Former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor, the first African leader tried for war crimes, had strong ties to the CIA, confirming rumors that circulated around him for years, the Boston Globe reported on Wednesday.
The information was revealed to the newspaper via the Freedom of Information Act through the Defense Intelligence Agency, who said that its agents and the CIA worked with Taylor in the early 1980s.
The Agency, however, did not reveal many details about its relationship to Taylor, citing a potential threat to national security.
“The Pentagon’s response to the Globe states that the details of Taylor’s role on behalf of the spy agencies are contained in dozens of secret reports—at least 48 separate documents—covering several decades,” the Globe said.
It added that “the exact duration and scope of the relationship remains hidden.”
According to the BBC, this is the first official confirmation that Taylor had ties to the U.S. spy agency. In 2009, during his trial, Taylor said that U.S. agents helped him escape from a maximum security prison when he lived in Boston.
Taylor is awaiting the verdict of his war crimes trial in The Hague. He is accused of 11 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes on claims that he gave arms and backed Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front, who in turn gave Taylor illegally mined diamonds, also known as “blood diamonds.”The Revolutionary United Front, who often used child soldiers, fought an 11-year-long war against Sierra Leone government forces in a conflict that killed at least 50,000 people. Taylor has pleaded not guilty to the charges.