Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Manuel Noriega

Perhaps the most infamous CIA asset of them all was the former dictator of Panama, now in jail in Miami for drug-trafficking, money-laundering and racketeering. He had agency connections going back to the 1950s, but the relationship solidified in the 1970s, when he was on the payroll. Upon taking power, he allowed the U.S. to set up listening posts in Panama and is believed to have served as a conduit for U.S. funds to Nicaraguan contra rebels fighting the leftist Sandinista government. The U.S. looked the other way as Noriega established what would be described as a "narco-kleptocracy," but the relationship eventually soured and the U.S. invasion of 1989 ended his rule.