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October Surprise

Main article: October Surprise

Backing the Contras

Arms sales to Iran

Cocaine smuggling operation

Discovery and scandal

Congressional investigation

Indictments and aftermath




Drug trafficking coverup

Related article: Drug trafficking

Money laundering

Related articles: BCCI, Savings and loan crisis

See also


  1. New York Times, "Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails 'Cover-Up'", 1992/12/25

External links

  • Lawrence E. Walsh, "FINAL REPORT OF THE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL FOR IRAN/CONTRA MATTERS: Volume I: Investigations and Prosecutions", 1993/08/04
  • Baltimore Sun, "Alleged Iran-contra players no strangers to spy affairs", 1986/12/21: "Those who saw action in Southeast Asia and whose names have cropped up in the current controversy include:"
    • "Richard V. Secord: [...] Mr. Secord is said by a variety of sources to have played Mr. Outside to Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North's Mr. Inside in the Iran-contra affair. Mr. Secord, sources say, used his old military and intelligence contacts to set up the supply line that provided logistical support and possibly weapons to the contras after Congress by the 1984 version of the Boland Amendment forbade the government from doing so. [...]"
    • "John K. Singlaub: [...] Until September, Mr. Singlaub was chairman of the World Anti-Communist League, and remains on the organization's board. [...] With the passage of the 1984 version of the Boland Amendment, which cut off military aid to the contras, Mr. Singlaub was reportedly recruited by the NSC's Colonel North to assist in raising funds to help continue aid to the contras while the congressional cutoff was in effect. [...] In Vietnam from 1966 to 1986, Mr. Singlaub headed the super-secret MACV-SOG, or Military Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observation Group. [...]"
    • "Harry C. (Heine) Aderholt: [...] Mr. Aderholt heads the Air Commando Association, based in the town of Fort Walton Beach on the Florida panhandle and comprising veterans of the Air Force's elite covert operations force, similar to the Army's Green Berets. [...] From 1966 to 1968 Mr. Aderholt served as Mr. Singlaub's deputy in Vietnam at MACV-SOG, the clandestine unit that ran secret raids in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. [...] In 1974, Professor Leary said, Mr. Aderholt set up the airlift to resupply the besieged Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, using C-130 cargo planes flying under the corporate name of Bird Air. The assistant chief pilot for Bird Air, Mr. Leary said, was Wallace B. Sawyer Jr., one of the three men killed Oct. 5 when the C-123K cargo plane carrying Eugene Hasenfus went down in Nicaragua. [...]"
    • "Theodore G. Shackley: [...] According to the Times, Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms merchant, and several Iranian clerics on arms-purchasing missions, met with the old intelligence officials in a Hamburg, West Germany hotel room and laid out the offer. Sources told the Times that Mr. Shackley wrote up a detailed report including telephone numbers in Europe for Mr. Ghorbanifar and passed it on to the administration, but sources disagreed on whether it went to a Cabinet officer or a member of the National Security Council staff. [...]"
    • "Donald P. Gregg: Mr. Gregg, Vice President George Bush's national security adviser, is a retired CIA officer who has acknowledged meeting with an old agency friend, Felix Rodriguez, about a dozen times since November 1983. After his capture, Mr. Hasenfus said that Mr. Rodriguez, whom he knew as Max Gomez, was one of two men who ran the contra resupply operation from the Ilopango air base in El Salvador. [...]"
  • Peter Kornbluh and Malcolm Byrne, "IRAN CONTRA AT 25: REAGAN AND BUSH 'CRIMINAL LIABILITY' EVALUATIONS", 2011/11/25

Iranian weapons sales

  • Brokers of Death arms deal
    • Chicago Tribune, "TAPES IMPLICATE ISRAEL IN ARMS DEAL", 1986/08/03: "The middleman in a scheme to smuggle $2 billion worth of American-made weapons to Iran claimed Israeli defense officials had approved the plan, according to conversations tape-recorded by federal authorities. On one tape, the international lawyer who set up the deal said he met in Israel with Defense Ministry officials who pledged ''full and complete cooperation.'' The lawyer, Samuel Evans, an American living in London, said he expected to discuss the transaction with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin on his next trip and that word of the deal had been passed right through to Peres, an apparent reference to Prime Minister Shimon Peres. [...] Four Israelis were among those charged, including a retired general and war hero who said his first telephone call from jail was to the military attache at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The general, Abraham Bar-Am, told reporters after his arrest that Israeli officials knew of the deal, but his lawyer now says Bar-Am never took the information to the government. [...] Since the war with neighboring Iraq began in 1980, Iran`s arsenal has been depleted and many of its U.S. planes and tanks were idled by a lack of spare parts. Experts say Iran`s representatives scour the international black market in search of weapons and parts and that money is no object. Rabin, the Israeli defense minister, has acknowledged that it is in Israel`s interest to prolong the Iraq-Iran war because both countries are hostile to Israel and the war uses resources that could otherwise be turned against Israel. Israel provided Iran with $12 million worth of weapons from its surplus U.S. stock in 1980 and 1981, but stopped officially when the U.S. protested. [...] For 15 years, Evans has been an adviser to Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian weapons dealer and businessman considered by many as the richest man in the world. Khashoggi has been investigated in weapons deals but never was charged. [...] The jets were to be flown from Israel to Turkey, where Iranian pilots would take control and fly them on to Tehran. The remaining goods were to be shipped from the Israeli port of Haifa to Iran by Nico Minardos, a Greek-born American citizen and Hollywood bit actor who also has worked for Khashoggi, according to the tapes. An estimated $343 million worth of weapons were to be supplied by Bar-Am, 55, the retired brigadier general and licensed weapons dealer, and William Northrop, 41, an American based in Tel Aviv, according to the indictment. Three other Israelis with arms licenses, Rafael Eisenberg, 60, his son, Guriel, 35, and an associate, Isaac Hebroni, were to supply $800 million in U.S.-made weapons from Israel, the indictment said."
    • UPI, "White House officials brokered weapons sales", 1988/05/15: "Another participant in the operation, William Northop -- an Oklahoma City resident with ties to the Israeli spy agency -- told investigators he was also brought into the operation by Mossad agents with whom he had worked for a number of years. Congressional investigators said phone logs from the late CIA Director William Casey showed Northrop was in frequent contact with the spymaster during this time."
    • William Northrop background
      • Arizona Republic, "Fancy gumshoe digs up the dirt for court cases", 1980/01/16 (pages D1, D2): "Will Northrop took a final slurp of black coffee and grabbed his note pad. It was 9:01 a.m. and time to roll. "I've got a preliminary hearing at the courthouse," he says curtly. "Being a criminal investigator is serious business. When my man goes into court on a murder one case, I better have him prepared." Criminal investigator. That's a 50-cent term for a private investigator who works for lawyers. Northrop is one of those fancy gumshoes. [...] Northrop takes a long drag on an ever-present cigarette and talks about his 35 years. He says he worked in the intelligence community for the federal government and spent a lot of time overseas. "People can figure it out from there," he says coyly. [...] Several years ago he began tape recording all his client interviews after his notes were called into court. "But they were written in Hebrew, thank goodness, and they couldn't read them," he smiles. [...] He says he graduated from The Citadel where he "majored in warfare" on his way to Vietnam. He doesn't like to talk about the war."
      • UPI, "A private investigator who three years ago helped clear...", 1981/07/19: "A private investigator who three years ago helped clear a man sentenced to death for murder is now trying to help Wayne B. Williams, a black free-lance photographer accused of killing two blacks in Atlanta. Will Northrop, of Phoenix, said he visited Williams in the Fulton County, Ga., jail Friday and is convinced the man is innocent of the slayings. He said he has been hired to help in Williams' defense. Williams, 23, is accused of the asphyxiation murders of Nathaniel Cater, 27, and Jimmy Ray Payne, 21. They are two of the 28 black people slain in Atlanta in the past 1 years. [...] Northrop was instrumental in clearing Jonathan Treadaway Jr., now 27, of the 1974 charges of sodomy and murder of Brett Jordon, 6. Treadaway, now 27, was accused of the sodomy and murder of Brett Jordan, 6, who was found dead in bed at his Phoenix home Aug. 30, 1974. Treadaway was convicted and sentenced to death in February 1975, but two years later the Arizona Supreme Court overturned the conviction on grounds of judicial error. Treadaway was acquitted at a second trial in October 1978 in which he was represented by noted defense attorney, the late John J. Flynn."
      • New York Times, "AROUND THE NATION; 2 Private Investigators To Aid Atlanta Suspect", 1981/07/21: "Attorneys for Wayne B. Williams, charged with killing two of Atlanta's 28 young black murder victims, have hired two private investigators in their attempt to discredit the police case. ''We are trying to prove the police wrong and that they haven't been doing their job,'' said Mary Welcome, one of the attorneys. One of the investigators is Will Northrop of Phoenix, Ariz., who, the attorney said, has had experience investigating mass murder cases. She said that Mr. Northrop ''feels'' that Mr. Williams ''does not fit the mold of a person who would kill.''"
      • Penthouse, "WAYNE WILLIAMS IS INNOCENT" by William Warren Northrop, 1984/04 (pages 94, 95)
      • See the Oklahoma City bombing page for info on Northrop (as a Mossad agent) monitoring a terror plot right before the bombing and afterwards promoting the idea that Islamic terrorists were responsible

Support to the Contras

  • Humanitarian aid cover
    • Los Angeles Times, "Use of Humanitarian Aid Flights to Arm Contras Told", 1987/05/19 (pages 1, 2): "Oliver L. North an d other Reagan Administration aides deliberately used a 1986 program of "humanitarian aid" for Nicaraguan rebels to help support the secret effort to deliver military aid to the contras , U.S. officials said Monday. [...] "The humanitarian aid program saved (North's network) hundreds of thousands of dollars," said an official who has reviewed records of the State Department effort. "It was a piggyback operation . . . . North and the CIA used the program wherever they could get away with it." [...] The aid was administered by the State Department's Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office, but officials said that all significant decisions were made by a "Restricted Inter-Agency Group," consisting of North, Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams and Alan D. Fiers, chief of the CIA's Central America Task Force."
    • New York Times, "Abrams Denies Wrongdoing In Shipping Arms to Contras", 1987/08/17: "Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams has defended his role in authorizing the shipment of weapons on a humanitarian aid flight to Nicaraguan rebels, saying the operation was strictly by the book. Mr. Abrams spoke at a news conference Saturday in response to statements by Robert Duemling, former head of the State Department's Nicaraguan humanitarian assistance office, who said he had twice ordered planes to shuttle weapons for the contras on aid planes at Mr. Abrams's direction in early 1986."
  • Civilian Materiel Assistance / Civilian Military Assistance (CMA) - run by Tom Posey and financed by Roger Moore
    • New York Times, "PRIVATE AID TO LATIN REBELS AT ISSUE", 1984/12/13
    • Associated Press, "FBI Reportedly Probes Contras on Drugs, Guns", 1986/04/10: "Jack Terrell, who was a leader of the American paramilitary group, Civilian-Military Assistance, CMA, said FBI agents and prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami have met with him several times with at least two of those sessions becoming full-day meetings. Terrell said the investigators asked him about alleged weapons shipments from the United States to Contra base camps in Central America, Contra involvement in drug smuggling, and a reported conspiracy to assassinate the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, Lewis Tambs. Federal investigators, insisting on anonymity, confirmed that they have interviewed Terrell and other persons in connection with the Contra probe but they refused to discuss details. [...] Following the deaths of two Americans shot down in a helicopter inside northern Nicaraguan in September 1984, the FBI investigated reports that U.S. military supplies, including weapons, were diverted to the rebels from two Alabama National Guard armories, in Huntsville and Decatur, but no charges were brought. The Americans belonged to CMA, a Decatur, Ala.-based paramilitary organization which has trained and fought alongside the Contra rebels. Several of their founders, including Dana Parker, who died in the crash, were members of the 20th Special Forces Group, attached to the Alabama National Guard, according to CMA leader Tom Posey. [...] Terrell, who quit CMA in mid-1985, said he attended a Miami meeting early that year with the Cuban and an American farmer living in northern Costa Rica. Terrell said cocaine shipments were discussed and the Cuban offered the Contras the proceeds from the sale of lobsters that had been used to conceal a cocaine shipment." - likely that the American farmer is John Floyd Hull
    • Associated Press, "Contra Aid Defendants Briefed FBI, Military Intelligence", 1988/10/28: "Members of a private aid network for the Nicaraguan rebels regularly briefed the FBI and military intelligence about their activities while allegedly violating the U.S. Neutrality Act, government reports show. Seven of the men were indicted by a Fort Lauderdale grand jury in June for violating the Neutrality Act by supplying mercenaries and guns to the rebel Contras in 1984 and 1985. But they have challenged the federal indictment, saying they were working closely with the Reagan administration. FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency documents submitted by the defense confirm that at least two of the indicted network members - Thomas Posey, head of the Contra-supporting group called Civilian Materiel Assistance, and his Miami coordinator, Jose Coutin - were regularly reporting to government officials at various levels, including the National Security Council. ″The documents show the FBI knew, the FBI was sharing the information with Oliver North″ at the National Security Council, said attorney John Mattes, who represents co-defendant Jack Terrell. [...] A declassified report from military intelligence agent Franklin Camper showed his agency not only knew of the activities in April 1984, but outlined for Posey and a Contra official a plan for raids into Nicaragua by U.S. volunteers and Nicaraguan rebels. [...] The documents also show Miami police informed the bureau in September 1984 of the network’s existence, and that drug-trafficking money was being used to finance the Contra cause. [...] The other defendants are Mario Calero, brother of Contra leader Adolfo Calero; Maco Stewart and Alex Martinez."
    • See also (on the Dixie Mafia page) mercenary school operator Frank Camper
  • Bill Holmes (Fayetteville AR gun maker) involvement
    • See the Mena section of Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America by Roger Morris (1996)
    • From p.??? of Warmonger: How Clinton's Malign Foreign Policy Launched the US Trajectory from Bush II to Biden by Jeremy Kuzmarov (2023): "Bill Holmes, a gun shop owner in Fayetteville, Arkansas, said that in May 1984 two CIA agents, Edward Malone and James Terrell, whose description matched that of CIA agent Jack Terrell, showed him a Mena address when they bought 250 machine guns from him at a price of $100,000, paying $10,000 in advance. The agents said that they had met Seal, who was known as "fat man," and that the guns were for a special operation run out of the Mena airport that had the approval of the White House and Vice President (George H.W. Bush) who was running it. When Eugene Hasenfus' plane was shot down, Malone told Holmes he had to shut down his operation. Holmes never got paid."
    • ATF case against Holmes throughout the 80s and 90s
      • ...
      • Agents involved in the Holmes case
        • Bill Hobbs
          • Whitwell Memorial Funeral Home obituary for William Carl Hobbs (July 27, 1941 ~ February 3, 2016): "William “Bill” Carl Hobbs passed away at the age of 74 of a heart attack at his residence on Tims Ford Lake on February 3, 2016. He is preceded in death by his parents Jeff and Margie of Whitwell, TN. [...] A graduate of Whitwell High School, class of 1959, he received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Middle Tennessee State University. He was an outstanding fullback on the MTSU football team, having played in the 1961 Tangerine Bowl. He had a distinguished career in law enforcement as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) with assignments in Georgia, Illinois, and Arkansas. After nearly 30 years with ATF, he retired and settled on Tims Ford Lake, where he had vacationed for many years on his return visits home from ATF duty."
        • Todd McKeehan - later involved in the Branch Davidian raid, where he was one of four agents murdered (at least three of whom, likely including McKeehan, had worked security for Bill Clinton during the 1992 campaign)
        • David Sullivan - later involved in the Branch Davidian raid, then died in a car accident on 1994/03/31 (a month after the Davidian trial ended)
        • Milton Bonaventure - later involved in the Branch Davidian raid
        • David Shanks - based in Shreveport LA, and previously involved in investigating illegal weapons traffic with law enforcement complicity in Red River Parish LA (home of serial killer Robert Charles Browne, who was allegedly protected by local law enforcement)
    • Background of Holmes
      • Bill Holmes, "Silencers from the Home Workshop", 1980 (from p.219-234 of The Poor Man's James Bond Vol. 3 by Kurt Saxon) - published by Paladin Press; at the end, Holmes identifies himself as being from Fayetteville AR
      • American Handgunner, "Holmes MP-83 Assault Pistol", 1986/03-04 - manufacturer is Holmes Firearms of Wheeler AR; distributor is D. B. Distributing of Fayetteville AR
      • Master Gunmaker's Guide to Building Bolt-Action Rifles by Bill Holmes (2003) - published by Paladin Press
      • Legacy Remembers obituary for William Holmes (Dec. 4, 2008): "William Wendall Holmes, 79 of Fayetteville, died Wednesday, December 4, 2008. He was born September 26, 1929 in Benton County, Arkansas to the late Ferrell and Lucille Baker Holmes. He is preceded in death by his two sons; Jeff and James Holmes. Survivors include one daughter, Leslie Bracy of Stillwater, OK and two grandchildren; Adam and Samantha Bracy of Stillwater, OK. Interment will be held at the Fayetteville National Cemetery."
      • Trapshooters Forum thread from 2012 with a Holmes obituary by Paladin Press: "William “Bill” Holmes, author of the Paladin Home Workshop Weaponry series of books and videos, died on December 4, 2008.

        Many people call themselves gunmakers, but few have actually made a gun. Instead most buy parts from various manufacturers and assemble them. Bill Holmes made countless rifles, handguns, and shotguns from scratch—ranging in caliber from .17 to .50—for almost 60 years. As a result he became an acknowledged expert on most firearms, as well as the laws governing their manufacture, modification, and possession. Once he stopped building precision-crafted firearms for others, he concentrated on writing about how to make guns safely and legally so that others could make their own weapons. He wrote his first Paladin book in 1977, Home Workshop Guns for Defense and Resistance, Volume I: The Submachine Gun. Through his seven books (The .50-Caliber Rifle Construction Manual; Home Workshop Guns for Defense and Resistance, Volumes I–V; Home Workshop Prototype Firearms; and A Master Gunmaker’s Guide to Building Bolt-Action Rifles) and two videos (The Home Workshop .50-Caliber Sniper Rifle and Home Workshop Weaponry) for Paladin, Bill attracted a legion of followers who anxiously awaited each new project from the master gunmaker. He also published a scathing indictment of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in Entrapment: The BATF in Action, recounting the agency’s fruitless efforts to hang an illegal weapons charge on him.

        Bill kept a fully equipped machine shop in an outbuilding next to his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, but in later years was forced to sell off his lathes, drill press, and other equipment to pay legal and medical bills. For a brief period he turned his hand to knifemaking. (The knife shown in the photo was a gift to Paladin staff.) He will be missed by many."

CIA involvement

  • New York Times, "WILLIAM CASEY, EX-C.I.A. HEAD, IS DEAD AT 74", 1987/05/07: "Mr. Casey died less than 24 hours after the first witness in Congressional hearings on the affair named him as having assisted in providing arms to Nicaraguan rebels after Congress forbade such support. [...] Mr. Casey suffered two seizures and was hospitalized in Washington last Dec. 15, the day before he was to testify to a Senate panel about the Central Intelligence Agency's role in the sale of American arms to Iran. [...] At the Congressional hearing Tuesday the leadoff witness, Richard V. Secord, said that in addition to Mr. Casey, officials of the C.I.A. and the State Department aided in efforts to provide weapons to the Nicaraguan rebels. [...] He reported that, under Mr. Casey, high-ranking C.I.A. agents in Honduras and Costa Rica had provided him with intelligence data or other assistance."
  • Ch.16 of the Walsh report: "Robert M. Gates"

Drug smuggling

  • Contra leadership involvement
    • "Dark Alliance" series by Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News
    • Baltimore Sun, "The CIA-drug connection is still covered up Contra's role in drug smuggling was known as early as 1987" by Dennis Bernstein and Robert Knight, 1996/09/29: "Back in 1987 and 1988 the Senate subcommittee on narcotics and international terrorism produced reams of documents and days of testimony on the CIA drug connections. "Our covert agencies have converted themselves to channels for drugs," said Sen. John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, at the time. [...] We wrote about this memorandum in a March 31, 1987, Newsday article, later widely syndicated. [...] The Reagan administration, in an effort allegedly spearheaded by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, secretly shared intelligence, transportation and military facilities with Central American drug dealers who provided the missing funds through profits from their sanctioned smuggling. The contras themselves also set up shop on the West Coast and sold thousands of kilos of cocaine, along with sophisticated automatic weapons, to Los Angeles gangs. [...] A Sept. 26, 1984, Miami police intelligence report noted that money supporting contras being illegally trained in Florida "comes from narcotics transactions." [...] And how about a quick review of the personal notebooks of Oliver North? On July 9, 1984, North wrote that he "went and talked to [contra leader Federico] Vaughn, [who] wanted aircraft to go to Bolivia to pick up paste, wanted aircraft to pick up 1,500 kilos." [...] Reno and Deutch might want to get on the horn to Celerino "Cele" Castillo, the DEA's main agent in El Salvador and Guatemala from 1985 to 1991. In a February 1989 report we obtained, Castillo meticulously describes a half-dozen known traffickers who used hangars controlled by North and the CIA at Ilopango airport."
    • Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion by Gary Webb (1998)
    • Esquire, "The Pariah", 1998/09
    • Shortened version of the "Your Government Dealing Drugs" chapter from American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell (2010)
      • "After his administration tried to mine the Nicaraguan harbors and got a hand slap from Congress, it turned to secretly selling missiles to Iran and using the payments—along with profits from running drugs—to keep right on funding the Contras. Fifty thousand lost lives later, the World Court would order the U.S. to "cease and to refrain" from unlawful use of force against Nicaragua and pay reparations. (We refused to comply.)"
      • "The fact is, with most of the cocaine that flooded the country in the 80s, almost every major drug network was using the Contra operation in some fashion. Colombia's Medellin cartel began quietly collaborating with the Contras soon after Reagan took office."
      • "Then, in 1982, CIA Director Casey negotiated a little Memorandum of Understanding with the attorney general, William French Smith. Basically what this did was give the CIA legal clearance to work with known drug traffickers without being required to report it, so long as they weren't official employees but only "assets." This didn't come out until 1998, when CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz issued a report that implicated more than 50 Contra and related entities in the drug trade. And the CIA knew all about it. The trafficking and money laundering tracked right into the National Security Council, where Oliver North was overseeing the Contras' war."
      • "Here's what was going on behind the scenes: In the mid-1980s, North got together with four companies that were owned and operated by drug dealers, and arranged payments from the State Department for shipping supplies to the Contras. Michael Levine, an undercover agent for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), later said that "running a covert operation in collaboration with a drug cartel . . . [is] what I call treason." The top DEA agent in El Salvador, Celerino Castillo III, said he saw "very large quantities of cocaine and millions of dollars" being run out of hangars at Ilopango air base, which was controlled by North and CIA operative Felix Rodriguez (he'd been placed in El Salvador by Vice President Bush's office, as a direct overseer of North's operations). The cocaine was being transshipped from Costa Rica through El Salvador and on into the U.S. But when Castillo tried to raise this with his superiors, he ran into nothing but obstacles."
      • "Early in 1985, two Associated Press reporters started hearing from officials in D.C. about all this. A year later, after a lot of stonewalling by the editors, the AP did run Robert Parry and Brian Barger's story on an FBI probe into cocaine trafficking by the Contras. This led the Reagan Administration to put out a three-page report admitting that there'd been some such shenanigans when the Contras were "particularly hard pressed for financial support" after Congress voted to cut off American aid. There was "evidence of a limited number of incidents." Uh-huh. It would be awhile yet before an Oliver North note surfaced from July 12, 1985, about a Contra arms warehouse in Honduras: "Fourteen million to finance came from drugs.""
      • "Also in 1986, an FBI informant inside the Medellin cartel, Wanda Palacio, testified that she'd seen the organization run by Jorge Ochoa loading cocaine onto aircraft that belonged to Southern Air Transport, a company that used to be owned by the CIA and was flying supplies to the Contras. There was strong corroboration for her story, but somehow the Justice Department rejected it as inconclusive. Senator John Kerry started looking into all this and said at one closed-door committee meeting: "It is clear that there is a network of drug trafficking through the Contras...We can produce specific law-enforcement officials who will tell you that they have been called off drug-trafficking investigations because the CIA is involved or because it would threaten national security.""
    • Consortium News, "Contras, Dirty Money and CIA", 2013/12/19
    • The Intercept, "MANAGING A NIGHTMARE: How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb", 2014/09/25
    • Huffington Post, "Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward", 2014/10/10
    • Consortium News, "Big Media’s Contra-Cocaine Cover-up", 2016/12/09
    • The Intercept, "Oliver North Worked With Cocaine Traffickers to Arm Terrorists. Now He'll Be President of the NRA.", 2018/05/12
  • Barry Seal and his activities at Mena AR
    • Barry and 'the Boys' by Daniel Hopsicker (2001)
    • Preston Peet, "INSIDE THE OCTOPUS: The Barry Seal Story", 2002/05/06
    • Spartacus Educational page on Barry Seal
    • Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn, "Air Cocaine: the Wild, True Story of Drug-Running, Arms Smuggling and Contras at a Backwoods Airstrip in the Clintons’ Arkansas", 2016/11/04
    • WBRZ 2, "Uncle Sam Wants You" by John Camp, 1984/11 (Louisiana State Archives copy) (YouTube copy)
    • WBRZ 2, "Barry Seal: Murder of a Witness", 1986
    • Associated Press, "Plane Downed In Nicaragua Had Colorful Past", 1986/10/09: "The government has announced no formal charges against the lone survivor, but presidential spokesman Manuel Espinoza said 45-year-old Eugene Hasenfus of Marinette, Wis., will be put on trial. Until six months ago, the C-123 aircraft was owned by a colorful Daytona Beach businessman named Harry Doan, The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported. But the plane was purchased by a California company, according to Robert Willman, a longtime friend of Doan’s. [...] Another source, who spoke to The News-Journal on the condition that he not be identified, said the buyer was Four Aces Inc. of Palmdale, Calif., and that the company had a long history of involvement with military and government missions. [...] The source said he had heard the California company then leased the plane to Southern Air Transport of Miami, a firm formerly owned by the CIA. [...] In the summer of 1984, Doan swapped a C-123 to Adler ″Barry″ Seal, a Baton Rouge pilot and drug smuggler who became an undercover informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, The Herald learned from Kent Sherman, a consultant on the deal. [...] Seal flew the plane to Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio, where it was outfitted with hidden cameras by the CIA, the Herald reported. Then Seal flew the plane to Nicaragua, where Federico Vaughan, then an employee in the Nicaraguan Interior Ministry, was filmed as he helped load 1,472 pounds of cocaine into the plane. Vaughan was indicted, but was never been taken into custody by U.S. officials" - note that Rickenbacker AFB later became the Rickenbacker Airport where Les Wexner (mentor of Jeffrey Epstein) and Paul Mifsud (Chief of Staff to Ohio Governor George Voinovich) were trying to move Southern Air Transport to in the 1990s
    • Wall Street Journal, "Dope Story: Doubts Rise on Report Reagan Cited in Tying Sandinistas to Cocaine" by Jonathan Kwitny, 1987/04/22 (text copy; Palm Beach Post, "Nicaragua-cocaine link evidence questioned", 1987/04/28: pages 1, 5): "Four drug pilots in prison in Florida say they knew Mr. Seal as part of a network that delivered weapons to airfields in Central America for the American-backed Contras and then sometimes flew back to the U.S. with cocaine. [...] The imprisoned drug pilots say Mr. Seal was involved in flights that brought weapons to Central American airfields for the Contras and sometimes returned to the U.S. with drugs. The pilots claim that their Contra weapons deliveries were directed by the CIA. The people they say they worked with are known to have been supervised or monitored by the CIA and by Lt. Col. Oliver North, the National Security Council staffer fired for his role in the program to sell arms to Iran and fund the Contras. [...] Mr. Seal once was a pilot with Trans World Airlines, but he lost the job in 1972 after being charged with smuggling explosives to Mexico. The explosives, he later testified in federal court in Las Vegas, were for CIA-trained personnel trying to overthrow Cuba's Fidel Castro. [...] Fred Hampton, whose Mena, Ark., firm does a global business repairing aircraft, says Mr. Seal used to talk in 1982 and 1983 about working for the CIA. [...] Jack Terrell, a former Contra mercenary who now opposes U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, says that "we knew he [Mr. Seal] was flying for the Contras" at Aguacote, a Honduran supply base. And a jailed drug pilot named Gary Betzner says he once ran into Mr. Seal at Illopango air base in El Salvador, where much of the Contra weaponry was transshipped. Another imprisoned drug pilot, Michael Tolliver, says he was recruited into the Contra supply network by Mr. Seal, whom he had known since they were both airplane enthusiasts in Louisiana. He says Mr. Seal called him in the spring of 1985 [...]"
    • Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA by Terry Reed (1994)
    • CBS News story by Bill Plante in early 1994 about Mena
    • Sunday Telegraph, "Smugglers linked to Contra arms deals" by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 1994/10/09: "It is clear that Welch had stumbled on a complex operation in which narcotics trafficking and government covert operations had somehow got mixed up. On June 4, 1985, his diary says that an agent from the DEA "informed me in the strictest confidence that it was believed, within his department, that Barry Seal is flying weapons to Central and South America. In return he is allowed to smuggle what he wanted back into the United States"."
    • Sunday Telegraph, "Airport scandal set to crash into White House" by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, 1995/03/26: "But the Sunday Telegraph has learned that Seal was working for the Defence Intelligence Agency all along, answering to a top secret outfit in Fort Meade, Maryland, known as the US Army Operations Group. His recruitment was put into the Pentagon computer system through the highly classified RODCA Channel, a "source management system" used to prevent the exposure of secret assets. The last two numbers of his 10-digit "source code identifier" were 82, showing that he was recruited as an outside operative in 1982."
    • Terry Reed, The Mena Connection, 1995
    • Sally Denton and Roger Morris, "The Crimes of Mena", 1995/07 - killed Washington Post article on Mena drug smuggling
      • The Atlantic, "Clinton Scandals, Inc.", 1996/10 corroborates the killing of the story, though it subsequently turns into a defense of the Clintons; also mentions former US Attorney Jay Stephens of Henry Vinson / Craig J. Spence fame exonerating the Clintons in Whitewater
        • "IN January of 1995 the Outlook section of the Sunday Washington Post was about to publish a very long article by Roger Morris and Sally Denton, based on research Morris had been doing in Arkansas for his new book, Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America (Holt, 526 pages, $27.50). At the very last minute, after eleven weeks with the article, the paper, which had delayed publication three times, began to dither again. Morris and Denton angrily withdrew the piece, and the Washington rumor mill buzzed for a few days. Clinton-haters speculated that the article was all about the use of the Intermountain Regional Airport, in Mena, Arkansas, as the base of operations for secret arms going out to the Nicaraguan contras and cocaine being smuggled back in, with Governor Bill Clinton's connivance, and that this damaging material had been censored by the Post's liberal editors. Clinton supporters said that the article was thin stuff, anonymously sourced, and not up to the rigorous standards of the Post; it had therefore quite properly been spiked. There were jests that Roger Morris -- a principled chap who, with Tony Lake, had resigned from the National Security Council in protest over the 1970 invasion of Cambodia -- had spent too long in Arkansas.

          In fact the article was sourced with documents and affidavits, and included intriguing new material. But it was all about Oliver North and George Bush and the contras, and contained very little about Clinton. The Post's executive editor, Leonard Downie, had approved the piece for publication, and after long wranglings the lawyers pronounced themselves satisfied. Printing was then postponed not because of Democratic loyalties but because Robert Kaiser, the managing editor, was struck, he said, by the fact that "our own reporters had looked at this material and found zero grounds to justify the inferences drawn."" - is Robert G. Kaiser, who killed the Mena article, the "high-flyer at the Post" accused by Henry Vinson of using his escort service who had "the juice to seriously malign the Washington Times reportage to the Post’s editorial staff"? interesting to note that Kaiser had substantial access to the office of Barney Frank, another participant in this ring, during the crafting of the Dodd-Frank bill in 2008 and 2009
    • Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America by Roger Morris (1996)
    • Wall Street Journal, "Mysterious Mena: CIA Discloses, Leach Disposes" by Micah Morrison, 1997/01/29
    • The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (1997) - parts 1, 2, 3
    • Daniel Hopsicker, "In Search of the American Drug Lords", 1997 - Hopsicker's documentary on Barry Seal
    • Daniel Hopsicker, "Secret Heartbeat of America", 1997 - Hopsicker's documentary on Iran-Contra and Mena drug smuggling
    • From the Wilderness, "Why Does George W. Bush Fly in Drug Smuggler Barry Seal's Airplane?", 1999/10
    • 225 Magazine, "Smuggler's blues", 2009/04/30: "Just a week or two after his arrest, Seal had coffee with his ex-wife, Barbara, and her mother. He told them not to worry about the arrest. He wasn’t going to end up in prison, he said. “This was an operation I did for the government,” Barbara recalls Seal telling her and her mother. The explosives were part of a plan “to overthrow Fidel Castro,” Seal explained. In a recent interview with 225, Barbara described how Barry was essentially disavowed by his own government after his 1972 arrest, something that cost him his job as an airline captain. “That was a government operation,” she insists. [...] Chicago television station WMAQ reported on a confidential FBI document in which a Mena businessman admitted his company was maintaining one of Seal’s airplanes, a camouflaged military C-123, dubbed “The Fat Lady” for the CIA."
    • Daniel Hopsicker, "How to become an American “non-person”", 2012/05/24
    • Ed Opperman interview with Daniel Hopsicker about Barry and 'the Boys' (old Youtube link)
    • FAIR, "American Made: A Largely True Story With Some Not-So-Fun Lies", 2017/10/10
    • Ron Dane, "American Re-Made - The Real Story of Barry Seal", 2019/12/02 - questions the credibility of FBI agent Del Hahn, who investigated Seal and later wrote a 2016 book on him (Smuggler's End) that dismisses any CIA connection; details how Ramon Milian Rodriguez was recruited into a CIA-backed Cuban exile group in the 1970s; shows New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato as one of the key people involved in the hearings working to expose CIA connections to drug running (ed. note: he was one of two New York senators later targeted in a planned hit by members of the mosque led by CIA asset and 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirator Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman)
    • Disinformation efforts
    • Assassination of Barry Seal
      • New York Times, "KILLING OF INFORMANT IS LAID TO COCAINE CARTEL AS TRIAL OPENS", 1987/04/28: "But Richard Sharpstein, who represents the defendant Miguel Velez, said in his opening statement that Mr. Seal, while working for the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, also was working for the Central Intelligence Agency and running guns to the rebels in Nicaragua. Mr. Velez, Luis Carlos Quintero-Cruz and Bernardo Antonio Vasquez could face Louisiana's electric chair if convicted of first-degree murder."
      • UPI, "Defense to present case in Seal murder trial", 1987/05/12: "In testimony Monday, a Miami gun dealer who loaned an Uzi pistol on the pretext it would lead to the sale of a dozen of them said he never saw the weapon again until police in Louisiana showed it to him as evidence in the Seal case. Jose Coutin of Miami, who ran a boutique and gun shop, said the Uzi semiautomatic pistol found in the car used to kill Seal came from his business. Coutin testified he loaned it to Jose Renteria-Campo for two days on the pretext that a purchase of 12 Uzis was forthcoming -- but then never saw the gun again. [...] Coutin has been granted immunity from prosecution in the Seal murder. His testimony for the state will be relayed to a federal judge in Florida this week when Coutin is sentenced on a drug conspiracy charge."
      • New York Times, "JURY GETS CASE AGAINST 3 IN DRUG INFORMER'S KILLING", 1987/05/13: "In his closing argument a defense attorney, Richard Sharpstein, suggested that many people wanted Mr. Seal dead, from other drug dealers angered by the informer to Nicaraguan rebels who feared that Mr. Seal might expose their supply network."
      • Daniel Hopsicker, "CIA Linked To Seal's Assassination", 1997/08/18 (original link, now 404s)
    • Mafia drug distribution networks
    • Arkansas financial institutions used for money laundering
      • Ozark Gazette, "GRAY MONEY" by Mark Swaney, 1995: "The state of Arkansas was the lead investor in a deal which poured sixty million dollars through a Barbados company, Coral Reinsurance, which is currently under investigation [...] Persons involved in the deal, which began in 1987 and ended in 1991, include Bob Nash, then president of ADFA and now Personnel Director of the White House, Robert Rubin, then president of Goldman Sachs investment bank and now Secretary of the Treasury, and Maurice Greenburg, president of American International Group, and a candidate in 1995 to be Director of Central Intelligence. The American International Group is a 100-billion dollar, multi-national insurance company which founded Coral Reinsurance Company in 1987. The fact that AIG founded Coral was hidden from insurance regulators for at least 3 years and was only recently proven by the reluctant release by ADFA of the original stock placement memorandum. [...] For two important reasons, the Committee decided to look into the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA). First, some admittedly circumstantial evidence linked ADFA to the Mena operations. [...] Throughout 1992, the Arkansas Committee contacted numerous sources in their search for evidence that ADFA may have been involved in money laundering operations. Several people assured them that ADFA was indeed involved, knowingly or otherwise, with laundering many millions of dollars."
      • Mark Swaney, "THE MYSTERY OF THE "LOST" MENA REPORT", 2001/08/03: "[...] soon there was an announcement by James Leach that his committee would investigate Mena, and “let the chips fall where they may”. [...] The Arkansas Committee was skeptical, but willing to go along. [...] We wanted to believe them, we really did. [...] In the spring of 1995, I got a call from Steve Ganis, who had been assigned to be the chief Mena investigator for the Leach committee. [...] Over the course of the next year (1996), I sent to Steve Ganis all the documentation that I had collected and that he wanted, including the AIG/Coral documents from ADFA. In one conversation I remember having with Ganis early on, I told him that I believed that the Stephens group was getting rich by laundering money for the US intelligence services. [...] One day in late 1996, he called me to ask about a certain person from Saudi Arabia. I never heard of the guy, and I told Steve that I didn’t know who it was. Ganis didn’t tell me anything about the Saudi, but he was obviously excited about his new lead. [...] [Ganis] said that at first he didn’t think much about the Coral/ADFA/AIG deal. Then he said “later I found out something about AIG that I hadn’t know before” but he wouldn’t tell me what is was. [...] I started to worry when Jean Duffey told me that the word on the street in Washington was that Leach was going to bury the report since the evidence uncovered was all against George Bush and not Bill Clinton. [...] in December of 1997, a very ominous sign occurred. In the middle of the Clinton-Starr battles over Whitewater, the HBC held a press conference in which they said that their investigation had not yielded any information on Bill Clinton. [...] The investigation had been billed as an effort to get to the bottom of the Mena allegations, not to get Bill Clinton. [...] in the summer of 1999, a year and a half after the investigation and the report by Steve Ganis was completed, I sent a futile “Freedom of Information” request to the HBC only to be informed that Congress had exempted itself from the FOI law. [...] [To Bill Duncan and Russell Welch] Ganis had told both the former lawmen that he had been personally frightened during his investigation. That he felt that his investigation had been interfered with by unknown persons, and that he thought people were trying to intimidate him. [...] Ganis’s main results (to the extent that he told me his main results) are revealing to say the least. Ganis told me that he proved that Barry Seal had been flying cash money to the Contras. [...] Some of the money he thought might have come from a source in Saudi Arabia. [...] Ganis told me that his results suggest that Barry Seal was part of a covert action group reporting to the Vice President, George Bush Sr., and was using the status of “turned DEA asset” as a cover. Ganis found that Barry Seal was involved in a covert action to infiltrate Fredirico Vaughn into the Sandinista government. The report also includes additional information linking the Carver ranch in Belize to the Contra army. The Carver ranch was also linked to Dan Lassater and Barry Seal. [...] There is evidence in the report linking Barry Seal to the Contra support movement in Miami Florida, and also that Barry Seal was recruiting pilots for the “Enterprise” of Secord, and North, et. al. [...] Ganis said that though he didn’t know why, Leach had insisted on putting the AIG/Coral reinsurance information in the Mena report."
      • Mike Ruppert, "HOSTAGES: A Multi-Part FTW Special Investigation", 2001 (parts 1, 2) - about Coral Marie Talavera Baca Lehder, the professed wife of Carlos Lehder and a manager for AIG in San Francisco up until June 22, 2001
      • Mark H. Gaffney, "Black 9/11: A Walk on the Dark Side (Part 3): AIG and the Linkage to the Drug Trade", 2011/05/25
      • Coral Reinsurance background and finances
      • Dan Lasater involvement - TODO
      • Stephens Inc. / Jackson T. Stephens involvement - TODO
    • Drug networks in the Little Rock area - reportedly associated with the Mena operation, and involves some of the same players (e.g. narcotics investigator Jay Campbell of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office being friends with Dan Lasater); linked to the "Arkansas train deaths" case / "boys on the tracks" murder of Don Henry and Kevin Ives on August 23, 1987
    • Other curiosities
  • Manuel Noriega and Medellin cartel money laundering
    • Washington Post, "DRUG FIGURE SAYS CARTEL GAVE FUNDS TO CONTRAS", 1987/06/30: "A money launderer for the major Colombia cocaine cartel has told Congress in secret testimony that he funneled nearly $10 million to Nicaraguan contras through former CIA operative Felix Rodriguez, congressional sources disclosed. Testifying behind closed doors before the Senate narcotics and terrorism subcommittee Thursday and Friday, Ramon Milian-Rodriguez, who is serving a 35-year federal sentence for racketeering and related charges in connection with narcotics money laundering, said that the cartel believed it was currying favor with the Central Intelligence Agency when it directed him to give the cash, a panel source said."
    • New York Times, "Accountant Says Noriega Helped Launder Billions", 1988/02/12: "An accountant testified under oath to Congress today that he laundered billions of dollars in illegal drug profits through Panama's banking system with the help of Gen. Antonio Manuel Noriega, commander of the country's army and police and de facto leader. [...] In hundreds of trips to Panama, Mr. [Ramon Milian] Rodriguez said, he moved about $11 billion in drug profits from secret safehouses around the United States run by the Medellin cartel from Colombia, through Miami to Panama. [...] All the time, Mr. Rodriguez said, he ran what people thought was a respectable legal accounting practice in Miami and served on the board of several Miami banks and companies. [...] Mr. Rodriguez said he laundered money not only through Panama, but also through Curacao, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the Bahamas. Mr. Rodriguez said General Noriega first agreed to the money-laundering deal in 1979 when he was a colonel heading the country's military intelligence. [...] Mr. Rodriguez, who called himself a supporter of the anti-Sandinista rebels known as contras, also said he channeled laundered drug money to them through a shrimp processing warehouse that he set up as a front company to aid the transfers. ''Narcotics proceeds were used to shore up contra efforts,'' he said. ''I have laundered money for that network. I made it possible to transfer funds.'' [...] On Tuesday, however, the subcommittee heard sworn testimony from Jose I. Blandon, a former close aide to General Noriega, who identified a former leader of a contra group as a drug trafficker who now lives in Panama."
    • Chicago Tribune, "NORIEGA $10 MILLION-A-MONTH PAYOFF TOLD", 1988/02/13: "The middleman, Ramon Milian Rodriguez, a Cuban-born accountant serving a 43-year prison term in the U.S. for money-laundering, also said Thursday he helped channel some drug profits to the contras in Nicaragua and handled money for the CIA. [...] Testifying under oath before a subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Milian, 37, said he personally handled Colombian drug payoffs to Noriega that totaled $320 million to $350 million from 1979 until 1983, when Milian was arrested in Miami. Noriega was the head of Panama`s intelligence service during those years, and congressional investigators have said he received payments during that time from the CIA for supposedly cooperating with the U.S. [...] Milian said some drug money was secretly used to help support the contras, and that one of his front companies in Panama handled $250,000 from the State Department for humanitarian aid to the contras."
    • PBS Frontline, "Guns, Drugs, and the CIA" by Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn, 1988/05/17
    • TIME, "Panama Noriega's Money Machine", 19??/??/??: "The Senators were particularly interested in Blandon's disclosures concerning the relationship Noriega has had with U.S. intelligence officials. Blandon alleged, for instance, that the CIA had supplied Noriega with classified information on his chief Senate critics, including Jesse Helms of North Carolina and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. In Kennedy's case, the reports included the Senator's "personal problems," Blandon claimed. A CIA spokesman said the agency "categorically denies" Blandon's accusation. But Senator Alfonse D'Amato of New York, one of Noriega's bluntest antagonists, said he found Blandon's charges eminently credible. "The fact is," he said, "that Noriega -- this thug and racketeer -- has been on the payroll of the CIA for many years and remained there, I understand, until rather recently." Blandon dropped another bombshell when he alleged that just before the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, Noriega received a telephone call from Vice President George Bush, who asked him to warn Cuban Leader Fidel Castro not to interfere with the operation. [...] In 1985, he said, Noriega met twice in Panama City with Lieut. Colonel Oliver North, a principal figure in the Iran-contra affair. North asked Noriega, Blandon said, to train contra rebels in Panama at a time when the U.S. was forbidden by law to do so."

Business fronts

  • Gary Best involvement and background - purchased the Atlanta-area toy company of Bob Fletcher, and used it as a front for arms deals as well as Southeast Asia missions to find Vietnam War POWs (ed. note: connection to Bo Gritz and/or Ross Perot?); later was the president of MEGA Oil (with Harry Aderholt as vice chairman and Richard Secord as another associate), a company used to obtain oil rights in Azerbaijan following privatization
  • Richard Brenneke involvement and background - was connected to arms dealers in the Brokers of Death case
    • Tri-City Herald, "Brenneke a reliable source, says investigator", 1986/12/01: "A West Linn man who says Iranian officials chose him as an intermediary to the U.S. government has been a reliable source for the Oregon State Police, according to a state police investigator. Lt. LeRon Howland of the state police criminal division in Portland also says Richard Brenneke asked him to pass a letter to George Bush in January 1986, when the vice president was in Portland, The Oregonian newspaper reported Sunday. Howland said Saturday that he gave the letter to the U.S. Secret Service, and that he did not know whether it had reached Bush. The letter dealt with Iran's relations with the United States, Howland said. "It addressed the issue of Iran and was information intended for the vice president's office," Howland told The Oregonian. "I passed it to the Portland Secret Service, and the next thing I know it was involved in this whole Iran thing." Howland's name was one of four personal references in a letter that Brenneke sent to Bush. Another reference was Jay W. Wann, a Lake Oswego policeman. Wann could not be located for comment Saturday. Brenneke, 45, president of a Lake Oswego property management company, was not at his West Linn home and did not return telephone calls Saturday. Brenncke's name surfaced in relation to the Iranian affair as part of a criminal case in New York in which 17 defendants are charged with selling arms to Iran. Brenneke is not one of the defendants, but copies of his memorandums to Bush and other government officials were made public with other documents filed in the case. One of Brenneke's memorandums from January 1986 identified John Delaroque — one of the 17 defendants in New York — as his "partner." On Friday, Brenneke said he had met Delaroque while in Europe but had never done business with Delaroque. William M. Kunstler, attorney for one of the New York defendants, said in a telephone interview Saturday that Brenneke's correspondence showed an intimate knowledge of specific details related to the arms sales, details such as bank account numbers and the location and times of meetings in Europe. "There's no doubt he was working with Delaroque," Kunstler said. Meanwhile, Howland said he had known Brenneke since 1983 and that Brenneke "on several occasions" had provided information to the Oregon State Police. He said the information was regarding "conventional criminal activity in the state," but he said he could not disclose further details. "Mr. Brenneke has given me information of a confidential sort on several occasions pertaining to things that we have been interested in that have proven to be accurate," Howland said in a telephone interview. Howland said that in January, Brenneke came to him with a letter addressed to Bush, hoping that Howland would help him get the letter to Bush. He said, however, that he could not recall the exact contents of the letter. On Friday, Brenneke showed reporters a copy of a letter he said he sent to Bush in January 1986. "Iran has offered to meet with representatives of the United States to discuss normalization of relations with the United States and methods of achieving peace in the Middle East," the letter said. "They are willing to also provide ongoing intelligence information, especially with regard to terrorist activities." Brenneke said he was contacted last year by Iranian officials offering intelligence data and anti-terrorism assistance to the United States. He refused to explain why he was the person they contacted and denied any involvement in arms sales, intelligence or military work. Brenneke refused to confirm or deny a report in The New York Times that said he told an aide to Bush by telephone earlier this year of what were apparently U.S. government plans to use profits from the arms sales to Iran to provide weapons for Nicaraguan rebels. Brenneke's lawyer, Richard H. Muller of Portland, Saturday said he had "no idea" why Iranian officials would contact Brenneke."
    • Note that LeRon Howland, Brenneke's informant contact at the Oregon State Police, provided derogatory (and quite possibly dubious) information to the Henry Lee Lucas defense team regarding the Texas Rangers task force


Tower Commission

Christic Institute lawsuit

  • UPI, "Court lets stand $1 million award against Christic Institute", 1992/01/13: "The Supreme Court Monday let stand an order that the Christic Institute pay $1 million in attorneys' fees for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit against those it claimed were responsible for the 1984 assassination attempt of a Nicaraguan rebel leader. The court, without comment, let stand the ruling upheld by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against the non-profit Christic Institute, its chief counsel, and two journalists. The assassination attempt involved a bomb blast at a news conference by Eden Pastora in La Penca, Nicaragua, killing nine people. A federal district court in Florida in 1989 ruled, and the 11th Circuit agreed, that two years of court action by the liberal public interest law group was without merit and that the Christic Institute, its chief counsel, Daniel Sheehan, and journalists Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, were liable for more than $1 million."
  • Possible relation to the VANPAC (VANce PACkage bomb or VANce Political Assassination Conspiracy) bombing against 11th Circuit judge Robert Vance
    • Lanny Sinkin, "Murder in the Eleventh Circuit": "On December 16, 1989, while the appeal was in process, a pipe bomb in the mail killed Judge Robert S. Vance of the Eleventh Circuit. Personnel in the Eleventh Circuit Clerk’s office found another bomb, which was defused. A third bomb killed a civil rights attorney. While the case was still on appeal, I flew to Portland, Oregon, to help Marlene Smith move to Washington, D.C., to go to work for the Institute. As we drove out of Portland, National Public Radio broadcast a story that there had been an attempted assassination of Judge J.L. Edmundson, also of the Eleventh Circuit. The story said that a shot had been fired at the limousine carrying Judge Edmundson and that the judge had not been hit. At the time, the judge was traveling under the guard of United States Marshals because the death of Judge Vance had not been solved.

      When we heard the story, I contacted the office of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and asked what information they had on the attempted assassination. An aide to the congressman pulled up their wire service and told me that there was a massive manhunt underway and that helicopters were circling an apartment building where they believed the assassin was trapped.


      When I reached Washington, I called the Eleventh Circuit to check on the status of the appeal. The clerk asked what case. When I said “Avirgan v. Hull,” she said “Oh, Lord!” I asked “Oh, Lord?” She said “Avirgan v. Hull means duck and run for cover.” Clearly in the minds of court personnel the death of Judge Vance and the attempt on Judge Edmundson were associated with the Christic appeal. [...]

      However, the Eleventh Circuit panel unanimously upheld the decisions of Judge King and ruled our entire appeal frivolous. I have always believed that the court ruled under duress."
    • Roger Shuler, "Siegelman Case Has Roots in the Iran-Contra Scandal and the Assassination of a U.S. Judge in the 1980s", 2012/08/14: "The Vance murder probably was tied to Avirgan v. Hull, a lawsuit that grew from the 1984 bombing at a contra press conference in La Penca, Costa Rica, killing one American journalist (Linda Frazier) and injuring another (Tony Avirgan). The Miami-based Christic Institute brought the case under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), alleging that a North American farmer named John Hull was behind the bombing. [...] The lawsuit was filed six months before the Iran-Contra story broke in the press. A federal judge in Miami dismissed the lawsuit, but a number of reports have stated that Vance was considered a strong bet to reinstate the case on appeal in the Eleventh Circuit. The appeal was pending when a mail bomb exploded at Vance's Mountain Brook home on December 12, 1989, killing him instantly."
    • Roger Shuler, "Did Judge on Siegelman Appellate Panel Act Out of Fear From a Failed Attempt on his Life?", 2012/09/11: "Law-enforcement officials initially believed that U.S. Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson was the target of a gunman when a limousine window shattered in April 1990, with the jurist inside. This came just weeks after Robert S. Vance Sr., Edmondson's colleague on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was killed when he opened a mail bomb at his home in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Both events came as the Eleventh Circuit was about to hear an appeal in Avirgan v. Hull, a lawsuit alleging operatives connected to the Reagan and Bush I administrations were responsible for a bomb that killed one journalist and injured another in Costa Rica. [...] Authorities had reason for deep concern when a loud pop was heard and a window shattered on a vehicle carrying Judge Edmondson. Press reports quickly went out that an attempt had been made on the judge's life. Nerves were calmed when the FBI issued a statement saying the window broke because of an accident. [...] Edmondson now is on senior status at the Eleventh Circuit, and he just happened to wind up on the three-judge panel for the Siegelman case--and on the panel for my appeal."
    • Actual perpetrators in the VANPAC case
      • Daniel Pride, "Louis Freeh and the VanPac Case... Murder at the highest level !" (Indymedia copy titled "Louis Freeh and the Murder Of Judge Robert Vance" posted 2004/04/12)
      • Times of Israel, "Kavanaugh Sabotaged Vince Foster Probe" by Dov Ivry, 2018/10/03: "The same bombs killed Vance and then an NCAAP lawyer. Freeh charged a screwball named Walter LeRoy Moody of Atlanta in federal court. You could say anything about him and everyone would nod, could be. But Freeh’s patsy did not possess the skills needed for making bombs, such as welding. Ted Banks, who at one time had been convicted of counterfeiting, used to do Moody’s welding and other mechanical work. Banks became the star witness. The FBI strong-armed him into admitting that he did the welding for the bombs. Then at the appeal he had a twinge of conscience. At one point Banks glared directly at Freeh from the stand and shouted out, “I lied and he (Freeh) told me to lie. I never welded no bombs for Moody.” That outburst cost Banks a perjury conviction and years in prison. Next much of the evidence started to crumble."
      • Zodiac Killer Mystery forum discussion on the VANPAC case - lists the addresses of the bombing targets
      • John Caylor, "The Dixie Mafia’s Contract On America", 2007/12/17: "It was almost six years since I had last attempted to communicate with The Chief as he lay on his death-bed. The last time was when his new wife Alma Lois a former “Road-House” queen whose husband had been murdered by The Chief, my father, enabling her to collect seven life insurance policies cursed and banned me from their Enterprise home in July 1990 after I discovered an old manual typewriter hidden in living room furniture. The Chief had purchased the typewriter from Wayne O’Ferrel a white headed Aryan looking self-ordained Baptist minister and military surplus dealer. He bought it after I refused to sell him mine in late July 1989 at a time when my Father was talking garbage to me about how he and his friends were going to write federal judges and straighten out the legal system in our nation.

        It was the same typewriter, which later became the subject of an intense nation-wide hunt by federal law enforcement agencies in 1990. The FBI had offered a one-half, Million-Dollar reward to anyone who was brave enough to deliver it.

        My Father was a powerful man and I didn’t like the implications in his voice. Luckily I had made the right decision because in late August an informant told me about “Declaration of War” letters mailed from various parts of the nation to the 11th Circuit Court of appeals in Atlanta and media in 11 U.S. cities.

        The FBI confiscated those letters from the newspapers and TV stations which had received them thwarting all publicity about a threatened terrorist gas attack. I was able to obtain the following copy from WAPT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, because in late 1970 I had worked for the Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. I used that edge to get a copy, which had been postmarked in Los Angeles, CA. the same day other copies were mailed from various parts of the nation. The FBI was keeping those facts a dead secret because they didn’t want anyone to know there were many co-conspirators and it was an inside job one in which certain top agents of the FBI were complicit in. The FBI has gone to great lengths to silence any information about VANPAC and the Oklahoma City bombing, because many inside the FBI have worked as domestic terrorists staging those events."
      • United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, Robert Wayne O'FERRELL and Mary Ann Martin, Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES of America, Defendant, findings of fact and conclusions of law, 1998/11/24
        • "This suit arises out of the FBI investigation into the mail bombing assassination of United States Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance and attorney Robert E. Robinson in December of 1989. In January, 1990, an intensive investigation of the Plaintiffs was conducted by a large number of government agents in Enterprise, Alabama. It was accompanied by wide-spread local, national, and international publicity identifying Mr. O'Ferrell as a suspect. Walter Leroy Moody was later arrested for the murders and the Plaintiffs were advised that they were no longer targets of the investigation. Moody was tried and convicted. The Plaintiffs contend that they were damaged by the nature of the investigation."
        • "On December 16, 1989, Judge Robert S. Vance of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit was killed and his wife, Helen Rainey Vance, was seriously injured by a mail bomb delivered to their home in Mountain Brook, Alabama. On December 18, 1989, attorney Robert E. Robinson was killed after receiving a mail bomb in Savannah, Georgia. On that same day, a mail *1299 bomb was delivered to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia. On December 19, 1989, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Regional Office in Jacksonville, Florida received a mail bomb. Government agents disarmed the latter two mail bombs."
        • "Several death threat letters to various Eleventh Circuit judges and others, as well as a letter claiming responsibility for the mail bombings, were subsequently mailed. The death threat letters mailed to the judges stated:

          > Judge: Americans for a Competent Federal Judicial System shall assassinate you because of the federal courts' calloused disregard for the administration of justice. 010187."
        • "Special Agent Bodziak concluded that the O'Ferrell documents and the bomber documents had been typed on the same typewriter. The primary basis for Mr. Bodziak's conclusion was the unique numeral one, though he noted other similarities in his Lab Report. He communicated his findings to the duty officer at the Strategic Investigation Operations Center (SIOC), which was set up at the FBI headquarters. SIOC served as the coordination center for the VANPAC investigation. Special Agent Bodziak also participated in a meeting held in a conference room at SIOC around 2:00 a.m. on January 20, 1990."
        • "The typewriter which was the source for the bomber and O'Ferrell documents was never found."
        • "The Plaintiffs base their assertion of a false statement on Special Agent Bodziak's belief in January 1990 that the unusual numeral one in the two sets of documents was a replacement character. Because Mr. Bodziak subsequently discovered that the unusual numeral one had been original equipment on a limited number of typewriters, the Plaintiffs claim that he was mistaken in determining that there was a match between the two sets of documents. At numerous points in his testimony, however, Mr. Bodziak maintained that he still believes the bomber documents and the O'Ferrell documents came from the same typewriter. Thus, the court has heard evidence from a certified documents examiner that the documents in question matched, based on reasons detailed in his testimony.

          *1302 As reasons for maintaining the validity of the match, Mr. Bodziak mentioned the limited number of typewriters manufactured with the unusual numeral one; the significant time lapse between 1962 when the manufacturer ceased making these typewriters and the late 1980's when the O'Ferrell documents and the bomber documents were typed; the poor quality of that vintage typewriter and the lessened likelihood that those typewriters could survive for such a time period; the fact that FBI agents screened tens of thousands of documents from various parts of the country and never located other Brother style typewritten documents which contained the unusual numeral one; and other similarities between the documents pertaining to the letters A, J, P, R, and S, and the numerals three and four."
        • "The Plaintiffs produced no credible affirmative evidence refuting Mr. Bodziak's conclusions.[2] Plaintiffs were given complete access to the questioned documents for the purpose of having them examined by experts. They have produced no one who disagreed with the opinion of the FBI's certified document examiner that there was a match. The court finds from the evidence that there was, in fact, a match, that the O'Ferrell documents and the bomber documents were typed on the same typewriter. Accordingly, this court finds that the Plaintiffs have not established that the statements in the Brannan affidavit were false."
        • "The court further finds, however, that the same typewriter used by the Plaintiffs to type certain documents in their appeal in the case of O'Ferrell v. Gulf Life Insurance Company was used by someone else 16 months later to type the labels on packages containing the bombs and to type letters threatening to assassinate judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Once the FBI's document examiner made that determination, the FBI would have been derelict in its duties to the public not to question the O'Ferrells and obtain search warrants to try to locate the typewriter. Even with Walter Leroy Moody already being viewed by some as a strong suspect as the actual bomber, the threat letters suggested the possibility of involvement by more than one person and also the possibility of more assassination attempts."
      • Contemporaneous news articles on the VANPAC case (including several on the website of Daniel C. Pride)
        • Toronto Star, "Drug link investigated in U.S. judge's killing", 1989/12/18: "Robert Vance, an 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, was killed instantly when the package exploded about 3 p.m. Saturday in the kitchen of his luxurious Birmingham-area home, authorities said. His wife, Helen, was injured and remains in hospital in serious condition. Vance, 58, a progressive force in Alabama during 11 years as state chairman of the Democratic party, was the third U.S. federal judge to be assassinated in this century. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Tom Moore said there are "specific leads," but declined to elaborate, saying only that numerous possibilities are being pursued. Some Alabama political figures suggested the bombing is linked to the Colombian drug cartel, which has targeted judges in that country."
        • USA Today, "Threat wrapped in brown paper; FBI ties bombs to NAACP attack", 1989/12/19: "Hinshaw said the FBI also warned the NAACP that the attacks appear to be related to the Aug. 22 tear-gas mail Bomb at NAACP's Atlanta offices. Eight people were injured. FBI agents earlier Monday said they saw strong similarities to mail bombings that killed U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance in Birmingham Saturday and panicked an Atlanta courthouse Monday. Postal Inspector John Paul confirmed that the Postal Service is investigating the Robinson slaying as well as Vance's because Robinson was killed by a Bomb that was in a package mailed to his office. [...] In Atlanta Monday, a 10-inch-long parcel wrapped in brown paper and containing a pipe Bomb was discovered during X-ray screening of all mail to the court. Police disarmed it. Speculation on motives for the mail bombings also has focused on drugs."
        • The Independent, "US Bomb 'linked' to Colombia", 1989/12/19: "The possibility that the Colombian cartels may be operating in the US was driven home yesterday, when a X-ray machine in Atlanta's courthouse detected a pipe-Bomb in time for it to be defused. On Saturday one of the most senior judges in the US, Robert Vance, 58, was killed by a similar device sent through the post to his home in Alabama. FBI agents were exploring the possiblity that Colombian drug traffickers were responsible, but added that this was pure speculation. A drug connection to the murder is probable, because 60 per cent of the cases Judge Vance's heard were drug-related."
        • The Independent, "FBI find race clue in Bomb attacks", 1989/12/20: "Early speculation, by the FBI and Georgia Senator Howell Heflin, had focused on the possibility that Colombian drug cartels might be behind the attacks. But the murder of Robert Robinson, a black lawyer and city councilman, and the attempt on the Jacksonville, Florida, office of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) seemed to detract from that theory. Mr Robinson was representing the NAACP in a long running school desegregation case. Mr Robinson, a 42 year-old lawyer from Savannah, Georgia, was the second person in three days to die from a pipe Bomb blast. He was opening a package while alone in his office on Monday night when it blew up, causing massive injuries to his chest, arms and legs. He died on the operating table three hours later. Another bomb, detected before being opened at NAACP's Jacksonville headquarters yesterday was similar to the one which killed Mr Robinson."
        • Financial Times, "US racist group claims responsibility for bombings", 1989/12/30: "A PREVIOUSLY unknown US white racist group has claimed responsibility for a series of bombings in the South which included the killing of a Federal judge and a prominent black civil rights leader. The FBI said it is treating seriously the claim which appeared in a letter signed 'Americans for a Competent Federal Judiciary' which was read out in part on a television news station in Atlanta. In the letter, the group also threatened to kill two unnamed leading members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, the black civil rights group, in reprisal for the rape and murder of a white exercise class teacher in Atlanta in 1988. [...] The FBI also disclosed that the same group sent out letters last week after this month's pipe Bomb attacks, two of which were defused and two of which exploded, killing Judge Robert Vance in his Birmingham, Alabama home and Mr Robert Robinson, an attorney in Savannah, Georgia."
        • The Independent, "Alleged IRA gunrunner linked to US 'race killings'", 1990/02/10: "Last month, more than 100 FBI agents descended on the Alabama town of Enterprise (pop 18,000), hoping to find leads in the postal bombings. Since then, the bombing investigation has focused on Robert Wayne O'Ferrell, a junk dealer from Enterprise. An FBI agent noticed similarities between typed letters claiming responsibility for the bombings and typed documents Mr O'Ferrell had filed with the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, while appealing on a ruling against him in a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal against an insurance company. It is alleged that Mr O'Ferrell's letters to the court were written on the same manual typewriter that the mail bomber used for follow-up letters. [...] In mid January, another Enterprise man, Brian Joseph Fleming, and a Californian, Charles Chuck Malone, were charged in Montgomery, Alabama, with conspiring illegally to export between 50 and 100 M-16 machine guns, Armalite rifles and night vision goggles. The weapons were to be sent to Ireland using trans-shipment points in Panama and Africa. [...] Mr O'Ferrell and Mr Fleming are known to each other."
        • Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "Bomber's odd testimony spurs appeal His lawyer calls for another trial", 1992/08/13: "Defense lawyer Edward D. Tolley of Athens based his appeal chiefly on the contention that U.S. District Judge Edward Devitt, who heard the case in St. Paul on a change of venue, should have refused to allow Moody to testify in his own defense. [...] "We may not have had the best case in the world," Mr. Tolley said, "but he undid it in the first hour on the witness stand. His testimony was so bad," Mr. Tolley said, that the courtroom was laughing about it. On the witness stand, Moody rambled for hours about odd scientific experiments, including an attempt to achieve cold fusion. When the prosecutor challenged this, Moody insisted that he was a genuine scientist, confiding that, "When I was in college, I tried to clone a rabbit.""
        • Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "Witness says he lied at mail Bomb trial", 1995/03/29: "Against his attorney's advice, a Florida boatmaker Tuesday testified that he lied repeatedly as a government witness during the 1991 trial in which Walter Leroy Moody was convicted of mailing pipe bombs that killed a federal judge and a civil rights lawyer. Ted Banks, of Titusville, Fla., said he was coerced and threatened by federal agents and prosecutors into making false statements during the trial. [...] In 1991, Banks testified that he welded three six-inch pipes for Moody, that he had a friend buy some gunpowder for Moody and that he suspected the pipes were for bombs. But Banks testified Tuesday that none of this was true. "Anything pertaining to the pipes I made Roy and the bombs. . . . I never talked to him about it," Banks said."
        • CNN, "Judge may force agency to uncloak FBI lab report", 1997/03/07: "Pressure is increasing on the Justice Department to release a report said to be sharply critical of the FBI's crime laboratory. [...] Attorneys for crime lab whistleblower Frederick Whitehurst and members of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers requested the court to intervene. [...] Grassley said leaked information from the report raises questions about the lab's handling of a letter-bombing case that Freeh successfully prosecuted: the 1991 conviction of Walter Leroy Moody for the murders of U.S. Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance and Georgia civil rights lawyer Robert E. Robinson. [...] In February 1994, Freeh assigned two FBI lawyers in General Counsel Howard Shapiro's office to investigate Whitehurst's allegations of problems in the crime lab. Shapiro had helped Freeh prosecute Moody in what was code-named the VANPAC case. "What is amazing to me is that neither Mr. Freeh nor Mr. Shapiro recused himself from the decision-making role with respect to the review," Grassley said. "After all, they had prosecuted one of the cases -- the VANPAC case -- in which Dr. Whitehurst alleged misconduct has occurred.""
        • Christian Science Monitor, "Study Finds FBI Crime Lab Sullied Evidence in Cases", 1997/04/16: "An FBI explosives expert working in one of the most important criminal investigations in US history - the Oklahoma City bombing - improperly tailored his conclusions to help build an incriminating case against the defendants. The same expert took similar actions during the World Trade Center bombing case, according to a new report by the Justice Department's Inspector General. The report is the result of an 18-month investigation of allegations of sloppy work and bias among officials assigned to the FBI's crime laboratory. The allegations were made by a lab scientist, Frederic Whitehurst, who first complained about questionable work in 1994. [...] In addition to Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center bombing cases, the investigation tracked lab work in cases including the O.J. Simpson case, the mail-Bomb assassination in 1989 of US Circuit Judge Robert Vance, and the 1989 bombing of an Avianca Airlines flight near Bogota, Colombia."
        • New York Times, "Dismal Science", 1998/09/27: "In "Tainting Evidence," John F. Kelly and Phillip K. Wearne continue the assault, showing how the lab's ineptitude played out in a series of high-profile cases like the bombings at the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City Federal Building and the mail Bomb assassination of Robert Vance, a Federal appeals court judge."
        • Atlanta Journal and Constitution, "Mail Bomb probe suit rejected", 1998/11/25: "A federal judge in Birmingham ruled Tuesday that the FBI owes nothing to a junk dealer whose $ 50 million lawsuit claimed a misdirected mail Bomb investigation in 1990 ruined his health, reputation and livelihood. U.S. District Judge Harold Albritton said the government is shielded from such damage claims and did not recklessly disregard the truth when search warrants were issued for Robert Wayne O'Ferrell's home and surplus store in January 1990. During the investigation of O'Ferrell, agents looked for a typewriter with keys to match the typed labels on mail bombs that killed U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Vance of Mountain Brook, Ala., and civil rights lawyer Robert Robinson of Savannah in 1989. The typewriter was never found, but FBI investigators determined the mail Bomb labels matched letters that O'Ferrell had previously written to the courts."
  • Background on the La Penca bombing
    • New York Times, "Costa Rica Reopens Inquiry in 1984 Bombing", 1993/08/08: "Costa Rican prosecutors and others believed the bombing was engineered by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which was aiding the Nicaraguan rebels in their war against the Sandinista Government. The C.I.A. was suspected because Mr. Pastora was getting aid from the agency but had reportedly refused to ally his faction fully with the rest of the contras. Last Sunday, The Miami Herald reported that the bomber was a leftist Argentine rebel, Vital Roberto Gaguine, and that he had been hired by the Sandinista Government. [...] In 1990 Costa Rica accused two men -- Felipe Vidal, a Cuban-American, and John Hull, an American farmer who lived in Costa Rica -- of orchestrating the bombing for the C.I.A. Mr. Hull was already facing charges in Costa Rica of aiding the contras. [...] A Costa Rican prosecutor, Jorge Chaverria, said that he had no plans to withdraw the charges against the two men. His investigation in the late 1980's found no evidence to point to the Sandinistas, and he said he was not convinced that the Sandinistas alone were behind the bombing."

Lawrence Walsh investigation

Other curiosities

  • The Guardian, "The Bush dynasty and the Cuban criminals", 2002/12/02 - details the involvement of Jeb Bush with Cuban exile Miguel Recarey and his company International Medical Centres (IMC)
  • Federico Vaughan as a US double agent
    • Omaha World-Herald, "Drug Agent: Leak Forced Probe to End", 1988/07/29: "Jacobsen testified that convicted drug pilot Barry Seal was working for the Drug Enforcement Administration in the sting operation and had made contact with the cartel and Federico Vaughn, whom Jacobsen described as a Nicaraguan interior ministry employee. However, the subcommittee also released information that cast doubt on Vaughn’s connection with the Nicaraguan government [...] [Panel Chairman William J.] Hughes said the subcommittee staff recently called Vaughn’s number in Managua, Nicaragua, and spoke to a “domestic employee” who said the house belonged to a U.S. Embassy employee. The employee, who was not named, was among a group of U.S. officials expelled recently by Nicaragua's leftist government, Hughes said. Hughes said his investigators were told the house has been “continuously rented” by the United States since 1981. He later told reporters that Vaughn’s name never surfaced before the drug operation, “and no one knew about him afterwards.” Jacobsen said, “To our knowledge, Federico Vaughn had no association with the U.S. Embassy or anything related to the U.S. government.” North’s diary, however, had several references to “Freddy Vaughn” including a July 6 entry that said, “Freddy coming in late July.”"
    • Danville News, "Oliver North could have been source of leak on sting operation, lawmaker says", 1988/07/29: "A portion of a North notebook distributed at Thursday's hearing showed he had extensive knowledge of the DEA sting before the Times story was published. Moreover, the notebook also indicates he made or received a telephone call from Federico Vaughan, a key Sandinista official linked to the cartel, July 12, 1984. Hughes said investigators traced the phone number given as Vaughan's Managua residence and found the U.S. Embassy has rented the house since 1985. Those dual dislosures raise the possibility that Vaughan may have worked in fact for the U.S. government as part of a ploy to frame the Sandinistas."
  • CIA background of Bill Clinton