Our new gig: working with ex-spy guy Edwin P. Wilson on his memoir. Ed's over 80-years-old now, but back in the day, he was a covert CIA field agent and bare-knuckle spook. Anyone who knocked around the docks of Hamburg and Marseilles (infiltrating labor groups) and sifted the dangerous sands of Gaddafi's Libya (selling the Libyan military weapons, while at the same time double-dealing them with his old contacts at the CIA) has got to have a little grit in his character. Not to mention spending 22 years inside federal supermax prison facilities, courtesy of a government campaign to ream, steam and dry-clean Edwin P. Wilson, the Spy Who Knew Too Much. If you've seen Syriana you've seen Ed in the George Clooney character (the real guy is a lot more handsome). This is from the non-fiction book proposal for the project that we're calling In the Kingdom of Shadows.

Please allow me to introduce myself.

I am Edwin P. Wilson; Edwin Paul Wilson; Ed Wilson the spy, the spook, the covert field agent; Ed Wilson Federal prisoner 08337-054; Ed Wilson the CIA’s man in Libya; Ed Wilson who’s been labeled a terrorist and bomber and traitor or worse in best-sellers and articles and commentary; Ed Wilson who was convicted of importing twenty tons of C-4 explosive into Libya packed in barrels of oil-drilling mud; Ed Wilson the international man of mystery, with a reputation blacker than the blackest ops, weapons trader, facilitator, hugely proficient professional creator of front companies for the Central Intelligence Agency; Ed Wilson the antichrist; Ed Wilson the martyr; Ed Wilson the spy who was hung out to dry; Ed Wilson, yours truly.

“Please allow me to introduce myself” – yes, I realize that’s the first line of the Rolling Stones song, “Sympathy for the Devil.”

Plenty of people consider me to be the devil incarnate. I’ve had a government official pronounce me “the most dangerous man in America.”

But whether I’m devil or angel or, like most people, someone somewhere in between, I’m not after your sympathy. I reject being labeled as a victim. I refuse to cast myself in that role. If I had, I never would have survived solitary lock-up.

Why would you read my story? What possible relevance today has a saga of out-of-control government power, Middle East skullduggery and corrupt officials desperately trying to cover up their incompetence and lies? But isn’t that a timeless saga, always relevant, the same one going down in Iraq today?

You might prefer to believe that the American government maintains at least a semblance of legality and a passing acquaintance with fair play. My story (and recent history) demonstrates otherwise. Any citizen, immigrant or foreign national, anyone at all, can get instantly, thoroughly, royally screwed at any moment by the whim of snotty law-school-graduate GS-12’s with too much power and too few scruples.

Some people won’t want to hear this saga because black and white is so much easier to deal with, even if reality is actually really herringbone. Or because it all happened thirty years ago, in another country, and besides the wench is dead.

Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men: “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

But if you do want to hear it and can handle it, here it is, written in the pages of my book.

That's Ed today, with the painting behind him a souvenir of his prison past, painted by a fellow inmate at Marion Penitentiary in Illinois. The glowering shot up top is Ed's 1972 passport photo, for a long time the only known picture of him, the one circulated by Interpol when he was out on the lam.