The Mena Coverup
"...it does not require
a majority to prevail, but
rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush
fires in people's minds..." -- Samuel Adams
THE MOB PRESIDENT
The Mob Helped Clinton get Started In Politics.
It is Now Helping Him Escape the Law
When young Bill Clinton in 1974 made his first run for political office, a crucial $10,000 loan was arranged for him by his uncle, Raymond Clinton. Uncle Raymond has been tied by Clinton biographer Roger Morris to the Hot Springs Mafia.
But it was not until 1984, when Clinton was elected for a second term as Governor of Arkansas, that Mob money really started pouring in. "That was the election when the Mob really came into Arkansas politics, the dog-track and racetrack boys, the payoff people who saw a good thing," a former U.S. Attorney told Roger Morris. "It wasn't just Bill Clinton and it went beyond our old Dixie Mafia, which was penny-ante by comparison. This was eastern and and West Coast crime money that noticed the possibilities just like the legitimate corporations did."
Among the "legitimate corporations" that noticed the possibilities with the rapidly ascending governor thirsting for power and money were front corporations for the intelligence services of the People's Republic of China. The Lippo empire came to Arkansas that year.
By then, Bill Clinton's ties to organized crime had become well- known. His half-brother Roger Clinton was convicted of cocaine distribution in association with Mob figure and Clinton money man Dan Lasater.
In the years that followed, Arkansas became a major cocaine trans-shipment point for the Mafia, crossing paths with the famous CIA Contra resupply operation at Mena.
Bill Clinton had found a most successful formula in U.S. politics: financial backing from a coalition of organized crime and hostile foreign governments.
A MERGER OF THE DIXIE, CHICAGO AND NEW YORK CRIME FAMILIES
So successful was this formula, that in 1992 Bill Clinton used it to reach the highest office, the office of the U.S. Presidency. In return for large campaign donations, the crime families would be represented in the Clinton administration. The New York Mob paid $56 million  and won the slot of Deputy Chief of Staff for its lawyer Harold Ickes. The Dixie Mafia paid an undisclosed amount and obtained slots for Patsy Thomasson and Buddy Young. The Chicago political machine sent Rahm Emanuel and David Wilhelm.
Harold Ickes proved his value to the Mob when he held his hand over Mob puppets Arthur Coia and Ron Carey who were under separate RICO investigations by the Justice Department. Patsy Thomasson, in charge of White House drug testing policy, saw to it that criminal figures on the White House staff would not be bothered about past and current drug use.
The People's Republic of China, in return for at least a $3 million loan through Worthen Bank, won a slot for its spy John Huang at the Commerce Department. Later followed access to advanced U.S. military technology, access to the Long Beach Naval Base, MFN trade status, and more campaign contributions.
Peripheral Mob figures Nathan Landow, Richard Ben-Veniste, and their associates Terry Lenzner and Paul Begala became part of the secret police that would keep Clinton in office despite multiple revelations of criminal offenses. Ironically, the only member of the Clinton enforcement team who has threatened the use of Mafia methods in public is James Carville. He said on television that Kenneth Starr was just one mistake away from not having any kneecaps. "Kneecapping" is a Mafia specialty. Yet the only link between Carville and the Mafia that we have been able to find so far is his partnership with Paul Begala, who admitted in a recent deposition for the Filegate trial that he was in close and frequent contact with his friend Richard Ben-Veniste, a Mob lawyer and friend of Mobster Alvin Malnik . Richard Ben- Veniste has defended several drug traffickers and money launderers for the Mafia and for the DNC. Ben-Veniste also defended Bill Clinton on the Senate Whitewater panel in 1995.
It goes without saying that a Racketeering-Influenced Corrupt Organization such as the Clinton administration cannot stay in office long without a very efficient "enforcement" component to its secret police. The methods employed by this "enforcement" team include murder. The 1993 assassination of Clinton private investigator Jerry Parks was carried out by people in Hot Springs associated with Buddy Young . Of all the mysterious deaths and suicides surrounding the Clinton Secret Police, this is the only one that has been solved. That does not mean that it has been prosecuted, though, for corruption of the judicial system is another necessary component of survival. White House Director of Administration, Patsy Thomasson of the Dixie Mafia, has been implicated in several attempts on the life of Dennis Patrick, a former money launderer for the Dixie Mafia who wanted out .
CORRUPTING THE PRESS
Survival of the Clinton administration has also been contingent upon successful corruption of the press. The most prominent Clinton operator at this time is Murray Waas, gaining fame in the mainstream media for finding a psychic in Arkansas whose son had seen money given to Whitewater witness David Hale.
Murray Waas has actually been doing opposition research for the Clinton administration for several years. His journalistic "scoops" (or are they merely ventilations of White House FBI files?) include research into the background of Kenneth Starr and into the background of Clinton critics. In this research, his Mafia-style methods have become apparent. Waas threatened to have reporter Michael Lewis killed after Lewis wrote a New Republic story looking into murder and drugs in Arkansas--a story that was unflattering of Waas . Who does Waas know who would be able to enforce such a threat?
THE MISSING PIECE
If China made illegal donations to the Clinton campaign in return for mercantile and military strategic advantages, then what illegal donations have been made by Russia? The favors Clinton has made towards China pale in comparison to the favors he has made towards Russia. Billions of dollars in economic support and the maintenance of a strategic advantage in favor of Russia through the obstruction and delay of modernization of the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal and the development and deployment of a U.S. national missile defense.
Lest gestures as these be interpreted as prudent engagement of a fledgling democracy, one should consider that it has rarely been the democratic forces in Russia, or the Russian people, that have been the beneficiaries of Clinton administration support:
(1) Clinton's point man on Russia policy is the former KGB's point man on propaganda in the U.S. His name is Strobe Talbott, a former editor at Time magazine who built his career on access to KGB officials and their Soviet propaganda .
(2) The Clinton administration has worked hand-in-hand with Russian Mobsters to illegally extradite whistleblowers who have revealed massive KGB-Mafia corruption in Russia .
(3) The FBI, through its new offices in Moscow, has become an adjunct of the corrupt KGB-Mafia bureaucracy that rules Russian society today. FBI Director Freeh has reversed himself in stating that the Russian Mafia does not pose a threat to U.S. domestic or national security . Only a month earlier, Freeh had warned that 30 Russian Mafia syndicates were conducting the most sophisticated criminal operations ever seen in America based on their access to expertise in computer technology, encryption techniques and money laundering .
(4) Monetary aid to Russia has been diverted towards the modernization of its strategic nuclear arsenal, including a new generation of nuclear attack submarines. Other funds have been diverted to the Russian Mob
(5) The engineer of these scams is Strobe Talbott.
Where are the records of illegal campaign donations invested by the Russian KGB-Mafia complex in the Clinton administration to maintain this profitable state of affairs? Apart from the revelation of a $90,000 donation to the DNC on behalf of suspected nuclear arms dealer Grigory Loutchansky , the record of this cash pipeline must be hidden inside the DNC's closely guarded campaign finance records. That is a scandal yet to surface.
THE CLINTON LEGACY
The legacy of the Clinton Presidency is the transformation of the United States into a narco republic with parts of the judicial system as corrupt as that of Colombia. Much worse than that, Bill Clinton has helped build a state-of-the-art offensive nuclear strike capability in the most dangerous nations on earth: China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran. And the nuclear weapons of China and perhaps Russia are targeted at the U.S. Simultaneously with this build-up, Clinton has dismantled, defunded, and starved the U.S. military so that today we have a "hollow army."
The actions of President Clinton will dramatically affect the security of the United States for generations to come. He has sold out his own country in order to win and maintain the Presidency.
 F.C. "Duke" Zeller in the Washington Times, October 28, 1996
 The Miami Herald
 "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
 "The Seducer," by Michael Lewis, The New Republic Nov. 18, 1996
 "Strobe Talbott: Russia's Man in Washington," by Kenneth R. Timmerman, The American Spectator, April 1998.
 "Clinton Administration Aids KGB in Cover-up of Communist Party Loot," Washington Weekly, Aug. 25, 1997.
 "Freeh Says Russian Mafia Poses no Threat," Washington Weekly, Nov. 24, 1997
 "FBI's man in Moscow quits after spying row," London Telegraph, Nov. 27, 1997.
 "Suspected N-dealer attended Clinton fund-raiser," by Christopher Ruddy, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Oct. 30, 1996.
Published in the May 4, 1998 issue of The Washington Weekly Copyright 1998
Reposting permitted with this message intact
murder, mystery and mayhem in mena
The Wall Street Journal
OCTOBER 18, 1994
The Mena Coverup
By MICAH MORRISON
MENA, Ark. - What do Bill Clinton and Oliver North have in common, along with the Arkansas State Police and the Central Intelligence Agency? All probably wish they had never heard of Mena.
President Clinton was asked at his Oct. 7 press conference about Mena, a small town and airport in the wilds of Western Arkansas. Sarah McClendon, a longtime Washington curmudgeon renowned for her off-the-wall questions, wove a query around the charge that a base in Mena was "set up by Oliver North and the CIA" in the 1980s and used to "bring in planeload after planeload of cocaine" for sale in the U.S., with the profits then used to buy weapons for the Contras. Was he told as Arkansas governor? she asked.
"No," the president replied, "they didn't tell me anything about it." The alleged events "were primarily a matter for federal jurisdiction. The state really had next to nothing to do with it. The local prosecutor did conduct an investigation based on what was in the jurisdiction of state law. The rest of it was under the jurisdiction of the United States Attorneys who were appointed successively by previous administrations. We had nothing - zero - to do with it."
It was Mr. Clinton's lengthiest remark on the murky affair since it surfaced nearly a decade ago, in the middle of his long tenure as governor of Arkansas. And while the president may be correct to suggest that Mena is an even bigger problem for previous Republican administrations, he was wrong on just about every other count. The state of Arkansas had plenty to do with Mena, and Mr. Clinton left many unanswered questions behind when he to Washington.
Anyone who thinks that Mena is not serious should speak to William Duncan, a former Internal Revenue Service investigator who, together with Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch, has fought a bitter 10-year battle to bring the matter to light. They pinned their hopes on nine separate state and federal probes. All failed.
"The Mena investigations were never supposed to see the light of day," says Mr. Duncan, now an investigator with the Medicaid Fraud Division of the office of Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant "Investigations were interfered with and covered up, and the justice system was subverted."
The mysteries of Mena, detailed on this page on June 29, center on the activities of a drug-smuggler-turned-informant named Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal. Mr. Seal began operating at Mena Intermountain Regional Airport in 1981. At the height of his career, according to Mr. Welch, Mr. Seal was importing as much as 1,000 pounds of cocaine a month.
By 1984, Mr. Seal was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency and flew at least one sting operation to Nicaragua for the CIA, a mission known to have drawn the attention of Mr. North. By 1986, Mr. Seal was dead, gunned down by Colombian hitmen in Baton Rouge, La. Eight months after Mr. Seal's murder, his cargo plane, which had been based at Mena, was shot down over Nicaragua with Eugene Hasenfus and a load of Contra supplies aboard.
According to Mr. Duncan and others, Mr. Clinton's allies in state government worked to suppress Mena investigations. In 1990, for example, when Mr. Bryant made Mena an issue in the race for attorney general, Clinton aide Betsey Wright warned the candidate "to stay away" from the issue, according to a CBS Evening News investigative report. Ms. Wright denies the report. Yet once in office, and after a few feints in the direction of an investigation, Mr. Bryant stopped looking into Mena.
Documents obtained by the Journal show that as Gov. Clinton's quest for the presidency gathered steam in 1992, his Arkansas allies took increasing interest in Mena. Marie Miller, then director of the Medicaid Fraud Division, wrote in an April 1992 memo to her files that she told Mr. Duncan of the attorney general's "wish to sever any ties to the Mena matter because of the implication that the AG might be investigating the governor's connection." The memo says the instructions were pursuant to a conversation with Mr. Bryant's chief deputy, Royce Griffin. In an interview, Mr. Duncan said Mr. Griffin put him under "intense pressure" regarding Mena.
Another memo, from Mr. Duncan to several high-ranking members of the attorney general's staff in March 1992, notes that Mr. Duncan was instructed "to remove all files concerning the Mena investigation from the attorney general's office." At the time, several Arkansas newspapers were known to be preparing Freedom of Information Act requests aimed at Gov. Clinton's administration.
A spokesman for Mr. Bryant, Lawrence Graves, said yesterday that he was not aware of the missing files or of pressure exerted on Mr. Duncan. In Arkansas, Mr. Graves said, the attorney general "does not have authority" to pursue criminal cases.
From February to May 1992, Mr. Duncan was involved in a series of meetings aimed at deciding how to use a $25,000 federal grant obtained by then-Rep. Bill Alexander for the Mena investigation. In a November 1991 letter to Arkansas State Police Commander Tommy Goodwin, Mr. Alexander urged that, at the current "critical stage" in the Mena investigation, the money be used to briefly assign Mr. Duncan to the Arkansas State Police to pursue the case full time with State Police Investigator Welch and to prepare "a steady flow of information" for Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, who had received some Mena files from Mr. Bryant.
According to Mr. Duncan's notes on the meetings, Mr. Clinton's aides closely tracked the negotiations over what to do with the money. Mr. Duncan says a May 7, 1992, meeting with Col. Goodwin was interrupted by a phone call from the governor, though he does not know what was discussed. The grant, however, was never used. Col. Goodwin told CBS that the money was returned "because we didn't have anything to spend it on."
In 1988, local authorities suffered a similar setback after Charles Black, a Mena-area prosecutor, approached Gov. Clinton with a request for funds for a Mena investigation. "He said he would get on it and would get a man back to me," Mr. Black told CBS. "I never heard back."
In 1990, Mr. Duncan informed Col. Goodwin about Clinton supporter Dan Lasater, who had been convicted of drug charges. "I told Tommy Goodwin that I'd received allegations of a Lasater connection to Mena," Mr. Duncan said.
The charge, that Barry Seal had used Mr. Lasater's bond business to launder drug money, was raised by a man named Terry Reed. Mr. Reed and journalist John Cummings recently published a bookł "Compromised Clinton Bush and the CIA" - charging that Mr. Clinton, Mr. North and others engaged in a massive conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, export weapons and launder money. While much of the book rests on slim evidence and already published sources, the Lasater-Seal connection is new. (Thomas Mars, Mr. Lasater's attorney, said yesterday that his client "has never had a connection" with Mr. Seal.) But when Mr. Duncan tried to check out the allegations, his probe went nowhere, stalled from lack of funds and bureaucratic hostility.
Not all of the hostility came from the state level. When Messrs. Duncan and Welch built a money-laundering case in 1985 against Mr. Seal's associates, the U.S. Attorneys in the case "directly interfered with the process," Mr. Duncan said. "Subpoenas were not issued, witnesses were discredited, interviews with witnesses were interrupted, and the wrong charges were brought before the grand jury."
One grand jury member was so outraged by the prosecutors' actions that she broke the grandjury secrecy covenant. Not only had the case been blatantly mishandled, she later told a congressional investigator, but many jurors felt "there was some type of government intervention," according to a transcript of the statement obtained by the Journal. "Something is being covered up."
In 1987, Mr. Duncan was asked to testify before a House subcommittee on crime. Two days before his testimony, he says, IRS attorneys working with the U.S. Attorney for Western Arkansas reinterpreted Rule 6(e), the grandjury secrecy law, forcing the exclusion of much of Mr. Duncan's planned testimony and evidence. Mr. Duncan also charges that a senior IRS attorney tried to force him to commit perjury by directing him to say he had no knowledge of a claim by Mr. Seal that a large bribe had been paid to Attorney General Edwin Meese. Mr. Duncan says he didn't make much of the drug dealer's claim, but did know about it; he refused to lie to Congress.
Mr. Duncan, distressed by the IRS's handling of Mena, resigned in 1989. Meanwhile, the affair was sputtering through four federal forums, including a General Accounting Office probe derailed by the National Security Council. At one particularly low point, Mr. Duncan, then briefly a Mena investigator for a House subcommittee, was arrested on Capitol Hill on a bogus weapons charge that was held over his head for nine months, then dismissed. His prized career in law enforcement in ruins, he found his way back to Arkansas and began to pick up the pieces.
Mr. Duncan does not consider President Clinton a political enemy. Indeed, he feels close to the president ~ a fellow Arkansan who shares the same birthday - and thinks Mena may turn out to be far more troublesome for GOP figures such as Mr. North than any Arkansas players.
These days, Mr. Duncan struggles to keep hope alive. "I'm just a simple Arkansan who takes patriotism very seriously," he says. "We are losing confidence in our system. But I still believe that somewhere, somehow, there is some committee or institution that can issue subpoenas, get on the money trail, find out what happened and restore a bit of faith in the system."
Mr. Morrison is a Journal editorial page writer.
Copyright _ 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights
Reserved. Reproduced with Permission
http://www.idmedia.com/menacoverup.htm -page down
Why Arkansas's biggest mystery won't die
Sat Jun 2 15:22:33 2001
The Mena Airport:
Why Arkansas's biggest mystery won't die
BY Mara Leveritt
A recent spate of activity is bringing Mena's little mountain airport near the Arkansas-Oklahoma border back into the limelight. This has happened repeatedly since 1982, when Louisiana police notified officials in Arkansas that one of the country's most wanted drug runners was moving his headquarters to Mena.
First there was the investigation, the expectation of indictments--and, to the amazement of many, the inaction. The plot thickened in 1986, when discovery of the Iran-Contra affair also revealed shadowy connections between Oliver North's gun-running operation to the Nicaraguan Contras and what appeared to be government-protected drug activity taking place at Mena.
In the late '80s, a Vietnam veteran in Fayetteville, disillusioned at what he saw as a betrayal by his government regarding Mena, began collecting information on the case and calling for full disclosure. A couple of national publications took interest, but even during Bill Clinton's campaign for president, when the issue presumably could have been used by either President George Bush or Clinton against the other, those missiles were never launched.
Since Clinton's election, however, the name Mena has gained national prominence--at least on late-night radio talk shows and among a computer-linked army of conspiracy buffs. Republicans looking under every rock in Arkansas for some dirt they can throw at Clinton are digging hard into the files of Mena. But among politicians, at least, the peculiar dance of approach and avoidance that always characterized discussion of Mena still dominates the floor.
A growing number of observers, however, now even including editors at the conservative Wall Street Journal, have concluded that national interests in this case supersede the partisan ones. "Mena cries out for investigation," the Journal said. "If some chips fall on the Republican side, so be it."
A couple of new developments are stirring the pot yet again. A lawsuit filed against two former members of the Arkansas State Police by former North Little Rock businessman Terry Reed, who alleges his own close involvement in events at Mena, is scheduled for federal court in Little Rock in September. Unconfirmed reports also suggest Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr may be dabbling on the fringes of the Mena controversy. And in an article published this month in The American Spectator magazine, L.D. Brown, a former member of Clinton's Arkansas State Police security detail, claims that in 1984 he participated in two secret flights from Mena, on which M-16 rifles were traded to Nicaraguan Contra rebels in exchange for cocaine. Brown further claims that Clinton knew of the activity.
That announcement spurred Fort Smith lawyer Asa Hutchinson, chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, to request a yet another congressional inquiry into long-standing allegations of money-laundering at Mena. Hutchinson was the the U.S. attorney for the western district of Arkansas when investigators first presented evidence supporting those allegations. In an argument disputed by police investigators, Hutchinson claims he left office before the evidence was well established. Since he harbors political ambitions, he has an interest in clearing his name.
Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant, who defeated Hutchinson in a campaign laced with debate about the former U.S. attorney's supposed inaction, now argues that, "It's too late to bother with Mena." Bryant's critics suggest he wants to buffer Clinton, but he argues he only opposes what appears to be the endless, political "targeting of Arkansas" for federal investigations. In the political arena, Bryant isn't known as a friend of Clinton.
"If someone thinks we need to look at Mena," Bryant fumed, "I think they first need to look at the U.S. Department of Justice and all its agencies. The federal government was the one that, in my opinion, had the ultimate responsibility at Mena and it failed to do anything.
"We tried to find out what was going on there, and we never got a thing out of the federal government. I spent three years trying to get files from the Department of Justice, and all we ever got was a total run-around."
In the months ahead, partisan politics will almost certainly drive some of the accelerating interest in Mena. But that's a tricky gambit, one that could backfire in any direction.
The more powerful force demanding government disclosure of what went on at Mena arises from non-partisan sources. Law enforcement officials who've seen the system fail, a growing body of reporters who've researched the story and found it full of holes, and ordinary citizens who think they have a right to know if their government was helping to import cocaine--they are the forces who are keeping Mena alive.
They've become hooked on this story of guns, drugs, and international intrigue. And, so long as their questions remain unanswered, their numbers will continue to grow.
1. The smuggler was too colorful.
It's not every crook-turned-federal-informant who gets gunned down by Colombian hit men, only to be resurrected in a made-for-TV movie and portrayed by Dennis Hopper. Barry Seal was that kind of guy.
A fat and swaggering pilot, he found a lucrative niche in the emergent business of flying cocaine into the United States. He was meticulous. He was crafty. And he apparently had connections.
In 1984, when federal agents were closing in with indictments, Seal flew from his base in Mena, Arkansas to Washington, D.C., where he met with two members of then-Vice President George Bush's drug task force. After that meeting, Seal "rolled over," and became a federal informant, under the supposed control of Drug Enforcement Administration officials in Miami.
But there's more to Seal's story than that. From the moment he turned, until his death in a hail of bullets in Baton Rouge, Seal appears at the center of ongoing contacts with the Medellin drug cartel, with the DEA, with the Central Intelligence Agency, and with Oliver North's National Security Council at the White House. It's enough for a TV movie.
2. The crimes were too big.
No one will ever know how much cocaine Seal and his pilots flew to the United States. As an informant Seal testified that in the two years before 1982, when he moved his operation to Arkansas, he made approximately 60 trips to Central America and brought back 18,000 kilograms. It's believed his activity from 1982 to '84 continued at at least as strong a pace.
After 1984, when he became a DEA informant, Seal testified, he smuggled 3,000 kilos into the U.S. What happened to that cocaine is unknown. What is known, as a U.S. attorney later noted in court, is that "Mr. Seal was a drug trafficker on a large basis--an extremely large basis--for a very long period of time."
The cocaine Seal imported was sold for huge amounts of money, and that money had to be laundered. Investigators in Arkansas were able to trace some of it through illegal cash transactions at local banks in Mena. But the vast majority of it still has not been traced.
Finally, if the mounting evidence that officially sanctioned gun-running was taking place from Mena to Contra rebels is proven true, that was also a crime. And if it were established, as some Congressional testimony suggests, that White House officials were willing to use profits from drugs brought into the United States to buy arms to support the Contras, that--and the subsequent coverup--would be the biggest crimes of all.
3. Too much money was involved.
Seal once testified he grossed as much as $750,000 for one cocaine smuggling trip. He testified before the President's Commission on Organized Crime that his organization alone involved the laundering of between $10 and $20 million.
It is known that Seal continued to import cocaine after he became a DEA informant--for the last two of the four years he was in Arkansas. But no one knows--or at least no one is saying--where any of that money went. After Seal's murder, the federal government tried to seize some of his assets for unpaid taxes. Here's what the U.S. attorney in that case said: "The vast discrepancy between the income [Seal] received and the income he reported obviously show a great deal of unreported income as well as unspoken-for assets.
"Where did this money go? We found between $1.5 and $2 million worth of assets. Where is the other tens of millions of dollars? We don't know. Obviously, something has happened to that money."
4. The handling of the case was too bizarre.
Nothing about the investigation and attempts at prosecution of illegal activity at Mena conforms to normal procedure. Midway through his four-year stint in Arkansas, for example, Barry Seal became a DEA informant. But the investigators working the case in Arkansas--Russell Welch for the Arkansas State Police and William Duncan for the IRS--were never notified of that. Nor has anyone offered an explanation as to why, when informant-smugglers are supposed to be closely monitored, Seal's assigned DEA handler never stepped foot in this state.
The role of the FBI in the case is unclear, as, indeed, is the role of the Arkansas State Police. Duncan, of the IRS, testified that prior to his appearance before a committee of Congress investigating Mena, he was instructed by superiors in the agency to lie and told he needed "to get the big picture."
Another irregularity concerns the apparent reluctance of Hutchinson's successor, U.S. Attorney Mike Fitzhugh, to let Welch and Duncan present evidence of money-laundering to a seated federal grand jury. They wondered about that for years.
But the Times has obtained a copy of a memo written in 1986 by an FBI agent in Hot Springs, notifying the agent in charge of the Little Rock office that Fitzhugh would be "withholding presentation" about the investigation at Mena from the grand jury. The memo is dated days before Seal's murder, and a month before he was to come to Arkansas to appear before that same grand jury.
The agent in Hot Springs further reported that Fitzhugh "advised that he will not utilize Seal as a government prosecution witness in view of his lack of credibility in other mitigating circumstances."
While the FBI was apparently well informed about Fitzhugh's decision, Welch and Duncan say that they were not. It is but one of the inexplicable aspects of this case. Another is that in the months before his death, Seal was being used heavily as a government witness in cases both inside this country and out. What "mitigating circumstances" dampened his credibility in Arkansas, making Fitzhugh unwilling to use him, have yet to be explained.
5. Too much federal testimony implicates the CIA.
It's expected that when Terry Reed's civil lawsuit reaches federal court, he will present evidence in support of his claim that he worked with CIA operatives in Mena and Central America on missions that he later learned involved the import of cocaine to the U.S. Reed has made this claim in court before and the government has failed to present evidence refuting it, claiming that to do so would jeopardize national security. As a result, Reed won his earlier case.
But even without Reed's current case, there is plenty of evidence that Seal was working for both the DEA and the CIA, while he was also in the employ of the Medellin Cartel. It was a mixture that got him killed.
Ronald J. Caffrey, a former chief of the DEA's cocaine section, has admitted that the DEA coordinated with the CIA to have photographic equipment installed on Seal's C-123 cargo plane for an undercover drug smuggling trip to Nicaragua. The plane had been based at Mena.
FBI Files: The Mena Files
Sat Jun 2 15:25:34 2001
The process of obtaining these files has been long and arduous.
It began in 1995, and it is still far from over. I am convinced that
nothing would have happened yet without the help of Arkansas
Congressman Vic Snyder and his staff. Even with their help, the
files I have received so far are incomplete, and many of the
pages that were sent have been heavily redacted. I have
appealed, seeking the complete release of all information that is
presently being denied for reasons pertaining to either the
National Security Act of 1947 or the CIA Act of 1949.
The Mena Files
My Freedom of Information requests to the FBI pertain to two criminal investigations. The first I filed was for records relating to investigations of drug smuggling, gun running, or money laundering at Mena, Arkansas. That was in 1995.
A year later I was notified that the FBI had been able to locate "no records pertaining to my request." I knew that was not true, in part because five years earlier the FBI had already notified the Arkansas attorney general, who had submitted a similar request, that it had 60 documents containing 208 pages on Mena. The FBI had refused to release the files because, it told the states attorney general, the case was still under investigation. I wrote a column (which is posted on this site) pointing out that either the FBI had destroyed some files between its responses to the attorney general and me, or its response to one of us had not been the truth.
I continued to press my demand, and I began to copy my correspondence to the Justice Department to the office of Congressman Snyder. Eventually, I received a letter explaining that my request for information pertaining to "gun running, drug smuggling and/or money laundering at Mena, Arkansas" could not be properly processed because the FBI files its records under the names of individuals or corporations who figure in their investigations. If requiring subject names is, indeed, the DOJs policy, that policy is not mentioned in the departments published instructions for filing FOI requests.
They state that a request need only be "as specific as possible with regard to names, dates, places, events, subjects, etc."
I amended my request, specifying that I wanted files on Rich Mountain Aviation and Adler Berriman Seal. In 1997, I received approximately 34 pages of files pertaining to Rich Mountain Aviation. Those pages were interesting on several counts. First, chunks of them were blacked out. Second, they revealed that RMA, in rural Arkansas, was the subject of a fraud investigation by the Department of Defense
relating to aircraft maintenance contracts on islands in the South Pacific. Third, the records revealed that Seals activities at Mena were the subject of "extensive Bureau investigation," beginning in October, 1983. In one memo, the immunity he received for his narcotics trafficking after his appearance before a Senate House Subcommittee was referred to as "Seals judicial blessing."
By now three years had passed since my Mena request was filed. As I approached my publishers deadline for completing THE BOYS ON THE TRACKS, Snyders office and I continued to press the FBI to release its files on Seal. Just as the book was going into publication, I received a box containing 488 pages of what the FBI said was a 721-page file on Seal. Over the next several weeks, other pages trickled in. In all of them, most names were blacked out, making the related information worthless. The explanation given was that the deletions were to protect the privacy of those involved.
Of greater concern to me were deletions--sometimes of several pages--for reasons attributed to the needs of national security or of the CIA. As I mentioned, I am appealing for release of all information withheld for these two reasons.
My rationale is simple. It is summed up most succinctly in a memo sent from the FBIs New Orleans office in August 1983, on the eve of his move to Arkansas. The special agent in charge wrote: "Seal controls an international smuggling organization which is extremely well organized and extensive." A memo dated the following October described Seal as "a documented major narcotics trafficker...." In light of the remarkable "judicial blessing" this international narcotics trafficker received, it is not unreasonable for the American public to seek the release of all records relating to him. What is unreasonable is for the Department of Justice to try to withhold those records, based on claims that such information might be harmful to national security or to the CIA.
The Henry-and-Ives Files
In 1997, I submitted another FOI request to the FBI; this one pertaining to its investigation into the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, the subjects of THE BOYS ON THE TRACKS. I made the request on the tenth anniversary of the boys murders after a peculiar interview with I.C. Smith, who was at the time the special agent in charge of the FBIs Little Rock office. Smith told me that the FBI "probably" did not have jurisdiction to investigate the case; that he was keeping control of it and keeping the file closed, nonetheless; and that if I wanted to challenge that decision, I should do so in an FOI request to FBI headquarters in Washington.
Not long after that, I received a form from the FBI stating that it had located "no files" relating to either Don Henry or Kevin Ives. (Youll find these records posted.) No answers were offered to my questions about the FBIs jurisdiction in the case, considering that no federal crime had been alleged. After publication of THE BOYS ON THE TRACKS, however, another reporter contacted Linda Ives, the mother of one of the victims, notifying her that he too had submitted an FOI request to the FBI in the case, and--much to my surprise--he had been provided with several documents.
I immediately wrote to both the FBI in Washington and the bureaus office in Little Rock, protesting my earlier notification that the FBI had found "no records." Washington responded with another form, stating that my FOI request had been received and assigning it a new number, ignoring the fact that I already had a request on file.
I contacted Snyder, who again brought my complaints to FBI officials. In response, I was finally notified in May 2000 that the FBI had located records totaling almost 17,000 pages relating to Henry and Ives. Release of all of them has now been requested.
Meanwhile, for anyone interested in the Seal documents, there are hundreds of pages here for review. I post them in the hope that persons who know more about some of these events than I will find information in them that may have eluded me, or that, as other pieces of this puzzle come to light, some of the pieces presented here may be seen in a different light. Mostly, though, I post them because they are public
records, they are important, and they were so damn hard to get.
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Last updated on 08/01/2012 07:51 PM