Subject: WSJ - Linda Ives Date: Thu, 09 Jan 1997 22:26:14 -0600 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Larry-Jennie) To: email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------- Mark, 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 airplane. Seal was gunned down by Colombian contract killers at age 42 outside a New Orleans Salvation Army halfway house in February 1986. 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 survivor. His admissions in captivity cracked open the Iran-Contra scandal, which rocked the Reagan Administration.