- The Washington Times
Friday, January 15, 2016

Actor Sean Penn is speaking out about his controversial interview with drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, calling assertions that he played a role in the kingpin’s capture a “myth.”

Though the interview for Rolling Stone magazine was conducted in October, it was published on the same day that Guzman was arrested in Mexico this month and gave rise to rumors that the actor had worked with federal authorities to provide information about the drug lords whereabouts.

“There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was, as the attorney general of Mexico is quoted, ‘essential’ to his capture,” Mr. Pennsaid in an interview with Charlie Rose for CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “We had met with him many weeks earlier on Oct. 2, in a place nowhere near where he was captured.”

Mr. Penn went onto say that he believes the Mexican government encouraged the rumor that he played a role in the capture in order to make him a target of the drug cartel.

“Here’s the things that we know: We know that the Mexican government they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did,” Mr. Penn said. “Well, nobody found him before they did. We’re not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.”

But the two-time Oscar winner was also critical of the reception of his own article, noting that the piece was meant to stimulate discussion about the drug war and domestic drug policies.

“I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs,” Mr. Penn said in the interview.

“Let me be clear. My article has failed,” he later said.

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