Sometime in mid October, at the offices of the Mariposa Guide, I received a hurried phone call from Dave Massey, standing in the lobby outside the Washington D.C. offices of ABC's "20/20" news bureau. I had asked Massey to pick up key documents at the offices of producer Don Thrasher at "20/20" who had been holding them there as a safety precaution for me. ("20/20" had aired an in depth piece on the corruption in Mariposa County and I had developed a friendship with Thrasher at that time).
After Massey emerged from Thrasher's office building, he'd met with John Cohen, investigator for the House Judiciary Committee on Inslaw. They talked for a few minutes, then Cohen asked Massey if he would turn over my documents to him? Massey excused himself and hurriedly called me at my office in Mariposa. I instructed him NOT to hand over the documents. Most of them were my originals and I had no copies. (Thrasher had flown into California to pick the documents up, but we hadn't had time to make copies).
However, I mentioned to Massey that he was welcome to give Cohen my telephone number if he wished. Shortly thereafter, Cohen called me at my home and we had numerous conversations during the next several weeks. It was my understanding that he was the lead investigator in the House Judiciary Committee's three year investigation of the Inslaw stolen software. The final Investigative Report, dated September 10, 1992, titled "The Inslaw Affair," had already been published and I wondered why he bothered to call me.
After much coaxing, I finally agreed to send him some sort of an affidavit. I was working as a reporter for the local newspaper and didn't have time to put together a detailed report, so I simply attached a notarized cover sheet to "Vortex" and mailed it off to him.
On October 28, 1992, Cohen called back. He was very excited about Vortex.
"There's some great information here," he observed. "You did a very good investigative job, I have to commend you on that. I realize it's only a fraction of everything you have. What you have done, you have put the pieces of the whole thing together. Little bits and pieces of things that I have known about, that I had theorized about, you have found the answers to those specific questions."
I explained to Cohen that I planned to publish a book on the subject and his professional opinion was valuable to me.
"You've done some good investigative work here. It puts me in a position to say, `Yeah, this stuff is good, and this is some stuff you may want to get out.' In fact, I can put myself out as being available to these media people to be an inside source, for background only, which would also add credibility to your project."
Cohen hesitated, seemingly uncomfortable with what he was about to say. He drew a deep breath, then proceeded.
"You are actually a key witness to this thing now. And you might want to consider talking to a couple of the honorable law enforcement people that are still working on this. I do know there are currently some FBI investigations that are in place on this ..."
Cohen hesitated again, gathering his thoughts. " ... There has been coordination on this." He waited for a response, a signal that I understood what he was trying to say. I said I understood.
"It's been unofficial, but there has been coordination. So, I'd like to know whether ... maybe it would even keep you out of the limelight, whether you would mind, as long as I talk about it and clear it with you first ..."
Cohen was leading up to something, but having trouble getting to the point.
" ... There is a certain sharing of information. Some of the leads and some of the stuff [in Vortex] (pause) ... Because I'll tell you, one of the biggest hits (pause) ... I always felt that there was a narcotics connection in this ..."
I laughed aloud. Cohen continued ...
"regarding international narcotics distribution. And I've sort of made my expertise in my years in law enforcement, international narcoterrorism, the weaponsdope connections in the intelligence agencies ..."
I could only say, "Yes, yes, yes."
" ... And when I was in Los Angeles I did a lot of undercover work with Columbians, where I worked international narcotics conspiracies with DEA and FBI and, being a local police officer, I didn't really get caught up in their systems, I just made some great contacts in these agencies. But I also learned quite a bit about Southeast Asian heroin and the rise of the Medellin Cartels and the other Cartels in Latin America."
"Yes." By then, I knew Cohen had grasped the significance of the information Michael Riconosciuto had attempted to trade to the FBI, as well as Danny Casolaro's fatal inquiry about Mike Abbell of the DOJ and his connection to Gilbert Rodriguez and Jose Londoņo of the Cali Cartel.
Cohen continued ...
"And I also ran into quite a few law enforcement professionals who were pretty irritated because of the intelligence agency, drug dealer connection."
"Well, the thing that is interesting is, one of the most interesting things in the whole report, was the article on The Company."
" ... Because that immediately answered, or confirmed, what my suspicions had been. And I know the exact, right channel to push to get this thing hooked up. And he's a bigtime ... (pause) See this is a very good time for people like us, who are out for purposes of good, to ...(pause) You see, right now the FBI is in a war with the Department of Justice. And would like nothing better than to have an investigation that they can discredit the Department of Justice with. So, the time is ripe to feed this stuff to the right people."
I agreed that the drug operations needed to be cleaned up, because the drugs were filtering into the smaller communities. But, thinking of Mariposa, I added that there were law enforcement people involved in the drug trade.
Cohen agreed. "I'm very careful with who I deal with. And I think when these people contact you, you'll be somewhat surprised."
Reluctantly, I said, "Ok, I will work with them."
Cohen concluded by saying, "You said some real interesting things. I like the section where you said `Bob Nichols runs Glen Shockley, Glen Shockley runs Jose Londono.' Now that corroborates some information that I got in the past which talked about one of the reasons PROMISE was stolen. You see, I've had a side theory about another reason why PROMISE was taken. And it was that PROMISE could also be modified to track money laundering.."
"... And it could also be used as an active information gathering, or an active moving software program that can go into other data bases. And it could be modified to control hundreds of accounts and move money through the international banking system."
I interjected, "This is what Michael Riconosciuto was trying to trade to the FBI and to FinCen ..."
Cohen added, "What a lot of people don't realize is that there are two international banking systems. There's CHIPS and SWIFT. And the word Swift Chips has been spread out throughout this whole [investigation]. And a lot of people don't realize what that meant. Well, Swift Chips is a referral to those two clearing house systems. The clearing house interbank payment system and then the European counterpart, Swift. And they do $2 billion dollars worth of banking transactions a day."
" ... And if one was able to move accounts through there, you could move money around the world ..."
In a subsequent conversation with Cohen he asked me how I had obtained the document in which Ted Gunderson had mentioned their "drug/arms operation?" (See Page 60)
I explained that I had found it in Michael Riconosciuto's secret files in the desert.
Cohen remarked, "That's a great document."
I added, "I have the original."
Cohen: "You have the original?"
Cohen noted, "You hang on to that. That's `key.'"
I was subsequently contacted by Thomas Gates of the Los Angeles FBI, and John Connolly of SPY magazine. Gates was somewhat cryptic and non-communicative about his investigation. It was understandable since he had been sued by Robert Booth Nichols in a civil court.
Just before Gates called me, I had spoken with Gene Gilbert for the first time, the investigator at the Riverside District Attorney's office, and learned that drug activities at Wackenhut had been investigated for years, but a certain FBI agent, a Fred Reagan, had always shut the local investigations down.
I related this information to Gates, who seemed not particularly interested in that avenue of approach. "I'm mostly interested in Robert Booth Nichols," he said.
I explained to Gates that Nichols had made it very clear that I was not to discuss the meeting I'd had with him to anyone."
Gates inquired, "Why would he tell you that?"
I responded, "I have no idea. But I think he was serious. He had his wife take my picture front and side, and he wouldn't allow my husband into the interview. My husband had to sit downstairs in the van."
I summarized the interview briefly, then noted that I had obtained, through Bobby Riconosciuto, eight boxes of Michael's documents in the Mojave Desert near Death Valley. I believed those documents had caused Nichols and/or Jonathan Littman to want me out of the picture.
"Michael didn't know that we had done this," I noted. "Michael had instructed his wife not to go near the trailer out there. However, Bobby and I DID go out there. It was dark and it was cold and the kids were hungry, so rather than go through all those documents, she just gave them all to me. I put them in my van and and I came home with them. All the originals. And I spent a week copying all this stuff, then I shipped the boxes back to her fatherinlaw."
Gates had a habit of saying nothing when I finished my sentence. So I continued ...
"Some of this stuff was incredibly incriminating for all of them. And this is why they're all concerned. They're really afraid that I'm going to send some of this material to someone, somewhere. And, I did send a 17page summary ("Vortex") to John Cohen, but not the material itself. There's too much to send. Additionally, I have reams of notes. I kept notes on all the calls I received."
Gates asked what "Vortex" contained? I replied that it pretty much summarized everything that had transpired from the first day.
"I had contacted Ted Gunderson regarding a problem here in Mariposa. He had compiled a 700page report on Tulare County and I wanted to know if he had anything on Mariposa county, where I live. We had a meeting for about eight hours and I discussed the things that were going on in our community, which is close to Fresno. And, the very next morning, Michael Riconosciuto called me. I'd never heard of the man before, but he proceeded to give me all the names of the people involved in The Company out of Fresno, which he was working within the framework of."
Again Gates said nothing. I waited, but there was no response.
So I added, "Now, all of this starts to get real involved at this point. I don't know if you're interested in this, or not ..."
Gates replied, "The Company?"
Gates noted, "At a future date. I'm more interested in what Nichols had to tell you right now."
Nichols had sued Gates and lost his case quite recently. I wasn't sure I wanted to walk into a situation where I would be caught in the middle. I asked, "Well, I need to find out from you - I'm not real thrilled about playing with this guy, you know ..."
Gates: "I don't want you to play with him."
"Do you want me to come in as a witness on your behalf, or what?"
Gates explained, "The Civil suit is finished. This is a criminal proceeding. I want to know what he said to you."
I responded, "Well, I want to know where this is going to go. I want to know who's listening in ..."
"Nobody's listening in ..."
" ... I want to know what you're going to do with it. Where it's going to go."
"Well, what do you WANT me to do with it?"
"Well, if I'm going to get involved in it, and once I tell you what I know, I'm going to be involved. I want to know in what capacity I'm going to be involved?"
Gates was evasive. "Well, I don't know what you have to say. As far as looking at the gross amount of evidence we have, we're getting ready to do that real soon. We have a lot of people out there talking to us, but we need to find the substance of the criminal act."
Gates continued ..."And you may have the key to some of that."
I was surprised. "So, you're putting together a `criminal case.' You're going to have to level with me to a certain point. I understand that you're FBI, and everything goes in and nothing ever comes out again, but still you're going to have to level with me to a certain point, because I need to know where I stand."
Gates drawled, "Well, if there's information that would be needed for criminal prosecution, then we'd have to talk to you about the use of that material. And if you decide you don't want to use it, or don't want to relinquish it, then we can't compel you to get on as a free witness and talk about this."
" ... So, we would hope that you would do it. Whatever information you provide at this point will remain confidential."
" ... You know what I'm saying?"
" ... That's your choice."
"Yes, well I'll have to think about it."
"Well, if you could give me an idea as to what was mentioned, I could tell you, basically, how we can handle it."
I didn't know where to begin, what he wanted, so I asked, "May I ask what are the charges that you're going to bring against Nichols? Would this have to do with the government aspect of what he's been involved in, such as arms shipments, or would it have to do with drug trafficking ... murder, or what?"
Gates chuckled, "Well, that sounds like a pretty good package to me."
I laughed. "I'm just curious about what you're specifically focusing on."
He answered, "I'm focusing on any criminal activities that Nichols is involved in. Obviously, the most significant areas of interest are the drugs, the murders and the gunrunning."
I explained that it was very complex. I didn't have my notes or "Vortex" at my home, so I summarized as briefly as possible from memory what I had obtained from the boxes in the Mojave desert.
Gates listened attentively. When I concluded, he noted, "Do you have these things [referring to the documents] put away where nobody else can get at them?"
"Yes. They are not in my home or anywhere on my property."
Gates asked, "Does anybody else know where they are?"
I wondered if he thought I might NOT be around in the near future. "The person whose house they're at. Nobody else."
His next question confirmed my suspicion. "What if something happens to you? Where do we find them? How do we find them?"
I noted that I had copies out with two people. Gates asked, "Are they trustworthy?"
I said, "Absolutely."
Gates pressed further. "The place where the original documents are, can you trust that individual?" "Yes. Absolutely."
Gates seemed satisfied that the documents were safe for the time being. He reiterated that I would have to be debriefed extensively and the information would be maintained under the Attorney General guidelines for confidential sources.
The word "Attorney General" struck a cord in my consciousness. "You said `Attorney General,' you mean through the DOJ [Department of Justice]?"
Gates answered carefully, "Yeah."
I laughed sardonically. "This is getting funny ..."
Gates hurried to explain that it was only through the DOJ "guidelines." He added, "It's their rules, but they don't have access to the information."
I pointed out that I might consider talking to him, because I knew of his commitment to busting the drug cartels and finding Casolaro's murderer. I added that I would never talk to "the FBI, quote, unquote," and Gates said that was okay. He understood. So I said, "We'll go on from there then ..."
I proceeded to describe the interviews with Robert Booth Nichols. When I was finished, Gates asked me what I was going to do with the information? I explained that I planned to write a nonfiction book about it because much of the information I had obtained through my investigation had been independently substantiated by the recently published House Judiciary Committee Report on Inslaw.
However, I had not decided what the focus of the book would be - the story still had to develop. A thought occurred to me. "I would be very interested in what you've experienced in your investigation right from day one. That's what the public wants to read about."
Gates agreed, "It would make a hell of a book." Then he added, "So, how do we put Nichols and his group away?" I answered simply, "I don't know, Tom, that's your department."
I never sent the documents and never spoke to him again until two years later when I was hot on the trail of Mike Abbell.
John Connolly, a former New York police officer turned writer, was also researching the death of Danny Casolaro. Through sources unknown to me, he learned of my investigation, and after several conversations, I agreed to send him documents which he needed for his "Octopus" investigation. But first, I demanded that he fax me a letter protecting my copyrights and giving due credit.
Connolly faxed back the following letter, dated October 22, 1992: "I hereby agree that any and all information, documents, etc. sent to me from you will be treated confidentially. Any information supplied by you will not be used by me without your express permission. Furthermore, in the event that I publish a future story and use any of the information supplied by you, you will receive the proper reporting credits or bylines. Sincerely, John Connolly."
Connolly was a gungho journalist, and apparently found it impossible to withhold such provocative information. The January, 1993 issue of SPY included much of the information I had sent him in a story entitled, "Dead Right," by John Connolly.
He had not obtained my permission nor given me a byline, but I didn't hold it against him. The story was well written, and gutsy, and I had to respect that. Essentially, the story focused on the death of journalist Danny Casolaro, but pages 6365 gave an in depth profile of Robert Booth Nichols, who was portrayed as Danny's "dangerous friend" ... "The Lethal Robert Booth Nichols."
Wrote Connolly, "By the late Spring of 1991, Robert Booth Nichols had become one of Danny Casolaro's most important sources. They spoke frequently and at length ...
"We know Nichols was a man as comfortable in the underworld as in the intelligence community and that he was associated with people who treated killing as an ordinary part of doing business."
FBI agent Thomas Gates had identified Nichols in his sworn affidavit as a drug trafficker and money launderer stemming from a 1987 investigatin of MOB activities in Hollywood. Interestingly, Nichols had been identified by the FBI as early as 1978 as being involved in drug trafficking, the very same year that Gilbert Rodriguez was indicted in Los Angeles. I wondered if Nichols and Gilbert Rodriguez had been connected in the FBI investigation?
In 1989, Nichols represented a group of unknown investors who wanted to take over Summa Corporation, the holding company of Howard Hughes' empire. Hughes had just died, and Nichols had convinced a Saudi company called Ali and Fahd Shobokski Group to become partners in the (failed) takeover attempt.
Joseph Cicippio, who was later taken hostage in Lebanon, was at that time the London manager of Ali & Fahd. Cicippio told SPY he specifically remembered Nichols telling him he was representing interests in the U.S. Government and had been shown U.S. Justice Department identification by Nichols.
By 1981, Nichols had become partners with retired arms manufacturer Peter Zokosky and they formed Meridian Arms, which in turn joined up with Wackenhut Corporation in a scheme to manufacture arms on the Cabazon Indian reservation.
In Meridian's quest to provide guns for the Contras, Nichols had obtained all the required California permits to possess and sell machine guns using recommendations from CIA official Larry Curran.
Connolly pointed out Nichols' listing of Harold Okimoto as a former employer on his application to carry a concealed weapon, describing Okimoto as "believed by intelligence sources to be a highranking member of Japan's Yakuza crime syndicate."
Eugene Giaquinto, president of MCA's Home Entertainment Division, was mentioned as one of M.I.L.'s board directors. (Nichols' Meridian International Logistics corporation). Noted Connolly,
"[FBI] agents caught Giaquinto and Nichols lunching at Le Dome, the swank Los Angeles show business restaurant, and afterward transferring a box from Giaquinto's car to Nichols's. The [wire] taps caught them discussing possible takeovers of MCA, and the effect on stock prices. It was also evident from the wiretaps that Giaquinto enjoyed a special relationship with John Gotti ..."
Thomas Gates testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Inslaw that he had twice heard from informants that Nichols had put a contract out on his life. In July 1991, Danny Casolaro became somewhat alarmed and began confiding in Thomas Gates. Nichols had flown from Puerto Rico to Washington D.C. to meet with Casolaro, staying several days.
SPY didn't know what they talked about, but after Nichols left, Casolaro told Agent Gates that Nichols had warned him, "If you continue this investigation, you will die." Three days before his death, Danny had asked Gates whether he should take Nichols's threats seriously?
On July 31, 1991, Casolaro had also spoken with Richard Stavin, a former special prosecutor for the Justice Department who had been assigned to the MCA case (see Page 78). In his investigation of MCA, Stavin had unearthed documents implicating Nichols as a money launderer with ties to the Gambino crime family and the Yakuza.
Connolly wrote, "Danny must have thought he hit the jackpot." Six days after speaking to Stavin, Danny Casolaro, "who still had a young man's vision of his immortality," had a long phone conversation with Robert Booth Nichols, but the contents of that conversation were unknown to Connolly.
SPY also interviewed Allan Boyak, a former CIA operative now practicing law in Utah, who had known Nichols for 15 years. Boyak told SPY, "Nichols is lethal." A transcript of a conversation between Boyack, Michael Riconosciuto and former FBI agent Ted Gunderson, (which I had sent Connolly a copy of) described an occasion in which Nichols wanted to deliver a message to a mobster from Chicago. Nichols hung a man upside down on a hoist in an airplane hangar in front of a prop plane, then started the engine of the plane and revved it up, so that the man hanging on the hoist was sucked toward the propellers. According to Riconosciuto, "By the time Bob got finished with him, he wanted to die."
What Connolly failed to report in his article was the name of the man who had been "hung up." His name was Sam Marowitz, a professional hit man, who had been "the trigger man" in the nonfatal shooting of Robert Ferrante, head of Consolidated Savings and Loan.
Ferrante had been involved with Patrick Moriarti, Marshall Riconosciuto's partner of 40 years. It is important to remember that Robert Booth Nichols and Michael Riconosciuto had been close associates since 1967. Ted Gunderson had located, through his sources, the "trigger man" in the Ferrante shooting, and Nichols and Riconosciuto had forced Marowitz to confess to his crime by hanging him upside down in front of the airplane propellar.
Riconosciuto recalled, " ... So he [Marowitz] starts talking ... and Bob goes out of the room like this: `Oh my God, I don't want to hear anymore,' covering his ears. This Marowitz starts confessing to every hit he's ever done, including the Dorfman killings in Chicago. ... I mean, all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden Ted has found the torpedo in the Dorfman killings ..." After the "hanging" incident, Marowitz fled to Israel.
The transcript was taken from Riconosciuto's first (taperecorded) meeting with Alan Boyak on May 5, 1991 at the attorney visiting room of the Tacoma, Washington house of incarceration.
Riconosciuto had been arrested on March 29, 1991 by DEA agents, reportedly under the supervision of Michael T. Hurley, who had been transferred from Nicosia, Cyprus to Washington state shortly before the arrest.It is significant that this arrest took place exactly eight days after Michael had signed the Inslaw affidavit on March 21, 1991.
Michael already had a law firm representing him, John Crawford and John Rosalini, but Ted Gunderson had brought Boyak into the case because of the intense political ramifications. In other words, they needed someone to put together a case against the government officials involved, "so they could buy out cheap."
Danny Casolaro had obtained a copy of that transcript from Boyak, according to Ted Gunderson and Bobby Riconosciuto. Bobby noted that Danny had taken the transcript to people in the Department of Justice and confronted them with it.
Michael Riconosciuto later added that Robert Nichols had flown to Washington D.C. and "followed Danny's trail through the DOJ, doing `damage control' and repudiating the transcript."
This may well be the encounter (per SPY magazine) that Danny had with Nichols in Washington D.C. less than a month before his death in which Nichols had said, "If you continue with this investigation, you will die."
Danny had a unique habit of fearlessly "bouncing" information from one person to another, particularly between Michael Riconosciuto and Robert Booth Nichols. After the "transcript" incident, it undoubtedly created a hostile climate between Nichols and Riconsciuto. (Riconosciuto was attempting to trade information on Nichols' activities in exchange for his freedom).
Numerous passages in the transcript openly named narcotics traffickers allegedly working under Robert Booth Nichols. On page 53, just one of many named was Bryce Larsen, currently (1991) operating a hotel for "one of Harold Okimoto's people in Thailand," who smuggled China White heroin into the U.S..
"The DEA seized two lear jets from him the last time they busted him," noted Riconosciuto.
"Skip Jahota (phonetic sp.) was here trying to recruit people to go to work in Thailand, and to offload the boats when they bring the stuff in [to the U.S.]. They've got some heroin coming in in the next few weeks, a rather large ..."
Boyak interrupted, " ... There's a big case in Miami where a female black Assistant U.S. Attorney is handling this gal I was telling you about, but that's ... I don't want to go into details on that because she's in a witness protection program ..."
Riconosciuto added, "Well, she's probably working against the Martin brothers ..."
Boyak interjected, "No, it's against Larsen!"
On page 63, Riconosciuto brought Al Holbert, the Israeli intelligence agent, into the picture.
" ... Now the other area where I can do some real damage is Al Holbert's procurement of chemicals nationwide. He has a mailorder chemical company that is mailing out chemicals right now. What they do is they mail out large multiple orders under threshhold limit value for the reporting requirements under the new DEA regulations. Like with Phenol acidic acid, it's one kilo a month, so they mail out 800 grams per month to one customer. And they've got fifty customers ..."
Boyak asked, "Where are they doing that?"
Mike answered, "In Miami, Florida."
But, Riconosciuto added, in the California operation, Holbert and Richard Knozzi weighed their drugs on UHaul trucks! "When they do their meth lab, they usually do 1,500 to 2,000 pounds."
Holbert's address was listed at Ft. Mead. Riconosciuto informed Boyak that Holbert was a former Israeli intelligence officer who came to the United States to give special education classes to law enforcement agencies. "He's dirty as the day is long," he added. "He's out of OMV now. I don't know what OMV is doing at Ft. Mead."
Boyak had interjected, "Just so you know, because it may click with you. Ft. Mead has headquarters ISCOM (Intelligence Security Command) which has part of the intelligence network for the Delta Force."
In another section of the 65page transcript, Riconosciuto detailed his operation with Tyme Share Inc. something he had been unable to discuss with me on the jail phone. "Barry Smith, who is an associate of Bob Nichols, had done some research on some interlocking directorates with the board members of Wackenhut, and I started to realize how deeply involved in the NugenHand Bank the Wackenhut people were.
"Paul Morasca and I were very close to Michael Hand [former President of NugenHand Bank of Australia]. Now he's on the run, in Canada. I had a complete set of all the records for NugenHand that had not been destroyed."
Boyak: "What function were you doing for them?"
Mike: "I set up the data processing base. See, I was a principle in Tyme Share, Inc. Do you know what Tyme Share is?"
Mike: "This is a giant computer communications company, and all the Justice Department field offices communicate via Tyme Net. FOIMS (Field Office Information Management System) for the FBI is all done via Tyme Net. Okay? Most of your big banking institutions ..."
Boyak interrupted, "I'm not even a user friendly person ..."
Mike continued, "I had the NugenHand records and I analyzed the situation and I looked at the Saudi position. They were taking people's paychecks, you know, foreign workers, and giving them unbelievable deals just to put their money in the bank ..."
Boyak: " ... And they were skimming the interest?"
Mike: "Yeah, oh yeah. So, what I did ... I was looking at block transfers on Swift Chips, and reconciliations ..."
Boyak: " ... You've lost me there."
Mike: "Anyway, what I did was I screwed up everything with the automated clearing house between NugenHand ..."
Boyak: " ... So nothing could be liquidated." P
Mike: "No, what I did was I created a virtual bank on the automated clearing house system and I funneled all that money into it, and then I funneled it out of there into blocked currencies ..."
Boyak interrupted again: "I can't track the technical paper trail. What I'm trying to do is get to the bottom line ..."
The bottom line was, Danny Casolaro allegedly carted the above transcript around the Department of Justice, demanding answers. Less than a month later he was dead. The transcript gave details of the Cobra helicopter shipments to Iraq, via North Korea, corporate structures, undercover operatives, espionage activities, advanced weapons technology tested at the Nevada Nuclear test site, and much more.
"Something" in the transcript pushed some buttons, but we can only theorize as to "whose" buttons were pushed.
In all fairness, it is necessary to relate Robert Booth Nichols' response to Alan Boyak's accusations about him. The following narrative originated from a phone conversation with Nichols in which he said "Boyak was unbelievable."
"I know what he said about me, and that's all well and dandy. But I don't know why he said it. It's all totally false. The guy could not be doing this unless he was under the orders of someone. Or he's crazy.
"The thing with this Boyak, he said I was involved in BCCI, he said narcotics trafficking, he said money laundering ... as did the FBI.
"The point is, I know people inside the bureau [FBI], I know people inside the agency [CIA], I know people inside government who are very responsible people. I speak to people as individuals, not as initials. In other words, I wouldn't talk to the FBI, I would talk to an agent that I knew in the FBI who was honest. Or I would talk to an agent in the company, or the CIA, who I know is honest, but I wouldn't talk to them as a whole, or someone I didn't know. Because I think they've become so corrupt and polluted that they don't know what they're doing half the time ...
"Some people in government are extremely concerned about it. They're very much involved with it. I mean, the honest ones are the biggest critics ...
"With regards to the Yakuza, I don't know them. To my knowledge, I've never been around them. With regard to the Mafia, I don't know them. To my knowledge, I've never been around them. With regards to narcotics, I hate narcotics. And anyone who's known me for any length of time, and my friends are all old friends, knows that I hate narcotics, have never been around them, have never seen heroin in my life ... except on television. So, it makes me wonder and many other people that are friends of mine, wonder what agenda ... who's up to what? Right?
"The Tong, I don't know them, nor have I ever been around them to my knowledge. One story [newspaper article] said [I was] a hit man for the Tong. That was one story. I've never been a hit man for anything, including Tong, which is the Chinese mafia.
"Ask yourself this. I sued them [the FBI], right? We were told, `Don't sue them,' by a lot of people. `Kill everybody, don't sue them.' But the point is, there are a lot of people overseas that said pursue them anyway, and that's it, period. So, it comes down to one thing, really. When we get to the courtroom, we are not going to say, `This is this, and that is that, and trust us.' We're going to document everything we say ..."
When I asked Nichols if Michael Riconosciuto had worked for the CIA, he said, "Why don't you call the CIA and ask them. I'm sure they're listed in the phone book."
Nichols' lawsuit against Thomas Gates and the Los Angeles FBI was dismissed twice in federal court. However, he later filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department for alleged false arrest stemming from a 1986 incident at the Palomino nightclub in North Hollywood.
In March 1993, Nichols stated on the witness stand that he worked for the CIA for nearly two decades. His lawsuit charged that as a result of his detainment by the LAPD, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department rescinded his concealed weapons permit. That action, Nichols claimed, resulted in the loss of Swiss financing for a multi-million dollar deal to manufacture machine guns in South Korea.
Nichols also testified that he had no visible income for more than 15 years except for the living expenses he received from the CIA. He said he was recruited into the CIA while living in Hawaii in the late 1960's by a man named "Ken." Ken had told him that instead of joining the U.S. military, he could serve his country in other ways. He was instructed to take a job with a Hawaiian security firm (Okimoto?) and later to move to Glendale, California to join a construction company (Pender?).
From that point until 1986, Nichols worked intelligence gathering operations in more than 30 nations from Central America to Southeast Asia. To prove this, Nichols' lawyer, John F. Denove, supplied the court with a list of Washington D.C. personages to be subpoenaed which ultimately caused Judge Thomas C. Murphy to declare a mistrial. No record was ever made public of that list of names, though Thomas Gates (FBI) and Henry Weinstein of the Los Angeles Times respectively confirmed its existence over the phone, but neither would divulge the names.
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