News Release

Reporter Who Examined CIA-Contra-Cocaine Link Dies


AP reported this weekend that “Gary Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who wrote a controversial series of stories linking the CIA to crack cocaine trafficking in Los Angeles, has died at age 49…of an apparent suicide.”

AP wrote: “Webb’s 1996 series in the Mercury News alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold tons of crack cocaine in Los Angeles and funneled millions of dollars in profits to the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras during the 1980s.” The Mercury News backed away from the series and Webb resigned from the paper. Webb went on to write the book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion which laid out his case in more detail.

Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek; he and Brian Barger broke the story of contra-cocaine smuggling for AP in December 1985. He is author of the book Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & “Project Truth.” Today he wrote the article “America’s Debt to Journalist Gary Webb.” Parry said: “Webb’s editor at the Mercury News sold out the story and demoted Webb, causing him to quit the paper. Even Webb’s marriage broke up…. Webb’s contra-cocaine series prompted internal investigations by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department, probes that confirmed that scores of contra units and contra-connected individuals were implicated in the drug trade. The probes also showed that the Reagan-Bush administration frustrated investigations into those crimes for geopolitical reasons.”

Parry’s latest book is Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.
More Information

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167