Lisa Ling, the CNN journalist who hosted an hour-long television feature about life inside the Mongols Motorcycle Club Wednesday Night, published an interesting encounter with Scott Barnes on her Facebook page yesterday.
Ling obviously had no idea who Barnes was. She seemed to take him at his word. She wrote, “Just wanted to post this exchange that I had on FB with a former federal law enforcement agent who says that he, along with the BET – Biker Enforcement Team, incited war between the Mongols and Hells Angels that led to a number of deaths.”
Barnes had messaged the journalist Wednesday:
“I see you’re doing a segment on the MONGOLS MC, I am a retired Law Enforcement person who was in the BET Unit – Biker Enforcement Team. I testified at two RICO cases involving the Hells Angels. FYI it was the Dago Unit of the BET team that had targeted the HA’s and Mongols to war with each other in he early 70’s as our unit tried to get the HAs and Mongols to go to war. Sad to say it worked and Jingles and Red were shot dead on the freeway so long ago.
“You are an excellent reporter and hope that on your MONGOLS story dig into there DAGO chapter and how they and the HAs went to war you will see it was due to our BET Team.”
Ling thanked Barnes for his “candor.”
After the show aired, Barnes wrote Ling:
“You did one incredible job on The Mongol Nation, you aired things never before known. Your segment was a home run and actually touched and changed many people who sent me messages on your show.
“Even many Feds who taped it and watched it were surprised , you really did a great job. Glad to see this new younger group of club members are much more respectful, honorable and caring than when I went after them in the 70’s.”
The exchange has excited some readers who, like Ling, assume Barnes may very well be the most interesting man in the world. There is considerable anecdotal evidence, apart from anything Barnes might say, to indicate that the FBI conducted a secret war against the Hells Angels that included assassination in the 1970s. Unfortunately, Barnes is probably not the smoking gun.
Barnes, who is now 60, was raised in Redondo Beach, California, attended El Camino Community College in Los Angeles County and briefly worked for the El Cajon Police Department, near San Diego, in 1977 before he was fired for lying. He was hired and fired by the Ridgecrest, California police the next year. At some point, before or after attending El Camino, he was a Military Policeman and was given a general discharge.
Barnes official biography claims: He “was a deep cover operative for many years. He first started working with the ATF on radical bombing suspects from the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and Weathermen groups who were responsible for numerous University Bombing and anti-government attacks.” He “was a covert operative for the US Government from his early days in the 1970’s…. He was first recruited by agents of the…CIA in 1973 while in Vietnam.” “He holds numerous Degrees, was trained by the US DOD, US Army, US DEA, US DOJ, US Treasury FLETC, HDSOC and many other training groups.”
Barnes first made his claim about belonging to a “Biker Enforcement Team” in 1981 when he offered to testify for the defense in a federal racketeering case against 11 Hells Angels. He repeated the claim in the 1983 documentary Hells Angels Forever.
Also in 1983, Barnes was hired by the Hawaii Department of Corrections as a prison guard. That same year Barnes appeared on ABC television claiming that he had been hired by the CIA to assassinate an inmate named Ronald Rewald to prevent him from divulging government secrets. ABC later retracted the story. Barnes then filed a $145 million libel suit against the network which was dismissed. Also in 1983, Soldier of Fortune magazine called Barnes its “favorite flake.”
Barnes has a long history of telling interested people interesting things they want to hear.
He was briefly famous again in 1992 when he convinced presidential candidate Ross Perot that he was part of a Republican plot to smear Perot’s family. He also convinced Perot that he was part of a covert group that had knowledge of forgotten prisoners of war in Vietnam. Barnes claimed to have found Americans in two Laotian camps and received orders from the CIA to “liquidate the merchandise.”
Perot was concerned about men listed as Prisoners Of War and Missing In Action in Vietnam. The candidate was outspoken about his belief that the United States had abandoned captured Americans as part of a CIA conspiracy involving senior government officials on behalf of the Shan States heroin trade. Perot told the Prescott, Arizona Courier that “Barnes is credible and knows what he’s talking about.”
Lisa Ling seems to think so too. Maybe not.