4. DOES THE ADMINISTRATION REALLY WANT TO WIN THE
As the U.S. "War on Drugs" begins
to look more and more like a losing battle, a number of stories are beginning
to come in from the field that tell of conflicting priorities and closed-door
One of the most extraordinary stories is about Richard Gregorie who
was one of the nation's most successful Mafia prosecutors when he was
sent to Miami with orders to go after the top people in the cocaine
He did that for eight years and became the top federal narcotics prosecutor
in Miami before quitting in January, 1989, after State Department officials
repeatedly interfered in his investigations.
Gregorie had become something of a local
hero after making cases against big-time cocaine bosses and drug-corrupted officials
from Miami to Medellin. But as Gregorie began penetrating the higher levels of
the cocaine business, he began to target foreign officials of supposedly friendly
nations, including General Manuel Noriega of Panama while State Department officials
were still courting the dictator.
Gregorie's elaborate, undercover sting operations began to concern
intelligence and State Department officials and he was soon told to
stay away from certain sensitive areas. "I feel a lot like the
soldiers in Vietnam felt. We are not being allowed to win this war,"
said Gregorie. "I give an 'F' to the State Department and I give
an 'F' to our foreign policy people."
Gregorie's operations were subsequently stopped at the request of the
State Department and he quit in protest. A free lance journalist subsequently
was assigned by an editor at The New York Times Magazine to do a profile
of Richard Gregorie. After two months of interviews, research, and writing,
the author submitted the article; it was killed by a deputy or senior
editor. The author said the article was not "censored" but
rather was killed for literary or technical reasons.
charges were validated by the findings of a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee
on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations which concluded that foreign
policy interests were permitted to sidetrack, disrupt, and undercut the war on
Committee investigators also said that their inquiry was hindered
by uncooperative federal officials, while committee chair John Kerry disclosed
that Lawrence E. Walsh, the independent counsel investigating the Iran-contra
affairs, was investigating allegations that Reagan administration officials sought
to obstruct the committee's investigation.
The report itself quotes Jeffrey
Feldman, a former U.S. attorney in Miami, as having said that justice department
officials told him that representatives of the department, Drug Enforcement Administration,
and FBI met in 1986 "to discuss how Senator Kerry's efforts" to push
for hearings "could be undermined."
Considering that the mass
media have been the primary vehicle for the administration's "war on drugs,"
it is ironic that these seemingly contradictory stories were virtually ignored
by the same mainstream press.
SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: JOHN GILLES
SOURCE: RICHARD GREGORIE (personal phone call)
SOURCE: NBC NIGHTLY NEWS 4001 Nebraska Avenue Washington, D.C. 20016
NBC-TV News: BRIAN ROSS, IRA SILVERMAN, GARRICK UTLEY
SOURCE: SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (NEW YORK TIMES SERVICE) 901 Mission
San Francisco, CA 94103
TITLE: "POLICY REPORTEDLY UNDERCUT DRUG WAR"
SOURCE: DAVID HAWARD BAIN (personal letter)
COMMENTS: Richard Gregorie, former federal narcotics prosecutor
now in private law practice in Miami, Florida, said he was surprised
when a New York Times Magazine article wasn't published after lengthy
interviews with the author, David Haward Bain. Bain, the free lance
author who had been assigned by the Times to do a profile of Gregorie,
said the article was killed for literary or technical reasons and not
because of censorship. Bain said he spent a week in Miami interviewing
Gregorie and many of his associates and several additional weeks of
phone calls to other professionals and politicians around the country.
He concluded "Not publishing this profile has been a deep disappointment
for me, but there is no one to blame, only events. That's the news.
What I regret even more, though, is having lost the chance to trumpet
the story of a genuine American hero, Dick Gregorie. It is a shame the
government, his former employer, did not listen to him -- just as it
is a shame that we citizens do not have him protecting our interests
as he did for seventeen years."