Details of Covert
CIA Airlines, described by head of the airline (chapter in book, Defrauding
As my exposure of government
corruption became more widely known, additional covert agency people continued
to contact me with insider information. In mid-1995, a 15-year veteran of
deep-cover CIA activities called and started providing me with detailed information
on highly secret covert activities, some of which corroborated what other CIA
personnel had told me. Stephen Crittenden operated an airline with close CIA
ties, Crittenden Air Transport (CAT), based in Bangkok, Thailand. Much of what
Crittenden stated to me was corroborated by some of my sources.
Crittenden‘s described how the
CIA assisted in starting up his airline, provides funds and operating
expertise. He gave me details about the drugs his aircraft flew for the CIA.
CIA operative Gunther Russbacher
had earlier mentioned Crittenden Air Transport as a CIA operation, and I listed
it as such in the second edition of Defrauding
America. But it wasn’t until Crittenden contacted me, and we spent
dozens of hours in almost daily deposition-like sessions that I learned more
about the secret operation of that airline. Some CIA operatives referred to
that airline as the “ghost” airline because it was often seen in covert
operations but little was known of it, including where it was based.
of a CIA Proprietary
Crittenden, at an early age,
was selected by the FAA to be the “owner” of a new CIA proprietary airline. He
had much to learn about operating an airline but the CIA provided management
personnel and did most of the scheduling from CIA headquarters at McLean,
Virginia. He was provided a mentor to organize and operate the airline that was
given the name, Crittenden Air Transport (CAT). In January 1976, the airline
commenced operation with five C-123s, an office building in Bangkok, and $20 million in start-up operating
cash, provided by the CIA. This high-level planning permitted Crittenden to fly
many of the flights. This CIA operation continued until December 1988.
It was a businessman’s dream;
he had no mortgage payments to make, and engine replacements and aircraft
upgrading were provided by the CIA at no charge. Most of his loads consisted of
arms and drugs, with payment for full loads, even when flying partial loads or
Flight to China
In January 1976, Crittenden Air
Transport (CAT) made its first flight, which was to Beijing, China, delivering
a load of small arms and picking up a load of heroin. CAT received a $100,000
check from the Shamrock Corporation for that flight. Crittenden, a young man
given an airline by the CIA, thought he had really hit the big time. Far bigger
payments would be made in the future.
The drugs from that flight were
unloaded at Bangkok, Thailand, where another CIA proprietary airline, Southern
Air Transport, picked it up for delivery at Los Angeles. At that time,
Crittenden was flying twin-engine short-range military C-123s, and Southern Air
Transport was flying long-range military four-engine C-130s.
Thereafter, CAT aircraft flew
to seven different countries flying arms, including Thailand, China, El Salvador,
Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the USSR. The arms were flown from
Thailand after Southern Air Transport aircraft unloaded them.
Payments to CAT for the flights
were received from the CIA’s Shamrock Corporation through the Bank of Bangkok.
Payments were based upon full loads and at five dollars per pound of
permissible cargo weight.
of Additional Aircraft
Several years after the
formation of Crittenden Air Transport, in 1978, the CIA provided Crittenden Air
Transport with seven military C-130s and one Boeing 707, which came from
Evergreen International Airline’s operation at Pinal Airport near Marana,
Arizona, a small town north of Tucson. Again, no money was paid for the
aircraft, and no money was owed on them. Eventually, Crittenden Air Transport
had over 15 aircraft.
With these additional and
longer-range aircraft, the CIA had Crittenden flying into additional countries,
including the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, Great Britain, Egypt,
Italy, Colombia, Bolivia, and Panama. Payments for these flights came through
the CIA’s Shamrock Corporation, with checks written on various bank accounts,
including the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Valley Bank in
Phoenix (a reported CIA proprietary), Bank One, and Barclays Bank in Miami.
(Barclays is a major British bank, headquartered in London, with offices
throughout the world.)
Common destinations in the
Pacific were Sydney, Manila, and Singapore. Out of Miami, common destinations
included San Salvador in El Salvador; Guatemala City in Guatemala; Managua in
Nicaragua; San Jose in Costa Rica; Panama City in Panama.
The C-123s flying from Bangkok
to Manila carried approximately 10 to 12,000 pounds of heroin. Because of the
large amount of fuel necessary on the long over-water flights from Southeast
Asia, the C-130s, normally able to carry about 40,000 pounds, would carry only
10 to 12,000 pounds.
A typical flight from Manila or
Bangkok to the United States would make the first stop at Honolulu for fuel,
and then go non-stop to either Miami or Mena, Arkansas, often flying over
Mexico. Special codes were used in air traffic control procedures that advised
customs not to inspect that aircraft.
Crittenden said that the C-123s
were used primarily to haul heroin obtained from the powerful Chung family in
China. The drugs were sent from China to Bangkok in old DC-3 and other aircraft
flown by independent operators, and then loaded onto CAT’s C-123 aircraft.
CAT’s ground personnel at Bangkok handled the unloading and loading. The drugs
would then be flown to Clark Air Force Base near Manila, where the drugs would
be transferred to long-range C-130s operated by Southern Air Transport. SAT
then flew to the United States via Honolulu.
After receiving the long-range
C-130 aircraft, Crittenden Air Transport then handled much of the Pacific Rim
cargo for the CIA that was formerly handled by Southern Air Transport. These
drug-related flights often flew direct from Hong Kong to the United States via
Honolulu, often over flying Mexico. Southern Air Transport then confined its
operations mostly to Central and South America, until it returned to the
Pacific Rim in approximately 1987. When Crittenden shut down his Crittenden Air
Transport operation in 1988 the CIA used Evergreen International to take its
place. For some reason the Chung family was not satisfied using Evergreen,
according to Crittenden, and entered negotiations with him to get back into the
Crittenden went into detail
describing the type of cargo he carried, the people he dealt with, and many
specifics concerning logistics, fueling, billing, payments, and other data that
could only be known by someone in a position held by Crittenden. Most of the
loads were either arms or drugs, including heroin from Southeast Asia or
cocaine and marijuana from Central and South America. Crittenden explained that
other covert proprietary airlines, such as Southern Air Transport and
Evergreen, also carried similar loads for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Description of Drug Trafficking
Crittenden described numerous
CIA flights transporting drugs into the United States. He described his
contacts with Fernando Canles, then head of the Bolivian Air Force, who
transported cocoa paste in their own aircraft to Medellin, where it was then
off-loaded for further processing into cocaine. Crittenden described flying
Canles to La Paz in 1984 in a newly overhauled Lodestar 500 (a converted
piston-powered Lockheed Lodestar).
Crittenden said that he gave
Canles flying lessons in the Lodestar, and that Canles had an expensive condo
in Key Colony at Key Biscayne, Florida.
Crittenden had described the
many drug loads that he flew for the CIA out of Southeast Asia and Central and
South America. He described various contacts that he had with known high-level
drug traffickers. He described his Miami meeting with Pablo Escobar in 1990 to
arrange payment for a CIA drug flight out of Colombia.
For Drug Cartels?
Crittenden described Colombian
and Bolivian drug cartel figures landing their Cessna Citations and Lear jets
at Marana. Stephen said they did not carry drugs on these flights. They arrived
to obtain payment for prior drug shipments. These were usually flights from
Cali and Bolivia, which landed at an airport outside of Mexico City, and then
on to Marana, 50 miles into the United States from the Mexican border. Stephen
said these planes never had to clear customs.
Police Protecting Drug Loads
Crittenden went into detail
about drug loads that he flew into Mena, Arkansas, for the CIA. He described
the practice of Arkansas state police guarding the unloading operations,
closing off the airport access roads during unloading, which coincided with
what pilots had stated to me who had flown drugs in small and corporate-size
aircraft for the DEA.
Corporation, CIA Paymaster
Other CIA assets, including
Gunther Russbacher and Robert Hunt, had described the role played by the
Ireland office of the CIA’s Shamrock Corporation in disbursing bribe money to federal judges and other covert agency
assets. Crittenden described his relationship with Shamrock that focused on
other areas of Shamrock’s activities. He said that the Shamrock Corporation
paid his airline for the flights flown, and that totaled approximately
$571,350,000 on flights from 1976 to 1988.
Crittenden said that when BCCI
closed down, his proprietaries had about $800,000 on deposit, and that he had a
claim in for the 20 percent settlement of that amount. During one of many
conference calls with another CIA asset, during which I was silently listening,
James Pennington discussed this claim, showing that Pennington was familiar
with it. Pennington was the CIA’s liaison to Somoza, the head of Nicaragua
until the Sandinistas removed Somoza in 1980. Pennington was also the chief CIA
adviser to Central America. He arranged for the purchase of arms from England
and other European countries for Somoza, most of which were paid for by U.S.
aid money intended to help the citizens of that country. Instead, the CIA’s
conduct converted that humanitarian money into weapons against the people.
Somoza was the CIA’s choice to
head Nicaragua, and his removal through elections was the start of the United
States’ war in that country.
Crittenden described flying
several flights carrying CIA money to offshore depositories on Grand Cayman
Island for deposit into BCCI. In one case, he carried 40 million dollars.Other CIA assets, including Trenton Parker and
Gunther Russbacher, had years earlier described doing the same.
Crittenden said that the BCCI
bank not only held the account for Shamrock Corporation, one of the
money-disbursing proprietaries for the CIA, but handled money involved with the
CIA drug and arms trafficking.
There were two BCCI accounts in
which Stephen Crittenden had money. One was in the name of Crittenden Air
Transport and the other was in the name of Thomas Kary. Stephen thought the
account number of one of them was 09090011.
Levels of CIA Proprietary Airlines
Crittenden described three
levels of CIA operations. As it relates to personnel, level one would be
typists and other office personnel; level two personnel would have
compartmentalized knowledge, and level three would have a broader knowledge of
a particular operation.
As it related to airlines,
Crittenden said level one would be airlines that would be suspected by the
public to be a CIA proprietary, such as Southern Air Transport. Level two would
be an airline that had less of a public exposure, such as Evergreen
International Airlines, based in McMinnville, Oregon, with a tightly guarded
base at Marana. Level three would be an airline that was virtually unknown, and
which he identified as Crittenden Air Transport.
Flights to Moscow During the “Cold War”
Crittenden described several
flights that he made into Moscow during the Cold War period, including one
flight in the summer of 1976 where a load of M-16 rifles were off-loaded. The
load had been brought to Crittenden at Manila by Southern Air Transport. A load
of Russian AK 47s were then loaded on the C-130 and flown to San Salvador in El
Salvador. A prior load consisted of American M-16s. At San Salvador the
unloading of the arms was coordinated by John Forsyth, who worked for James
Pennington, the CIA’s liaison to Anastasio Somoza, who headed the Nicaraguan
Crittenden said that the U.S.
reason for having Russian and U.S. weapons in Nicaragua was to convey the
impression to the news people that both American and Russian soldiers were in
From CIA Headquarters
Crittenden described how he
received his instructions from the CIA for his various missions. In some cases,
he called his handler at the CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia, named Ross
Lipscomb. Crittenden remembered the confidential phone number as 202-357-1100,
and when the switchboard operator answered, Crittenden would respond, “Access
code 4613,” after which he would be switched to his CIA contact. Stephen said
that the “3” in the code signified that he was Level Three.
In some cases his instructions
came on computer floppy disks that he would then put into his computer. He
described receiving floppy disks on some occasions around 1978 from CIA asset
G. Gordon Liddy, who in the mid-1990s was a Washington-area and nationally
known talk show host. Crittenden said that the physical handling of the disks
from Liddy to Crittenden occurred in the garden area of the DuPont Center in
Included in the floppy-disk
data was information about avoiding radar detection while flying drugs into the
United States from Central and South America.
Stolen Aircraft Operation
Crittenden described another
facet of how the CIA (and the National Security Council under Oliver North)
used stolen aircraft in the Contra arms and drug-smuggling operation. CIA
assets Gunther Russbacher and Terry Reed described this practice. Crittenden
described how twin-engine Beech D-18s were stolen and then sent to Volpar
Aviation at Van Nuys Airport in California for a Volpar conversion to
nose-wheel from tail-wheel configuration. Crittenden stated that a Sam Virse
from Memphis, Tennessee, took many of these aircraft to Volpar.
Elaborating more on this
operation, Crittenden stated that Aviation Materials on Sweeny Road in Memphis,
Tennessee, was an aircraft salvage yard containing wrecked Beech 18s,
Queenairs, Kingairs, Barons and Cessna 366 and 377s. Reportedly, the owner,
Graham Lotts, would give the aircraft manufacturer’s data plates that were
riveted onto the fuselages of the wrecked aircraft to Virse, who owned an
airport at Bud Island in Memphis.
Virse reportedly had a couple
of assistants who would steal identical aircraft. The manufacturer’s
identification plates would be removed from the stolen aircraft and replaced
with the data plates from the wrecked aircraft. The aircraft would then be
flown to Volpar in Van Nuys to be repainted and modified.
Crittenden stated that Volpar
knew the CIA was picking up the aircraft after modification, but was probably
unaware that the aircraft were stolen. He said that this practice continued
from 1976 to 1988, during the time of the CIA, State Department, and National
Security Council‘s illicit arms and drug trafficking involving the Contra
Crittenden described how
someone within the FAA at its Oklahoma City registration division cooperated in
this scheme by furnishing Sam Virse pre-signed aircraft Airworthiness
Certificates to be used in the stolen aircraft having the substituted
manufacturer’s identification plates.
Cooperating With the CIA
Crittenden described several
airlines that are involved with the CIA in a cooperating relationship,
including Eastern and Braniff when they were still operating, and Continental.
These cooperating airlines received various benefits for their covert role with
the CIA, including fuel allotments and fuel discounts, mail contracts, hidden
subsidies or payments.
With Evergreen Shipping Lines
The existence of Evergreen
Shipping Lines out of Taipei became more prominent in the mid-1990s, causing me
to ask Crittenden if that Taipei corporation with a similar name to Evergreen
was part of the same operation. He described a prior conversation with
Evergreen International Airlines president, Dale Smith, stating that they had
acquired a shipping line.
Side of CIA-Evergreen Operation
Crittenden described the
practice of stealing jet engines and other valuable equipment and avionics from
Eastern Airlines aircraft that were stored at Marana after Eastern went into
Chapter 7 bankruptcy. He described how low-time jet engines were removed from
Eastern Airlines Lockheed 1011s and other aircraft and then replaced with
high-time nearly run-out engines, and the records altered to cover up for these
This mindset could be expected
to be accompanied by similar conduct in other aircraft maintenance practices,
such as placing worn parts on aircraft and counting on averages that they would
not be discovered. A former Evergreen mechanic, based in Australia, filed a
lawsuit against Evergreen Airlines charging that he was fired for objecting to the standard practice by
the airline of installing worn-out parts on Boeing 747s and other aircraft and
falsely showing them as meeting replacement specifications.
One of Evergreen’s government
contracts involved the “Logair” contract, flying military equipment and
supplies from one air force base to another. In my earlier flying days I also
flew this contract operation.
A video was produced about Evergreen’s covert
activities and CIA connections that were entitled, “Welcome to Evergreen.” The
video caused the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) to conduct
a secret investigation of Evergreen in 1995.
Former Congressman Denny Smith,
who had oversight responsibilities for the CIA, later became a member of
Evergreen’s board of directors.
In 1995, Evergreen halted
payments on some of its debts, raising the possibility that it could be a
typical CIA scam of placing a CIA proprietary into bankruptcy. If that
happened, it could have its debts canceled and the assets acquired by another
CIA proprietary, thanks to the CIA’s influence of the Justice Department,
federal judges, trustees and CIA proprietary or cooperating law firms.
Slavery of American Women?
Crittenden described on the
phone and in writing a flight that he flew from Los Angeles International
Airport in one of his Boeing 707s in January 1984. Forty tall, blue-eyed,
blonde women boarded the plane at the Flying Tigers hangar, thinking they were
going to Singapore to do a movie. Instead, according to Crittenden, while
enroute over the Pacific Ocean, he was ordered to divert to Hong Kong. He said
the women were “presents” from the CIA to the military leaders of Red China.
Crittenden did not know the actual plan for their use, or of their fate, until
a later date. Crittenden Air Transport was paid $500,000 for that trip. The
women were never heard from again.
My first thought after hearing
of this operation was how it could have occurred without media attention. But
then I thought of the 30 years of attempts to expose the massive corruption,
harm, deaths, that I sought to expose, with every print and broadcast media,
and every member of Congress, that I contacted, keeping the lid on the scandals.
A June 17, 1995 article in the San Francisco
Examiner described this practice, stating in part:
Smuggling of women from Central
and Eastern Europe for prostitution is increasing, the International
Organization for Migration said Friday. Many women are tricked by offers of
jobs as dancers…the victims passports are taken by smugglers, who threaten
them and deprive them of most of their earnings, the report said… cases of
smuggled women…had doubled and tripled…in recent years.
His CIA-Related Contacts
Another CIA operator in
Houston, Ted Smith, had the job of selling or trading military goods throughout the
world. When a deal was made, Crittenden Air Transport would load the military
equipment at Fort Hood, Texas, and at that time the list was given to a Major
Robert Cooper. Often, the goods were unloaded in San Salvador, El Salvador. The
CIA people responsible for subsequent distribution were James Pennington and
of Call Airline
Among the CIA proprietary
airlines that Crittenden had contact with was Ports of Call Airline that had
passenger flights for vacationers, and cargo flights for hauling arms and
drugs. The airline was based in Denver, a city with heavy CIA involvement. Its
fleet consisted of Boeing 707 and Convair 880 and 990 jets. Because of media
publicity about the nature of the airline’s flights, the CIA closed down the
operation in 1987.
Crittenden said his C-130
aircraft hauled four loads of cocaine during 1983 and 1984 to Guatemala City,
where the loads were transferred to Ports of Call Convair 990 jets. Each C-130
carried approximately 20,000 pounds of drugs that were distributed into two
Convair 990s. Ports of Call aircraft operated in close liaison with Evergreen
He said that Ports of Call
aircraft carried passengers in the Boeing 707 aircraft, and carried cargo, such
as the food-lift to Ethiopia, often drugs, in the Convair 990s. After Congress
conducted closed-door hearings into the Iran-Contra affair, and after Denver
papers carried stories of its questionable operation, the CIA shut down the
With CIA’s Evergreen Airline
To those with at least a fair
knowledge of CIA activities, Evergreen International Airlines is known to be a
CIA proprietary, operated by CIA assets. Crittenden had frequent contacts with
top management people at Evergreen’s McMinnville, Oregon headquarters, and
Evergreen’s more secretive operation at the Marana Airport. Stephen thought
that the McMinnville operation was relatively clean as far as drug trafficking
was concerned, and that the drug shipments go through Marana. The parent
company for Evergreen International Airlines is The Evergreen Group, a Delaware
Crittenden described how CIA
money is flown from CIA headquarters at McLean, Virginia to Marana, sometimes
using a Boeing 707 with NASA markings, flown by CIA pilots, including himself.
Part of this money is reportedly used to pay for drug shipments arriving from
Central and South America.
Crittenden had dealt personally
many times with Evergreen’s president, Dale Smith. Stephen said that Smith was
more of a figurehead, and that for many years the main person was Mike Irwin,
who provided Stephen with a card authorizing his presence at the heavily
guarded Marana operation. Don Doss was head of aircraft scheduling, and was a
level-two CIA asset. Doss’s immediate boss was Walt Burnett.
Airlines, a CIA Proprietary?
In the past, CIA operative Gunther
Russbacher had described to me that Southwest Airlines was a CIA proprietary or
used by the CIA. Although the details sounded convincing, I felt I needed other
data to support that statement. Crittenden said to me that Southwest was indeed
a CIA proprietary, describing details to support what he was saying. I feel
that more evidence is needed to make this determination, but the statement of
these two key CIA operatives is certainly of interest.
Crittenden explained that he
lost CIA backing after he repeatedly criticized George Bush, former CIA
director and long-time CIA asset. (Russbacher had stated that Bush was head of
a powerful CIA faction, of which there were several, each vying for power.)
Down Crittenden Air Transport
Crittenden described how the
shutdown of the airline resulted in planes being abandoned throughout the
world. He said that five C-123s were left parked at the airport in Caracas,
Venezuela; seven C-130s at the airport outside Bangkok, Thailand; a Boeing 707
at the airport in Chico, California where Evergreen had a hangar. He said that
CIA asset Mike Irwin, who was associated with Evergreen International Airlines
at McMinnville, Oregon, took over the Boeing 707.
Crittenden described the three
levels of sanctions the CIA plans for people who have met their disapproval,
with Level-Three sanctions being the physical elimination of the person; death.
He stated that the Level Three sanctions are carried out by “outriders,” people
who have no family or friends, and have been trained as snipers in the military.
Level Two sanctions usually
involve coordination with Justice Department prosecutors, causing charges to be
filed against a person and bringing about his or her imprisonment and thereby
discrediting the person. I’ve talked to many of these victims, including people
already named in these pages, including Gunther Russbacher, Ronald Rewald,
Michael Riconosciuto, Basil Abbott, Russell Bowen, and of course, myself.
FBI to Silence CIA Assets
Crittenden described how the
FBI was used to discredit him to his friends and prospective bride, which
followed the scenario the FBI used on CIA agent Gunther Russbacher, and
confirmed the CIA requirement that the Agency approve of any marriage. In Russbacher’s
case, the CIA had specifically barred him from marrying Rayelan Dyer, because
of her Berkeley involvement in the Vietnam protests and because of her
collaboration with author Barbara Honegger who was writing a book on the CIA’s
October Surprise operation.
The standard Justice Department
tactic for silencing or discrediting people who constitute a threat of exposure
is to charge them with a crime and bring about their incarceration, followed by
statements that since the person has been convicted of a crime the person isn’t
capable of telling the truth. Five years after a mix-up occurring in the CIA’s
Valley Bank at Phoenix, the FBI and U.S. Attorney in Phoenix charged Crittenden
with wire fraud in a case where no individual lost money and no individual or
company filed any complaint.
What had happened, Crittenden‘s
mentor at CIA headquarters, Ross Lipscomb, wired $100,000 to Valley Bank,
instructing the bank to place the money in escrow, to be released upon the
possible purchase of a Boeing 707 aircraft for which Crittenden was acting as
an aircraft broker. After Crittenden inspected the Boeing at Evergreen’s
Marana Airport facility, he determined that it was an earlier model than was
needed. Crittenden and Lipscomb then notified Valley Bank that the deal was
off. The bank then returned the $100,000 escrow deposit to Lipscomb.
However, Valley Bank had
“accidentally” placed the $100,000 into the account of a Crittenden Air
Transport subsidiary, C & C Brokerage, and while in this account, C &
C’s financial officer, Rick Challis, wrote checks that used up $87,000 of that
$100,000 deposit, including a $50,000 check made out to a friend. Crittenden
was unaware of these checks, and was out of the country when they were written.
When he learned of this matter, and at the request of the bank, he and Challis
signed a note to cover the overdrawn funds. Challis was never charged, even
though he was responsible for the overdrawn condition.
In a scenario similar to that
which occurred to Russbacher, Crittenden‘s CIA handler, Ross Lipscomb, urged
Crittenden to plead nolo contendere, and said he would be shortly released.
Crittenden considered such a plea to be a not-guilty plea. However, the legal
definition of the term is an implied confession. And that is the way U.S. District Judge Roger G. Strand recognized
Crittenden’s position, causing him to be sentenced to five years in prison and
five years probation after release. In 1995, Crittenden was still in prison and
FBI agent Gil Hirschy stated to a friend of Crittenden that he was going to try
and keep Crittenden in prison for as long as possible.
Crittenden Set Up to Silence Him?
The combination of events
suggests a government frame-up:
writing the checks, a CIA asset, was never charged, even though he was
culpable, and Crittenden was only involved in pre-signing checks that required
wiring the $100,000 to Valley Bank, Ross Lipscomb, a CIA employee at CIA
headquarters, never lost any money.
was a CIA proprietary. Any loss would have been a result of their negligence.
They never made any complaint, and they were covered by a Promissory note
signed by Crittenden and Lipscomb.
CIA handlers, aware that no crime had been committed, urged Crittenden not to
raise a defense (which he complied with), and admitted an offense was committed
by pleading nolo contendere. His CIA handlers assured him (as Russbacher was
also assured) that he would spend only a short time in prison. Which was not
true; he received a five-year prison sentence and five years probation after
·The FBI’s and
U.S. Attorney’s vigorous prosecution and attempt to again attempt to arrest
Crittenden after his release, for either the non-offense, or minor offense at
the most, indicates motives outside of the charge itself.
It is possible that Crittenden
didn’t realize the legal aspects of the charge, that he actually did not commit
an imprisonable offense, and simply followed the directions of his handlers.
And for this he was defrauded of years of his life so as to silence or
to Expose Government Misconduct
I had heard of Crittenden in
1993 and had written him a letter in prison, requesting information about his
CIA activities. He did not answer, having been told by his CIA handlers that
once he got out of prison they would let him alone. When Justice Department
prosecutors continued to seek his incarceration, Crittenden then contacted me,
the first contact occurring in early June 1995.
For several hours a day,
Crittenden gave me details of his CIA activities, including the unprecedented
secret “conference” calls to various high-level CIA proprietaries and CIA
personnel. I was, of course, elated over obtaining the wealth of information. I
also recognized the immense forces in the print and broadcast media, and in
Congress that would keep the lid on these scandals and discredit anyone who
In a hearing summary report
that I obtained from Nancy Graven in the federal public defender’s office at
Springfield, Missouri, the evaluation stated:
This examiner is of the opinion
there is a possibility that if the bank had not mistakenly credited the
$100,000 deposit into the subject’s brokerage account, had instead deposited
that amount in the escrow account, that there is a possibility the fraud would
not have been committed.
to CIA Conversations
A practice that I had with
Gunther Russbacher was repeated several times with Crittenden. While I had them
on the phone I would use my telephone conference-call capabilities to call CIA
assets and CIA companies who they knew, and I would then secretly listen to the
conversations, which provided further proof to me of Crittenden’s CIA relationship
and activities. During a June 1995 telephone conversation between Crittenden
and Evergreen’s Walt Burnett, the conversation clearly established that they
knew each other and had engaged in CIA-related activities. During another call
that I placed to Evergreen’s Walt Vernon in June 1995, it was equally obvious
that they had both engaged in CIA activities.
The same was done with other
CIA proprietaries and assets. Calls were made to Southern Air Transport (SAT)
headquarters in Miami, during which he talked CIA business with a key
management person who he had known for the past 12 years. It was obvious they
knew each other and that they worked and had worked for the CIA. Other secret
conference calls were made to other CIA proprietaries and to present and former
CIA assets, each of which discussed prior or present CIA activities. Similar
calls were made to other CIA assets with whom Crittenden was familiar.
Several calls were made to the
Los Angeles representatives of China’s powerful Michael Chung family, with whom
Crittenden’s CIA airlines did considerable drug hauling in the past. Crittenden
described how the Chung family flew drugs from China to Hong Kong, and then his
C-123s would fly the drugs to Clark Air Force Base in Manila, where Southern Air
Transport’s long-range C-130s would fly the drugs into the United States, often
landing at either Miami or Mena Airport in Arkansas.
Crittenden was dealing with
representatives of the Chung family in Los Angeles, who were seeking to have
Crittenden obtain for them a fleet of Boeing 727 aircraft to start an airline
in China. One of the loads that would be carried by the airline would be drugs.
During a series of telephone conversations, Crittenden arranged for a Cesar
Resurreccion to inspect 727s in Tucson at Hamilton Aircraft Sales.
Crittenden described another
subsidiary of Crittenden Air Transport, Saarkes Air Cargo, based in Abai Dabai,
whose main cargo was drugs. The CIA furnished the proprietary with three Boeing
707s, which were used to fly drugs to Bangkok, Shanghai, Miami, and Mena
Airport in Arkansas. Even though Saarkes was listed as a Crittenden Air
Transport subsidiary, Crittenden, who was the titular head of the airline, had
no control over it. This reflected how CIA proprietaries that appear to be
owned by private interests are actually controlled by the CIA.
Crittenden Air Transport was of
course a classic example of how CIA proprietaries are formed. The people who
reportedly owned them were given the planes and start-up capital. This was
similar to the CIA proprietary in Hawaii called Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald,
Dillingham and Wong (BBRDW).
During various telephone
conversations he mentioned names of people with whom he had contact. These
included Captain Jack, the alias for the CIA pilot flying for Rowan Drilling
out of Houston, and who was reportedly a SR-71 pilot for the CIA. His real name
was Sonny Knoles.
Crittenden told me of a 1988
C-130 flight to Ireland carrying CIA arms and a stinger missile for the Irish
Republican Army. The flight originated at Fort Hood and then flew to Dublin,
where it cleared customs. The C-130 then took off and landed in a field south
of Dublin, where the arms were off-loaded.
During one phone call to a
secret IRA headquarters, he had a fellow prisoner, Michael Martin, make a call
to IRA headquarters, which was in a bar in Ireland. A special security code was
used to get the phone operator to connect to IRA headquarters. When the call
was over, Crittenden asked me what I thought. I said that I couldn’t understand
a single word because of the heavy Irish brogue.
Martin had introduced himself
to Crittenden while at the federal prison at Phoenix, asking if he was Stephen
Crittenden. Martin had helped in the unloading of the arms in Southern Ireland
on the flight flown to Ireland.
He gave me confidential phone
numbers that he used to contact CIA headquarters at McLean, Virginia, along
with his access code. He said that when he reached the Agency operator, who
answered, “Central Intelligence Agency, may I help you,” he replied, “Access
Code [number assigned to him, ending in ‘3,’ indicating he held a Level 3
He explained that the Evergreen
Shipping Lines based in Taiwan was part of the Evergreen Group, which included
the CIA’s Evergreen International Airlines. He described people who worked with
him, including Robert Newbould, who was chief pilot for Crittenden Air
Transport and after its shutdown, flew for Rowan Drilling out of Houston, Texas.
Crittenden described people
with whom he worked, and their activities, including, for example, Randy
Cotheran, a marijuana distributor in Tennessee; Louis Reyes Heradia, Mafia in
East St. Louis; husband of Michelle Stockdale of Springfield, who owns a fleet
of trucks that moves marijuana; Mark Goiter of Great Falls, Montana, a mercenary
and major drug runner; David Hadley, a cult leader; Robert Brashes of College
Park, Georgia, a mercenary and assassin, who worked for the Agency, who he
described as level three, a CIA sanction group; Coletta Flying Service,
Ypsilanti, Michigan, hauling material for the Cali cartel.
He described his friendship,
through the CIA, of various drug cartel people, including Hernando Villarell,
Cardehana, Colombia. Crittenden described his Mafia contacts made through the
CIA, especially in the St. Louis area. When I asked what the CIA did for the
Mafia, he said, “We haul weapons and drugs to them.”
He described being given by the
CIA the names of judges and Mafia people, especially in Missouri and Illinois,
to contact if he encountered trouble. He gave me the names and phone numbers of
many Italian and Mexican Mafia people who worked routinely with the CIA,
including assassins that did sanctions (murders) for the Agency.
Crittenden described shipment
of weapons to cults that had been stolen from local armories. Crittenden said
he delivered weapons to cult leaders in China, one of the many destabilization
operations for which the CIA is famous. He described fictitious bank account
names, including Thomas Kary, for a bank account with First Bank of Commerce in
He described his association
with John Emery Wolruffa, a screenwriter in Hollywood, involved in the movie, Wild Geese,
with Richard Burton. Crittenden said the movie was about mercenaries that
Crittenden flew to South Africa. In the original event, Crittenden took the
mercenaries in 1983 to Mozambique in Ethiopia via Kingston, Jamaica. Crittenden’s
code name was Iron Man in that operation.
When the aircraft arrived over
Mozambique it was depressurized and the ramp at the rear of the aircraft was
lowered, permitting the mercenaries to drop out with their parachutes. As
planned, Crittenden later landed to pick them up. However, after landing, he
received a message canceling the pickup, and the plane immediately took off,
abandoning the mercenaries. Most of them were subsequently killed. Political
considerations caused them to be sacrificed.
The information given to me by
Crittenden was sufficient to bring down high-level people in control of key
segments of the U.S. government, including the CIA, DEA, Justice Department,
Proprietary, Bird Aviation
Using the conference call
feature of my phone, Crittenden made several phone calls to William Bird, the
head of the CIA-associated Bird Airlines, which had operated in Southeast Asia
during the 1960s and 1970s. Bird Air was started by the CIA, making William
Bird, a former Air America pilot, its head, and furnishing him with airplanes
(including C-46s), operating capital, and contracts. This is the same plan the
CIA used to start Crittenden Air Transport.
When the Vietnam War was over,
the CIA moved Bird into an aircraft brokerage operation in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida. Bird later operated a repossession service with offices in Oakland,
California and Phoenix, Arizona. This operation appeared to be tied in with the
practice described by CIA operative Gunther Russbacher, in which companies are
forced into bankruptcy and their assets looted.
I checked Crittenden’s
credibility in several ways. I had already been advised by other deep-cover
people and airline pilots of the existence of Crittenden Air Transport. These
people included, for instance, CIA operatives Gunther Russbacher, Oswald
LeWinter, Russell Bowen, Tosh Plumlee, and others.
Second, as previously stated, I
listened to telephone conversations that I placed with known CIA proprietaries
or assets, during which Crittenden talked to high management people in these
Third, I quizzed Crittenden
repeatedly about minute details of his operations, the aircraft specifications,
the type of navigation systems installed on the aircraft, and other specifics
that covered intricate areas of CIA activities during the 15 years that
Crittenden operated the CIA proprietaries. No one could have been so well
informed, and so quick with the answers, if that person hadn’t been directly
involved. When Crittenden didn’t know about a particular area that I asked, and
which he had no reason to have known, he quickly admitted it, rather than
fabricate, which could have easily been done.
Fourth, Crittenden had an
address book sent to me that had the names and phone numbers of his many
contacts, including drug kingpins with whom he and the CIA did business.
Fifth, I frequently quizzed
Crittenden about details that he would not have known unless he was involved
with that particular matter. When I asked Crittenden what type of navigational
systems were used by CAT’s C-130s, he immediately described the dual Omega
navigational systems installed on the aircraft. Also, I frequently repeated
questions for which he had given me specific dates, names, or numbers, and
these always coincided with what he had stated earlier, something that would be
unlikely if he had made them up the first time.
Sixth, my training and
experience as a federal investigator, during which I held authority under
federal law to determine violations of federal law; my years of private
investigator experience; my extensive contacts with other intelligence agency
personnel, gave me the expertise for judging the credibility of statements
pertaining to areas in which I had extensive knowledge.
Seventh, several of my
deep-cover contacts from the Defense Intelligence Agency and the CIA, and
others in the airline industry, described their knowledge of Crittenden and his
airline. One of these contacts had testified several times to Congress in
secret hearings, and was especially reliable. Another of my sources, Russell
Bowen, a World War II fighter pilot, who was with the CIA and its predecessor,
the OSS, asked Crittenden during a three-way telephone conversation whether he
knew Robert Haynes (who Bowen said was an alias used by CIA agent Theodore
Shackley). Crittenden described where he had frequently seen him (at a
particular hotel in San Salvador), which Bowen acknowledged to be correct.
Crittenden provided further corroboration by defining the dates that he saw
Shackley, beginning about 1979.
to Help Crittenden
Because of the valuable
information that Crittenden was providing that could expose these criminal
activities, I sought to help him get released.
Justice Department prosecutors
were seeking to add ten years imprisonment to Crittenden‘s sentence, insuring
that his information would never be known to the American people. He had a
preliminary date on his parole revocation hearing calendared before U.S.
District Judge Roger G. Strand on July 28, 1995. FBI agent Gil Hirschy told
Crittenden’s public defender, David Lee Titterington, that he would try to have
Crittenden incarcerated for another ten years. Crittenden was obviously
The first thing that I did was
to send a letter to Hirschy, stating that it was my understanding that
Crittenden offered to give details on high-level drug trafficking in exchange
for halting any further prosecution. Further, that this offer was rejected,
which I described as obstruction of justice on his part.
I then sent a four-page letter
to Judge Strand, explaining the sham nature of the charges; the evidence of
Crittenden‘s CIA relationship, and the nature of the cargo that the CIA ordered
Crittenden to carry during his 15 years with the CIA, and included a copy of
the second edition of Defrauding America.
Crittenden said after the hearing
that the judge had my material in front of him, advised that he had looked over
the material at home the night before, and that they would be entered into the
court records. Judge Strand then set June 21st for the hearing on Crittenden’s
parole-revocation. I also prepared a Title 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 motion
seeking to vacate the nolo contendere plea
that Crittenden had made in 1991 and to vacate the sentence, allowing
Crittenden to be freed.
Warnings to Crittenden
These activities caused
considerable concern at the CIA. On July 5, 1995, CIA headquarters left a
message for Crittenden to call. During this phone call, the CIA sought to have
Crittenden cease talking to me, much the same as the CIA asked, or ordered, Gunther
Russbacher to do a couple of years earlier. The CIA tried to win over
Crittenden by promising him an aircraft operation based in Beliez. Crittenden
responded by hanging up. Crittenden had given me the confidential CIA phone
number, and then asked me to destroy it.
the Court Room
At my suggestion, Crittenden
sent me a notarized declaration of his CIA activities, including the years of
drug trafficking. I then filed that with the court, along with a
friend-of-the-court brief. At the hearing, Judge Strand ordered the courtroom
cleared, and then the U.S. Attorney told Crittenden that he could either recant
the affidavit that he had signed, or he would ask the court to sentence him for
an additional ten years. Crittenden then recanted the affidavit.
Crittenden advised his friend,
Chip Stewart, and then me that the affidavit was correct, but he had to recant
it, which I agreed he should do. I then asked U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano
for a copy of the transcript of that hearing. She wrote back on October 27,
1995, stating “you can order a copy of the transcript…by contacting Judge
Strand‘s court reporter.” In this letter she implied approval to obtain it. But
that is not the way it was.
I then contacted the court
reporter to obtain a copy of the transcript, and she replied that the hearing
was under seal, and that I would have to file a motion with Judge Strand to get
the record unsealed. I filed the motion with the court on February 7, 1966,
This is a request to have the
court records unsealed, of the hearing in this case occurring on October 2,
1995. The court reporter advised that I had to obtain a judicial unsealing of
the record for the reporter to release a copy of the transcript pertaining to
the hearing on Stephen Crittenden on that date. Another letter by the U.S.
Attorney’s office dated 27, 1995 (copy enclosed) authorized me to obtain a copy
by contacting the court reporter.
Since it is the statement of
the court and the Justice Department that Crittenden was not associated with
any intelligence or other government agency, there surely should not be any
objection to releasing the complete, unaltered, transcript.
Judge Strand never responded to
Were A Public Service
Whatever the reasons may have
been for Crittenden‘s revelations to me, the end result is that the United
States and the American people were served by those disclosures. The
information given to me by Crittenden provided still further evidence of the
subversive conduct by high-level people in control of key segments of the U.S.
government, including the CIA, the DEA, the Justice Department, and elsewhere.
Air Transport C-130 near Bangkok, Thailand
(copy in book)
Air Carrier Operating Certificate for Crittenden
(copy in book)
Bill of Sale from Lockheed to
Crittenden Air Transport for the sale of a military C-130. The original copy,
in author’s possession, is recopied here for easier viewing:
(copy in book)(
Lockheed/USAF (“Seller”), Tucson, Arizona, does hereby sell,
assign and transfer to Crittenden Air Transport (“Buyer”), of 625-627 Pra
Sumain Road, Bangkok, Thailand, 10200, the following property:
PROPERTY: Lockheed C-130 H/J
IDENTIFICATION NUMBER: 4288
The Seller warrants that the property is being transferred to the
Buyer is under U.S. Department of Defense restriction and may not be sold
and/or transferred outside of the United States without prior approval of the
Secretary of Defense.
The above property is sold on an “AS IS” basis. The Seller makes
no warranties, express or implied (except as specifically stated above).
This transfer is effective as of August 9, 1980.
The property is now located at Davis-Motham A.F.B., Tucson,
Arizona, and all of such property is in the possession of the Seller.
By: Lockheed/USAF Gen. Wayman Nutt
Crittenden Air Transport:
By: C.E.O. Stephen Crittenden
 Crittenden also had
offices in Miami and Sydney, Australia.
explained that Shamrock was a Delaware corporation.
described using a Learjet 23, serial number 20, for these flights.
Anderson was a mechanic for Evergreen in Sidney, Australia, who claimed in the
lawsuit, as reported by the Portland Free Press,
“that throughout his employment his supervisors regularly and knowingly ordered
him to install defective parts on 747 aircraft that were used to transport
cargo, rendering these aircraft not airworthy.”
by local cable-access producer Tim Herman, and available at the time of the
publication of this book from HHMP News Service in Portland, Oregon, phone
(503) 242-2492. The video had news reports from diverse sources, including the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, KOIN-TV in Portland, and WSAV-TV in Savannah.
having an office at one time at 1600 Smith Street, Houston, Texas.
facts are spelled out in the report of a January 20, 1993, hearing report
before a federal parole board that is in my possession.
contendere. Literally, “I do not wish to contend.” Substantially, though not
technically, a plea of guilty; an implied confession; a quasi confession of
guilt. 21 Am J2d Crim § 497. It is difficult to define the exact nature of a
plea of nolo contendere; regardless of the label attached, the plea for
practice purposes is a plea of guilty, or the equivalent thereof. United States
v. Safeway Stores, Inc. (DC Tex) 20 FRD 451.