The Big White Lie: The Deep Cover Operation That Exposed the CIA Sabotage of the Drug War

by Michael Levine (Author), Laura Kavanau-Levine (Contributor)

In The Big White Lie, Michael Levine, former DEA agent and bestselling author of Deep Cover, leads the reader through a decade of undercover work. Levine’s prose is fast-moving, highly readable, and hard-hitting. He tells how the beautiful South American “Queen of Cocaine” seduced the CIA into protecting her from prosecution as she sold drugs to Americans; how CIA-sponsored paramilitary ousted, tortured, and killed members of a pro-DEA Bolivian ruling party; and how the CIA created La Corporacion, the “General Motors of cocaine,” which led directly to the current cocaine/crack epidemic. As a 25-year veteran agent for the DEA, Michael Levine worked deep-cover cases from Bangkok to Buenos Aires, and witnessed firsthand scandalous violations of drug laws by U.S. officials.

From Publishers Weekly

Amazon Reviewer:

There have been several coups in Bolivia, but the “cocaine coup” of 1980 installed a military dictatorship that was financed by the nation’s most powerful drug dealers, including Roberto Suárez Goméz. If that name is not familiar, think of the character from Scarface, “Alejandro Sosa,” who is based on Roberto Suárez Goméz. His cousin Col. Luis Arce Gomez was appointed as Bolivia’s Minister of the Interior and he was appropriately nicknamed, “The Minister of Cocaine. One of their top enforcers and distribution partners was an infamous Nazi fugitive, Klaus Barbie, aka “the Butcher of Lyon.”
This may sound like something from a cheap spy novel, but this was reality and Michael Levine (a former DEA agent turned whistleblower) proved that the U.S. government was a firm supporter of this coup. “The Big White Lie” is Levine’s inside account of his attempt to take down the network of Roberto Suárez. He also detailed the efforts taken by the federal government to protect these drug trafficking organizations. That included removing the names of prominent drug traffickers from the DEA database. Also, charges were dropped against prominent drug dealers and Levine faced internal retribution when he alerted the media. Why would this happen? Levine explains that the DEA’s drug enforcement mandate takes a backseat to the CIA’s national security objectives. That’s particularly the case when the CIA allies with firmly anti-communist, right-wing dictators. My favorite moments in this book were when Levine included some perspectives from his colleagues who had already come to grips with the realities of the drug war.

Esquire Magazine profile, 1991


  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Laura Kavanau-Levine (October 8, 2012) First Edition, 1993
  • Language: English

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