He began his career working for newspapers in Kentucky and Ohio, winning numerous awards, and building a strong reputation for investigative writing. The series examined the origins of the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles and claimed that members of the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua had played a major role in creating the trade, using cocaine profits to support their struggle. The series provoked outrage, particularly in the Los Angeles African-American community , and led to four major investigations of its charges. The Los Angeles Times and other major papers published articles suggesting the "Dark Alliance" claims were overstated and, in November , Jerome Ceppos , the executive editor at Mercury News, wrote about being "in the eye of the storm". In May , after an internal review, Ceppos stated that, although the story was right on many important points, there were shortcomings in the writing, editing and production of the series. He wrote that the series likely "oversimplified" the crack epidemic in America and the supposed "critical role" the dealers written about in the series played in it.
If someone told you today that there was strong evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency once turned a blind eye to accusations of drug dealing by operatives it worked with, it might ring some distant, skeptical bell. Did that really happen? That really happened. As part of their insurgency against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, some of the C. That groundbreaking series was among the first to blow up on the nascent web, and he was initially celebrated, then investigated and finally discredited. Pushed out of journalism in disgrace, he committed suicide in Rival newspapers blew holes in his story, government officials derided him as a nut case and his own newspaper, after initially basking in the scoop, threw him under a bus. Webb was open to attack in part because of the lurid presentation of the story and his willingness to draw causality based on very thin sourcing and evidence.
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Webb won dozens of journalism awards while reporting early in his career for the Kentucky Post and, from through , The Plain Dealer Cleveland , but it was at the Mercury News , where he worked from through , that he developed a national profile. This drug smuggling into the United States, according to Webb, helped to fuel the crack epidemic of the s. The profits from this imported cocaine, Webb reported, were used to finance the Contra forces attacking the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. According to Webb, the CIA squelched efforts by American law-enforcement agents to investigate and prosecute the drug traffickers. The CIA forcefully denied the charges. The Washington Post , The New York Times , and the Los Angeles Times , all of which had ignored or downplayed evidence of CIA complicity in the drug trade for years, attacked the series, at times on the basis of claims that Webb did not actually make. He resigned from the paper shortly afterward, accepting a position as an investigator for the California state legislature. In Frederick Hitz, the inspector general of the CIA, released two reports that confirmed that the CIA had failed to fully investigate or act upon allegations that the anti-Sandinista forces it supported were engaged in drug trafficking.
Gary Webb was born in Corona , California , in Webb became a staff reporter for the San Jose Mercury News in An investigative journalist, Webb became interested in the covert activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. Webb created a great of controversy when in he wrote a series of articles claiming that supporters of a CIA-backed guerrilla army in Nicaragua helped trigger America's crack-cocaine epidemic in the s. The San Jose Mercury News came under considerable pressure for publishing these stories and in Webb left the newspaper. In Webb began work for the Sacramento News and Review , a weekly publication. Gary Webb was found dead at his home on 10th December, He had apparently committed suicide. This book was later turned into the movie. Kill the Messenger