It's Conspiracy Theory Sunday
From August 25, 1998's "Total Coverage: The CIA, Contras, and Drugs":
...top officials at the CIA knew the agency was working with Contra drug traffickers and didn't do anything about it. But the story, even with that shocking headline, quickly disappeared. None of the other major papers, news magazines, or TV networks reported the NEW YORK TIMES' findings.
How did it come to this? The paper of record running a story, perhaps leaked purposely by the CIA itself, that admits what many have charged for years...and then the story disappears as quickly as it came.
If you've heard about the CIA/Contra/crack allegations, it's probably because of Gary Webb, who in August 1996 authored several stories for the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Titled "Dark Alliance," the series linked drug smuggling by CIA-trained Contras to the crack epidemic that has ravaged America. It never actually said the CIA knew about the drugs, but it did strongly imply it (the logo for the series -- yes, it had a logo -- showed a person smoking crack, superimposed over the CIA seal.)
The series ignited a firestorm of controversy. And the major papers, specifically the NEW YORK TIMES, LOS ANGELES TIMES, and WASHINGTON POST, all ran lengthy pieces questioning the accuracy of Webb's reporting. (These stories were themselves criticized for being hell-bent on proving Gary Webb wrong, rather than attempting to follow up on his stories.) Even Webb's own editor retreated from the story's conclusions...
Now, back to the present day.
Gary Webb has committed suicide:
Gary Webb, a prize-winning investigative journalist whose star-crossed career was capped with a controversial newspaper series linking the CIA to the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, died Friday of self-inflicted gunshot wounds, officials said.
Mr. Webb, 49, was found dead in his Carmichael home Friday morning of gunshot wounds to the head, the Sacramento County Coroner's Office said Saturday.
He left a note, but officials would not disclose its contents...
There's an interesting article on Webb here.