Tags: cia | rizzo | hollywood

CIA Lawyer: Movie Star Wanted Cocaine to Turn Whistleblower

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Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 10:59 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Former CIA lawyer John Rizzo has revealed that a famous actor was willing to become a Hollywood whistleblower for the government as part of his patriotic duty — and $50,000 worth of cocaine.

According to Radar.online, Rizzo writes in "Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA," that the CIA has developed a strong relationship with the film industry and devotes "considerable attention" to fostering relationships with the "studio executives, producers, directors and big-name actors."

Rizzo, who served as the acting general counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency in the years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, revealed in his memoir that there are even agents assigned to working to "this account full-time." He said Hollywood's hierarchy likes to help the agency because they enjoy the "real-life intrigue and excitement."

From the government's point of view, Rizzo says a movie star's "power and international celebrity" are considered valuable because "heads of state want to meet and get cozy with them.” But the author, whose book was vetted by the CIA before publication, pointed out that dealing with celebrities can get "complicated."

He recalled, Radar.online reported, how the agency was approached by "a major film star" who knew that Hollywood had "an association with the CIA’s clandestine service" over the years.

"Now this guy was offering his own name and services to us. Free of charge. Anything he could do. Just out of patriotic duty," writes Rizzo, adding that there was one little proviso. “As our guy related his story, I wondered to myself, why is he telling me this? It all sounded perfectly fine to me. It was kind of cool actually. And then he got to the kicker.

"The actor refuses to take any money, but he told us that instead all he wants of us is to score him the best fifty-thousand-dollar stash of cocaine we can find. He seems to think we can get the real primo stuff."

Although Rizzo immediately turned down the request, he said he later learned that the actor "did provide some assistance to the CIA on a particular project.

"I was assured that his services were totally gratis," he added.

In an interview with National Public Radio, Rizzo revealed that waterboarding, or what the CIA calls "enhanced interrogation techniques," on suspected terrorists began in earnest after the 9/11 attacks.

"Keep in mind, the context of the times here," said Rizzo, who worked 34 years for the CIA. "The country was still in the throes of dread and fear that another attack was coming. Everyone in Washington — on the hill in the government — and I believe a large majority of the American people were demanding that the next attack on the homeland be averted at all costs, so the pressure was intense."

Rizzo does not agree with critics who claim that waterboarding, which simulates the act of drowning, is tantamount to torture.

He added, "I'm a lawyer, and torture is legally defined in U.S. law. If I had concluded — or, more importantly, if the Justice Department had concluded — that these techniques constitute torture, we would never have done them. So I can't say they were torture. I didn't concede it was torture then, and I don't concede that it's torture now."

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