New documents released by the CIA show how the agency worked with some of the country's largest newspapers to destroy San Jose Mercury News' Gary Webb, a journalist who famously exposed the CIA's connection to the cocaine trade in the "Dark Alliance" investigation.
Tactics used to destroy Webb, who was found dead in his apartment in 2004 with two .38-caliber bullets in the head, included a massive smear campaign by journalists with newspapers such as the L.A. Times. A report by The Intercept's Ryan Devereaux reveals the paper used as many as 17 journalists to discredit Webb and his exposé.
"The Los Angeles Times was especially aggressive. Scooped in its own backyard, the California paper assigned no fewer than 17 reporters to pick apart Webb's reporting. While employees denied an outright effort to attack the Mercury News, one of the 17 referred to it as the 'get Gary Webb team,'" Devereaux writes. "Another said at the time, 'We're going to take away that guy's Pulitzer,' according to Kornbluh's CJR piece. Within two months of the publication of 'Dark Alliance,' the L.A. Times devoted more words to dismantling its competitor's breakout hit than comprised the series itself."