Newsweek’s Peter Eisner wrote this account of the 1991 U.S. invasion of Panama after the death of Manuel Noriega last years. It is equally relevant after the passing of the late President Bush. Not only was the justification for the invasion was bogus, Eisner reported, Noriega was a long time asset of the CIA.
The Panamanian general had spent part of his military career on the CIA’s payroll. As a student, he was a paid informant on leftist activities. Later, as intelligence chief in the 1970s for his mentor, General Omar Torrijos, Noriega earned the trust of the CIA and its onetime director, George H.W. Bush. And as Panama’s supreme leader in 1983, Noriega helped the United States avert a major conflict with Cuba during President Ronald Reagan’s gunboat invasion of Grenada, by acting as a go-between with Fidel Ca