Edwin Wilson, a former CIA operative who was most famous for being called a traitor and convicted of shipping arms to Libya (though his conviction was later overturned after he served 22 years in prison) has passed away at the age of 84.
Wilson died on September 10 in Seattle after complications from a heart valve replacement surgery, reports Yahoo! News. The announcement was made by Craig Emmick, a director of Columbia Funeral Home in Seattle.
The former CIA agent set up front companies abroad for the CIA, and also posed as a rich American businessman for the US spy agency, was convicted of shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya in 1983. During his trial, he stated that he did ingratiate himself with the Libyan government, but it was at the CIA’s request.
A federal judge threw out Wilson’s conviction in 2003, because the government did not correct information about Wilson’s service to the CIA that they admitted internally was false. Wilson was originally sentenced to 52 years in prison for selling the C-4 and arms to Libya between the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Seattle Post Intelligencer notes that Edwin Wilson served 22 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, until he was released in 2004 and moved to Edmonds, Washington to live with his brother.
While he was in prison, the former CIA agent worked to prove his innocence through the use of the Freedom of information Act. After he was released, he continued to work to clear his name, which was associated with nicknames like “death merchant” and “terrorist.” Wilson stated during an interview in 2006 that:
“I can’t think of one thing I did that I have any guilt about. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t get anyone killed.”
Edwin Wilson filed a civil lawsuit against seven former federal prosecutors, as well as a former executive director of the CIA, but a Houston judge dismissed the case in 2007.