Edwin P. Wilson : biography
Edwin Paul Wilson (May 3, 1928 - September 10, 2012) is a former CIA officer who was convicted of illegally selling weapons to Libya. It was later found that the United States Department of Justice and the CIA had covered up evidence in the case.
Arms for Libya controversy
In the 1970s, he became involved in dealings with Libya. Wilson claims that a high ranking CIA official Theodore "Blond Ghost" Shackley asked him to go to Libya to keep an eye on Carlos the Jackal, the infamous terrorist, who was living there. At the time, a strict sanctions regime was in place against Libya and the country was willing to pay a great deal for weapons and material. Wilson began conducting elaborate dealings and guns and military uniforms were smuggled into the country. Wilson also recruited a group of retired Green Berets – decorated Vietnam veteran Billy Waugh among them – to go to Libya and train its military and intelligence officers. The Libyans used Wilson's provisions to advance their interests around the world, including training terrorist cells to build explosive devices inside radios. One cell trained by Wilson's operatives was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLF-GC) under the command of Ahmad Jibril. Jibril was suspected of being behind the bombing of Pan Am 103 in Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. In 1979, a gun that Wilson had arranged to be delivered to the Libyan embassy in Bonn was used to assassinate a prominent dissident. The next year, one of the Green Berets assassinated another dissident in Colorado. Wilson states that he regrets these incidents and had no prior knowledge of them. He states that he was still working for the CIA and his supplying of weapon to the Libyans was an attempt to get close to them and gain valuable intelligence.
The most dramatic deal, and the one that brought Wilson to the attention from the U.S. government, was for some twenty tons of military grade C-4 plastic explosives. This was a massive quantity that was equal to the entire US domestic stockpile. Most of Wilson's connections were still under the impression that he was working for the CIA and a wide network in the United States supported his actions. The explosives were presumed assembled by a California company and hidden in barrels of oil drilling mud. They were presumed flown to Libya aboard a chartered jet.
Another scandal broke out around Wilson when a company he had formed to ship United State military aid to Egypt was convicted of overcharging the United States Department of Defense by $8 million dollars."Jane Mayer and Doyle McManus Landslide: The Unmaking of the President 1984-1988 (Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1988) p. 142." A partner with Edwin P. Wilson in this company was another former CIA officer, Thomas G. Clines."Ibid." Wilson also maintained that Major General Richard V. Secord was also a "silent partner" in this company, though Secord denied this allegation. Nonetheless, Wilson, Clines and Theodore Shackley (another former CIA officer) were all working together with Secord in the summer of 1984 when Oliver North approached Secord to ask for help in buying arms for the "Contras", a group of armed rebels then trying to overturn the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua.
Investigation and conviction
After a lengthy investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (then part of the US Department of the Treasury), Wilson was indicted by the US Justice Department for firearms and explosives violations. However, he was in Libya, which would not extradite him. Wilson was very unhappy in Libya, and the Libyans were suspicious of him and he feared for his safety. The prosecutors knew this and they sent a con-man with links to the CIA named Ernest Keiser to convince Wilson that he would be safe in the Dominican Republic. Wilson flew to the Caribbean, but upon arrival was arrested and flown to New York.
He was put on trial four separate times. He was found not guilty of trying to hire a group of Cubans to kill a Libyan dissident. He was found guilty of exporting guns, including the one used in the Bonn assassination, and of shipping the explosives and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the former and 17 years for the latter. While awaiting trial, he allegedly approached a fellow prisoner and attempted to hire him to kill the federal prosecutors. This prisoner was never questioned by anyone outside the CIA. The prisoner instead went to the authorities and they set Wilson up with an undercover agent. The agent taped Wilson hiring him to kill the prosecutors, six witnesses and his ex-wife. In a subsequent trial, he was sentenced to an added twenty-four years in jail for conspiracy to murder. The voice in the recording was never solidly identified as Wilson's.
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