Barry Clausen is a Vietnam Veteran, a former private eye, and is about to come out with his third book. A controversial figure to some, we make no claims as to the accuracy of his statements.
What brings you to Sacramento today?
I’m heading towards Fresno, to a Vietnam veterans conference. I am a Vietnam vet. I fueled airplanes, put napalm on them, in country. They’d take off and come back with nothing on them. That was in the early ’60s, before anything really got going. It was all F4Hs. They were not our planes, they were South Vietnamese planes. We had an American pilot and a South Vietnamese navigator with no markings on the plane. The CIA, basically. When you’re 20 years old and only weigh 150 pounds soaking wet, it’s quite, I don’t want to say a thrill, but it was quite exciting for me.
I am 100 percent disabled from the military. I have an artificial knee [shows me huge knee scar]. I have an artificial shoulder. This is all metal. I got too close to a bomb that went off. I wasn’t in combat.
So you were a CIA contractor later on?
When I came out of the military, I went to work as a railroad engineer for awhile. All of a sudden, some things transpired in my life and I met some people who were involved in the CIA and they asked me if I would do some things, and I said, “Sure, why not. The money’s good.” So I did it. I found that because I am a Vietnam vet with post traumatic stress disorder, I constantly need this adrenaline. That supplied me my adrenaline, working undercover narcotics. If you infiltrate Earth First, you obviously can’t have any money, so you live like a pauper. But when you’re working as an undercover agent – I have been deputized, by the way, by different sheriff’s departments – people think you’ve got money because you’re a drug dealer.
I did that for almost 15 years. I don’t like the word informant. Informant implies they caught somebody and the person rolled over. I prefer to call it a concerned citizen. I have a very clean background.
I’ve worked for the CIA, FBI, DEA and ATF, as a contractor. Some people like to call you an informant. I was paid. The better part of my whole life. I spent a year infiltrating Earth First and I wrote a book about that, “Walking on the Edge: How I Infiltrated Earth First.” It was 12 years ago. My second book was called “Burning Rage: The Growing Anger Within My Country.” The first four chapters were about a native American named Leonard Peltier. I can tell you right now he didn’t kill those two FBI agents. I know who did. It’s not even in the book. I won’t use the name. But I can tell you today where the murder weapon is. The FBI has been hiding it for 40 years.
Do you have a publisher?
No, I do it myself. The money you can make is so far beyond what you can get with a publisher it’s unreal.
You make money on them?
I did. They’re out of print now. It’s been 10 years since I did the second book. The third one was supposed to be done in August but I’ll have it out in the first part of next year.
How did you start writing newspaper stories?
Twelve years ago I lived on my sailboat up in Seattle. I lived on it for about seven years. I decided one day I would take off on my boat and head to South America. I got to Eureka, I met a lady, sold my sailboat and moved to Redding. The need for the adrenaline rush was still there.
I found that writing stories for newspapers and magazines, I enjoyed it. If you Google my name, there’s tons of stuff about me, some of it good, some of it not so good. I wrote a lot about water and fish. Up there on the Klamath. I did a very in depth story about meth labs that were polluting the river. I interviewed fish and wildlife biologists. They said that if any of the chemicals in methamphetamines got in the water, it would enhance gill rot in the fish and the fish would die. We had 33,000 salmon die up there one time. I did find meth labs right on the river. I had a lot of help from the sheriff’s department. I was on a helicopter once where I filmed the insertion of a SWAT team. It was aired on Fox News about 11 times.
One of the papers I wrote for asked me if I would do a story on Jim Nielsen. I didn’t know how to find him, so I went to Tehama County where he claimed he resided. I got his address of his signed [campaign disclosure] form. I knocked on the door. It was a doublewide green trailer. A lady answered and I asked for Jim Nielsen and she said “He doesn’t live here.” I asked, “Are you Mrs. Nielsen?” and she said “I just told you, he doesn’t live here.” So I said “Who are you?” and she said “It doesn’t matter.” She closed the door on me. I tried to find Jim Nielsen, but he lives in Woodland, which is outside the Assembly District. He’s admitted that he lives outside the Assembly District. Now all of a sudden he comes along and says “I’ve lived in that Gerber trailer forever.” It’s a lie. He does not live in a doublewide trailer in Gerber. A lot of other newspapers picked up on that and ran the story.
There was an investigation by the secretary of state. She actually sent me a letter saying they had investigated my claims and had forwarded the documentation to Jerry Brown, the Attorney General, for prosecution. It did say “For further review.”
A lot of people ask me if I’m a Democrat or a Republican. I think that’s irrelevant. Having been involved with law enforcement the better part of my life, if you do something wrong, you’re accountable for your actions. Jim Nielsen, I can prove, has committed fraud three times. That’s three felonies. Why the hell isn’t he in jail? It just doesn’t seem right to me that Republicans here in the capitol are protecting Jim Nielsen, who as far as I can tell is a liar and fraud, and they’re going after a Senator in southern California [Rod Wright, D-Los Angeles] who allegedly did the same thing. That’s just not right.