Webb, c. 2002
|Born||Gary Stephen Webb
August 31, 1955
Corona, California, U.S.
|Died||December 10, 2004
Carmichael, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Education||Northern Kentucky University|
|Occupation||Journalist, investigative reporter|
|Notable credit(s)||Kentucky Post
Cleveland Plain Dealer
San Jose Mercury News
Sacramento News & Review
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize (staff award)|
Gary Stephen Webb (August 31, 1955 – December 10, 2004) was an American investigative reporter best known for his 1996 Dark Alliance series of articles (about CIA involvement in cocaine trafficking into the US) written for the San Jose Mercury News and later published as a book. In the three-part series, Webb investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. Their smuggled cocaine was distributed as crack cocaine in Los Angeles, with the profits funneled back to the Contras. Webb also alleged that this influx of Nicaraguan-supplied cocaine sparked, and significantly fueled, the widespread crack cocaine epidemic that swept through many U.S. cities during the 1980s. According to Webb, the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of drugs into the U.S. by Contra personnel. Webb charged that the Reagan administration shielded inner-city drug dealers from prosecution in order to raise money for the Contras, especially after Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which prohibited direct Contra funding.
Webb's reporting generated fierce controversy, and the San Jose Mercury News backed away from the story, effectively ending Webb's career as a mainstream-media journalist. In 2004 he was found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head, which the coroner's office judged a suicide. Though he was criticized and shunned by the mainstream journalism community, in 2013 Nick Schou, a journalist writing for the LA Weekly who wrote the book Kill the Messenger, stated that Webb's reportage was eventually vindicated; since his death mainstream news organizations, such as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, have reversed course and defended his "Dark Alliance" series. Esquire wrote that a report from the CIA inspector general "subsequently confirmed the pillars of Webb's findings." Geneva Overholser, who served as the ombudsman for The Washington Post, wrote that major media outlets including the Washington Post had "shown more passion for sniffing out the flaws in the Mercury News 's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves."
- 1 Biography
- 2 Awards
- 3 See also
- 4 Endnotes
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Webb was born in Corona, California, the first of two children in his family. Webb's father was a Marine sergeant, and the family moved frequently, as his career took him to new assignments. Webb's father retired from the Marines when Webb began junior high school, and the family settled in a suburb of Indianapolis, where Webb and his brother attended high school. After high school, he went to an Indianapolis community college on a scholarship until the family moved again to Cincinnati. Webb then transferred to nearby Northern Kentucky University.
Webb first began writing for the student newspaper at his college in Indianapolis, and also for an alternative paper run by a friend. After transferring to Northern Kentucky, Webb entered the journalism program and wrote for the school paper, the Northerner. Although he attended Northern Kentucky for four years, in the end he did not finish his degree. Instead, he found work in 1978 as a reporter at the Kentucky Post, a local edition of the larger Cincinnati Post. In 1979, Webb married Susan Bell and the two eventually had three children.
Webb's first major writing came in 1980, when the Post published a seventeen part series by Webb and Post reporter Thomas Scheffey, titled "The Coal Connection," investigating the murder of a coal company president with ties to organized crime and related scams in the coal industry. The series won the national Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for reporting from a small newspaper.
In 1983, Webb moved to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he continued doing investigative series. A 1985 series, "Doctoring the Truth," uncovered problems in the State Medical Board, and led to an Ohio House investigation which resulted in major revisions to the state Medical Practice Act. Webb later moved to the statehouse beat, winning numerous regional journalism awards during his time at the Plain Dealer.
In 1988, Webb joined the San Jose Mercury News, which assigned him to its Sacramento Bureau. Webb was present for the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, and covered the aftermath of the quake in a story written with colleague Pete Carey that examined the reasons for the collapse of the Cypress Street Viaduct. The Mercury News coverage of the earthquake and its aftermath won the entire staff the Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting in 1990.
Dark Alliance Series
In August 1996 the San Jose Mercury News published Webb's "Dark Alliance", a 20,000 word, three-part investigative series which alleged that Nicaraguan drug traffickers had sold and distributed crack cocaine in Los Angeles during the 1980s, and that drug profits were used to fund the CIA-supported Nicaraguan Contras. Webb never asserted that the CIA directly aided drug dealers to raise money for the Contras, but he did document that the CIA was aware of the cocaine transactions and the large shipments of cocaine into the U.S. by the Contra personnel. Per Webb's request, all the documents he used to draw his conclusions were uploaded to the Mercury's website, Mercury Center, for all readers to see. Webb feared that, otherwise, he would be discredited by the government amidst claims of lack of evidence.
"Dark Alliance" received national attention. At the height of the interest, the version on the San Jose Mercury News website received 1.3 million hits a day. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, the series became "the most talked-about piece of journalism in 1996 and arguably the most famous—some would say infamous—set of articles of the decade." Webb reported that many African Americans who had never connected to the Internet before began using the Internet to see the coverage of this story.
Criticism of the series
After the announcement of investigations by the Department of Justice and the Inspector General of the CIA into the claims made in the series, other newspapers began investigating the story and several papers ultimately published articles suggesting the series' claims were overstated. The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times both printed stories on the series on October 4, 1996. The New York Times published two articles on the series in mid-October, both written by reporter Tim Golden. The first article dealt mostly with the response of the Los Angeles black community to the stories, but described the content of the series as "thin." The second, citing interviews with current and former intelligence and law-enforcement officials, questioned the importance of the drug dealers discussed in the series, both in the crack cocaine trade, and in supporting the Nicaraguan Contras fight against the Sandinista government.
Webb's response to criticisms
In response to these attacks, Webb created a web site that contained primary documents, transcripts, and audio interviews. According to Webb, the evidence demonstrates that White House officials, including Oliver North, knew about and supported using money from drug trafficking to fund the Contras, and they neglected to pass any information along to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The 1988 report by the Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, led by Sen. John Kerry, commented that there were "serious questions as to whether or not US officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua."
By January 1997, Webb's editors no longer contacted him about his stories. In March, Webb was informed that the paper was going to address the readers about his series. On May 11, 1997, Mercury News executive editor Jerry Ceppos published a column describing the series as an "important work" and "solidly documented" but criticized it on four grounds: reliance on one interpretation of complicated, sometimes-conflicting pieces of evidence; failing to estimate the amount of money involved; oversimplifying the crack epidemic; and creating impressions that were open to misinterpretation through imprecise language and graphics. Webb was reassigned to a suburban bureau 150 miles from his home. Because of the long commute he quit the paper in December 1997.
If we had met five years ago, you wouldn't have found a more staunch defender of the newspaper industry than me ... I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. So how could I possibly agree with people like Noam Chomsky and Ben Bagdikian, who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job ... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress ...
— Gary Webb
Webb alleged that the 1997 backlash was a form of media manipulation. "The government side of the story is coming through the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post", he stated. "They use the giant corporate press rather than saying anything directly. If you work through friendly reporters on major newspapers, it comes off as The New York Times saying it and not a mouthpiece of the CIA." In 2004, Webb wrote a long piece, "The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On", describing the role the Internet played in bringing the "Dark Alliance" story to international attention in 1996, and describing at length the backlash against the story, at first externally through the larger newspapers, later internally by the paper's editors:
I found myself involved in hours-long conversations with editors that bordered on the surreal.
"How do we know for sure that these drug dealers were the first big ring to start selling crack in South Central?" editor Jonathan Krim pressed me during one such confab. "Isn't it possible there might have been others before them?"
"There might have been a lot of things, Jon, but we're only supposed to deal in what we know," I replied. "The crack dealers I interviewed said they were the first. Cops in South Central said they were the first. and that they controlled the entire market. They wrote it in reports that we have. I haven't found anything saying otherwise, not one single name, and neither did the New York Times, the Washington Post or the L.A. Times. So what's the issue here?"
"But how can we say for sure they were the first?" Krim persisted. "Isn't it possible there might have been someone else and they never got caught and no one ever knew about them? In that case, your story would be wrong."
I had to take a deep breath to keep from shouting. "If you're asking me whether I accounted for people who might never have existed, the answer is no," I said. "I only considered people with names and faces. I didn't take phantom drug dealers into account."
Investigations in response to the series
Facing increasing public scrutiny from the fallout after Webb's "Dark Alliance" series, the CIA conducted its own internal investigations. Investigative journalist Robert Parry credits Webb for being responsible for the following government investigations into the Reagan-Bush administration's conduct of the Contra war:
- On December 10, 1996, Los Angeles County Sheriff Sherman Block announced the conclusion of his investigation into the issue, publishing a summary of the investigation at a press conference. He announced at the press conference, "We have found no evidence that the government was involved in drug trafficking in South-Central." Nevertheless, the report included information that supported some of the charges. Charles Rappleye reported in the L.A. Weekly that Block's "unequivocal statement is not backed up by the report itself, which raises many questions." Much of the LAPD investigation centered on allegations made in a postscript article to the newspaper's "Dark Alliance" series.
- On January 29, 1998, Hitz published Volume One of his internal investigation. This was the first of two CIA reports that eventually substantiated many of Webb's claims about cocaine smugglers, the Nicaraguan Contra movement, and their ability to freely operate without the threat of law enforcement.
- On March 16, 1998, Hitz admitted that the CIA had maintained relationships with companies and individuals the CIA knew were involved in the drug business. Hitz told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that "there are instances where CIA did not, in an expeditious or consistent fashion, cut off relationships with individuals supporting the Contra program who were alleged to have engaged in drug-trafficking activity or take action to resolve the allegations." Senator Kerry reached similar conclusions a decade earlier in 1987.
- On May 7, 1998, Rep. Maxine Waters, revealed a memorandum of understanding between the CIA and the Justice Department from 1982, which was entered into the Congressional Record. This letter had freed the CIA from legally reporting drug smuggling by CIA assets, a provision that covered the Nicaraguan Contras and the Afghan rebels.
- On July 23, 1998, the Justice Department released a report by its Inspector General, Michael R. Bromwich. The Bromwich report claimed that the Reagan-Bush administration was aware of cocaine traffickers in the Contra movement and did nothing to stop the criminal activity. The report also alleged a pattern of discarded leads and witnesses, sabotaged investigations, instances of the CIA working with drug traffickers, and the discouragement of DEA investigations into Contra-cocaine shipments. The CIA's refusal to share information about Contra drug trafficking with law-enforcement agencies was also documented. The Bromwich report corroborated Webb's investigation into Norwin Meneses, a Nicaraguan drug smuggler.
- On October 8, 1998, CIA I.G. Hitz published Volume Two of his internal investigation. The report described how the Reagan-Bush administration had protected more than 50 Contras and other drug traffickers, and by so doing thwarted federal investigations into drug crimes. Hitz published evidence that drug trafficking and money laundering had made its way into Reagan's National Security Council where Oliver North oversaw the operations of the Contras. According to the report, the Contra war took precedence over law enforcement. To that end, the internal investigation revealed that the CIA routinely withheld evidence of Contra crimes from the Justice Department, Congress and even the analytical division of the CIA itself. Further, the report confirmed Webb's claims regarding the origins and the relationship of Contra fundraising and drug trafficking. The report also included information about CIA ties to other drug traffickers not discussed in the Webb series, including Moises Nunez and Ivan Gomez. More importantly, the internal CIA report documented a cover-up of evidence which had led to false intelligence assessments.
Support for Webb's reporting
James Aucoin, a communications professor who specializes in the history of investigative reporting, wrote: "In the case of Gary Webb's charges against the CIA and the Contras, the major dailies came after him. Media institutions are now part of the establishment and they have a lot invested in that establishment." In September, 2014, the CIA Revealed how it watched over the destruction of Gary Webb.
According to historian Mark Fenster,
- [T]he common view among unbiased journalists and researchers who have reviewed Webb's research and have expertise on the Contras and the CIA's role in Nicaragua is that the facts are basically correct and that Webb was an outstanding journalist. Webb's basic contention that there was a direct connection between the CIA, the Contras, the White House, and cocaine trafficking is supported by Webb's evidence. The historical consensus -- to the extent that such a thing is possible concerning controversial covert operations -- indicate that the basic outlines of the Mercury News stories were largely correct.
In 2006 the Los Angeles Times published The Truth in `Dark Alliance,' written by Nick Schou, in which L.A. Times Managing Editor Leo Wolinsky is quoted saying "in some ways, Gary got too much blame ... He did exactly what you expect from a great investigative reporter." The article surveys mainstream reporting at the time of Webb's pieces and states that while Webb had committed "hyperbole" and included some unproven allegations, articles by The New York Times "didn't include the success he achieved or the wrongs he righted – and they were considerable" according to Walt Bogdanich, now a New York Times editor, who had known Webb earlier.
The LA Times piece criticizes its own portrayal of Webb—"we dropped the ball"—and notes that "spurred on by Webb's story, the CIA conducted an internal investigation that acknowledged in March 1998 that the agency had covered up Contra drug trafficking for more than a decade" and concludes that "History will tell if Webb receives the credit he's due for prodding the CIA to acknowledge its shameful collaboration with drug dealers. Meanwhile, the journalistic establishment is only beginning to recognize that the controversy over 'Dark Alliance' had more to do with poor editing than bad reporting [on Webb's part]".
Writing in 2005 in the Chicago Tribune, about "the Dangers of Questioning Government Actions", Don Wycliff, the Tribune's public editor, wrote, "I still think Gary Webb had it mostly right. I think he got the treatment that always comes to those who dare question aloud the bona fides of the establishment: First he got misrepresented—his suggestion that the CIA tolerated the Contras' cocaine trading became an allegation that the agency itself was involved in the drug trade. Then he was ridiculed as a conspiracy-monger."
Media critic Norman Solomon's analysis, "The Establishment's Papers Do Damage Control for the CIA", includes various corroborating evidence that an effort to discredit Webb was pursued more vigorously than the truth of some of Webb's allegations, including corroboration internal to one such paper, the Washington Post. Notes Solomon:
The Post's ombudsman, Geneva Overholser, was on target (11/10/96) when she re-raised the question of the U.S. government's relationship to drug smuggling and noted that the three newspapers "showed more passion for sniffing out the flaws in San Jose's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves."
Citing "strong previous evidence that the CIA at least chose to overlook contra involvement in the drug trade", Overholser found "misdirected zeal" in the Post's response to the Mercury News series: "Would that we had welcomed the surge of public interest as an occasion to return to a subject the Post and the public had given short shrift."
The total of the Los Angeles Times reportage criticizing the Dark Alliance exceeded the length of the Dark Alliance itself, and the publication used anonymous intelligence officials as sources. The Los Angeles Times criticized the assertion that the CIA intentionally tried to addict African-Americans on crack cocaine, an assertion the Webb articles never made. Shelby Coffey III, the main editor of the Los Angeles Times, had assigned 17 reporters to expose any errors in Webb's story.
Post ombudsman Geneva Overholser agreed with critics that her paper's response to Webb's series showed "misdirected zeal" and "more passion for sniffing out the flaws in San Jose's answer than for sniffing out a better answer themselves." Years later, Richard Thieme argued in an opinion piece that the major news outlets focused on attacking Webb or less relevant parts of the story, leaving Webb's thesis largely intact. Overholser concluded there was "strong previous evidence that the CIA at least chose to overlook Contra involvement in the drug trade ... Would that we had welcomed the surge of public interest as an occasion to return to a subject the Post and the public had given short shrift. Alas, dismissing someone else's story as old news comes more naturally."
Robert Parry wrote that the Post's denunciation of Webb was ironic, because the paper "had long pooh-poohed earlier allegations that the Contras were implicated in drug shipments" but now "the newspaper was finally accepting the reality of Contra cocaine trafficking, albeit in a backhanded way."
Other support for Webb's reporting was more mixed. The Nation magazine contributor David Corn wrote, "[I]t is only because of Webb that US citizens have 'confirmation from the CIA' that it partnered up with suspected drug traffickers in the just-say-no years and that the Reagan Administration, consumed with a desire to overthrow the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, allied itself with drug thugs." However, Corn also criticized Webb for overstating his case and for not proving "his more cinematic allegations."
After leaving the San Jose Mercury News in December 1997, Webb began working on a book version of the series. In 1998, Seven Stories Press published the book as Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. The book received mixed reviews.
Later career and death
After publication of the book, Webb worked for the California Assembly Speaker's Office of Member Services and served as a consultant to the California State Legislature Task Force on Government Oversight. He also worked for the Joint Legislative Audit Committee investigating charges that the Oracle Corporation received a no-bid contract award of $95 million in 2001 from then California Governor Gray Davis. He was laid off by the Speaker's Office in Feb. 2004 when Assembly Member Fabian Núñez was elected Speaker. At the time of his death he was working for Sacramento News & Review, an alternative weekly newspaper. 
On December 10, 2004, Gary Webb committed suicide with two gunshots to the head. He was found dead in his Carmichael home. After a local paper reported that he had died from multiple gunshots, the Sacramento County coroner's office received so many calls asking about Webb's death that Sacramento County Coroner Robert Lyons issued a statement confirming Webb had committed suicide. When asked by local reporters about the possibility of two gunshots being a suicide, Lyons replied: "It's unusual in a suicide case to have two shots, but it has been done in the past, and it is in fact a distinct possibility."  News coverage noted that there were widespread rumors on the internet at the time that Webb had been killed as retribution for his 'Dark Alliance' series, published eight years before. Webb's former wife Susan Bell also said that she believed Webb had committed suicide when interviewed by reporters. "The way he was acting it would be hard for me to believe it was anything but suicide," Bell said. According to Bell, Webb had been unhappy for some time over his inability to get a job at another major newspaper. He had sold his house the week before his death because he was unable to afford the mortgage.
In April 2011, a second book-length collection of his articles spanning his entire career outside of the Dark Alliance series, entitled The Killing Game: Selected Stories from the Author of Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb and his youngest son, Eric Webb, was released by Seven Stories Press.
Movie and continuing debate
In October 2014, a movie based on Webb's life was released. The movie Kill the Messenger was based on Nick Schou's 2006 Webb biography of the same name, and has prompted more discussion of both Webb and his work. Much of the discussion of Webb's work on "Dark Alliance" this time around has been positive, but some still have mixed views. Scott Herhold, Webb’s first editor at the Mercury-News, wrote in a column: "Gary Webb was a journalist of outsized talent. Few reporters I've known could match his nose for an investigative story. When he was engaged, he worked hard. He wrote well. But Webb had one huge blind side: He was fundamentally a man of passion, not of fairness. When facts didn't fit his theory, he tended to shove them to the sidelines." Herhold concluded, "He was no villain ... He was no hero either. Take it from someone who knew him well."
- 1990 — Pulitzer Prize for General News Reporting, awarded to the San Jose Mercury News staff for its detailed coverage of the October 17, 1989, Bay Area earthquake and its aftermath.
- 1996 - James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, Hunter College, City University of New York.
- 1996 — Freedom Fighter Award, California NAACP.
- 1996 — Journalist of the Year, Bay Area Society of Professional Journalists.
- 1997 — Media Hero Award, from the 2nd Annual Media & Democracy Congress.
- 1998 — Firecracker Alternative Book (FAB) Award, politics, Dark Alliance
- 1999 — Oakland PEN First Amendment Award, Dark Alliance.
- 2003 — Rouse Award for Press Criticism, National Press Club, Into the Buzzsaw (contributor)
- CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US
- CIA drug trafficking
- American Drug War: The Last White Hope
- America's Army
- Iran-Contra Affair
- Oscar Danilo Blandon
- William J. Casey
- Danny Casolaro
- Mark Lombardi
- James Hatfield
- Ricky Ross (drug trafficker)
- Video game controversies
- Simon, Dan (January 2005). "The Tragedy of Gary Webb". The Progressive.
- "Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for "Tawdry" Attacks." Los Angeles Weekly. May 30, 2013. Retrieved on July 27, 2014. "Webb was vindicated by a 1998 CIA Inspector General report, which revealed that for more than a decade the agency had covered up a business relationship it had with Nicaraguan drug dealers like Blandón."
- "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire, 2004. Archived April 6, 2005 at the Wayback Machine) Retrieved on October 12, 2014.
- "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire. p. 1 at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2004). (Archive) Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
- Schou, Nick (2006). Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb. Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-930-2., 13-14.
- Schou 2006, 15-16.
- Schou 2006, 22.
- Schou 2006, 20-21.
- Schou 2006, 27-29.
- Schou 2006, 33.
- Webb 2011, "The Coal Connection: Introduction"; "1980 IRE Award winners". Investigative Reporters and Editors. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
- Porter, S. (Oct 1986). "The Ohio State Medical Board. An interim report". The Ohio State Medical Journal 82 (10): 677–683. ISSN 0030-1124. PMID 3785826.
- Paterno 2005, 26-27.
- Webb 2011, "Caltrans Ignored Elevated Freeway Safety."
- "General News Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- Webb's 1999 book, Dark Alliance, substantiated these allegations with copious references.
- Webb, Gary (1998). Dark Alliance. Seven Stories Press. p. 439. ISBN 978-1-888363-93-7.
- Kornbluh, Peter (January–February 1997). "The Storm over "Dark Alliance"". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- Webb, Gary. "War on drugs has unequal impact on black Americans" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 9, 1997). (Archive) San Jose Mercury News. August 20, 1996. Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
- Golden, Tim (1996-10-16). "Though Evidence Is Thin, Tale of C.I.A. and Drugs Has a Life of Its Own". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
- Golden, Tim (1996-10-21). "Pivotal Figures of Newspaper Series May Be Only Bit Players". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-27.
- U.S. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Drugs, Law Enforcement, and Foreign Policy. (S. Rpt.100-165). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1988. PDF (9.47 MiB) (9.5MB)
- Osborn, Barbara Bliss (Mar./Apr. 1998). "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career?". Extra!. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
- Borjesson, Kristina (Ed.) (2002). Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-972-7. Includes chapter 14 by Gary Webb.
- "The Mighty Wurlitzer Plays On", reprinted in The Killing Game, Seven Stories Press, 2011.
- Rappleye, Charles (December 13, 1996). "Sherman's Contra-Diction". LA Weekly. Retrieved copy of original article 2006-07-21 from California State University Northridge.
- s:CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz
- Pincus (March 17, 1998). The Washington Post.
- memorandum of understanding - item 24
- Bromwich, Michael R. (December 1997). "THE CIA-CONTRA-CRACK COCAINE CONTROVERSY: A REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS, USDOJ/OIG Special Report".
- "Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story."
- Fenster, Mark (2008). Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture (revised edition). University of Minnesota Press. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-8166-5494-8.
- Schou, Nick (August 18, 2006). "The truth in 'Dark Alliance'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- Chicago Tribune - Dangers of Questioning Government Actions
- FAIR - Snow Job The Establishment's Papers Do Damage Control for the CIA
- Schou, Nick. "Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for "Tawdry" Attacks." LA Weekly. Thursday May 30, 2013. p. 1 (Archive). Retrieved on December 15, 2013. "Katz seems to be referring to the fact that Times editor Shelby Coffey III assigned a staggering 17 reporters to exploit any error in Webb's reporting, including the most minute. The newspaper's response to "Dark Alliance" was longer than Webb's series. It was replete with quotes from anonymous CIA sources who denied the CIA was connected to contra-backing coke peddlers in the ghettos." ... "Much of the Times' attack was clever misdirection, but it ruined Webb's reputation: In particular, the L.A. Times attacked a claim that Webb never made: that the CIA had intentionally addicted African-Americans to crack."
- Bowden, Charles (September 1, 1998). "The Pariah". Esquire. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- Thieme, Richard (2004-12-14). "My Last Talk with Gary Webb". CounterPunch. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- Solomon, Norman (Jan./Feb. 1997). "Snow Job" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 11, 2005). Extra!. Retrieved 2006-07-20 from the Internet Archive.
- Parry, Robert. (1996). "Contra-Crack Story Assailed". ConsortiumNews.com. Retrieved 2006-07-21.
- "Gary Webb, 1955 - 2004." Esquire. p. 9 at the Wayback Machine (archived May 18, 2006). (Archive) Retrieved on December 15, 2013.
- Gary Webb Is Dead
- Webb 1998.
- Stanton, Sam; Sanday Louey (Dec 12, 2004). "Gary Webb, prize-winning investigative reporter". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on Dec 18, 2004. Retrieved Jan 25, 2015.
- Portner, Jessica (Dec 12, 2004). "Gary Webb, 49, former MN reporter, author". San Jose Mercury News. Archived from the original on Dec 15, 2004. Retrieved Jan 25, 2015.
- Stanton, Sam (December 15, 2004). "Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on May 7, 2008.
- According to a news report Webb shot himself with a .38 revolver, which he placed near his right ear. The first shot went through his face, and exited at his left cheek. It was a non-fatal wound and he was able to pull the trigger again. The coroner's staff concluded that the second shot nicked an artery and Webb bled to death. Daunt, Tina (March 16, 2005). "Written In Pain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Library Journal review of The Killing Game. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- ""Kill the Messenger" Resurrects Gary Webb, Journalist Maligned for Exposing CIA Ties to Crack Trade". Democracy Now. 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
- Herhold, Scott (2 October 2013). "Herhold: Thinking back on journalist Gary Webb and the CIA". San Jose Mercury News. (Archive)
- Borjesson, Kristina (Ed.) (2002). Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of a Free Press. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-972-7. Includes chapter 14 by Gary Webb.
- Katz, Jesse. "Seeing the Gray in 'Dark Alliance'." Los Angeles Magazine. June 6, 2013.
- Kornbluh, Peter. "The Storm over "Dark Alliance"." (Archive, Archive #2) Columbia Journalism Review, January/February 1997.
- Paterno, Susan. "The Sad Saga of Gary Webb." American Journalism Review. June/July 2005.
- Schou, Nick (2006). Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Gary Webb. Nation Books. ISBN 1-56025-930-2.
- Schou, Nick. "Ex-L.A. Times Writer Apologizes for "Tawdry" Attacks." LA Weekly. Thursday May 30, 2013.
- Stanton, Sam. "Reporter's suicide confirmed by coroner" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 17, 2004). (Archive) Sacramento Bee. December 15, 2004.
- Webb, Gary (1998). Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-888363-93-2.
- Webb, Gary (Jan 4, 2011). The Killing Game. Eric Webb (ed.). New York: Seven Stories Press. ISBN 9781609801434.
- Celerino III Castillo & Dave Harmon (1994). Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras & the Drug War. Sundial. ISBN 0-8095-4855-0.
- Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair (1999). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5. Cites 116 books.
- Frederick P. Hitz (1999). "Obscuring Propriety: The CIA and Drugs". International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12 (4): 448–462. doi:10.1080/088506099304990.
- Robert Parry (1999). Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & "Project Truth". Media Consortium. ISBN 1-893517-00-4.
- Ross, Rick and Scott, Cathy. Freeway Rick Ross: The Untold Autobiography (2014, Freeway Studios). pgs 263-279. (ISBN 978-1499651539)
- Peter Dale Scott & Jonathan Marshall (1991). Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07312-6.
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"Dark Alliance" Series and investigations
- San Jose Mercury News "Dark Alliance" web page at the Wayback Machine (archived December 20, 1996)
- The CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy: A Review of the Justice Department's Investigations and Prosecutions The United States Department of Justice/Office of the Inspector General report on the claims made in the Dark Alliance newspaper series, released on July 22, 1998.
- Report of Investigation Concerning Allegations of Connections Between CIA and The Contras in Cocaine Trafficking to the United States The The Central Intelligence Agency Office of the Inspector General report on the claims made in the Dark Alliance newspaper series, released in two volumes, volume 1 on January 29, 1998 and volume 2 on October 8, 1998.
Webb biographies and interviews
- The Life and Times of Gary Webb: His Journalism Was Vindicated, Yet the Industry Kept Him in Exile by Narco News
- Gary Webb: In His Own Words (2004), video of interview with Gary Webb by Guerrilla News Network
- "Inside the Dark Alliance: Gary Webb on the CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion", audio interviews (1997-1998) with Gary Webb from Democracy Now!
- Interviews on KXJZ's Insight (December 7, 2005)
Tributes and reminiscences after Webb's death
- "Gary Webb: a Great Reporter", Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch
- "America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb", Robert Parry, Consortium News
- "Gary Webb: Do What He Did", Al Giordano, Narco News
- "Gary Webb is Dead", David Corn, The Nation
- "R.I.P. Gary Webb—Unembedded Reporter", Jeff Cohen, Dissident Voice
- "The day the writing died" Chrisanne Beckner, December 23, 2004, Sacramento News & Review
- "'A NATURAL STORY': A Tribute to 'Dark Alliance' and Journalist Gary Webb" (three parts), Brian Covert, December 10, 2006, San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center
Works by Webb
- Gary Webb at Library of Congress Authorities, with catalog records
- Gary Webb at the Internet Movie Database