WASHINGTON—In his first meeting with President Barack Obama, CIA crime and counternarcotics analyst Timothy R. McIntire haltingly explained to the nation's first African-American commander in chief the highly classified origin of crack cocaine and the resultant epidemic that swept across U.S. inner cities. "Well, you see, sir...thing is, we needed money to help those Contras back in '85, and we never really expected...so we distributed it, and...shortsighted...and, ha, well, Christ—is it hot in here?" McIntire said between exaggerated coughs. "Yikes, okay. See, it was a very tense time—not that that makes it right—and, uh, bottom line is, we're a different agency now."

McIntire went on to disclose several other secret CIA operations, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the recruitment, four years earlier, of a Kenyan grad student for a clandestine program at the University of Hawaii.