" over the years.[1]

That sounds less like a theory and more like how it happened, more or less.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:57 PM on November 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Micheal Ruppert is (among other things) a former LA narcotics detective who claims to have personally witnessed said dealing. In 1996 he ambushed the then-director of the CIA at a public forum with accusations of systemic money laundering. If you're interested in his story, listen to his interview on the Joe Rogan Experience. Holla!
posted by troll at 12:02 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The wikipedia suggests Webb might have exaggerated some things, Ginsberg had some strange notions, and I am not sure I trust Joe Rogan...but great info, thanks!
posted by PinkMoose at 12:46 AM on November 10, 2012

This is from 1972, well before the Reagan era, but an interesting foundation to the subject: The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.
posted by mannequito at 1:11 AM on November 10, 2012

Just last night on Fresh Air, criminologist David M. Kennedy talked about some of the reasons for this perception, especially in black neighborhoods. The program itself was very powerful & heart breaking.
posted by growabrain at 4:47 AM on November 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: That sounds less like a theory and more like how it happened, more or less.

Because anything written on Wikipedia with a cite to must be true? Look at that link and tell me if you find anything about how the Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune "validated" or "defended" these claims. On the contrary, it says that the LA Times obituary on Webb referred to Dark Alliance as largely discredited.

Wikipedia on "CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US."

Here is the report on the CIA's internal investigation.

Here's a statement by the investigator in a congressional hearing about the investigation (only the first of two volumes of the report was declassified at that time, but both volumes are online now):
we have found no evidence in the course of this lengthy investigation of any conspiracy by CIA or its employees to bring drugs into the United States. However, during the Contra era, CIA worked with a variety of people to support the Contra program. These included CIA assets, pilots who ferried supplies to the Contras, as well as Contra officials and others.

Let me be frank about what we are finding. There are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations.
posted by John Cohen at 5:33 AM on November 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

I've updated that Wikipedia entry to indicate that is not a decent source. Thanks, John Cohen.
posted by waldo at 6:39 AM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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