Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, who is awaiting a verdict in his war crimes trial, was a CIA informant, according to a Boston Globe report.
The Defense Intelligence Agency, the spy arm of the Pentagon, disclosed that its agents, as well as CIA agents, used Taylor as an informant starting the early 1980s.
The Globe learned of Taylor's link with US intelligence agencies, which the CIA has in the past strenuously denied, through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the newspaper.
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It was in the 1980s that Taylor rose to become a notorious warlord, before being elected president in 1997.
Taylor is accused of trading diamonds mined in neighboring Sierra Leone for weapons that fueled rebels in that country’s 1991-2002 civil war, one of Africa’s bloodiest conflicts. He is currently awaiting a verdict at the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in the Hague.
Taylor, 63, has pleaded innocent to 11 charges that include murder, rape, enslavement, pillaging, and conscripting child soldiers.
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The BBC reported that this is the first official confirmation of a relationship between the CIA and Taylor.
However, details were not given on the exact role Taylor played.
According to the BBC, rumors of a link between Taylor and the CIA were fueled by a 2009 claim made by Taylor at his trial in the Hague that US agents had helped him escape from a maximum security prison in Boston in 1985.
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