Reports of Lenguaje in the United States Investigated

The mention of the U.S. dealer trafficking in lenguaje immediately gained the attention of Gus Fortan and his team at CIA. Lenguaje, which is said to come from what is called, by rural Colombians, the "language flower," apparently will not grow in any part of the continental United States. If (assuming that the substance did actually exist) it was being sold in the U.S. drug market, it must have been imported from Colombia. Although most clearly under the jurisdiction of DEA, trade in lenguaje could possibly influence South American politics. Further, proof of the existence of lenguaje would justify, in part, the losses sustained during Fortan's Operation Shift Lock. Because of these factors, and because of CIA's interest in using lenguaje as a truth agent, Fortan influenced his immediate superior to begin a CIA-controlled investigation of the appearance of lenguaje in the United States.

CIA did not contact higher-level officials at DEA to assist in or take over the investigation, as would have been the appropriate procedure. Rather, the investigation was led by CIA's Gus Fortan. Fortan arranged to personally interview the lenguaje dealer - now an informant in DEA custody - and surreptitiously employed three DEA agents who owed favors to CIA. These agents, still active in DEA, are referred to in this report as Agent Hat, Agent And, and Agent Star. Fortan chose to employ these agents because he had no above-board access to local U.S. law enforcement and could not show a U.S. law enforcement badge when questioning individuals. The agents were told to report only to him and to work while shaving time from low-priority DEA cases, without the knowledge of their superiors.

Agent Hat, working in plain clothes, contacted a connoisseur of unusual drugs. This connoisseur was a man that Agent Hat, in an undercover role as commercial actor and petty methamphetamine dealer, had had contact with in the past, and was also known to be an associate of a man the informant had identified to Gus Fortan as a lenguaje dealer, known on the street as "Mr. Greenhouse." The informant reported having sold lenguaje to Mr. Greenhouse in the past, and believed that he dealt it in small quantities at the street level. Although the connoisseur did not recognize the word "lenguaje," he began to nod with recognition as its attributes were described to him. He told Agent Hat, after the two had discussed the flower over several glasses of absinthe, that he believed the substance might be available in certain areas of Southern California under the street name "white ladle."

Agent Hat tried to convince the connoisseur to put him in contact with Mr. Greenhouse, but the connoisseur refused, claiming that he owed Mr. Greenhouse an outstanding debt, and was avoiding him until such time as he could afford to pay.

Agent And and Agent Star, now knowing the term "white ladle," assumed undercover roles as married homosexual cocaine enthusiasts, sought a contact who might recommend them to Mr. Greenhouse. They contacted a young and formerly-promising filmmaker who was known to be supplied by Mr. Greenhouse. After claiming to be fans of the filmmaker, and, to gain his trust, providing him with a bottle of rare Cabernet Sauvignon and small quantities of seized synthetic psilocybin- and mescaline-laced ecstasy tablets as gifts, they asked him if he knew where they could purchase "white ladle." The filmmaker, although dazed, seemed to nod with recognition, and told Agents And and Star that he would ask Mr. Greenhouse to meet with them.

After this contact had been successfully made, Agents And and Star were able to approach Mr. Greenhouse the same day at a public beach. Mr. Greenhouse's initial response to hearing the phrase "white ladle" was a long stream of laughter. Then, calling the agents "kids," he offered to sell them, instead, "weed." The agents purchased marijuana from the dealer and placed it in evidence. Agent And and Agent Star returned the next day with arrest and search warrants, after checking to make sure the dealer was not DEA or local law enforcement. A search of his premises uncovered a small marijuana crop growing beneath a skylight in the attic, but no substance that might have been lenguaje.

The dealer is now awaiting trial. The U.S. attorney handling the case believes he will be convicted and sentenced to about 10 years in prison, according to federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Gus Fortan, via Agents And and Star, asked that the dealer be offered a reduced sentence in exchange for information that would lead the DEA agents to lenguaje. The U.S. attorney complied, making this offer to the dealer. The dealer spoke with Agents And and Star but did not provide any useful information along these lines, and the reduction in sentence was denied him. Later, Fortan asked the U.S. attorney, via Agents And and Star, to offer the dealer immunity from prosecution. The U.S. attorney asked for further details about Fortan's investigation, which Agents And and Star had been told not to divulge. The offer of immunity was therefore not made.

After reading the final report of Agents And and Star, Agent Hat amended his earlier report to indicate that the street name he had been told might have been "white lady," and that it might have actually referred to a different controlled substance. With this amendment filed, Gus Fortan opted to close the investigation into U.S. trafficking of lenguaje.

Meanwhile, as the lenguaje investigation neared completion, two independent reports caused CIA Security to take a renewed interest in Hope Hearst. These reports came from CIA agents who were attending two different events in the United States, both of them poetry readings. These events were known to involve foreign nationals who concerned CIA. Although they occurred within the United States, CIA monitoring was judged necessary. The reports indicated no specific concern about Hearst, but she was listed on both reports as one of the individuals who conversed at length with potentially subversive foreign nationals. This prompted Security to step up the monitoring of Hearst in an attempt to assess whether she might be a security risk.

Possible reference to lenguaje found in letter to the editor published in Fight: the Journal of Alternative Politics