The spirited history of presidential debates - U.S. Embassy in Georgia

How often do intelligence agencies interfere in elections to aid favored candidates? Has any President since the end of World War II ever really won on his own?

Scott Barnes is a 68-year-old former drug enforcement agent and military police officer from Redondo Beach, California, who says that he was part of a secret mission into Laos in the fall of 1981 to try to retrieve American POWs.

Barnes had worked as a civilian in Laos with the CIA in the early 1970s supporting General Vang Pao and the Hmong’s clandestine army against the Communist Pathet Lao which took over Laos in 1975.

When Barnes’s team of clandestine agents located two Caucasian Americans captured in Laos and said that rescue looked difficult, they were given orders to kill the two captives, which the team refused. [See 1982 CovertAction Information Bulletin article on Barnes here]

Americans involved in secret missions into Laos during the Indochina Wars. [Source:]

The only explanation for the incredible orders, Barnes thought, was that the Americans were involved in planting false evidence of the use of yellow rain, a form of chemical weapon attack the Soviet Union had been falsely accused of carrying out in Laos.

Scientists suggested that the so-called yellow rain was actually bee droppings. [Source:]

For many years, Barnes was part of the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), a secret quasi-paramilitary organization run originally by CIA Director William J. Casey.

ISA emblem. [Source:]
William J. Casey - Wikipedia
William J. Casey [Source:]

Barnes told CAM in a recent interview that he and other members of his unit were contracted by the FBI for a special mission that was designed to help rig the 1992 presidential election in favor of Bill Clinton—whose intricate ties to intelligence agencies CAM has previously exposed.

Clinton’s opponents in the election were then-President George H.W. Bush, former CIA Director, and Ross Perot. The latter was a wealthy Texan and naval veteran who opposed the 1991 Persian Gulf War (supported by Bush and Clinton) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and funded efforts to uncover the truth about U.S. POWs allegedly left behind from the Indochina Wars.

Ross Perot shakes hands with Bill Clinton as George H.W. Bush during televised presidential debate. [Source:]

As a spoiler candidate during the 1992 campaign, Perot was subjected to media smear attacks, and FBI surveillance and harassment, forcing him to drop out.

Stocks that he traded in were manipulated and a doctored photo was produced of his daughter Caroline kissing another woman just before her wedding, making her appear to be lesbian (which was taboo at the time).

Ross Perot 1992 | Busy Beaver Button Museum

Barnes’ mission was to help spread the public belief that the GOP was behind the dirty tricks campaign against Perot, making the GOP look bad and manufacturing a feud between the GOP and Perot—to Clinton’s benefit.

Barnes visited Jim Oberwetter, a prominent oil industry executive and Texas chairman of the Bush-Quayle campaign, in his H.L. Hunt Company office in Dallas wearing a wire. He asked him leading questions in an attempt to get him to say that he had damaging information about Perot, and tried to get him to accept information derived from a wiretap of Perot’s phone.[1]

After the meeting, Barnes says that he was invited to go on 60 Minutes, where he was instructed to talk about alleged dirty tricks carried out by the GOP against Perot in the election campaign.

Oberwetter, who served as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 2003-2007, confirmed in a Newsweek interview that Barnes—using an alias—approached him saying he had wiretapped material about Perot’s plans, which Oberwetter claims he refused.

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James C. Oberwetter [Source:]

FBI Director William Sessions for his part acknowledged mounting an undercover sting operation offering a supposed Ross Perot audio tape to Oberwetter, which Sessions said was “the only way to determine fairly and directly the credibility of the allegations of Republican dirty tricks.”

William Sessions [Source:]

But if the sting was set up by the FBI, it was not the Republicans but FBI that was engaging in dirty tricks while trying to set up Oberwetter.[2]

After his mission was completed, Barnes says he was flown out of the United States.

When he came back, he was smeared as a liar, drug addict, and con man, and forced to undertake truth serum, polygraph and psychological tests with leading CIA psychologists, all of which he says he passed.

Subsequently, he was asked to testify before Congress, broadcast on C-SPAN, but his testimony was cut short by a space shuttle blowing up, and the scandal blew over.

Covert operations are by their nature secretive and do not leave a paper trail, and Barnes comes across as being knowledgeable about FBI practices and without any particular ulterior agenda.

Significantly, Chris Gugas, a polygraph expert formerly with the CIA, said that Barnes’s performance on a lie-detector test supported his account of his secret mission to Laos—which would indicate a pattern of truth-telling.

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Chris Gugas—CIA polygraph expert who said a lie-detector test proved Barnes was telling the truth. [Source:]

During his interview with CAM, Barnes said that, when he was contracted to visit Oberwetter’s office, he immediately knew something was fishy.

He also said that William Sessions and Oliver “Buck” Revell, a senior FBI executive, were involved in the clandestine election tampering operation.

Oliver “Buck” Revell [Source:]

The FBI deliberately contracted people from outside the Bureau and set up a clandestine subversive unit, so they could not be held liable.

Barnes says that he loves his country and has served it for many years, but is concerned about the staggering levels of dishonesty and corruption at the highest levels of power.

He does not trust the FBI which has engaged in all kinds of criminality—including black-bag jobs and illegal surveillance without approval from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts.

During the last two election cycles, the U.S. media repeatedly warned of Russian election interference but, historically, it is the FBI that is clearly the threat to democracy in the U.S.

If the FBI interfered in elections in 1992, there is no reason they won’t interfere again.

  1. Perot himself believed that the GOP was behind the dirty tricks campaign and even asked the Dallas police to run an undercover sting operation to expose it.

  2. Perot had tried to lure Oberwetter into buying secret material from his office—making he and the Bush-Quayle campaign look further bad.

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  1. This “Dirty Tricks” Operation was just one of many, others never disclosed until now, with Trump and the FBI, WHCA, CIA. NSA and many others who were part of the Team. Facts will never leak our as they were destroyed just a few weeks ago…………………..

  2. To webmaster: I keep having to refresh the page in order to continue scrollling. The page goes into lockdown (noticeably) every 10 seconds or so. This has happened the last 2 times I’ve opened the site.

  3. […] Barnes visited Jim Oberwetter, a prominent oil industry executive and Texas chairman of the Bush-Quayle campaign, in his H.L. Hunt Company office in Dallas wearing a wire. He asked him leading questions in an attempt to get him to say that he had damaging information about Perot, and tried to get him to accept information derived from a wiretap of Perot’s phone.[1] […]

  4. This article shows a picture of Scott Barnes taken from But when I click on the link to this website I find a story about Scott Barnes which portrays Barnes in a very negative way. Covert Action Magazine is portraying Scott Barnes as an exceptional human being and yet provides a link which portrays Scott Barnes as a man with negative personality traits.

    • Newtimes is a free blog paper, the reporters who did the Story were both Fired and later convicted of Libel, Slander, Defamation and ordered to pay $1.1 Million

  5. According to exit polls, if Perot had not run for President, 38 % of the people who voted for Perot would have voted for Clinton and 38 % of the people of voted for Perot would have voted for Bush. So even if Perot’s name had not been on the ballot, Clinton would likely have still beaten Bush.

  6. As a spoiler candidate during the 1992 campaign, Perot was subjected to media smear attacks, and FBI surveillance and harassment, forcing him to drop out.. Perot didn’t drop out, he got 18% of the vote.

  7. You just do not get it, that is the way of Smear, I was never spoken to by Media, yet I just list4ned to FBI Case review Podcast #270 you should listen to it as it has the TOP FBI man who did this case

    • Is this the podcast you are referring to. In this podcast the FBI concludes that there was no evidence of dirty tricks during the presidential campaign.

      • Yes, but the FBI never ever completed any investigation nor was any report done, two agent were dismissed and it was CBS 60 Minutes who uncovered the real Mess. In addition there was NO Grand Jury Impaneled, NO US Senate Hearings, NO OIG Probe, NO Congressional probes ? So the matter was very secretly left to die in the Media

  8. Even if Clinton were a CIA asset, there is still no plausible reason why any intelligence agency would prefer his Presidency to that of George H.W. Bush, who not only instigated the bloody war against Iraq (and Panama) but was himself a former CIA director.

  9. Chip Tatum once said that he was told to murder a third party presidential candidate and he refused. He also said
    that the candidate dropped out to protect family member .
    Chip did not say the name of the candidate, but left the impression it was Ross Perot.

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