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CIA-Crack Series Reporter Quits Newspaper

December 14, 1997|Associated Press

SAN JOSE — Reporter Gary Webb, whose series in the San Jose Mercury News linked crack cocaine sales in Los Angeles with the CIA, has resigned from the newspaper.

The newspaper announced his departure Friday.

The "Dark Alliance" series, published in August 1996, suggested that a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold crack cocaine in South-Central Los Angeles in the 1980s, then funneled profits to the CIA-backed Contras in Nicaragua.

Webb implied that high-level CIA officials knew of the connection.

After initial praise, Webb faced widespread criticism from other newspapers and U.S. officials. Newspapers including the Washington Post and the New York Times disputed his findings, and sheriff's investigators found no evidence that the CIA was involved in cocaine dealing in Los Angeles.

Mercury News Executive Editor Jerry Ceppos later acknowledged several shortcomings, calling the series "oversimplified."

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