Subject: WSJ - Linda Ives
   Date: Thu, 09 Jan 1997 22:26:14 -0600
   From: (Larry-Jennie)
Here is a recent UPI story debunking Billy Bob Bottoms
claims about Russell Welch saying he had no evidence connecting
Barry Seal to Mena.
    DALLAS, Nov. 10, 1996 (UPI) -- The CIA denies slain alleged cocaine
smuggler Barry Seal worked for the agency, but it did acknowledge
he worked as an informant for the Drug Enforcement
Administration, a newspaper reported Sunday.
    The Dallas Morning News cited a newly released CIA document in
which it admits ties to the Inter mountain Regional Airport, near
Mena, Ark., from which Seal operated.
    The CIA said it only contracted out "for routine aviation
services" on its aircraft without revealing to local companies
who they were.
    Suspicions about CIA involvement in cocaine smuggling in black
communities has ignited anger among civil rights activists and
sparked calls for investigations.
   The papers released Friday and referred to by the CIA as "an
unclassified summary," said Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal became an
informant for the DEA after being arrested for smuggling cocaine.
   He made a deal with the government after convincing Reagan
 Administration officials he could provide proof that Communist
 Sandanistas were running drugs to the United States.
    He had been flying out of Mena, picking up drugs, and
 returning to drop points in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, where
 ground crew collected the contraband, retired Arkansas State
 Police investigator Russell Welch told The News.
    Seal agreed to work with the DEA on March 24, 1984. The DEA
 gave Seal immunity from prosecution for any narcotics smuggling
 he was involved in while being debriefed by the DEA, said Welch.
    His plane -- a C-123 military transport -- was festooned with
sophisticated surveillance cameras.
   Seal returned to the United States from one trip with a load
of drugs and claims he had photos of a top Sandanista official
and uniformed Sandanista soldiers loading drugs onto the
   Seal was gunned down by Colombian contract killers at age 42
outside a New Orleans Salvation Army halfway house in February
   After his death Seal was described in a heavily censured
document called a "Summary of Contra Participants, Confidential
Witness List," and obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of
Information Act as having "had deep and unknown ties" with CIA
officials, The News reported.
   The C-123 registered to Seal and used in the DEA-CIA
Sandanista sting was shot down seven months later over Nicaragua
while flying supplies to the anti-Communist Contras.
   At the controls was Eugene Hasenfus, who was the lone
   His admissions in captivity cracked open the Iran-Contra
scandal, which rocked the Reagan Administration.