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Ed Wilson's Revenge

The Biggest CIA Scandal in History Has Its Feet in the Starting Blocks in a Houston Court House

by Michael C. Ruppert

[The following article appeared in the January, 2000 issue of From The Wilderness -  Copyright and Reprint Policy]

The following is written after examining more than 900 pages of documents, in four volumes, filed since last September, in Houston Federal Court, by attorneys representing former CIA operative Edwin P. Wilson and the United States Department of Justice. As strange as it may seem, FTW assures you that there is a document on file or an on-the-record quote to support everything we now tell you.

On February 2, 1983, the Houston trial of former CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson, on Federal charges that he had unlawfully sold explosives to Libya, hung at a truly precarious moment. In chambers, the Judge hearing the case had refused to allow a CIA witness, using the pseudonym William Larson, to testify using a false name. The CIA, and prosecutors like aggressive Northern Virginia Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Ted Greenberg, relying on investigative materials produced under the direction of Washington, D.C. AUSAs Larry Barcella and Carol Bruce, were also concerned about limiting Wilson's ability to cross examine Larson for "security" reasons. Larson's intended testimony would have included statements that, according to CIA records under Larson's care, Ed Wilson had not been a CIA employee or done any work for the Agency since 1971.

According to Barcella, who gave a detailed interview to FTW for this story, the Judge's ruling raised serious security concerns for the Justice Department. The CIA records issue still needed to be addressed from another angle - and quickly. Wilson's defense had already made the case that the CIA had known and sanctioned the activities for which he was now on trial. That position needed to be countered in the rebuttal phase before the case went to the jury. Time was running out.

 Ed Wilson stood accused of shipping 42,000 pounds of the plastic explosive C-4 directly to Libyan dictator Moammar Qadaffy in 1977, and then hiring U.S. experts - former U.S. Army Green Berets - to teach Qadaffy's people how to make bombs shaped like lamps, ashtrays and radios.  Bombs were actually made, and foes of Qadaffy were actually murdered. This was the ongoing crime that had made Wilson, and his still-missing accomplice, former CIA employee Frank Terpil, the most infamous desperadoes in the world. C-4, according to some experts, is the most powerful non-nuclear explosive made. Two pounds in the right places can bring down a jumbo jet. Hence, 42,000 pounds would be enough to bring down 21,000 jumbo jets. C-4 is highly prized on the world's black markets and is much in demand. It is supposedly very tightly controlled where it is manufactured - in the U.S.

At the time it was shipped from Houston International Airport, in 1977, the 42,000 pounds of C-4 represented almost the entire United States domestic supply. It had been collected for Wilson by one California explosives distributor who collected it from a number of manufacturers around the country. Surprisingly, no one had officially noticed. Wilson had, in earlier and subsequent deals, also sold a number of handguns to Qadaffy, and several had been used in assassinations of Libyan dissidents in a number of countries, including the United States. It was these and other firearms violations by Wilson, including a scheme to ship more than a thousand M16 rifles to Qadaffy, that had put the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and Larry Barcella on Wilson's trail back in late 1977.

That investigation, which resulted in a 1982 Virginia conviction, led to the discovery of the C-4 shipment to Qadaffy. By January of 1983 Barcella and a team of dedicated BATF agents had been on Ed Wilson's trail for five long years. Barcella, in Houston as an observer and advisor, had been "twiddling his thumbs most of the time," but he did testify as a witness.  He was, by virtue of his role as the originator of the cases, "the institutional memory" of DoJ. Ted Greenberg had, from the other side of the Potomac in Alexandria, taken over other investigations stemming from Wilson's activities which led eventually to the Eatsco scandal. That investigation involved Wilson cronies Tom Clines, Air Force General Richard Secord, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Eric von Marbod and the legendary Ted Shackley.

Shackley had served in the hottest CIA posts in history. He had run the Miami station known as JM-WAVE, targeting Fidel Castro in the early 1960s, and had been a key planner in the Bay of Pigs invasion. He was also directly involved in CIA attempts on Castro's life in concert with the Mafia. In the mid-sixties he had been the Chief of Station (COS) in Laos, running the largest covert operation in CIA history -  a secret war intimately tied with opium and heroin smuggling and the abandonment of large numbers of American POWs. In the late sixties and early seventies he had served as COS in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. After leaving Saigon, Shackley had, for a time, served as Chief of the Western Hemisphere Division as the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of Chile's Salvador Allende. He had then become Associate Deputy Director of Operations (running all covert operations) in time to, as FTW believes, "preside" over Ed Wilson's Libyan affairs and the events that would ultimately result in the downfall of the Shah of Iran. Everywhere you looked in Wilson's life - post 1971 - you found either Shackley or his career-long deputy and sidekick, Tom Clines.

Shackley testified twice before Federal grand juries in the Wilson case. In one of those sessions, included in Wilson's recent court filings, he denied anything other than social contacts and a few meetings to evaluate information that never amounted to much. CIA Inspector General records (some still classified) belied Shackley's testimony. In light of voluminous CIA material, investigative reports, witness statements, BATF interviews with Shackley associates and a long litany of other records, Ted Shackley's testimony made a lot of people at CIA and DoJ very nervous. [FTW found it very interesting to note that, in his first testimony, Ted Shackley denied having ever met Ronald Reagan's CIA Director, William Casey. That may have to be the subject of another FTW article.]

Notes made by Justice Department lawyers in meetings held in late 1983, after Wilson's conviction, indicate their belief that Ted Shackley lied to the grand juries. Unattributed quotes found in meeting notes include the statements "Stupid -TS lied to GJ."

The Houston prosecution, for which Greenberg had served as the primary classified record handler, and AUSAs Jim Powers and Karen Morrissette, had no difficulty establishing that Wilson, in 1976, had secured plans for miniature timing devices from CIA contractors and, subsequently, had thousands manufactured and shipped to Libya. The Houston prosecution had no difficulty - using Barcella's, Bruce's and Greenberg's investigations - to establish that Wilson had conspired to obtain and ship the C-4 in 1977. Greenberg, Barcella, Bruce, Karen Morrissette and local Houston AUSAs also had absolutely no difficulty establishing that Wilson then chartered a DC-8 to ship the C-4 to Libya using falsified records. A hapless lawyer friend of Wilson's California explosives honcho, believing he had clearance from the CIA and other government agencies, even went along on the delivery. He had also been arrested and charged in the case. All of this took place under the guidance of Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Richard, and the supervision of Assistant Attorneys General Steven Trott and D. Lowell Jensen,

Evidence of Wilson's venality was not hard to find and put before the jury. While living in Libya for extended periods between 1977 and 1981, Wilson hired former Green Berets, some of whom were, according to FTW sources, alleged to be active-duty troops posing as rogues and retirees out for money. Using them, he set up an intensive instructional training program for Qadaffy that was intended to make the Libyan Colonel a credible terrorist threat - and credible foe - to any opponent, anywhere in the world. That effort was an unqualified success. People and things started blowing up and dying all over the place.

All the while, Wilson traveled the globe first-class, an ostentatiously wealthy man owning more than 6,000 acres of prime properties in Virginia, Great Britain and Malta. Much of that, the prosecution argued, had been paid for with millions from a Libyan dictator who had subsequently dispatched in 1982, if you believed the press, assassination teams to blow up Ronald Reagan in the White House.

Making Ed Wilson out to be a very nasty and unlikable individual was the easy part of the prosecution's case.

The second part of the prosecution's case was that one-time career CIA Agent Edwin P. Wilson had had absolutely no official relationship with the Agency since 1971. Wilson was, they argued, a good guy gone hopelessly bad who had abused his contacts, experience and the trust placed in him to commit horrible crimes behind the backs of his former colleagues. And that was where both the Department of Justice - and the CIA - were in deep, deep trouble on February 2, 1983.

Wilson, a one time career CIA agent, who had also worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), was fighting for his life. An "open source" paper trail from CIA showed that he had not worked at Langley since 1971. Shortly thereafter he began working for a secret Navy operation known as Task Force 157. But, according to other records from both CIA and the Navy, he stopped working for the ONI in 1976 and none of his Navy work was connected to Libya. After that, or so it seemed, even though he continuously socialized with some of the most powerful people in the U.S. intelligence community and the military, he did no official work for anyone.  It was in late 1975 and 1976, when George Bush ran the CIA, that Wilson, as an alleged rogue, opened ties to Qadaffy and began selling weapons, explosives and other services and equipment to the terrorist regime.

This would not be the last time that a so-called enemy of the United States in the Arab world would be supplied with weapons and bomb making materials on a watch under the command of George H. W. Bush.  While Ed Wilson was training and equipping Qadaffy, he was also lunching with Bush protŽgŽ Shackley. He was providing personal airplanes for Air Force General Richard Secord to fly around in, and loaning large sums of money to Shackley's sidekick, Tom Clines. His company, Consultants International, once a CIA proprietary, which Wilson "bought" in 1971, was still receiving referral contacts from the Agency. And while former U.S. Army Green Berets, in Wilson's employ, were teaching Libyans how to blow things up, Clines, a high-ranking active CIA officer, was walking Wilson employee Douglas Schlachter through the halls at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In 1977 Clines even introduced Schlachter to Jimmy Carter's newly appointed CIA Director, Navy Admiral Stansfield Turner. Exclusive parties, horseback riding events and private hunting parties were held for the "A" list at Wilson's expansive Mount Airy farm in Northern Virginia.

With the January 1977 change in Presidents from Ford to Carter it was inevitable that George Bush (the elder) would have to leave as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). Shackley, however, remained in charge of covert operations until December of that year. Then, with a kiss of death, as Wilson's work and life became increasingly high-profile, Turner removed Shackley from the prestigious post of ADDO and transferred him to a non hands-on post out of the loop. It was the signal that Shackley's career was over. This came at the same time that Turner gave 800 CIA career covert operatives pink slips and "early retirement." FTW believes that it is no coincidence that Barcella's and the BATF investigations of Wilson began at exactly the same time.

President Jimmy Carter had already begun the groundbreaking work with Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt that would lead to the Camp David peace accords. It would not be good PR for the U.S. to be exposed secretly arming Sadat's bitter enemy and next door neighbor, Moammar Qadaffy - especially since Qadaffy intended to kill Sadat.

The problem with the government's position in the Wilson case was absolutely huge. It was almost beyond huge. And the rationale implied during the trial, with the preceding and ensuing vilification of Wilson in major newspapers, People Magazine and best selling books like Manhunt by Peter Maas, was that the heinousness of his crimes justified obsession and even rule-bending in order to  bring the monster to justice. CIA Inspector General investigations, some partially redacted, made available to Wilson's prosecutorial team, dating as far back as 1977, proved that Wilson had provided a number of often embarrassing services for the Agency since 1971. Those records also showed no less than 80 "non-social" contacts between Wilson and the CIA between 1971 and 1978. The Agency had many records, some still classified, of Wilson meeting with Agency personnel - especially Shackley, Clines or Shackley's secretary.

Contrary to what would later become almost nonsensical hairsplitting by some of the most powerful, and supposedly ethical, lawyers in the country, the CIA - according to incredibly detailed reports compiled by the BATF, the FBI and the CIA's own Inspector General - was "operationally tasking" Wilson and his employees to accomplish specific objectives in Libya before, during and after delivery of the C-4. Both the Justice Department and the CIA had witness statements that the CIA had been tasking and debriefing Wilson's employees at exactly the same time that Wilson's employees were teaching Qadaffy's people how to blow things up.

Wilson's defense against the government's case had concluded at the end of January. His attorneys had made a compelling argument that apparently threw the Justice Department and the CIA into a crisis mode. Exhibits filed in Wilson's motion show that Greenberg and Barcella were concerned about it in advance. The defense was simple: Edwin P. Wilson, a loyal American whose company, Consultants International, received CIA referral business throughout the period, had been sanctioned by the CIA for the purposes of gathering intelligence, gaining access to Soviet military equipment in Libyan hands and other murky objectives. If Ed Wilson had not been sanctioned, he certainly believed that he had been, and the litany of his CIA contacts reasonably justified that belief. It was more than enough to raise doubt in the mind of the jury.

Wilson and his trial lawyers had introduced evidence from 1977 CIA Inspector General reports and other records that supported his claims. It was not enough to dismiss the case, perhaps, but it was a point that the prosecution could not let go unchallenged. There was too much at stake. Contrary to Barcella's suggestion to FTW that he was essentially an observer in Houston he did say that, "One of the problems that I had certainly had, from prior cases involving claims of a CIA defense, was that the Agency's compartmentalization oftentimes required two or three different people to be doing record searches because only certain people would be allowed to search certain components of the Agency.

"It was a pain in the ass from a trial lawyer's standpoint because you would oftentimes end up with three different witnesses. And any good defense lawyerÉ. can make mincemeat out of them by bouncing back and forth between one and the otherÉ One of the things that I wanted was one person as a witness to be given the authority by the CIA to search all components of the Agency, not just a single component of the Agency. "

The man originally scheduled to perform that role, to speak for all of the records in the Central Intelligence Agency, the man with the pseudonym "Larson", had just been exposed to cross examination by Wilson and been withdrawn. There had to be another way.

The Briggs Declaration

Charles A. Briggs was, on February 3, 1983, the third highest-ranking official at the Central Intelligence Agency. He was one of few men at CIA who could break through the compartments and search anywhere for records. He was the man to solve the problem in Houston. In Langley, Virginia, at 2:23 P.M., Houston time (according to a government teletype), Charles Briggs signed a declaration stating that on November 8th of 1982 he had authorized a search of all records of the CIA "for any material that in any way pertains to Edwin P. Wilson or the various allegations concerning his activities after 28 February 1971, when he resigned from the CIA."

Paragraph 4 of the Briggs Declaration states, "According to CIA records, with one exception while he was employed by Naval Intelligence in 1972, Mr. Edwin P. Wilson was not asked or requested, directly or indirectly, to perform or provide any services, directly or indirectly, for CIA."

At 2:30 P.M., Houston time, CIA General Counsel Stanley Sporkin certified the affidavit and affixed the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency to it. It was also notarized by a notary public licensed in Fairfax County, Virginia. Harold   Fahringer, one of Wilson's attorneys was served with a copy of the affidavit at  3:55 P.M. Houston time - presumably in Houston. According to a partially declassified CIA memorandum, included in Wilson's filings, dated March 15, 1983 (40 days after Wilson's conviction), on the day and evening of February 3, 1983 "CIA attorneys stated to Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Ted Greenberg that the Briggs affidavit should not be admitted into evidence as then written, and requested that Greenberg not introduce the affidavit.

"The signers of the affidavit further state that CIA General Counsel Stanley Sporkin stated that, at minimum, the word 'indirectly' should be removed from paragraph four of the Briggs affidavit.

The signers of the document further state in the document that AUSA Greenberg decided against complying with the CIA attorneys' requests described above."

Apparently, through the evening of February 3rd, the phone lines between Langley and Houston were smoking. FTW has interviewed a number of people close to the trial and none indicate that Ted Greenberg left Houston to retrieve the declaration. Stanley Sporkin knew that the affidavit was incorrect and so did a great many people at CIA. The Houston time apparently indicates that a copy was telexed to Wilson's lawyer and another copy was placed in the master DoJ case files in Houston. Larry Barcella has "no recollection" of being involved in those phone conversations. No phone logs listing participants in them have, as yet, been disclosed.

In researching this story FTW contacted best-selling author Peter Maas who wrote the book Manhunt which detailed the hunt for Ed Wilson and the four and a half year mission by Barcella, et al to bring him to justice. Maas indicated that he had been aware of the Briggs affidavit and questions surrounding its use in court. He was careful to state that it was his belief that Barcella had no knowledge of the inaccuracies in the document - or the controversy surrounding it - until after it had been introduced into evidence. The paper trail seems to contradict this position. Barcella was in almost every pre-trial conference discussing Wilson's history. He was aware of the affidavit's existence and, therefore, had to have been aware that it was inaccurate.

Maas was, however, more open on the subject of Ted Greenberg who apparently had the power to override the CIA's top lawyer and number three executive. Maas said simply that Greenberg was aggressive and not well liked by the other lawyers. He was, in Mass' opinion, "Capable of anything."

On February 4th 1983, apparently without objection, the Briggs declaration was entered into evidence by Assistant U.S. Attorneys. Both the prosecution and the defense rested and, in the afternoon, the jury began deliberations.

On the morning of February 5th, 1983, the jury sent a note to the trial judge requesting that the Briggs affidavit be reread. At 9:50 A.M. the Judge empanelled the jury and reread the affidavit to them.  The jury returned to deliberations and, at 10:45 A.M., sent a note announcing that they had reached a verdict. Wilson was guilty on all counts. The jury never asked for any other exhibit to be reread.

That same day a UPI wire service story described the deliberations. "Juror Betty Metzler said the panel was divided 11-1 almost from the start, and one juror was not convinced until Saturday morning by rereading of Briggs' affidavit denying Wilson's actions had anything to do with the CIA."

A week later, on February 10, 1983,  Attorney Kim E. Rosenfield in the Attorney General's office sent a memorandum to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Richard who ran DoJ's Criminal Division. The title of the memorandum was "Duty to Disclose Possibly False Testimony" and the memorandum pulled no punches. It went straight to prevailing case law (then and now) as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and cited two cases known as Brady and Napue. The Napue case held that, "Failure of prosecutor to correct testimony which he knows to be false violates due process, whether the falsehood bears on credibility of witness or guilt of defendant, if it is in any way relevant to the case." In Brady the court ruled that "Suppression of material evidence by the government requires a new trial, irrespective of good or bad faith."

The memorandum continued, "Prosecutor has duty to correct false testimony even if falsehood was inadvertent or caused by another government officer. New trial required if the false testimony could "in any reasonable likelihood have affected the judgement of the jury."

The Forrest and the Trees

FTW has, unfortunately, interviewed no less than six lawyers in researching this article. The problem with that is that if one talks to too many lawyers, for too long, one gets confused - very confused. Medication, meditation and/or prayer is sometimes required. Clarity vanishes. Occasionally, however, an attorney will utter statements of breathtaking logic that confirm what the layman already suspected. We want to thank Larry Barcella for giving us that kind of clarity in one instance but he may not like what we did with it.

It would be easy to pull example after example out of the 900 pages of Exhibits filed by Ed Wilson's attorney, David Adler, to show various and sundry shocking examples of Wilson's ongoing contacts with Agency personnel and Ted Shackley. But, to do that would distract from the real issues. We could laughingly try to lay out some of the pretzel-bending logic expended by an array of legal horsepower, up to and including Assistant Attorneys General of the United States. We could pull quotes, like one in notes from a meeting including Mark Richard, Lowell Jensen and a half dozen other lawyers in which someone quipped, "We're bending over backwards to fall down."

From the documents in the filing it is apparent that through November of 1983, long after Edwin Wilson had been sentenced to 17 years on the C-4 violations, every lawyer from the Justice Department who became aware of the "inaccuracy" of the Briggs affidavit kept their moth shut about it. A reading of the law and an easily understandable sense of fair play suggest that this was wrong. That many people were worried about the use of the memorandum is clear. Both Stanley Sporkin and Mark Richard can be seen, in a variety of memoranda and meetings, arguing for disclosure or some remedy. It is apparent that either their consciences or their fears of exposure were very "sensitized."

And, on close scrutiny, the remedy that was found does not sit well either. From exhibits filed by Adler on Wilson's behalf it is apparent that Assistant Attorney General Steven Trott, now a Judge on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, gave permission to the worried lawyers to disclose some "inaccuracies" in the Briggs affidavit in an obscure paragraph in filings to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. This was long after the conviction. If the Appeals court said to do something they would, if not, they were off the hook. Adler's response on this point is clear and compelling. "The problem with the logic is, at least, twofold. The 'disclosure' was made to the appeals court, not the trial court. I don't believe the Supreme Court's prohibition on the government's knowing use of false testimony is rectified by admitting the truth to an entirely different court. The second problem is that telling the truth and admitting a lie has been told are two different statementsÉ It [DoJ's attempt to satisfy disclosure requirements] simply mentioned (in a document only a few select people had access to) that Wilson had provided 'a few services'. The trial court and, more importantly, the jury were never told."

Barcella's position is that a lot of honorable people engaged in a lot of mental effort, that may have "gotten too technical" to protect the integrity of a conviction that doesn't need to be undermined.

"While the inaccuracies in the Briggs affidavit are unfortunate," Barcella said, "they really don't go to the heart of the defense. To have an authorization defense you have got to be able to show that the act that you are charged with was authorizedÉ Wilson never even alleged that he was authorized to ship the C-4. He didn't want to admit that he had anything to do with the C-4É He never called Shackley or Clines to the stand because he knew what they would have said. That claim would have been very easy to refute.

"People can claim the CIA does weird, bizarre, strange counterproductive things. And they may be able to claim that with some good, solid basis behind it. But what kind of logic would have to be employed to assume that the CIA would authorize the shipment of  40,000 pounds, 20 tons, of C-4, to the guy that was then the biggest terrorist in the world?"

Ironically Barcella's own logic is called into question on three accounts. Once, by the very CIA witness whose testimony the prosecution refused to allow under the conditions imposed by the court - William Larson. In a deposition before the Judge's ruling, according to Adler's motion, Larson told prosecutors "Éthat the Agency might consider providing 40,000 pounds of explosives to Libya if the source who needed to provide the explosives could obtain 'great' information in return. Larson said the Agency would deal with the devil if needed."

Second, as regular FTW readers know, we have often spoken of the pattern of the U.S. secretly arming its enemies for the purposes of expanding budgets, "stimulating" the economy and ensuring election victories. Abundant documentation - irrefutable documentation - exists to indicate that the Rockefellers, Henry Ford and major American firms financed Adolph Hitler both before and during the Second World War. Fletcher Prouty, using Department of Defense Records has documented how, in 1946, we gave half the weapons intended for use by the U.S. military in the aborted invasion of Japan to Ho Chi Minh. Iraqgate and the scandal around Banco Nacional de Lavoro (BNL) and Kennametal showed us how George Bush had secretly armed Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War. Even Ted Shackley's own book, The Third Option (McGraw-Hill, 1981), suggests that arming both sides of a conflict is often the best way to control the outcome, sharpen skills and make a profit.

Third, the concept of plausible deniability is not a theoretical abstract from spy novels. It is an enshrined principle of covert operations around the world. There is a point in the food chain at which deniability by higher ups is essential to the conduct of all covert operations. Ed Wilson made millions of dollars because he was taking the risks. He knew that if Shackley or (the now deceased) Tom Clines ever took the stand, they would deny any connection to his actions. That, FTW believes, was the deal from the start. Deniability is reportedly one of Ted Shackley's favorite words.

Is it really so hard to believe? It is harder for FTW to believe that Ed Wilson had so much contact with Agency employees and they didn't know about the C-4. Is that possible when Wilson's personal assistant Douglas Schlachter was walking the halls at CIA headquarters with Clines? That would kind of make the reported $30 billion CIA budget a waste of money wouldn't it? And, as it plays right now, believing that we live in a nation governed by the rule of law doesn't make much sense either. Our favorite quote from all of the exhibits so far is not an exact quote but rather a note included with the exhibits. It was made during a meeting of lawyers held on an undetermined date after the trial. Attending the meeting were D. Lowell Jensen, Mark Richard, Stanley Sporkin, Larry Barcella,, Houston AUSA Jim Powers, CIA Attorney David Pearline, DoJ Lawyer Kim Rosenfield (who wrote the Duty to Disclose memorandum) and several other people.

Jensen, now a sitting U.S. District Court Judge in Oakland said that the premise was that DoJ didn't need to disclose because Wilson already knew the facts. As recorded in the notes Stanley Sporkin the replied, "Goes beyond thatÉ this is record affidavit, if found things in records, must be disclosed. - Not in someone's mind."

We wish that Justice was that simple.


In a response made public on January 18, the Department of Justice acknowledged that Ted Greenberg introduced inaccurate testimony at Wilson's trial. David Adler has told FTW that he has until February 11th to file his response to the DoJ at which time the court may grant Wilson's motion to set aside the conviction, reject it, or hold a hearing. Adler has told FTW of his intention to subpoena all of the involved attorneys and judges and put them on the stand if a hearing is granted. Adler also intends to call Ted Shackley. Former CIA Director, Admiral Stansfield Turner was also on the list of potential witnesses until he was critically injured in an airplane accident on Jan 15th.

If the hearing takes place David Adler may then have to admonish each witness of their rights against self-incrimination before asking them about their role in the submission of, and their ensuing silence about, the Briggs affidavit.

FTW will be following every development closely.  We are in the process of obtaining a copy of the government's response and we will report on that next month. We have secured permission from Wilson and his lawyer for a telephone interview but, as of press time, the Federal Prison at Allenwood, Pennsylvania has not put me on the approved phone list. - We are not holding our breath. FTW has already been denied permission to interview Wilson in person.

If Edwin Wilson's conviction is vacated then a great deal more than just one man will be on trial next. And it is hard to believe that the government, after the mountains of press devoted to Wilson, could let him walk without another trial. It is also not inconceivable that the first conviction could be placed in jeopardy as well. Wilson's last conviction, 25 years for conspiracy to murder Larry Barcella and other prosecutors, remains intact but Wilson has now served 17 years. If two convictions are thrown out then he is at least eligible for a parole hearing. At 71, and with reportedly failing health, there might remain little justification for keeping him locked up in a maximum security prison.

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