Rogue Agent

CIA cashing in

Manhunt trailer

Ex-head of CIA's Bin Laden Unit Cashing In .

Marty Martin pops up in the damndest places -- and that's just since he left the CIA several years ago.

Martin did a star turn in "Manhunt," the documentary about the CIA's long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, which debuted on HBO this month. The sandy haired, barrel-chested former CIA official, who headed the Bin Laden unit between 2002 and 2004, was the very portrait of a field operative.

But the normally blunt spoken Martin has been far more reticent about his off-camera activities since he retired.

On Friday he showed up again in murky circumstances, this time in the middle of a an FBI investigation into who might've smeared Sen. Robert Menendez. The Cuban-born New Jersey Democrat was initially faced with accusations that he patronized prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, just one of many gifts he allegedly received by a longtime benefactor and friend.

But now the feds are now looking into whether Menendez was falsely smeared in an elaborate dirty tricks operation mounted by a rival of Menendez's friend for a lucrative port-security deal in the Dominican Republic, according to The Washington Post.

Marty Martin, who has been enmeshed in other, little noted bribery investigations since he left the CIA, worked for that rival port-security company, Post reporters reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Peter Wallsten wrote:

"In April, according to two people familiar with the inquiry, the FBI ... sought to interview a former CIA operative, Marty Martin, who had worked for a company competing in the Dominican Republic against the port-security firm backed by Menendez. The FBI wanted to talk to Martin about the port deal and who might have a beef with Menendez or his friend [Salomon] Melgen, the two people said."
Martin spent years in the Middle East and other dicey places recruiting spies and carrying out other tough CIA missions.

Evidently he returned to his old stomping grounds after retiring from the CIA--and promptly got into hot water, according to court documents cited in a little noticed account by freelance reporters Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp on the Gawker web site two years ago this week.

"In 2007, after leaving the CIA, Martin joined International Oil Trading Company, a Florida company that delivered fuel to U.S. forces in the Middle East" they reported.

International Oil is owned by Harry Sargeant III, a major Republican fundraiser.
"In 2008, congressional investigators accused it of ripping off the Pentagon to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. [In 2011] the Pentagon's own audit found that the company overcharged the government by as much as $204 million on a series of massive Iraq war fuel contracts," Gawker reported.

And further:

"According to a Florida lawsuit against International Oil's owner Harry Sargeant III, Martin paid a $9 million bribe to the head of the Jordanian intelligence service back in 2007 to secure his company's exclusive rights to ship fuel across Jordan to U.S bases in Iraq. (That allegation comes from the Jordanian king's brother-in-law, Mohammad al-Saleh, who is suing Sargeant for purportedly screwing him out of a $100 million stake in the company.)"

Sargeant also raised funds for John McCain's presidential campaign with help from an unnamed "former head of the bin Laden unit," The Washington Post reported in 2008.

"Unless two former heads of the bin Laden unit were working for Sargeant at the time, that man was Marty Martin," Gawker reported.

"The men reportedly skirted campaign finance laws by funneling the money through Arab-American 'straw donors,' Gawker and The Post reported. "McCain quickly returned $50,000 of Sargeant's lucre."

"No no, man. I don't want to talk to you, man," Martin said when he was reached by phone. Nor did Martin return calls from The Washington Post.

But there's more.

During the Libyan revolt in 2011, Martin was part of a shadowy group that offered the besieged Muammar el-Qaddafi a deal: We'll "help free billions of dollars in blocked Libyan assets" and resettle you someplace where you can enjoy it, The New York Times reported. Price: $10 million. And no doubt a slice of the assets.

Marty Martin
Marty Martin

This Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 photo shows ex-CIA Operatives Nada Bakos, from left, Marty Martin and Cynthia Storer from the film "Manhunt" during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival at the Fender Music Lodge in Park City, Utah. | Photo: Victoria Will | Marty Martin, Manhunt, Osama Bin Laden, Hbo, Terrorist, War,

Martin obviously has a valuable skill set in some quarters.

"Many of Menendez's allies initially suspected that Republican dirty-trick artists in New Jersey were behind the prostitution allegations," the Post reported.

Why were they so upset with Menendez?

For starters, last year Menendez voted for ending the federal subsidy for domestic sugar, reportedly angering powerful Florida barons with vast sugar holdings in the Dominican Republic.

"Some others in the Menendez camp suspected a drug syndicate in the Dominican Republic because the port-security deal Menendez backed might hamper the flow of contraband."

There's no shortage of familiar villains here.

Florida right-wingers, Republican presidential candidates, CIA operatives, Caribbean sugar interests -- sound familiar?

Sure: from gangsters helping the CIA try to overthrow Fidel Castro, through the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the Watergate break-in and the current GoP-fueled scandals, they're all there.

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:28 PM EST | More details


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