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A college dropout with twenty years of reporting experience, Gary Webb broke the biggest story of his career in August 1996, when he published “Dark Alliance
,” a three-part series for the San Jose Mercury News that linked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to America’s crack-cocaine explosion via the Nicaraguan contras, a right-wing army that aimed to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government during the 1980s. Many reporters had written about the CIA’s collusion with contra drug smugglers, but nobody had ever discovered where those drugs ended up once they reached American soil. “Dark Alliance
” provided the first dramatic answer to that mystery.
But in the months following its publication, the story was subjected to ferocious attacks by the nation’s biggest newspapers. Soon Webb found himself out of a job. After being assigned to a tiny regional bureau, Webb quit the newspaper and was never allowed to work in daily journalism again. On December 10, 2004, Webb committed suicide.
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