CIA Op Jailed for Libya Arms Sales Dies at 84

Edwin Wilson overturned conviction 20 years later
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Suggested by bewilderbeast
Posted Sep 23, 2012 10:59 AM CDT
CIA Op Jailed for Libya Arms Sales Dies at 84
In this Jan. 22, 1983 file photo, ex-CIA agent Edwin Wilson, center, leaves federal court accompanied by US Marshals in Houston.   ((AP Photo/File))

Edwin Wilson set up front companies abroad for the CIA, made millions in the arms trade and entertained generals and congressmen at his sprawling Virginia farm. His high-powered, jet-setting life in the 1970s and early 1980s followed a career in the CIA. But it came crashing down when he was branded a traitor and convicted in 1983 for shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. After two decades in prison, Wilson finally got the conviction overturned, convincing a judge that he had continued to work informally for the agency. Wilson died Sept. 10 from complications from a heart valve replacement surgery. He was 84.

"Our family always supported him and believed in him," said a nephew, Scott Wilson. "He never considered himself a traitor, of course." At trial, Wilson said he made the sales to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA's request. A federal judge threw out the conviction in 2003, and Wilson was released in 2004. "He wanted to try to hold the people accountable that helped put him into prison," his nephew said. "But he was never bitter." (More Edwin Wilson stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.