I make this declaration-affidavit with the intention that the information will be used to bring to an end the wrongful activities that I witnessed by high-level government employees in control of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice, and other government entities. I operated a covert CIA proprietary airline from 1986 to 1988, and in this key position I discovered the wrongful acts described in this document.
I joined the Army at 17, and was in the Army Special Forces program. I did three 9 month tours of duty in Vietnam, from 1969 to 1973, I then went with Air America from January 1974 to December 1975. During this time I was checked out as pilot in the C 123 and C 130 aircraft. In 1976, the Central Intelligence Agency formed a proprietary airline for which I was made the titular head. The Agency provided me with five C 123 military aircraft and $20 million in start up capital. My name was placed on the CIA proprietary airline operation, and it was called Crittenden Air Transport. It was based in Bangkok. I was 24 years of age, and did not have the financial resources or expertise to have formed and operated the airline until a later date. The CIA provided management personnel and did most of the scheduling from CIA headquarters at Mclean, Virginia. I was provided a mentor to organize and operate the airline. This CIA assistance and operation permitted me to fly many of the flights. This CIA operation continued from 1976 to December 31, 1988. I had no mortgage payments to make, and engine replacements and aircraft upgrading were provided by the CIA.
Initially, Crittenden Air Transport aircraft flew to seven different countries flying arms, including Thailand, China, El Salvador, Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the USSR. Payment to Crittenden Air Transport for the flights were initially received from the CIA's Shamrock Corporation through the Bank of Bangkok. Payments were based upon full loads and at five dollars per pound of permissible cargo weight.
The first flight of Crittenden Air Transport, in 1976, under orders of the CIA, was from Bangkok to Beijing. This flight was arranged, authorized, and directed by the CIA. The cargo was unloaded at Bangkok, where another CIA proprietary airline, Southern Air Transport, picked it up for shipment to Los Angeles. At that time, Crittenden was flying short range twin engine military C 123s, and Southern Air Transport was flying long range four engine C 130s. Crittenden Air Transport received a $100,000 check from the Shamrock Corporation for that flight.
In 1978, two years after the formation of Crittenden Air Transport, the CIA provided me at no charge, seven military C 130s and one Boeing 707, which came from Evergreen International Airline's operation at Pinal Airport near Marana, a small town north of Tucson, Arizona. Again, no money was paid for the aircraft, and no money was owed on them. Eventually, Crittenden Air Transport had over 15 aircraft that were provided by the Central Intelligence Agency
With these additional and longer range aircraft, the CIA ordered Crittenden Air Transport to fly into additional countries, including the United States, Mexico, France, Germany, Great Britain, Egypt, Italy, Columbia, Bolivia, and Panama. Payments for each flight increased, and the checks were made out by Shamrock Corporation with accounts at the BCCI bank in Grand Cayman, Valley Bank in Phoenix, Arizona, Barclays Bank in Miami, and Gulf Bank in the Bahamas.
Common destinations included Sydney, Australia; Manila, Philippines, Singapore, Miami, Florida, San Salvador, El Salvador; Guatemala City, Guatemala, Managua, Nicaragua; San Jose, Costa Rica, Panama City, Panama, Mena, Arkansas.
A typical flight from Manila or Bangkok to the United States would make the first stop at Honolulu for fuel, and then go non stop to locations in the south eastern part of the United States. Special codes were used in air traffic control procedures to advise customs to ignore the aircraft and not make any customs inspection.
After receiving the long range C 130 aircraft, Crittenden Air Transport handled much of the Pacific Rim cargo for the CIA which was formerly handled by Southern Air Transport. SAT then confined its operations mostly to Central and South America, until it returned to the Pacific rim.
The CIA's Shamrock Corporation, which paid for most of the flights conducted from 1976 to 1988, paid Crittenden Air Transport approximately $571,350,000 from 1976 to 1988, with checks written on various bank accounts, including the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Valley Bank in Phoenix, and Barclays Bank in Miami.
I flew several flights for the CIA into Moscow during the Cold War period, including one flight in the summer of 1976, when a load of M 16 rifles were off loaded. The load had been brought to Crittenden Air Transport at Manila by Southern Air Transport. A load of Russian AK 47s were then loaded on the C 130 and flown to San Salvador in El Salvador. At San Salvador, the unloading of the arms was coordinated by John Forsyth, who worked for James Pennington, the CIA's liaison to Anastasio Somoza, who headed the Nicaraguan government.
I received my instructions from the CIA for the various missions by phone, or by instructions on floppy disks. The floppy disks would be delivered by courier, and in one case the courier was G. Gordon Liddy, former CIA operative.
ln some cases I called my CIA handler at CIA headquarters in Mclean, Virginia, Ross Lipscomb, and upon reaching the CIA operator would give them my access code, responding, "Access code 4613." The operator would then transfer the call to my CIA contact.
Among the CIA proprietary airlines with whom I had contact was Ports of Call Airline, based in Denver, Colorado. Crittenden Air Transport C 130s hauled four loads during 1983 and 1984 to Guatemala City, where the loads were transferred to Ports of Call Convair 990 jets. Each C 130 carried approximately 20,000 pounds of cargo, that were distributed into two Convair 990s. Ports of Call aircraft operated in close liaison with Evergreen International.
By 1988, I recognized that some of the CIA operations were inflicting harm upon the national interests of the United States, causing me on December 31, 1988, to shut down the Crittenden Air Transport operation. Aircraft were abandoned in various locations, including three C 123s and five C130s at Caracas, Venezuela; and seven C 130s at the airport outside Bangkok, Thailand. My CIA handlers were angry at this shut down, and based upon what I knew about past CIA conduct, I knew that some form of retaliation would follow. Also, the knowledge that I possessed of corrupt activities by the CIA against the United States caused me to be a serious danger to those in control of the CIA and related government entities.
As expected, a year later, in 1991, Justice Department prosecutors charged me with a wire fraud offense, for a matter that occurred in 1986 while I was still working for the CIA, and which involved covert CIA operation. This is the scenario of what happened in 1986. One of my contacts at CIA headquarters in Mclean, Virginia, Ross Lipscomb, wired $100,000 to Valley Bank, instructing the bank to place the money in escrow, to be released upon the possible purchase of a Boeing 707 aircraft in which a subsidiary of Crittenden Air Transport, C and C Brokerage of Phoenix, Arizona, acted as aircraft broker. After I inspected the Boeing 707 at the CIA proprietary, Evergreen's Marana facility, I determined that it was an earlier model and not what Lipscomb wanted. I met Lipscomb in Long Beach, California, and advised him of this fact. Lipscomb then notified Valley Bank that the deal was off, and Valley Bank then returned the $100,000 deposit money to Lipscomb.
Prior to this return of the escrow money, Valley Bank had placed the $100,000 escrow deposit by error into the C and C Brokerage account, increasing the previous balance of approximately $30,000 to $130,000. While this extra money was in C & C's account, the financial officer, Rick Challis, wrote checks that used up $87,000 of that $100,000 deposit. One check for $50,000 was to one of his friends, who had no relationship to C and C Brokerage. Challis had no authority to make that payment.
I had a practice of signing checks in blank because I was often out of the area on CIA business. Challis would then write checks relating to the business, placing the required second signature on the checks. I learned of these unauthorized payments when Valley Bank management asked Challis and myself to sign a promissory note to cover the overdrawn funds.
Even though Challis had written the unauthorized checks, he was never charged by Justice Department prosecutors. Only I was charged, even though I was not involved in the writing of the checks that resulted in the overdrawn condition, and was unaware of the wrongful acts perpetrated by Challis.
After the charges were filed against me, my CIA handler, Lipscomb, urged me to plead nolo contendere after the charges were filed, assuring me that I would be shortly released. I considered such a plea to be a not guilty plea. Court appointed attorney Titterington did not provide any defense, urging me to sign a plea agreement that was handed to me several minutes before the hearing started. U.S. District Judge Roger G. Strand then sentenced me to five years in prison and five years probation after release, which was far beyond the sentencing guidelines that went into effect after the 1986 date. Shortly after my 1995 release, I was arrested and charged with parole violation for failure to keep the probation officer aware of my home address.
It is my strong belief that the charges against me were an attempt to silence and to discredit me, in the event that I disclosed the serious corruption within the Central Intelligence Agency. The charges against me were a sham, based upon:
* The person writing the checks, Rich Challis, was never charged, even though he committed the act of writing checks that exceeded the bank balance prior to the accidental deposit of funds into the C and C Brokerage account.
* I was not aware of these checks as they were written, and had never authorized the writing of these checks.
* The person wiring the $100,000 escrow funds to Valley Bank, Ross Lipscomb, a CIA employee at CIA headquarters, never lost any money.
* Valley Bank requested, and received, a promissory note for the amount of money that was placed into the C and C account in error, and was dissipated by the check writing of Rick Challis. Any financial loss would have been a result of the bank's error; was compensated by a promissory note, and due to the acts of someone other than myself.
* My CIA contacts at Mclean, Virginia, urged me not to raise a defense (which I complied with), and assured me that I would spend only a short time in prison.
* I didn't realize the legal aspects of the charge, or the nolo contendere plea, and was not advised properly of the errors or dangers of my pleading.
* During the court hearing in 1991, FBI agent Gill Hirschy testified that he had contacted the CIA and that they had told him that they had no connection to me. Either he lied, or the CIA lied to him.
* On July 5, 1995, a CIA contact in Mclean, Virginia contacted me by phone, ordering me to stop talking to Rodney F. Stich (who was seeking to expose government misconduct) and offered me a CIA position in Belize, starting up an airline. The CIA indicated that FBI agent Hirschy had contacted them and disclosed that I was exposing CIA activities. Reference to the FBI agent indicated that the FBI knew I was a CIA asset, and had not only failed to disclose this to the court, but testified under oath at the 1991 hearing and sentencing that I had no connection with the CIA.
I have disclosed considerable information about my activities to former federal investigator Rodney Stich in the hopes that he can make known the corrupt activities occurring within the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Stich has sought to expose high level government corruption that he had uncovered through various means, and by publication of books intended to inform the public of this corruption and its coverup.
If needed to establish my prior CIA association, I can provide the names and the phone numbers of CIA contacts at Mclean, Virginia, and at other locations.
I have offered to provide information on high-level drug traffickers to DEA agents, and to the U.S. attorney and to the FBI, in exchange for halting the prosecution of me associated with the charges filed in 1991. To this day they have refused to receive this information. It is my belief that this refusal is due to the fact that any exposure of these high-level drug traffickers would reveal the role played by the CIA in a pattern of drug trafficking into the United States.
I declare under penalty of perjury that these statements are true and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief, and known to me as a result of my long association with the Central Intelligence Agency. I understand that this declaration-affidavit may be presented into court proceedings.
Aug. 14, 1995 Stephen L. Crittenden