Al Burt was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1927. While attending the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications he wrote for the Independent Florida Alligator.
Burt worked for the Atlanta Journal and The Jacksonville Journal before joining Miami Herald in the early 1950s as a sports writer. Burt was considered a specialist in Latin America and the Caribbean affairs and wrote extensively about Fidel Castro and Cuba.
In 1965 he was covering the civil war in the Dominican Republic. It was later reported: "According to friends and colleagues, Burt and a Herald photographer, Doug Kennedy, were in a taxi in Santo Domingo when they came upon a U.S. Marine checkpoint. The reasons are unclear, but the Marines felt threatened and fired rifles and machine guns at the taxi, severely injuring both passengers... The Marines immediately realized the mistake and rushed Burt and Kennedy to Washington D.C. for medical care and extensive convalescence. Jo Werne, who worked on the Miami Herald, said that when he eventually returned to work he was forced to walk with the aid of a cane.
Al Burt wrote three books with Bernard Diederich, a journalist who was staff foreign correspondent for the Time-Life News: Papa Doc: The Truth About Haiti Today (1969), Papa Doc: Haiti and Its Dictator (1970) and Somoza and the Legacy of U.S. Involvement in Central America (2007). Other books by Burt include Becalmed in the Mullet Latitudes (1984), Al Burt's Florida (1997), and The Tropic of Cracker (1999).
In her book, A Farewell to Justice (2005) Joan Mellen argues that Burt worked as a CIA asset and was given the code-name AMCARBON-2. On 8th September, 2005, Larry Hancock speculated on the Education Forum that Hal Hendrix was AMCARBON-1 and Don Bohning was AMCARBON-3.
In an article published on 6th August 2007, David Talbot, argued that AMCARBON was the cryptonym that the CIA used to identify friendly reporters and editors who covered Cuba. Talbot found a declassified CIA memo dated 9th April, 1964 that showed that the CIA’s covert media campaign in Miami aimed “to work out a relationship with [South Florida] news media which would insure that they did not turn the publicity spotlight on those [CIA] activities in South Florida which might come to their attention...and give [the CIA’s Miami station] an outlet into the press which could be used for surfacing certain select propaganda items.” (CIA Document)
On 6th October 2005, Don Bohning abmitted on the Education Forum in reply to Larry Hancock: "I have obtained the document about the JMWave relationship with the Miami Herald and references to AMCARBON-2, AMCARBON-3, etc., etc. As you noted, it is very confusing but it seems quite clear to me that AMCARBON-2 was probably Al Burt, my predecessor as Latin America editor at the Miami Herald. I have no idea who might have been AMCARBON-1 or Identity, 2, etc. even what they refer to. I also have obtained documents that clearly state that I was AMCARBON-3, something I was not previously aware of."
Al Burt died on 29th November, 2008.