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Penn Claims It’s ‘A Myth’ El Chapo Interview Led To Capture

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Actor and activist Sean Penn admits to journalist Charlie Rose he has “regrets” about interviewing drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman in a “60 Minutes” interview airing Friday night.

Penn tells Rose it is “a myth” concocted by the Mexican authorities that his visit to interview Sinaloa Cartel leader El Chapo while he was still on the run led to his capture out of “humiliation.”

Penn interviewed El Chapo Oct. 2, 2015. Mexican Marines captured the infamous cartel boss Jan. 8, 2016. Penn emphasizes El Chapo was captured “nowhere near” where he conducted his Rolling Stone interview which was published Jan. 9, 2016.

Penn alleges Mexican authorities released pictures of him in Mexico to blame him for El Chapo’s capture and put his life at risk. However, Penn states he does not fear for his life.

He wanted to interview El Chapo because “this is somebody upon whose interview could I begin a conversation about the policy of The War on Drugs.” Penn describes problems with policy makers and the public’s understanding of the war on drugs, saying, “We’re going to put all our focus, all our energy, all our billions of dollars on the bad guy. And what happens? You get another death the next day. The same one.

“We all want them — the killings in Chicago to stop. We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs … And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that? One percent? I think that’d be generous.”

Penn also walks back previous statements he made to The Associated Press in which he claims he has “no regrets” about interviewing El Chapo. “My article failed. Let me be clear, my article has failed,” he says.

Penn’s interview is widely deemed to be controversial because El Chapo had the right to edit the piece before it was published. According to Rolling Stone, El Chapo did not request any changes. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner describes the unusual arrangement as a “small price to pay” to secure the coveted interview, according to CNN Money.

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