Rogue CIA Operative Who Worked for PLO Dies in Cuba

Frank Terpil was convicted of illegally selling weapons to Libya, but also maintained ties with Yasser Arafat, Idi Amin and other dictators.

Frank Terpil as seen in a 1982 documentary 'Confessions of a Dangerous Man.'
Screenshot/YouTube

Rogue CIA agent Frank Terpil died in exile near Havana, Cuba last week, the Guardian reported on Sunday. Terpil, who was born in 1939 and who used the pseudonym Robert Hunter, was sentenced to 53 years in prison in absentia by a U.S. court in 1981 for illegally selling weapons and explosives to Libya, but skipped bail and fled the country, possibly with help from his CIA colleagues. 

Terpil's Israeli connection came when he surfaced next in Lebanon, where he offered his services to Yasser Arafat and the PLO, and where he lived until the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. He then found refuge in the Cuban Embassy in Beirut, and he said Fidel Castro personally arranged his passage to Cuba.

He was close to a long list of the worst of the Twentieth Century's dictators, from Idi Amin to Muammar Gadhafi. He joined the CIA in 1965 and in order to indulge his desires for the good life, he found ways to supplement his salary, according to the Guardian. He was fired by the CIA in 1971, and went to work for himself; it seems mostly through smuggling weapons and other goods.

Terpil was in poor health for the past few years, losing a leg to diabetes. His wife said he died at home on March 1 of heart failure, just weeks before U.S. President Barack Obama is to visit Cuba