Did Steven Seagal Actually Work With The CIA?

Steven Seagal belongs to an elite subcategory of actors, living his life square in the middle of the Nicolas Cage/Jean Claude Van Damme venn diagram of direct-to-DVD moviemaking. Since his first onscreen appearance in 1987's Above the Law, audiences have gazed in wonder as his face-goatee proportions have grown bolder and his body has slowly Animorphed into one big thumb.

To delve into the world of Steven Seagal is to stare into the maw of a Lovecraftian night terror of grandiose self promotion and feverish weirdness. He's made some bold claims over the years and led a life that seems less at home in the real world than it does in the description of summer vacation given by the biggest liar in class. He has worked as a reserve deputy sheriff in Louisiana, put out an album called Songs from the Crystal Cave, owns one of Jimmy Hendrix's guitars, and released an energy drink with his name on it.

All of that just makes it more difficult to demarcate truth from fiction. When a guy who once accidentally broke Sean Connery's wrist says "the CIA needed my sick Aikido skills and it was all top secret," who knows what's true anymore?

Some claims come under siege

Per Biography, Seagal has been making heavy allusions to his involvement with the Central Intelligence Agency since his early days in Hollywood. He's stated that he "did special favors" for the CIA and helped to train their operatives.

Is any of it true? Depends on who you ask. If you ask Steven Seagal, he'll probably say yes, and then tell you that he's a Tibetan Buddhist master now. If you ask his ex-wife, she'll tell you "He was never in the CIA," according to Vice.

Which is not to say that the star of every third movie in your nearest Redbox hasn't laid down some thick, hot justice in his time. As reported by The Wrap, in 2011, Seagal was shooting his reality show Steven Seagal: Lawman when he and Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducted a raid on a suspected cockfighting ring. Their quarry was an unarmed man alone in his house with his children's puppy. Seagal rode onto the property in a tank, a SWAT team blew out the man's windows, the puppy died, and all of the suspect's 100-plus chickens were summarily euthanized. Today, he's a special envoy to Russia and barely ever gets accused of sex trafficking anymore. So, you can probably believe everything he says.