On March 18, 1998, the CIA’s Inspector General, Fred Hitz, finally let the cat out of the bag in an aside at a Congressional hearing. Hitz told the astounded US Reps that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals that the Agency knew to be involved in the drug business. 
Even more astonishingly, Hitz revealed that back in 1982 the CIA had requested and received from Reagan’s Justice Department clearance not to report any knowledge it might have of drug-dealing by CIA assets.
With these two admissions Hitz definitively sank many years’ worth of CIA denials, much of it under oath to Congress. Hitz’s admissions also made fools of some of the most prominent names in US journalism, and vindicated investigators and critics of the Agency, ranging from Al McCoy to Gary Webb.
The involvement of the CIA with drug traffickers is a story that has slouched into the limelight every decade or so since the creation of the Agency. Most recently, in 1996, the San Jose Mercury News published a sensational series on the topic, Dark Alliance, and then helped destroy its own reporter, Gary Webb.
In WHITEOUT, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair at last put the whole story together, from the earliest days, when the CIA’s institutional ancestors, the OSS and the Office of Naval Intelligence, cut a deal with America’s premier gangster and drug trafficker, Lucky Luciano.
They show that many of even the most seemingly outlandish charges leveled against the Agency have a basis in truth. After Webb’s series, for example, outraged black communities charged that the CIA had undertaken a program, stretching across many years, of experiments on minorities.
Cockburn and St. Clair show how the CIA imported Nazi scientists straight from their labs at Dachau and Buchenwald and set them to work, developing chemical and biological agents, tested on blacks, some of them in mental hospitals.
Cockburn and St. Clair show how the CIA’s complicity with drug-dealing criminal gangs was part and parcel of its attacks on labor organizers, whether on the New York docks, or on the docks of Marseilles and Shanghai. They trace how the Cold War and counter-insurgency led to an alliance between the Agency and the vilest of war criminals like Klaus Barbie, or fanatic opium traders like the mujahedin in Afghanistan.
WHITEOUT is a thrilling history that stretches from Sicily in 1944 to the killing fields of Laos and Vietnam, to CIA safe houses in Greenwich Village and San Francisco where CIA men watched Agency-paid prostitutes feed LSD to unsuspecting clients.
We meet Oliver North, as he plotted with Manuel Noriega and Central American gangsters. We travel to little-known airports in Costa Rica and Arkansas. We hear from drug pilots and accountants from the Cali Cartel. We learn of DEA agents whose careers were ruined because they tried to tell the truth.
The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Cockburn and St. Clair dissect the shameful way American journalists have not only turned a blind eye to the Agency’s misdeeds, but helped plunge the knife into those who tried to tell the truth.
Here at last is the full story. Fact-packed and fast-paced, WHITEOUT is a richly detailed excavation of the CIA’s dirtiest secrets. For anyone who wants to know the truth about what the Agency has really been about, this is the book to start with.

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