Taylor denies being a US spy and vows to sue US newspaperBy TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW and KEMO CHAM | Tuesday, January 24 2012 at 11:21
The imprisoned former Liberian president Charles Taylor has categorically denied working as a United States spy and vows to sue the Boston Globe newspaper that made the revelation.
Reacting to the publication through his Jamaican-born lawyer Courtenay Griffiths, Taylor said he has never worked or played any role on behalf of any US government intelligence agency in his “personal capacity”.
But he acknowledged that the Liberian Security agencies as well as his National Patriotic Party of Liberia worked or associated with US intelligence organs but not himself personally.
Last week, the US-based Boston Globe newspaper exposed Taylor’s past role as a US intelligence informant. The expose had been confirmed by the US Defence Department acting on a Freedom of Information Act inquiry which the newspaper had lodged six years ago.
The Globe indicated that Taylor had been recruited to spy on the late Libyan later Muammar Gaddafi’s networks. Before launching the civil war in Liberia in the 80s, Taylor had been trained as a guerrilla leader in Libya.
Mr Griffiths said his client found it offensive for the Globe to publish what he claimed was “pure speculation”.
Taylor’s reaction was carried prominently by several newspapers in Liberia on Monday. Through his lawyer, he said he was said his client is contemplating on a legal battle with the Boston Globe with the help of American lawyers.
He also insisted that the newspaper present a copy of any correspondence that the US government, the Defence Intelligence Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency sent to the Globe in response to its request either six years ago or recently.
Taylor’s alleged links with US spy agencies have been the subject of long-running speculation. The speculation heightened when he told testified at his war crimes trial at The Hague that he was spirited out of a Boston jail in 1985 – where he was being held awaiting extradition to Liberia – by US agents.
The former Liberian warlord and president is currently awaiting a verdict on his war crimes trial before the UN-backed Sierra Leone Special Court sitting a The Hague. His alleged crimes are tied to the bloody ten-year Sierra Leone civil war where he is accused of backing the warlord Foday Sankoh.
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