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Ex-CIA Man's Libyan Arms-Dealing Case Thrown Out
Reuters via Yahoo ^ | 10/30/03 | C. Bryson Hull

Posted on 10/30/2003 11:43:03 AM PST by KC Burke

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Tuesday threw out the 1983 conviction of former CIA (news - web sites) operative Edwin Wilson for selling tons of explosives to Libya, finding that prosecutors knowingly used false testimony and hid evidence that supported his defense.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes' opinion, written on Monday but made public on Tuesday, vacates Wilson's conviction for selling 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to the Libyan government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi (news - web sites).

Wilson has been in prison since 1982, serving 52 years for three convictions including the arm sales to Libya. His lawyer thinks the 75-year-old prisoner could now be released if the government doesn't appeal the decision, which was scathing in its condemnation of prosecutorial methods.

Wilson, who ran front companies for the CIA and later parlayed his expertise into a lucrative arms-trading career, argued at his Houston trial that he had been freelancing for the CIA since his 1971 retirement.

Judge Hughes found that U.S. Justice Department (news - web sites) prosecutors knew that and nonetheless introduced a false affidavit from a top CIA official saying the agency had not asked Wilson "to perform or provide any services, directly or indirectly."

"With their knowledge of the nature of Wilson's work for the CIA, they deliberately deceived the court," Hughes wrote of the prosecutors.

Wilson's appeal produced CIA records of at least 40 occasions where he worked for the agency. None showed that the CIA asked him to sell C-4 explosives to Libya, but several showed the agency knew he worked there and asked for his help finding information.

Buying body armor for Iranian security forces, trading weapons or explosives for Soviet military equipment, and securing an anti-tank weapon for an agency operation were just a few of the things Wilson did for the CIA.

"Wilson was not running a Burger King for employees; he was dealing in arms and information for the CIA -- the stuff of both espionage and his convictions," the judge wrote.

Hughes called the false affidavit from the top CIA official -- the number three man at the time, Charles Briggs -- "nothing but a lie" and noted that the re-reading of it in court convinced the lone juror holding out against conviction to change her mind.

The conviction, then the biggest arms-dealing case in U.S. history, was one of three that federal prosecutors secured against Wilson after his 1982 arrest, leading to 52 years in combined prison sentences.

Wilson was the subject of two books and countless news articles describing his arms-dealing exploits in the 1970s and 1980s, much to the CIA's embarrassment.

He turned his CIA cover as a rich businessman into a reality, building a $23 million fortune, a string of handsome properties and an arms-dealing career that later proved his undoing.

LONG WAIT

Hughes' ruling comes more than three years after Wilson's court-appointed lawyer, David Adler of Houston, filed the appeal with records culled from Wilson's initial Freedom of Information Act requests.

Adler, a former CIA case officer who served in Africa, pored over at least 300,000 classified records stored in a Washington, D.C., vault.

"It is an enormous relief to finally be vindicated after so many years of being called a liar by so many officials in the Justice Department," Wilson said in a statement through Adler.

Adler said the "government's conduct in Wilson's case is nothing short of appalling and frightening. I hope the Justice Department holds someone accountable."

The Justice Department said it had not decided whether to appeal.

Based on sentencing laws in effect at the time of his conviction, Wilson believes he is eligible for release from prison and would be owed the $145,000 fine he paid.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 1971; 1982; c4; cia; davidadler; edwinwilson; explosives; houston; libya; lybia; sporkin; stanleysporkin; stansporkin; wilson
We old-timers remember this guy and his millionaire ranch in Virginia.
1 posted on 10/30/2003 11:43:04 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: KC Burke
Additionally, AP has a story running on Yahoo that says:

Ex-CIA Attorney Blasts Wilson Case Ruling

HOUSTON - A former attorney for the CIA (news - web sites) denied that the government knowingly presented false evidence in the case of a former operative who has spent 20 years in prison for selling arms to Libya.

A federal judge threw out the 1983 conviction against 75-year-old Edwin P. Wilson on Tuesday, saying the government failed to correct information about Wilson's service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false.

Retired U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin, who was CIA general counsel at the time of Wilson's trial, told the Houston Chronicle in Thursday's editions that officials did not intend to present a false affidavit.

"They are fine people," he said of the federal attorneys involved. "And there were differences — that was all. At the time it was written, I can assure you the people who prepared it thought it was a proper affidavit."

Wilson, who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman, is serving a 52-year prison sentence in a federal prison in Allenwood, Pa.

The decision could ultimately free him from prison. However, the ruling's immediate effect was not clear because Wilson received prison time for two other convictions — including one for conspiring to have prosecutors killed.

Wilson claimed he shipped 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA's request.

The CIA denied that at trial, and again on Wednesday.

"The CIA didn't authorize or play any role whatsoever in his decision to sell arms to Libya," agency spokesman Mark Mansfield said. "That decision was his and that is why he went to jail."

At his trial, prosecutors introduced a sworn statement from a top-ranking official saying Wilson did not do anything for the CIA after his retirement in 1971.

Days after his conviction, but before his sentencing, the CIA forwarded a memo to the U.S. attorney's office saying at least five projects Wilson had worked on for the CIA after 1971 had surfaced.

U.S. Judge Lynn N. Hughes said the government failed to inform Wilson's attorneys of the memo and upon his appeal, failed to acknowledge that the affidavit was false and suppressed other evidence that might have helped him.

The former head of the Justice Department (news - web sites)'s criminal division, D. Lowell Jensen, also denied a claim by the judge that he was involved in the prosecutors' discussions.

"I know that I would not have authorized the failure to disclose any information," Jensen said.


This guy's picture used to appear in the dictionary under "dirty operative", now the courts want to set him loose.
2 posted on 10/30/2003 11:48:52 AM PST by KC Burke
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To: KC Burke
" D. Lowell Jensen"

Yes, said to be up to his ass in the stealing of the PROMIS software. Then made a federal judge.
3 posted on 10/30/2003 11:53:09 AM PST by John Beresford Tipton
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To: KC Burke
We old-timers remember this guy and his millionaire ranch in Virginia.

I remember the case well - didn't things begin to go awry for him after he was involved in a shooting out at a steakhouse on the corner of Dolley Madison & Old Dominion? Also striking was the fact that he was able to find some DC-8 drivers willing to haul that quantity of plastique. Holy Cow, talk about wild and crazy, that qualifies. Probably told the drivers they were hauling dried milk and Spam.

4 posted on 10/30/2003 11:57:35 AM PST by Bedford Forrest (Roger, Contact, Judy, Out. Fox One. Splash one.<I>)
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To: Travis McGee
Well speak of the devil !.............;o)

Stay Safe !

5 posted on 10/30/2003 12:01:48 PM PST by Squantos ("Ubi non accusator, ibi non judex.")
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To: Bedford Forrest; Travis McGee; Squantos
I remember this post I made two years ago about this supposed exoneration when it started.
6 posted on 10/30/2003 12:08:52 PM PST by KC Burke
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To: aristeides
fyi
7 posted on 10/30/2003 12:12:24 PM PST by KC Burke
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To: metalbird1
fyi
8 posted on 10/30/2003 12:13:11 PM PST by KC Burke
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To: Mitchell
ping
9 posted on 10/30/2003 12:24:12 PM PST by Allan
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To: Bedford Forrest
The wheels just keep turnin'.
10 posted on 10/30/2003 12:31:37 PM PST by Khurkris (Scottish/HillBilly - Revenge is an Art Form for us. Ranger On...)
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To: KC Burke
Thanks for the ping. I wonder how many other government affidavits are lies.
11 posted on 10/30/2003 12:33:22 PM PST by aristeides
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To: KC Burke
wow...
12 posted on 10/30/2003 12:41:35 PM PST by wardaddy (...and Yes, I'll be your huckleberry.)
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To: Bedford Forrest; patton; SLB; Squantos; harpseal; river rat; ExSoldier; Matthew James; wardaddy
Wilson has been in a cell FOREVER! I wonder what other shoes will drop? Wasn't Terpil found in an oil drum?
13 posted on 10/30/2003 12:57:14 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: John Beresford Tipton
Yes, said to be up to his ass in the stealing of the PROMIS software.

Is this the magical PROMIS that could supposedly hack any database in the world without knowing the properties of that database?

14 posted on 10/30/2003 12:59:13 PM PST by Poohbah ("Would you mind not shooting at the thermonuclear weapons?" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: Poohbah
I don't know about that rumor.
But it was case management software, and was stolen by the DOJ, as found by Federal Magistrate Bastian(?).
For his impartiality he was not reappointed to another term.
15 posted on 10/30/2003 1:03:38 PM PST by John Beresford Tipton
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To: Travis McGee
Is Frank dead?

Man, the stuff on these fellows is simply incredible reading.
16 posted on 10/30/2003 1:11:25 PM PST by wardaddy (...and Yes, I'll be your huckleberry.)
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To: KC Burke
This is the second case recently in Houston where prosecutors gross misconduct got convictions. The other case also resulted in appointments as federal judges for some of the criminals who happened to be prosecutors. Nothing will happen to the real criminals in this case just as in the past.
17 posted on 10/30/2003 1:16:58 PM PST by FreePaul
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To: Travis McGee; Squantos
Just shows what happens when you cross the wrong person. They lie to lock you up and throw away the key.
18 posted on 10/30/2003 1:40:24 PM PST by harpseal (stay well - Stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown)
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To: harpseal
There may have been misconduct, but Wilson was still guilty as hell. Selling tons of C-4 to Qadaffi in those days was no joke, and it still isn't.
19 posted on 10/30/2003 2:36:48 PM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: John Beresford Tipton
Do you mean "Bua"?
20 posted on 10/30/2003 7:32:21 PM PST by slym
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To: slym
US Bankruptcy Judge Bason.
21 posted on 10/30/2003 7:50:52 PM PST by John Beresford Tipton
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To: KC Burke
LMAO....Yer like a snappin turtle KC......ya don't let go till it thunders.......:o)

Great old link......Thanks and Stay Safe !

22 posted on 10/30/2003 10:16:07 PM PST by Squantos ("Ubi non accusator, ibi non judex.")
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To: Travis McGee
Wilson has been in a cell FOREVER! I wonder what other shoes will drop? Wasn't Terpil found in an oil drum?

Still alive in Cuba, variously reported as *under detention* or under arrest, depending on the source and translation. You may be thinking of the Chicago Mob/Outfit's *Hollywood Ambassador* John Roselli, found in an oil drum after having been garrotted and possibly shot; his legs had been hacksawed off to allow him to fit in the drum and there was evidence it had been done while he was still alive. A .22 pistol traced to Miami and modified with a CIA type silencer had been used previously in the Chicago hit of retired Outfit boss Sam Giancana, and Roselli had been subpoenaed to testify as to his role as a go-between in the CIA's attempts to have former Outfit assets in Cuba kill Fidel Castro; he conveniently *disappeared* before he could so testify to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

A couple of years back, when the international court case against the Libyans accused of the Lockerbie Pan Am 747 bombing were about to begin their court proceedings, the British very much wanted to question Terpil about his having supplied the Libyans certain explosive detonator circuitry and his training them in their use. The Brit inquiry was reported in an Issue of U.S. News and World Report, approximately a full-page article.

The British have no sense of humour about Wilson and Terpil's activities on behalf of first Idi Amin, then Manuel Noriega, particularly in the aftermath of Various claims were made that the weapon used was supplied by Wilson; certainly some weapons supplied by him were found in the facility. A New York Times report claimed a British-built Sterling submachinegun was used, at the time a standard issue weapon to Libyan army and police units, though that seems less likely. The shooting was seen live on British BBC-TV.

More on Frank Terpil and his partner/boss Ed Wilson *here*


23 posted on 10/31/2003 6:35:24 AM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: Travis McGee
There may have been misconduct, but Wilson was still guilty as hell. Selling tons of C-4 to Qadaffi in those days was no joke, and it still isn't.

Particularly considering who else was involved as one of Khadaffi's American agents.


24 posted on 10/31/2003 6:38:17 AM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: archy
What a pair!
25 posted on 10/31/2003 8:43:58 AM PST by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: John Beresford Tipton
Bankruptcy Judge Bason. Only case I'm aware of where a federal bankruptcy judge was not reappointed to a new term. The curious can look at his decision in In re INSLAW, 83 B.R. 89 (Bankr. D.C. 1988). By the way, when the D.C. Circuit reversed Bason's decision (which had been affirmed at the district court level), they did so for technical legal reasons that had nothing to do with judging the merits of the case. If anything, the D.C. Circuit judges used language that implied that Bason had gotten the facts right, with respect to Justice Department misconduct. In re INSLAW, 932 F.2d 1467 (D.C. Cir. 1991).
26 posted on 10/31/2003 8:50:07 AM PST by aristeides
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To: Travis McGee
What a pair!

Someday I'll tell you the story about the day I met Jimmy.

Sometimes, I'm not at all a nice person.

-archy-/-

27 posted on 10/31/2003 8:51:42 AM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: Travis McGee
Selling tons of C-4 to Qadaffi in those days was no joke, and it still isn't.

But the issue is whether it was sanctioned by the CIA, at some level.

28 posted on 10/31/2003 8:51:58 AM PST by aristeides
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To: KC Burke
Just in time for Nov.22 archieves.........Can't wait to see the movie!

'Advised and Consented'

LOL

Nothing like a Burke,....thanks for posting.

:-)

29 posted on 11/01/2003 7:04:14 PM PST by maestro
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To: aristeides
Selling tons of C-4 to Qadaffi in those days was no joke, and it still isn't.

But the issue is whether it was sanctioned by the CIA, at some level.

As well as the nuke Wilson was trying to peddle to the Libyans.

A fake, just to scam them? A real one that they'd have had to complete with replacement of the US Permissive Action Link mechanism? Something the intel community cooked up for deliver that could then have gone off *by accident* in proximity to Khadaffi? Could have been any of the above, or something else....

-archy-/-

30 posted on 11/01/2003 11:31:06 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: archy
Yipes! Is that who I think it is and is there a peanut stuck between his teeth?
31 posted on 12/08/2003 9:53:25 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa
Yipes! Is that who I think it is and is there a peanut stuck between his teeth?

I believe Jimmy has the peanut stuck in his mouth, while his brother Billy has one stuck in his ear.

As for why he stuck a peanut in his ear, he is alleged to have replied, *I'm sorry, I can't hear a word you're saying. I have a peanut in my ear.*

-archy-/-

32 posted on 12/08/2003 10:34:37 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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