Barry Seal — Gunrunner, Drug Trafficker, and Covert C.I.A. Operative Extraordinaire!!

Reprint Sample Of a 1996 Penthouse Article! Link Below To Full

Barry Seal — gunrunner, drug trafficker, and covert C.I.A. operative extraordinaire — is hardly a familiar name in American politics. But nine years after he was murdered in a hail of bullets by Medellin cartel hit men outside a Salvation Army shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he has come back to haunt the reputations of three American presidents. Seal’s legacy includes more than 2,000 newly discovered documents that now verify and quantify much of what previously had been only suspicion, conjecture, and legend. The documents confirm that from 1981 to his brutal death in 1986, Barry Seal carried on one of the most lucrative, extensive, and brazen operations in the history of the international drug trade, and that he did it with the evident complicity, if not collusion, of elements of the
United States government, apparently with the acquiescence of Ronald Reagan’s administration, impunity from any subsequent exposure by George Bush’s administration, and under the usually acute political nose of then Arkansas governor Bill Clinton.

The newly unearthed papers show the real Seal as far more impressive and well-connected than the character played by Dennis Hopper in a made-for-TV movie some years ago, loosely based on the smuggler’s life. The film portrayed the pudgy pilot as a hapless victim, caught in a cross fire between bungling but benign government agencies and Latin drug lords. The truth sprinkled through the documents is a richer — and altogether more sinister — matter of national and individual corruption. It is a tale of massive, socially devastating crime, of what seems to have been an official cover-up to match, and, not least, of the strange reluctance of so-called mainstream American journalism to come to grips with the
phenomenon and its ominous implications — even when the documentary evidence had appeared.

The trail winds back to another slightly bruited but obscure name — a small place in western Arkansas called Mena.

Of the many stories emerging from the Arkansas of the 1980s that was crucible to the Clinton presidency, none has been more elusive than the charges surrounding Mena. Nestled in the dense pine and hardwood forests of the Oachita Mountains, some 160 miles west of Little Rock, once thought a refuge for nineteenth-century border outlaws and even a hotbed of Depression-era anarchists, the tiny town has been the locale for persistent reports of drug smuggling, gunrunning, and money laundering tracing to the early eighties, when Seal based grand jury. Welch testified later that the only reason he was ultimately subpoenaed at all was because one of the grand jurors was from Mena and “told the others that if they wanted to know something about the Mena airport, they ought to ask that guy [Welch] out there in the hall.”

State Attorney General Bryant, in a 1991 letter to the office of Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation, wondered “why no one was prosecuted in Arkansas despite a mountain of evidence that Seal was using Arkansas as his principle staging area during the years 1982 through 1985.”

What actually went on in the woods of western Arkansas? The question is still relevant for what it may reveal about certain government operations during the time that Reagan and Bush were in the White House and Clinton was governor of Arkansas. In a mass of startling new documentation, the more than 2,000 papers gathered by the authors from private and law-enforcement sources in a year-long nationwide search, answers are found and serious questions are posed.

These newly unearthed documents, the veritable private papers of Barry Seal substantiate at least part of what went on at Mena.

What might be called the Seal archive dates back to 1981, when Seal began his operations at the Intermountain Regional Airport in Mena. The archive, all of it now in our possession, continues beyond February 1986, when Seal was murdered by Colombian assassins after he had testified in federal court in Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami for the US government against leaders of the Medellin drug cartel.

This is a sample of the 1996 Penthouse article. Here is the encrypted link;