Former CIA officer Ed Wilson
Former CIA officer Ed Wilson
An ABC Nightline report on Wednesday, April 27, 2005, tells the story of a 22-year-old government conspiracy that was finally revealed.
Former CIA officer Ed Wilson was convicted in 1983 of shipping weapons and 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. At the time, this was a very significant case as the government sought to isolate and define Muammar Gadhafi of Libya as the most dangerous man in the world. As part of that strategy, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) conspired to wrongly convict Ed Wilson of being a traitor and "The Most Dangerous Man in America," for helping Gadhafi.
At Wilson's trial Department of Justice prosecutors presented a CIA affidavit -- later shown to be false -- claiming Wilson "was not asked or requested, directly or indirectly" to perform services for CIA. The bogus CIA affidavit swayed the jury to wrongly convict Wilson.
Edwin P. Wilson, at age 54, was sentenced in 1983 to 52 years in prison. He was shipped to the super-max prison in Marion, Ill., and placed in solitary confinement for 10 years.
Wally Sisk, the foreman of the jury in Houston that convicted Wilson, confirmed the power of the false affidavit as evidence in the case:
"If we had known that, I can say unequivocally that there would not have been a guilty verdict," he said, "because that would have taken away the whole case of the prosecution."In Houston, Texas, Wilson's conviction on explosives charges was overturned by a federal judge, Lynn Hughes, who identified about two dozen government lawyers who participated in the use of a false CIA affidavit that sent Wilson to prison and the silence about the affidavit after serious questions were raised about its accuracy.
Some of the former government officials implicated in the Ed Wilson case:
Ted Greenberg - prosecutor of Wilson. Judge Hughes wrote, "deliberately, knowing the facts, Greenberg ignored the CIA attorneys' requests and used it." Greenberg is now senior counsel at the World Bank.
Larry Barcella - supervising prosecutor in the case. Wilson's lawyer, David Adler, says Barcella participated in meetings when it was discussed that something might have to be corrected about the affidavit. He is now a top criminal defense lawyer in Washington.
D. Lowell Jensen - assistant attorney general in charge of criminal division during Wilson's case. Wilson's lawyer said he found memos addressed to Jensen, or from him, regarding the decision to keep quiet about the affidavit. Jensen is now a U.S. District Court judge in San Francisco.
Stephen Trott - replaced Jensen as assistant attorney general. Trott had some concerns regarding the use of the affidavit, and said he alerted Justice Department officials. He is now a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Oakland, Calif.
Stanley Sporkin - CIA general counsel at the time of Wilson's case and a U.S. district court judge. He is now in private practice as a partner at Weil Gotshal & Manges L.L.P.
Charles A. Briggs - Executive Director CIA. Third highest ranking official at CIA in 1983. He signed the false CIA affidavit.
Mark Richard - DOJ lawyer, Deputy Assistant Attorney General under Janet Reno
Kim E. Rosenfield - DOJ lawyer
Ted Shackley - CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations (ADDO), retired.
---Wilson was 76 years old when he was released from prison in September 2004.
The ABC Nightline Report concluded:
As for the CIA, they will only say, "It was Mr. Wilson's decision to sell explosives to Libya, and that's why he was sent to jail."Links:
However, Judge Hughes put it another way. "America will not defeat Libyan terrorism by double crossing a part-time, informal government agent," he wrote.
Wilson says he lost all he had, his family and his wealth, over the 22 years he was in prison. Now living with his brother in Seattle, he says he simply wants to clear his name.
The Justice Department has now admitted the affidavit used to convict Wilson was false, an innocent error, their lawyers told Hughes.
'The Most Dangerous Man in America'- Conviction of Former CIA Agent Overturned on False Affidavit [ABC News, Apr. 27, 2005]
Documents related to case [ABC News]
When Justice Runs Amok [NY Times, Apr. 27, 2005]
Edwin P. Wilson [wikipedia.org]
International Man of Mystery [Washington Post, June 22, 2004]
Ex-CIA Man's Libyan Arms-Dealing Case Thrown Out [Reuters, Oct. 30, 2003]
Judge Throws Out Former CIA Officer's Conviction After 20 Years in Prison [CNN, Oct. 29, 2003]
ed wilson got shafted [disinfo.com, Oct. 18, 2000]
Ed Wilson's Revenge [FromTheWilderness.com, Jan. 2000]
EVEN SPOOKS HAVE RIGHTS [The Nation, Oct. 4, 1999]
Edwin Wilson: The CIA's Great Gatsby [Parade Magazine, Sept. 18, 1983]