Credits in HBO ‘The Invisible Pilot’

I have two credits as archival associate producer and fact checker on the HBO’s three-part documentary series by Emmy-winning filmmakers Phil Lott, Ari Mark, and Adam McKay, The Invisible Pilot, which tells the incredible story of Gary Betzner and his family (Aired April 4, 2022).

Betzner, an Arkansas crop-duster pilot turned drug-smuggler, shot to national prominence in 1988 when he testified at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations’ subcommittee, then headed by former U.S. Senator John Kerry, which was investigating drugs, law enforcement and U.S. foreign policy on the heels of Iran Contra and in the wake of an explosion in world-wide drug trafficking.

As a notorious drug-smuggler, Betzner worked under false aliases for champion boat racer and later convicted Colombian cocaine-dealer, Jorge Morales, who is associated with the Medellin drug cartel, and who also had ties to Eden Pastora, a military revolutionary, who became disaffected with the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and opened the southern front in the contra’s guerilla war during this period. Betzner would testify to the Kerry Committee that he was a US government asset involved in the Iran Contra affair during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

As a side note, Pastora was eventually frozen out by the CIA for his reported involvement with the drug trade and money-laundering, as well as his unwillingness to work with other U.S. backed rebels.

The first episode aired April 4, 2022.