CNN's Very Secret Agent: CIA Says Story Is Phony

CNN's Very Secret Agent: CIA Says Story Is Phony
Posted by FoM on April 27, 2001 at 15:13:45 PT
By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
On Monday, CNN ballyhooed an interview with a "former CIA narcotics officer" -- a guest the network liked so much he was brought back hours later to appear on Greta Van Susteren's talk show. Yesterday, the CIA said that Kenneth Bucchi is an impostor. CNN anchor Joie Chen read a statement to that effect on the air, but the network did not retract the story or apologize.CNN isn't the only network to face embarrassment by Bucchi; Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly interviewed him in January.
Bucchi "never worked for the CIA in any capacity, as an employee or a contractor," Bill Harlow, the agency's director of public relations, told The Washington Post. He called Bucchi's claims on CNN that he had been involved with Colombian drug smugglers "utter nonsense" and "complete fiction."Reached yesterday in Los Angeles, where he works as a city personnel officer, Bucchi said he could not prove he worked with the CIA. "I certainly don't know how I can do that," he said. "I don't really give a [expletive] if people think I was in the CIA."In a rambling interview, Bucchi also acknowledged that he was discharged from the Air Force a decade ago after being labeled as delusional. "How do you prove you're not delusional?" he asked.In a statement, CNN said Bucchi was given airtime because of his book, "Operation Pseudo Miranda: A Veteran of the CIA Drug Wars Tells All." Despite several television and radio appearances since the book was first published in 1994, "at no time did the Central Intelligence Agency or any other governmental entity raise publicly a concern with either Mr. Bucchi's employment history or the issues he raises in his book. Based on all of these factors, as well as two pre-interview discussions with him, our Guest Bookings department made the judgment that the experience he claimed with counter-narcotic activities would be useful in a discussion of the recent Peruvian military shootdown of a civilian aircraft. . . ."We have taken the appropriate opportunity to inform our viewers of the CIA's perspective as well as Mr. Bucchi's rebuttal," the statement said.Fox Executive Producer Bill Shine said his network tried to verify Bucchi's claims by phoning the CIA and the State Department -- Bucchi had brought some State documents suggesting that he worked there -- but that neither agency called back. He noted that O'Reilly told viewers that he could not vouch for Bucchi's story."I wish we had done more checking before we put him on," Shine said.Penmarin Books, a small California publisher, recently issued 5,000 copies of Bucchi's book. Penmarin also published a 1999 book in which Bucchi described his life as a "corporate spy.""We stand behind it," Penmarin President Hal Lockwood said of Bucchi's CIA book. "Before publishing it, we checked out his story." But, he said, "the particulars, nobody can substantiate. The CIA does not leave a paper trail, and plausible deniability is always the rule."The book was praised by director Oliver Stone as "one of the three best non-fictions I've ever read," according to a Penmarin release.On Van Susteren's "The Point" program, Bucchi said, "We basically had a complicit operation -- a quid pro quo, if you will -- with the drug lords of Colombia and essentially, what we did is we put the lion's share of the market in small cash [in] drug lords' hands, and we set up corridors with ILS systems for those drugs to [be] flown in, and then we took half of them."Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said a moment later: "Ken, I want to thank you for being the clearest voice that I have ever heard coming out of the CIA or any of the related agencies about what is going on in this drug war. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"Van Susteren said last night: "I have a secret agency of the government telling me one thing and a citizen telling me another. I've seen and heard falsehoods from both before. Both the positions are aired on CNN."Bucchi said yesterday that he had been framed by the Air Force during his discharge, and that his superiors had allowed him to work with the CIA in watching drugs surrendered in Colombia be put on helicopters at what he called a "CIA airstrip" in Texas. He said he was never paid by the CIA.Bucchi faxed a 1991 Justice Department letter turning down his Freedom of Information request for records involving him. The letter said the records were "compiled for law enforcement purposes" and that their release "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings."Complete Title: CNN's Very Secret Agent: CIA Says Man's Story Is Phony Howard Kurtz appears on CNN's weekly media program.Newshawk: NORML Media & CommunicationsSource: Washington Post (DC) Author: Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, April 26, 2001; Page C01 Copyright: 2001 The Washington Post Company Contact: letterstoed washpost.comWebsite: Articles - Colombia
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on April 29, 2001 at 13:59:59 PT
The CIA wouldn't lie to us would they?
  If Bucchi's book was published in "94", why are they just now denying his alleged employment with them? Wasn't Papa Bush director of the CIA? King George II hangs out with smugglers.....hmmmm. Possibly the most legitimate drug dealers in the world. This just might get interesting.
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Comment #7 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on April 28, 2001 at 11:11:51 PT:
Cosmic Coincidence
Hal Lockwood was my roommate for two years in college. He is a meticulous person of extremely high standards. If Hal believes, I believe!
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Comment #6 posted by lookinside on April 28, 2001 at 07:43:09 PT:
i think our position is sound...i don't think the americanpublic can tolerate more repression...juries are aquittingdrug offenders more often...some are ignoring the judges'instructions to do so because these trials are taking on thefeel of persecutions rather than prosecutions...i once cornered a field mouse...i was amazed at the ferocitydisplayed by this tiny creature in the face of the enemy...the drug warriors may soon find themselves cornered bypublic outcry...they may become very dangerous before theygive up their precious war...the same cuts the other way...if somehow they try tolegislate us out of existence, they could find themselves ina situation that makes switzerland in the winter veryattractive...
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Comment #5 posted by dddd on April 28, 2001 at 02:53:06 PT
I would consider damn near anybody to more credible thanthe CIA.The CIA is involved in the science of deception andcovert activities.That is their proffession.How else would they respond to such accusations?Can youimagine the CIA admitting to scandalous activities?If push comes to shove,they will open a full scale investigation,and then the CIA will report back that they investigated the matter,and found nothing to support the claims.Yes,,,,we can trust our friends at the CIA....They would never lieto us.dddd
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Comment #4 posted by Dan B on April 28, 2001 at 01:58:17 PT:
Trying to be Careful
At the risk of sounding like one who would believe anything anyone says against the CIA, I have to agree that they have a history of very public cover-ups concerning drug smuggling (Iran-Contra, Southeast Asia Opium Shipments by Air America, Plan Colombia--anyone else find it odd that over the past year they destroyed exactly the acreage of crops that the cultivators increased during that year, meaning that there was actually no reduction in cocaine production whatsoever?).And along comes this guy, Kenneth Bucchi, who claims to have more dirt on the CIA regarding Plan Colombia. Given the secretive nature of exactly what is going on down there, is it any wonder that when someone like Bucchi comes forward with a juicy story of CIA involvement in drug trafficking, the media believe it? If it is true, would it be any wonder that the CIA denied it? I think not.Frankly, Bucchi's account was detailed and logical enough that at least two major news organizations believed him, even after doing interviews and some fact checks. I find it gratifying that neither has simply said "Our bad--the CIA says he's lying, so we have to go with them." Perhaps they will finally get off their butts and do some investigative journalism as a result of this "embarassment." Perhaps they will act to restore confidence in their reporting by sending someone to document the truth about Plan Colombia and the CIA.In short, I tend to believe Bucchi because of the CIA's past record on matters such as this. The CIA has lied to the American public for so long that they can no longer lay claim to the plausibility of their deniability.Dan B
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Comment #3 posted by Shausha on April 27, 2001 at 23:05:49 PT
Parts may be true
Actually, I have read about some of this stuff a long time ago. That includes cia being in on smugglising to some degree and flyig it to Texas. Some plane was used that now belongs to Bush there. They took it from a smuggler and used it. There was an article in HT about this awhile ago. I dont think all of this is a fake.
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Comment #2 posted by jorma nash on April 27, 2001 at 21:37:29 PT
you don't suppose this will embarass them into startfact-checking occasionally do you?  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  /;-)There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world,and that is an idea whose time has come.~ Victor Hugo ~
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on April 27, 2001 at 19:51:52 PT:
And now we believe the CIA?them assholes lie all the time ...I believe Bucchi
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