Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor ‘worked’ for CIA in Liberia

Charles Taylor ‘worked’ for CIA in Liberia

 
 
BBC News
 
US authorities say former Liberian leader Charles Taylor worked for its intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the Boston Globe reports.
 
The revelation comes in response to a Freedom of Information request by the newspaper.
 
A Globe reporter told the BBC this is the first official confirmation of long-held reports of a relationship between US intelligence and Mr Taylor.
 
Mr Taylor is awaiting a verdict on his trial for alleged war crimes.
 
Rumours of CIA ties were fueled in July 2009 when Mr Taylor himself told his trial, at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Hague, that US agents had helped him escape from a maximum security prison in Boston in 1985.
 
The CIA at the time denied such claims as “completely absurd”.
 
But now the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s spy arm, has disclosed that its agents – and those of the CIA – did later use Mr Taylor as an informant, the Globe reports.
 
 
______________________________________________
 
Former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor had US spy agency ties 
 
 
By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe
 
WASHINGTON – When Charles G. Taylor tied bed sheets together to escape from a second-floor window at the Plymouth House of Correction on Sept. 15, 1985, he was more than a fugitive trying to avoid extradition. He was a sought-after source for American intelligence.
 
After a quarter-century of silence, the US government has confirmed what has long been rumored: Taylor, who would become president of Liberia and the first African leader tried for war crimes, worked with US spy agencies during his rise as one of the world’s most notorious dictators.
 
The disclosure on the former president comes in response to a request filed by the Globe six years ago under the Freedom of Information Act. The Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s spy arm, confirmed its agents and CIA agents worked with Taylor beginning in the early 1980s.
 
“They may have stuck with him longer than they should have but maybe he was providing something useful,’’ said Douglas Farah, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center in Washington and an authority on Taylor’s reign and the guns-for-diamonds trade that was a base of his power.
 
The Defense Intelligence Agency refused to reveal any details about the relationship, saying doing so would harm national security.
 
Taylor, 63, pleaded innocent in 2009 to multiple counts of murder, rape, attacking civilians, and deploying child soldiers during a civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone while he was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. After a proceeding that lasted several years, the three-judge panel of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone is now reviewing tens of thousands of pages of evidence, including the testimony of about 100 victims, former rebels, and Taylor himself, whose testimony lasted seven months.
 
“We hope the verdict will come in the first quarter of this year,’’ said Solomon Moriba, a spokesman for the court in The Hague.
 
Moriba said any relationship Taylor had with American intelligence was not related to his case before the court, but those who investigated the atrocities said it might explain why some US officials seemed reluctant to use their influence to bring Taylor to justice sooner.
 
After Taylor stepped down as Liberian president in 2003 following his indictment, he lived virtually in the open for three years in exile in Nigeria, a US ally. The Bush administration came under intense criticism from members of Congress for not intervening with the Nigerian government until Taylor was finally handed over to the court in 2006.
 
……….He arrived in 1972 and attended Chamberlayne Junior College in Newton and studied economics at Bentley College in Waltham. While in Boston, he emerged as a political force as national chairman of the Union of Liberian Associations. In 1977 he returned to Liberia and joined Samuel Doe’s government after a coup in 1980.

 
Taylor served as chief of government procurement in the Doe regime but fled Liberia for Boston in 1983 after being accused of embezzling $1 million from the government. He was arrested in Somerville in 1984 and jailed in Plymouth pending extradition.
 
The acknowledgment now that Taylor worked with US intelligence agencies at the time raises new questions about whether elements within the government orchestrated the Plymouth prison break in 1985 – as Taylor claimed during his trial – or at least helped him flee the United States.
 
Four other inmates who also escaped that night were soon recaptured. …….

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