source: “The CIA: 70 Years of Organized Crime”
“There are two facets to the CIA’s management and control of international drug trafficking, on behalf of the corporate interests that rule America. It’s important to note that the US government’s involvement in drug trafficking began before the CIA existed, as a means of controlling states, as well as the political and social movements within them, including America. Direct involvement started in the 1920s when the US helped Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist regime in China support itself through the narcotics trade.
During World War II, the CIA’ predecessor, the OSS, provided opium to Kachin guerrillas fighting the Japanese. The OSS and the US military also forged ties with the American criminal underworld during the Second World War, and would thereafter secretly provide protection to American drug traffickers whom it hired to do its dirty work at home and abroad.
After the Nationalists were chased out of China, the CIA established these drug traffickers in Taiwan and Burma. By the 1960’s, the CIA was running the drug trade throughout Southeast Asia, and expanding its control worldwide, especially into South America, but also throughout Europe. The CIA supported its drug trafficking allies in Laos and Vietnam. Air Force General Nguyen Cao Ky, while serving in 1965 as head of South Vietnam’s national security directorate, sold the CIA the right to organize private militias and build secret interrogation centers in every province, in exchange for control over a lucrative narcotic smuggling franchise. Through his strongman, General Loan, Ky and his clique financed both their political apparatus and their security forces through opium profits. All with CIA assistance.
The risk of having its ties to drug traffickers in Southeast Asia exposed, is what marks the beginning of the second facet – the CIA’s infiltration and commandeering of the various government agencies involved in drug law enforcement. Senior American officials arranged for the old Bureau of Narcotics to be dissolved and recreated in 1968 within the Justice Department as the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The CIA immediately began infiltrating the highest levels of the BNDD for the purpose of protecting its drug trafficking allies around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. The CIA’s Counter-Intelligence Branch, under James Angleton, had been in liaison with these drug agencies since 1962, but in 1971 the function was passed to the CIA’s operations division. In 1972, CIA officer Seymour Bolten was appointed as the CIA director’s Special Assistant for the Coordination of Narcotics. Bolten became an advisor to William Colby and later DCI George H.W. Bush. By 1973, with the establishment of the DEA, the CIA was in total control of all foreign drug law enforcement operations and was able to protect traffickers in the US as well. In 1990 the CIA created its own counter-narcotics center, despite being prohibited from exercising any domestic law enforcement function.”