CIA spook Roland Carnaby gunned down by intolerance

Roland Carnaby lay prone on the pavement of a freeway access road at 200 West Loop South in Houston. He is handcuffed and bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to his back. A group of Houston police officers hover over him, their parked squad cars blocking traffic.

Some 15 minutes later, after Carnaby, still handcuffed, had bled out absent medical attention, an ambulance arrives to take Carnaby to a hospital emergency room. Carnaby is lifted into the ambulance, which then proceeds not to the nearest emergency room, but rather takes a 10-mile route through busy Houston traffic to Ben Taub Hospital, where Carnaby is later pronounced dead.

Inside Carnaby’s black Jeep SUV are two handguns, a shotgun, various CIA credentials, a laptop computer and a book called the “Divided Life.” [See case evidence list here.]

The end of Carnaby’s life started about an hour earlier on that Tuesday afternoon, April 29, after he was stopped for speeding along State Highway 288 by a Houston cop intent on arresting him for something. Carnaby, a Lebanese American, had made the fatal mistake of telling that police officer that he worked for the CIA.

The traffic cop also would learn after running a check on Carnaby that he had a concealed firearms permit. That apparently was too much for the police officer to take in: a middle-aged, well-heeled man of Arab descent with guns who claimed to be a spook.


After all, this is the post-911 world and Houston is home to a seaport that is the nation’s nerve center for the oil industry. Surely this was the police officer’s catch of a lifetime: a real live terrorist.

So, after checking out Carnaby’s background via his squad car radio and computer, and failing to confirm Carnaby’s tall story, the police officer returned to the black Jeep and asked Carnaby, 52, to step out of his vehicle, with an arrest imminent, for something, which would be determined later (maybe failure to show the cop his concealed gun permit, or maybe impersonating a federal agent).

But Carnaby was not going to go easy, on this day. Instead, he sped off, leaving the cop empty handed and precipitating a high-speed chase (approaching speeds of 120 mph) that ended some 50 minutes later with a bullet in Carnaby’s back.

Once Carnaby’s Jeep had come to a stop on the freeway feeder road and was surrounded by a phalanx of HPD squad cars, two cops, officers Cecil Foster and Andrew J. Washington, pumped up with adrenalin and anger from the heat of the chase, rushed the Jeep. Moments later, as Carnaby was exiting his vehicle, they unloaded their service revolvers, with the fatal shot blasting a hole in Carnaby’s back.

The cops would later say they thought Carnaby was reaching for a “shiny object,” which they feared was a gun. It turned out to be a Blackberry PDA, or maybe nothing at all.

Only after Carnaby’s jeep was impounded would the police find the three weapons in his car (which he had a legal right to have in his possession) — none of which were in Carnaby’s hand at the time he was gunned down.

It was time for the HPD to close ranks, to get the story straight. The fact that two Houston cops had just shot an unarmed man in the back (the 10th fatal shooting by cops in the Houston metropolitan area so far this year) had to be downplayed in this case to avoid the expensive consequences of legal liability.

Besides, in the big picture, a dangerous Arab terrorist had just been taken off the streets of Houston, or so it might have seemed.

Below is a video of the actual shooting (shown at the very beginning of the newscast).


Bad Shoot

The final moments of Carnaby’s life might be captured on film, but it can be hard to tell what those images are telling us in isolation.

Carnaby’s widow, Susan, believes the Houston police involved in the shooting acted improperly, leading to the needless death of her husband. She has filed a lawsuit against the city of Houston in federal court alleging as much, claiming that Carnaby’s constitutional rights were violated.

At least one law enforcement source who spoke with Narco News agrees that Carnaby’s widow may well have a good case. The source’s observations are as follows:

As a former federal agent, my opinion is based on 28 years experience consisting of police training for uniform officers, criminal Investigator training for special agents and culminating in numerous management training courses.
Based on the video and the HPD statement (about the shooting; see statement here) HPD does not seem credible, based on many factors.
Houston Chronicle Graphic… A high speed chase is no justification for shooting. The HPD now says that they did a computer query and found he [Carnaby] had a gun permit.
… If he had a gun permit, he had a background check, hence where is the potential danger? I am certain that computer queries were done to find reasons why the vehicle would flee and to ascertain whether the subject was wanted, which would have said wanted/armed and dangerous. [Carnaby had never been charged with a crime, or even arrested previously.]
… The officers did not have to approach the vehicle. The driver did not point a gun. The video does not show any "object" falling from the occupant's hand when he fell wounded.
[The source adds that “it is an unwritten rule for law enforcement to ALWAYS say they saw a shiny object if they fire their weapons.”)
… If no public safety was an issue, why didn't they wait to negotiate a surrender. What was the urgency?

Conspiracy or Conceit?

In the weeks since Carnaby’s April 29 encounter with Houston’s finest, his story has mushroomed into a blogging-world sensation split along two camps, essentially.

One camp asserts (primarily through anonymous sourcing) that Carnaby was a CIA agent and that his death was an assassination, part of a wide-ranging conspiracy involving, at various points, the Israeli intelligence service (the Mossad), Bush administration neo-cons and a prostitution ring linked to the D.C. Madam (Deborah Palfrey), who coincidentally died — allegedly hanging herself in a shed on her mother’s property in Florida on May 1 — within a few days of Carnaby’s demise.

The other camp contends Carnaby was an imposter with a big ego who was in no way connected to the CIA. His conceit, they argue, resulted, ultimately, in his tragic confrontation with the Houston cops.

Their viewpoint is bolstered by the fact that the CIA, according to media reports, has denied Carnaby had any connection with the Agency.

The truth doesn’t appear to fit neatly into either camp, however.

As for the grand conspiracy theory, well, logic seems to undercut its basic premise.

Assuming Carnaby was a spook marked for a hit (which itself is not beyond belief), even the most inept intelligence service (which the Mossad certainly is not) would not choose to take out a target in the public spotlight. (The shooting of Carnaby, after all, was caught on film that is now all over the Internet). There would be dozens of better, less conspicuous, ways to carry out such an assassination — a carjacking gone bad, poison, an abduction with the murder carried out across the border, an unfortunate car accident, a home burglary gone awry, etc.

In addition, assuming Carnaby’s death was an assassination sponsored by some foreign players in league with corrupted U.S. officials, why leave such a trail of evidence (video, audio, dozens of eyewitnesses, a body, a vehicle and its contents) as well as the identity of the killers (Houston cops in this case, caught on film)? Too many players (across multiple cities and oceans) would have to be involved, all with weaknesses (primarily the fear of being hung out to dry by a co-conspirator) that could lead to an unraveling of such an intricate, far-reaching plot.

Intelligence agencies have access to professional contract assassins, special-ops killers, who can sneak in with the night, take care of business, and vanish like vapor. A donut-eating, slightly over-weight local cop seems like a poor second choice for such a job in that light.

Though such a conspiracy is not completely impossible (few things are in life), it does seem highly improbably. It just doesn’t add up.

One law enforcer who has had plenty of dealings with the intelligence world put it this way: “Definitely not a hit, too public, not necessary.”

As far as the Doubting Thomas camp that claims Carnaby was an imposter, well, that view doesn’t seem to hold water, either, given that Narco News has confirmed on the record that Carnaby, in fact, was a major player for the CIA — despite the CIA’s claims to the contrary. That confirmation comes on top of Susan Carnaby’s lawsuit asserting the same, the CIA credentials found in Carnaby’s jeep, the photos of him at CIA headquarters and the book he owned that was signed with a personal note from George Tenet, the former director of the CIA. [See VIDEO LINK above.]

Attorney Mark Conrad is a former supervisory special agent who oversaw nine states and two foreign offices for the Internal Affairs Office of the U.S. Customs Service (which has since become part of the Department of Homeland Security). He also is a member of the Houston chapter of the Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO) – of which Carnaby was the president.

Conrad says while he was a federal agent, he, on occasion, worked with the CIA in relation to various intelligence- and national security-related matters, so he is very familiar with the Agency’s operations and has contacts in the intelligence world to this day. Conrad says he considered Carnaby a friend and confirms that Carnaby did work for the CIA and was considered a valuable player in the Agency’s clandestine operations.

What did he do?

“Whatever they [the CIA] needed,” Conrad says.

Last spring, at an AFIO meeting in Houston, Conrad says he was present when James Pavitt, the former Deputy Director of Operations for the CIA, lauded Carnaby publicly for his service to the CIA and the country. Conrad told Narco News:

What happened makes no sense. There is much going on behind the scenes and I can assure you that this nation has lost a true, absolute, unsung hero and that the clandestine services of the free world have lost a true friend. I am proud to have known him [Carnaby] and the cheap and dishonest crap that has been put out makes me sad.
This nation will never know the extent to which this nation (and the rest of the free world) is indebted to Roland V. Carnaby. Those are not my words (though they are my belief) but the words were said, in my presence, by [James Pavitt,] the [former] Deputy Director, Central Intelligence (clandestine operations) about Roland and his family, in the spring of last year.

Conrad also says he attended the national meeting of the AFIO in the fall of 2006 in Reston, Va., which drew a number of top officials with the CIA, FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, including Charles Allen, the Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis at DHS.

Conrad says he sat at the same table as Carnaby, who asked Allen, a speaker at the event, if the “Port of Houston was on the radar” in terms of security threats.

Allen told Carnaby, Conrad says, that “it is a problem.”

As it turns out, it was a bigger problem for Carnaby, it seems.

Conrad adds that he does not think Carnaby was on the full-time payroll of the CIA at the time of his death, but says he was still doing contract work for the Agency.

Divided Life

It is not clear what the nature of Carnaby’s work was at the time his life was cut short (though it appears, sources indicate, that Carnaby had a special interest in port security in the Houston area and might have been engaged in CIA business in Latin America for a short time last year.)

However, according to the attorney representing Carnaby’s widow in federal court, it seems clear that the reason he sped away from the Houston police on April 29 of this year was to protect national security interests.

According to pleadings filed in federal court in Houston by the attorney, Randall Kallinen, Carnaby’s laptop computer (with him in the Jeep that day) contained “sensitive information … regarding his national security investigations.” That laptop is now being examined by the Secret Service, according to press reports.

More from the legal pleadings [link here]:

The officers at the scene were told by an HPD superior to arrest Roland [Carnaby] “for something” which would entail impounding the vehicle and its contents, including the laptop computer with the sensitive security data entrusted to Roland. Roland knew that arrest means jailing without the ability to communicate to anyone for many hours and that vehicle contents are often stolen from impound lots and police property rooms. Roland then drove off and a police chase ensured.

Kallinen also claims in the legal pleadings that Carnaby “frequently worked as a contractor for various federal agencies providing information and investigations into security risks to the interests of the United States for at least the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service.”

More from the pleadings:

… Two Houston Police officers, Cecil Foster and Andrew J. Washington, shot at Roland Carnaby, striking him in the lower back when they were not in objectively reasonable fear of their lives or the lives of another. Instead of administering any aid to the gunshot wound(s), the HPD officers handcuffed Roland and left him lying facedown on the street.
When Houston paramedics arrived at least twelve minutes later, they did not take Roland to the nearest emergency room … but to Ben Taub Hospital ten miles away through busy Houston Streets.
… Roland died of a gunshot wound to the BACK, which caused fatal loss of blood. Before he died, Roland experienced great pain and the knowledge and fear of his impending death.

So if not a grand conspiracy, or a case of a CIA imposter, why did Carnaby have to die that day? There is a simple truth right in front of us that plays out every day in this country (often in code, but still plain as day). It is highlighted most recently by the dirty-tricks “Muslim Manchurian Candidate” smear tactics employed to undercut the successful presidential campaign of Barack Obama.

That same racism exists in spades inside most law enforcement agencies as well and plays out inside its departments (where a good ol’ boy mentality determines promotions) and on our streets, where skin color is all too often the final arbitrator of justice.

Carnaby, a Lebanese American, was murdered by that intolerance and racism. He was CIA, but he also was a victim of Fox News and all the other fanatics who peddle fear and see an Islamofascists behind every Arab face.

Ironically, Carnaby worked for us. And we (as a nation bombarded with propaganda promoting racial and ethnic intolerance) killed him.

If you don’t believe me, then maybe you’ll believe David Horowitz (one of the many spokesman for the cause) and the Fox News talking heads who make a living promoting fear as the bedrock of national security.


Enjoy, and be afraid, be very afraid….

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