MIAMI – U.S. fugitive and renegade CIA agent Frank Terpil is still living in Havana and easily recounting his days helping former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi to murder his political enemies, according to a recently released British documentary.
Co-producer Michael Chrisman said Terpil, 74, was interviewed at his Havana home in December and gave the impression of leading a somewhat bored life, “with little to do (and) spending much time frequenting Havana watering holes nursing a drink.”
He has a much younger Cuban girlfriend, and asks friends and visitors to supply him with the occasional English language book, said Chrisman. The Showtime documentary is titled “Mad Dog: Inside the Secret World of Muammar Gaddafi.”
The interview focused on Terpil’s relations with the Libyan dictator, killed in a 2011 revolt, and not on his links to his Cuban hosts because “he was no doubt taking a gamble upsetting them by doing the interview,” the co-producer added.
Terpil, a CIA operative who resigned from the agency in 1970, is one of more than 70 U.S. fugitives reported to have received safe haven in Cuba. Many are viewed by Havana as victims of U.S. political persecution.
Cuba’s General Intelligence Directorate recruited Terpil, gave him the code name of Curiel – guinea pig – and used him in 1987 to try to recruit a CIA worker in the former Czechoslovakia, retired agency analyst Brian Latell wrote in his book, “Castro’s Secrets: Cuban Intelligence, the CIA and the Kennedy Assassination.”
Terpil fled the United States after U.S. federal prosecutors accused him and business partner Ed Wilson of conspiracy to commit murder and the sale of plastic explosives to Libya. A New York State court earlier had sentenced him to 53 years in prison after trying him in absentia on charges of conspiring to smuggle 10,000 submachine guns.
Chrisman said that during the Havana interview for the documentary, Terpil admitted he helped Gadhafi run a campaign to track down and assassinate the Libyan dictator’s enemies abroad.
“I would say Murder Incorporated, yeah, murder for hire. Gadhafi thought that anybody who was a dissident, they were going to be eliminated,” Terpil said. In one case, he added, the dictator wanted the head of one of his foes brought to him in a cooler.
A native of Brooklyn, Terpil has claimed that he was forced to resign from the CIA after the agency learned that when he was posted in India he ran a hard-currency scam through Afghanistan, for his personal profit.
He has acknowledged working for dictators such as Uganda’s Idi Amin, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, as well as the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt.
And he has sometimes claimed, and at times provided evidence, that he had CIA approval for some of his allegedly rogue operations.