Clinton was allegedly recruited by the Agency in the 1960s and helped cover up for drug-and gun-running operations to the Nicaraguan Contras out of Mena, Arkansas, in the 1980s when he was Governor of Arkansas. The CIA in turn appears to have helped Clinton in his rise to power.
[This article follows in our series on the history of the CIA and its criminal activities around the world. It is also kicks off our “Clinton crime” week as we will follow up with an article on the July 1993 murder of White House Special Counsel Vince Foster, whom Clinton had brought to Washington from Arkansas where he had served as legal counsel with Hillary in the Rose Law Firm. Bill was recently in the news because he was hospitalized and appears to be in poor health. The mainstream media continues to give him and Hillary the kid gloves treatment, failing to explore the dark side of an American power couple that embodies the old adage “best is worst.”—Editors]
The 2017 Hollywood blockbuster American Made, starring Tom Cruise, spotlighted the escapades of Barry Seal, a legendary drug pilot with a CIA background who smuggled guns and drugs into Nicaragua out of Mena, Arkansas, as part of the 1980s Contra War.
In one scene that the filmmakers decided to cut, a young Bill Clinton, the Governor of Arkansas, gets a lap dance at a strip club at the moment when Seal hatches a plan to enlist Clinton in the CIA-backed drug and gun running scheme. Left in, however, was a scene in which Clinton helps facilitate Seal’s release from jail so he could begin informing on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Hollywood may be known for embellishment, but newly declassified documents show that Arkansas state officials were briefed about a joint CIA-Defense Department operation in Mena to assist the Contras, which Governor Clinton had to have known about. Clinton also, according to numerous whistleblower accounts, helped block investigation into the arms- and drug-running schemes.
American Made director Doug Liman stated, “we knew that somehow Barry was operating with immunity. The CIA was operating with immunity in Arkansas. So there had to have been some involvement of the governor’s office. There is a prosecutor in Arkansas who was told to back off. And so we combined that with the fact that the CIA was for sure operating in Arkansas and Clinton was the governor, to condense it down into one specific moment.”
Clinton’s ties to the CIA appear to go back to the 1960s. He was reportedly recruited while studying at Oxford University in the late 1960s as a Rhodes Scholar, or while an undergraduate at Georgetown University—a huge CIA recruiting center. He then reportedly served as an informant on the anti-war movement in England as part of the CIA’s Operation Chaos, giving the CIA the names of fellow protesters and the sources of the movement’s funding.
The CIA is further suspected of funding a March 1969 trip Clinton took to Moscow where he was allegedly part of a mission to smuggle out the memoir of ex-Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, which was subsequently translated into sixteen languages.
This was a coup for the CIA since Khrushchev had denounced the crimes of Stalin and presented a negative view of the Soviet Union.
An Asset of the Three Bad Words
In June 1966, newly appointed CIA Director Richard Helms expanded operations to collect intelligence on college and university campus protests against the Vietnam War. Project Resistance placed CIA recruiters on college campuses who would recruit students to infiltrate protest groups.
At Oxford’s Balliol College, where Clinton studied, the CIA recruiter may have been Richard G. Stearns. A graduate of Stanford and Harvard law, he was a committed anti-communist who was Vice President for International Affairs of the National Student Association (NSA), which Ramparts magazine showed to have received CIA funds.
Clinton and Stearns were very close. A series of letters between them shows that Clinton sought Stearns’s assistance in evading the Vietnam War draft. In exchange, Stearns allegedly helped provide funding for Clinton to travel to Moscow and Eastern Europe. Later, he helped set up Clinton as the head of George McGovern’s political campaign in Texas—where Clinton made key contacts that helped him rise to power.
Clinton’s Oxford roommate, Nelson Strobridge “Strobe” Talbott III, was attacked by Moscow newspapers as a “young sapling of the CIA” after he published a translation of Nikita Khrushchev’s memoir while working for Time magazine.
Talbott had come from an upper-class family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, studied Russian and wrote a thesis at Yale—a haven for CIA recruitment where he was part of the Skull and Bones secret society—on Fyodor Tyutchev, a 19th century Russian poet and diplomat. Later, from his perch as head of the Brookings Institute, he played a key role in the Russia-Gate scandal by disseminating the Steele dossier, which spread misinformation helping to trigger nation-wide paranoid and hysterical Russophobia and neo-McCarthyism. 
Talbott’s great-uncle, Harold E. Talbott, Jr., as Secretary of the Air Force from 1953 to 1955, had given away the Air Force’s authority to the CIA for overhead reconnaissance and worked with the CIA to promote development of the famed U-2 spy plane.
Talbott’s wife, Brooke Shearer, and brother-in-law, Cody Shearer, who was also involved in promoting Russia-Gate, meanwhile became part of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s “secret spy network.”
As President Clinton’s top point man for Russia in the 1990s, Strobe oversaw “shock therapy,” or rapid privatization programs, that resulted in the sell-off of Russian state assets at pennies to the dollar to cronies of President Boris Yeltsin.
The question lingers as to whether it was coincidence that Talbott became Clinton’s roommate or whether Talbott was a liaison to the Agency whose purpose was to recruit young Clinton, who was considered even at the time to have great future potential?
Whistleblower Stew Webb believes that Clinton was already recruited as an Agency asset under Project Resistance at Georgetown University where he studied as an undergraduate and that he never actually received the Rhodes scholarship—this was merely a cover.
Clinton’s favorite professor at Georgetown was Carroll Quigley, a Defense Department consultant and author of Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966), which traced the power of a small Anglo-Saxon banking elite and how they effectively ruled the world. Quigley wrote that “the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in details of procedure, priority, or method.”
Clinton received one of only two A’s given by Quigley in the course and later quoted Quigley in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
Washington insider Jack Wheeler related, in his 1988 essay “How the Clintons Will Undo McCain,” how his friend Cord Meyer, Jr., the CIA’s Assistant Deputy Director of Plans from 1967 to 1973 and later London station chief, told him about Clinton’s past.
He wrote: “Back in the 1990s, years after he retired, if Cord drank a little too much scotch he would laugh derisively at those conspiracists who accused Bill Clinton of being connected with the KGB. They all darkly point to Bill’s participation in anti-war peace conferences in Stockholm and Oslo and his trip to Leningrad, Moscow, and Prague while he was at Oxford. ‘Who could have paid for this,’ they ask, ‘it had to be KGB?’” Cord would shake his head. “What rot—we paid for it. We recruited Bill the first week he was at Oxford. Bill’s been an asset of the Three Bad Words ever since.”
Corroborated by at least two other CIA officers, Meyer’s admission helps put into context many of Clinton’s actions as Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States.
Mr. Casey’s Fair-Haired Boy: Covering Up the Crimes of Mena
The 1992 presidential election was unique in that both major party candidates were caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal. George H.W. Bush as Vice President under Ronald Reagan had played a key role in the illicit shipment of arms to the Nicaraguan Contras—a counter-revolutionary army funded by the CIA that was seeking to overthrow the left-wing Sandinista government—as declassified government records have revealed.
Bill Clinton might have used this against Bush in the campaign, except that he was also caught up in the scandal. Many arms shipments to the Contras were carried out from Arkansas’s soil during his governorship; specifically, from the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport in southwestern Arkansas’s Ouachita mountains, “an outlaw’s paradise, home to generations of moonshiners and red-dirt marijuana farmers,” which happened to be in the congressional district of John Hammerschmidt (1967-1993), George H.W. Bush’s former campaign manager (1976 and 1980).
Mark Swaney, head of the Arkansas Committee, which campaigned to have the Mena scandal investigated, concluded that Clinton at a minimum “knew all along about Mena,” and it is “possible and even highly probable, based on a mountain of circumstantial evidence, that he was directly involved.”
This involvement would have been through the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA), the state’s chief economic development agency, established under Clinton, which provided bonds to stimulate business in the state.
According to whistleblower Larry Nichols, the ADFA was used as a vehicle to launder CIA and drug money from flights departing from the Mena airport. Though branded by Clinton’s defenders as a “Clinton crazy”—obsessed with dethroning a liberal icon—Nichols was in a position to know this. Not only did the Vietnam vet serve as marketing director for the ADFA, but he had also worked as an intelligence analyst in Honduras for the Contras, which is what first put him in contact with Clinton and led to his hiring by the ADFA.
Back in the 1970s, the Mena airport had been used to train guerrillas who were being sent on clandestine missions backed by the CIA in Africa. By the early 1980s, Mena had become a hub for gun-running operations to the Contras, Operation Centaur Rose, carried out in violation of the 1982, 1983 and 1984 Boland amendment aiming to limit U.S. government assistance to the Contras.
Seal retrofitted his planes at a hangar at the Mena airport, and paid cash to local merchants for guns that he flew to the Contras, including 250 automatic pistols with silencers, that was a special order of the CIA.
A corpulent man with ties to New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello, Seal brought in at least 36 metric tons of cocaine, 104 tons of marijuana and 3 tons of heroin to the U.S., dropping much of it off chutes in the forests surrounding Mena. Many of his flights were part of Operation Centaur Rose, though for every drug flight that Seal made for the government, according to an Arkansas police report, he made two for himself.
Clinton, despite his alleged hippie background, was a backer of the Contras, deploying the Arkansas National Guard on a joint military training mission in Honduras on Nicaragua’s border.
New York Governor Mario Cuomo (D) had boycotted the exercise, calling it a “provocation.” Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin (D) called it a “’backdoor escalation’ of the American military presence in Central America.”
Arkansas and the area around Mena at this time became a hub for firms producing weapons and weapons parts along with electronic components used in weapons systems.
ADFA loans went to Missouri Research Labs Inc. (MRL) in the northeast corner of the state, which produced untraceable circuit boards and critical electronic components used in Stinger-missile guidance systems.
Iver Johnson’s Arms Inc., which was producing sniper rifles, and Brodix Manufacturing (weapons producers) were further given tax breaks by the state and other incentives as part of their reward for supplying Seal’s network and providing a cover for clandestine work.
Governor Clinton welcomed and even encouraged—notably at Pine Bluff and Pea Ridge—military arsenals and storage of dangerous materials that other governors of both parties spurned.
He also, according to Terry Reed, allowed the CIA to bring Contra guerrillas and pilots for training in Arkansas, in effect, turning his state into a CIA proprietary.
Wardens in the backwoods tellingly reported seeing contingents of foreigners in camouflage armed with automatic weapons, and caches of weapons secreted in highway culverts.
A secret CIA report disclosed the CIA’s participation in a Pentagon training exercise at Mena’s Rich Mountain airport.
Employees at the airport said they were forced to stay in their offices because airplanes would land and strange faces would be around and people of Spanish origin who had never been seen before. They also said they saw an unusual number of cash transactions in which the cash was left in drawers and people working all hours of the night to get planes out.
Arkansas was chosen for these clandestine operations because it was rural, under-populated and inland, and had a governor who supported the CIA. Mena was also located 70 miles south of a major military base at Fort Smith.
Local farmers were bought off through government subsidies that did not originate in the Department of Agriculture.
According to Terry Reed, one of the agents who trained Contra paramilitary operatives in Nella, Arkansas, was Luis Posada Carriles, a right-wing Cuban terrorist nicknamed “Ramon Medina,” who had planned the bombing of a Cuban airliner in October 1976, that killed all 73 on-board, and was subsequently freed from prison, with CIA support.
Reed wrote that he got chills when he heard Posada Carriles give a briefing in which he said that key Sandinista leaders would “soon disappear.”
Larry Douglas (L.D.) Brown, an Arkansas state trooper who worked as Clinton’s personal bodyguard, wrote in his memoir that Clinton helped him write a paper supporting the U.S. position in Central America to gain admittance into the agency (CIA records confirm Brown’s application).
Brown then said that he flew missions with Seal, which he later realized were drug-running missions. When he reported this to Clinton, Bill asked him “are you having fun yet? Just do what you’re told and don’t ask questions.” He also stated: “That’s Lasater’s deal,” a reference to Dan Lasater a bond trader and owner of a chain of restaurants, thoroughbred horses and a ski lodge thought to be a drug-smuggling front whose ties with Clinton enabled him to become a multi-millionaire.
Seal himself, who had an intelligence background, referred to Clinton as “the Guv,” indicating a close relationship. A lot of his drug money was laundered through the ADFA via Lasater’s brokerage house in the First National Bank of Mena and Worthen Bank, which was owned by two major Clinton donors, Jackson Stephens and Mochtar Riady, and in which the Rose Law Firm—where Hillary was a partner—held stock.
The Governor’s protection helped these banks evade the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 which required currency transaction reports to be filed in connection with cash deposits in amounts of $10,000 or more at banking institutions.
Besides Seal, Clinton was on a first-name basis with a number of other high-profile CIA agents, including Donald Gregg (alias Dan Magruder), a top confidante of George H.W. Bush who worked with Brown, and Félix Rodríguez (alias Max Gomez), the murderer of Che Guevara, who allegedly knew his way around the Governor’s mansion and came in through the back door.
Terry Reed—an Air Force intelligence officer during the Vietnam War who insists that he trained Contra fliers at a makeshift airfield and helped Seal drop cash onto a farm near Little Rock—claims in his 1995 book, Compromised, that he met with Clinton in July 1984 outside the Cantina Mexican restaurant in Little Rock, where Clinton gave him his blessing to undertake clandestine operations in Mexico with Barry Seal and Oliver North (aka “Cathy”) in support of the Contras.
According to Reed, Clinton was glassy-eyed and smoked a joint while seated on a captain’s chair on the street side of a van whose interior revealed a mobile command post equipped with an array of electronics. He urged Reed to toke on the joint, telling him “go on, I’m the commander-in-chief here, you won’t get busted,” and said, related to his mission, that it was good he was going.
Reed said that the first day he met Seal he was “in the company of Dan Lasater and Roger Clinton” (Bill’s brother was the driver for Dan Lasater at the time).
Reed also wrote that Clinton attended a meeting in an army bunker outside Mena whose guests included North, Félix Rodríguez, and one of CIA Director William Casey’s top lieutenants, “Robert Johnson,” who is thought to be future Attorney General William Barr.
The latter threatened to shut down the Mena operation because too much money was being skimmed off the top (the reason Seal was probably killed), and Clinton was giving out too many contracts through the ADFA to Arkansas “good ole boys” who lacked security clearances. The arrest of Clinton’s brother Roger on cocaine charges had also brought unwanted scrutiny.
Johnson significantly in the meeting, according to Reed’s account, referred to Clinton as “Mr. Casey’s fair-haired boy” and said that “you and your state have been our greatest asset.” He added that “The beauty of this, as you know, is that you’re a Democrat, and with our ability to influence both parties, this country can get beyond partisan gridlock. Mr. Casey wanted me to pass on to you that unless you fuck up and do something stupid, you’re no. 1 on the short list for a shot at the job you’ve always wanted.”
These comments—if true—would speak volumes about the forces that control American politics and were behind Clinton’s political ascendancy.
Clinton claimed he was unaware of any problems at Mena until 1988, however, L.D. Brown’s daybook records Clinton visiting Mena on May 21, 1984, many people reported seeing him at Mena airport, and Clinton insider Betsey Wright admitted that the Governor’s office had in the early 1980s “received repeated calls about drug trafficking there [in Mena].”
A CIA secret report, only partially declassified in 2020, specifies that “certain Arkansas state and local officials were informed” about CIA activities at Mena, and that unnamed officials “personally briefed the supervisor of the Arkansas State Police district” for Mena, “the Mayor of Mena,” “the Mena Chief of Police or the county sheriff, and the person responsible for operating Mena Intermountain Airport” about the joint-training exercise with the CIA. With Clinton famously wired into everything happening in the state, he would have had to have been briefed.
Terry Reed quoted “Robert Johnson” as stating that, shortly after the ADFA got its initial funding, the CIA agreed to use the ADFA to launder the black money it received through arms sales to the “freedom fighters.”
The deal allegedly “cut” with the Clinton administration in 1985 was that the CIA would pay 10% of the funds it received from Operation Centaur Rose to ADFA in exchange for the state’s cooperation at all levels. For that percentage of the take, Clinton would ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies would not expose the CIA’s operations, prompting Seal to joke that Arkansas was “the only country north of Mexico where drug smugglers could get a police escort.”
An informant told author George Carpozi, Jr., that “Clinton was so much on the take, demanding under the table payments for sanitizing the drug money at the ADFA before it went to pay for the Contra arms that his angels (the CIA) became disenchanted over the greed of his.”
The first company to receive ADFA funding, Park-O-Meter, which had developed the first parking meters in the U.S., had secret military contracts with the Stormont Labs of Woodland, California, and Wackenhut Corporation to make weapons parts and guns that were sent to the Contras as well as chemical and biological weapons that could be deployed in guerrilla warfare and devices to transport them on C-130s, according to Michael Riconosciuto, a CIA computer expert.
Riconosciuto said that he supervised high-tech equipment transfers to POM and developed software to help launder the Mena drug money. An army reserve chemical warfare company was conveniently based next to POM’s facility, on land previously owned by it.
Company owner Seth Ward—a fighter pilot in the Pacific and Korean Wars and an associate of James McDougal, Bill Clinton’s partner in the infamous Whitewater land deal—had allegedly allowed his ranch to be used as a drop zone for Seal’s drug deliveries.
Ward was the father-in-law of Webster Hubbell, POM’s lawyer and a partner of Hillary Clinton at the Rose Law Firm, who was later appointed by President Clinton as Associate Attorney General.
A U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1989 called the available evidence about Mena sufficient for indictments on money-laundering charges, however, Clinton ensured that this never happened. Nine state and federal probes–headed by IRS agent Bill Duncan and “Razorback Columbo” Russell Welch, an Arkansas police investigator who had served as an army medic in Vietnam– were halted under higher orders and Welch was diagnosed with anthrax poisoning after a plot on his life.
Duncan had a 3,000-page file and prepared 35 indictments for the U.S. Attorney but they were never acted upon and in 1988 the Arkansas state police began shredding its Mena files. The DEA was conspicuously absent from the investigation and Clinton and his aide Betsey Wright told former Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant in 1990 to back away from the case.
State police officers testified that, when they submitted a warrant to arrest Seal, they were told by Colonel Tommy Goodwin, head of the Arkansas state police, to leave Seal alone, and to cancel the warrant. Goodwin told them Clinton ordered them to stand down.
And State Trooper Larry Patterson stated that he was in Clinton’s presence when Clinton was told about large quantities of cocaine coming into Mena airport and money and guns, and that Clinton did or said nothing.
When Charles Black, a prosecutor for Polk County (Mena is the county seat) asked for a state probe, Clinton said he would “get a man on it” and furnish him with the $25,000 requested, though he never followed up.
Authors Roger Stone and Robert Morrow write that “Clinton provided the official political protection for the cocaine and drug smuggling [at Mena] while Lasater took care of the nuts and bolts of laundering the hundreds of millions of dirty drug money. And in their spare time it was drugs, parties and corrupting teenage girls.”
The Mena cover-up extended to the murder of Kevin Ives and Don Henry, two high school seniors who were killed and then run over by a train on August 23, 1987, after probably witnessing cocaine drops or cash, gold or platinum payments to persons working with U.S. intelligence or theft of it.
The police investigation was so bad that Ives’s foot was found on the train tracks days after the murder. State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak–whom Clinton had long protected because he had helped his mother, Virginia, a nurse, avoid criminal liability for the death of a young woman after botching a reintubation procedure—advanced the theory that the boys fell asleep on the tracks after smoking 20 marijuana joints and were run over by a train accidentally.
However, smoking 20 marijuana joints would make one euphoric, not incapacitated, and the toxicology reports found the boys had smoked only two joints. Several witnesses placed two police officers –thought to be Pulaski County narcotics officers Kirk Lane and Jay Campbell, both good friends of Dan Lasater whose private jet they flew on—beating up two boys at a grocery store near where they found the boys’ bodies. The deaths were eventually determined by an out-of-state examiner to have taken place before the train ran them over: Don Henry was stabbed in the back and Kevin Ives was struck with a rifle butt in the face.
When Deputy Prosecutor Jean Duffey found witnesses who observed low-flying aircraft and drug pick-ups at the train tracks where Ives and Henry were killed, she was told by her supervisor, Gary Arnold, not to investigate any public officials for drug trafficking and then was fired on a fraudulent pretext—as the Arkansas police determined—and forced to flee Arkansas out of fear for her safety.
Many key witnesses in the case turned up dead, including bar owner Keith McKaskle who passed on information to Police Deputy Cathy Carty, the only Saline County deputy on the tracks the night the boys died who strongly disagreed that the deaths were an accident, and Greg Collins, 26, who had been with the boys on the night of their deaths and was subpoenaed in the case.
Sharline Wilson, who was supposed to make a drug pickup that night but was too high so she waited in the car, stated that Dan Harmon, the Saline County prosecutor and a Clinton ally later sentenced to 11 years in prison for drug racketeering, was present when the boys were killed and that they were killed by police, and that high ranking officials [associated with the Mena smuggling operation] were involved.”
Consistent with his role as protector of the corrupt “Old Boys Network,” Clinton refused to meet with Kevin Ives’s mother Linda and retained Malak as state medical examiner despite his false conclusions in this case.
Clinton further ordered the resignation of all 93 U.S. Attorneys when he became president, which—though perhaps normal for any new president—conveniently helped hamstring this and other investigations.
Philip Weiss, a freelance magazine journalist, told Linda at Clinton’s victory speech when he won the gubernatorial election for the last time that, “For all Clinton’s bright promise and fine beliefs, he long ago made a deal with a benighted political organization that had thugs among its operatives. If you wonder why people hate him, it’s because they recognize that training, they sense those crude values, that ruthlessness and lack of moral center. And they want an old-fashioned accounting.”
Bringing the Old Risk-Taking Spirit Back
Study of Clinton’s background helps place into context many of his policies as president.
These included his expansion of America’s covert empire of overseas surveillance outposts and spying and increasing the budget for secret intelligence spending and private military contractors, which employed many ex-CIA agents.
Journalist James Risen reported that, after CIA Director George Tenet (1996-2004) won major budget increases and reopened stations in Africa, “the CIA’s old risk-taking spirit began to return.”
This risk-taking spirit was seen in the adoption of rendition or kidnapping programs and drone surveillance in the War on Terror beginning in the late 1990s, and in covert operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cuba, Georgia, and the Balkans, where the National Security Council was accused of helping to run an illegal arms pipeline to Muslim-Croat forces fighting against the Serbs through Iran in violation of a UN arms embargo.
To make the deliveries in the latter case, U.S. officials used cargo aircraft associated with a CIA front company, Southern Air Transport in an operation that Clinton formally approved. Because the secret Iranian flights were landing with such frequency at Zagreb’s Pleso airport (three flights per week at its peak), aircraft were diverted to the island of Krk in the Adriatic, where the CIA reportedly operated a base, to deflect awkward questions. The Croats used helicopters to fly the weapons and munitions from Krk after dark to bases in Bosnia for distribution to Muslim forces.
Clinton’s story is important to tell in full because it exposes the dark underbelly of American society and politics and hidden ruling powers. Clinton’s own folksy and liberal public personae masks a corrupt and ruthless man who embodies all the sinister features of the American empire.
“Clinton’s Long CIA Connection,” http://www.oocities.org/capitolhill/8425/CLIN-CIA.HTM; Roger Morris, Partners in Power: The Clintons and Their America (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 1999); Karen Paget, Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), 342. Stearns told an interviewer that he was a committed cold warrior. “Fighting communism was something I believed in very strongly.” ↑
In 1993, President Clinton appointed Stearns to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. On the Clintons and the McGovern campaign in Texas, see Abby Livingston, “Allies Remember a Driven Hillary Rodham During 1972 Texas Campaign,” The Texas Tribune, May 16, 2015, https://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/16/clintons-take-texas-1972/ One of the people Clinton met was Betsey Wright, a University of Texas at Austin graduate who became a top aide. Clinton said of her that “Without Betsey Wright, I could not have become president.” An oddity is that the Clintons spent the entire semester in Texas campaigning for McGovern, took a short vacation in Mexico after the election, and were still able to ace their finals without attending any classes. Either the standard at Yale was very low or somebody powerful was helping them. ↑
See Michael Dobbs, “Strobe Talbott and the ‘Cursed Questions,’” The Washington Post, June 9, 1996; Tom Couser, “An Open Letter to Strobe Talbott About RussiaGate,” Scheer Post, November 7, 2021; Paul Sperry, “Meet the Steele Dossier’s ‘Primary Subsource,”: Fabulist Russian From Democrat Think Tank Whose Boozy Past the FBI Ignored,” Real Clear Investigations, July 24, 2020. ↑
See Joseph Trevithick, “Before the U-2 Spy Plane, There Was the X-16,” War Is Boring, March 10, 2015, https://medium.com/war-is-boring/before-the-u-2-spy-plane-there-was-the-x-16-536e17d0ae2b; Dino A. Brugioni, Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA, and Cold War Aerial Espionage (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010). ↑
Brooke Shearer worked for Investigative Group International (IGI), a private spy agency run by a Clinton political fixer, Terry Lenzner. The Shearers’ father, Lloyd, wrote a popular column for Parade Magazine and was exposed as a CIA “asset.” ↑
See Stephen Cohen, Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia (New York: W.W. Norton, 2001); Ron Ridenour, The Russian Peace Threat: Pentagon on Alert (New York: Pinto Press, 2018); and I. Marshall Goldman, The Privatization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry (New York: Routledge, 2003). ↑
David Maraniss, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996); Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: MacMillan, 1966). ↑
Victor Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Sex Volume (Washington, D.C.: American Free Press, 2008). Author Victor Thorn theorizes that Hillary Clinton was recruited into the CIA as part of Operation Chaos to infiltrate the anti-war movement. At Yale, she allegedly used her influence as a student leader to quell anti-war protests. ↑
Roger Stone and Robert Morrow, The Clintons’ War on Women (New York: Skyhorse, 2016), 182; Morris, Partners in Power, 102. A government official who told Morris about Clinton’s CIA ties claimed to have seen files long since destroyed. Another CIA retiree recalled to Morris going through the archives of Operation Chaos at Langley headquarters and seeing Clinton listed. “He was there in the records,” the former agent said, “with a special designation.” Still another CIA source contended that part of Clinton’s arrangement as an informer had been further insurance against the draft. ↑
Micah Morrison, “Mysterious Mena,” The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 1994, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB833927551906129500 ↑
“Interview with Mark Swaney: Citizen’s Group Investigates Mena Cover-Up,” Executive Intelligence Review, Vol. 19, No. 17, April 24, 1992, https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1992/eirv19n17-19920424/eirv19n17-19920424_054-mark_swaney.pdf ↑
David M. Bresnahan, The Larry Nichols Story: Damage Control—How to Get Caught with Your Pants Down and Still Get Elected President (New Jersey: Camden Court, 1998). Described as a “romantic jungle fighter type” Nichols had served in Vietnam under General John Singlaub. When the press got wind of the situation, Clinton fired Nichols allegedly for making hundreds of calls to Contra operatives. However, the very fact that he was making those calls breeds suspicion about the function of the ADFA, along with the convenient timing of the alleged discovery of these calls as a basis for firing him. ↑
See e.g., Philip Weiss, “Clinton Crazy,” The New York Times, February 23, 1997. ↑
Interview with Mark Swaney,” https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1992/eirv19n17-19920424/eirv19n17-19920424_054-mark_swaney.pdf; Paul Derienzo, Interview with Mark Swaney, WBAI Pacifica Radio New York, https://totseans.com/totse/en/conspiracy/mena/165618.html; Jack Anderson and Dale Van Atta, “Legacy of a Slain Drug Informer,” The Washington Post, February 28, 1989. ↑
Terry Reed, Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA (S.P.I. Books, 1994), 275; Bresnahan, The Larry Nichols Story; Richmond Odom, Circle of Death: Clinton’s Climb to the Presidency (Huntington House Publishers, 1995), 59-87; Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (London: Verso, 1998), 327. Financing for the Contra operation came in part from a complicated insurance and tax deduction scam run by Oliver North. Seal had begun his smuggling career while a TWA pilot and smuggled explosives to anti-Castro rebels trying to overthrow the Cuban government. ↑
Reed, Compromised, 383; Clay F. Richards, “The Nation’s Governors Disagreed Sharply,” UPI Archives, August 26, 1986, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/08/26/The-nations-governors-disagreed-sharply-Tuesday-over-the-Pentagons/5836525412800/. Primarily Republican governors like John Ashcroft of Missouri sent their states’ National Guard units to Honduras. ↑
Reed, Compromised, 63, 168, 169. ↑
Victor Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume (Washington, D.C.: The American Free Press, 2007), 131, 132, 133, 134; Morris, Partners in Power, 416; Odom, Circle of Death, 75, 76; Reed, Compromised, 62, 87, 88, 125; and “Guns, Drugs, CIA at Mena, Arkansas,” Judicial Watch, July 22, 2019, https://www.judicialwatch.org/investigative-bulletin/guns-drugs-cia-at-mena-arkansas-judicial-watch-demands-answers/. An IRS investigator heard “numerous reports of automatic weapons fire, men of Latin American appearance in the area, people in camouflage moving quietly through streams with automatic weapons, aircraft drops, twin-engine airplane traffic.” ↑
Mena Uncovered: Judicial Watch Discloses Secret CIA Report,” Judicial Watch, June 29, 2020, https://www.judicialwatch.org/investigative-bulletin/mena-uncovered-judicial-watch-discloses-secret-cia-report/; Office of the Inspector General Investigations Staff, Report of Investigation, Unclassified Summary of Investigation Regarding Purported CIA Activities at or around Mena, Arkansas and Related Topics,” November 8, 1996, https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CIA-Mena-Report.pdf ↑
Reed, Compromised, 125. ↑
John Crudele, “‘American Made’ Sheds Light on Shady Arkansas Airfield Deals,” The New York Post, October 25, 2017, https://nypost.com/2017/10/25/american-made-sheds-light-on-shady-arkansas-airfield-deals/ ↑
“Guns, Drugs, CIA at Mena, Arkansas,” Judicial Watch, July 22, 2019, https://www.judicialwatch.org/investigative-bulletin/guns-drugs-cia-at-mena-arkansas-judicial-watch-demands-answers/. ↑
Reed, Compromised, 113, 114, 177. ↑
L.D. Brown, Crossfire:Witness in the Clinton Investigations (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1996). ↑
- Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 135, 136. One of the principal stockholders in Stephens’s banking consortium was the Director of the board of the Rose Law Firm. An unwitting pawn in the CIA’s money-laundering schemes, Dennis Patrick survived three assassination attempts and went into hiding in Florida. Reed, Compromised, 171. ↑ Riady, who had made his fortune in arms smuggling in indonesia, was Clinton’s largest donor in the 1992 election, giving him $450,000. He was an owner of the 1st National Bank of Mena where a lot of CIA money was laundered. Victor Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Murder Volume (Washington, D.C.: The American Free Press, 2008), 591.
Reed, Compromised, 320. See also Stone and Morrow, The Clintons’ War on Women; R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Boy Clinton: The Political Biography (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1996), 7, 12, 13, 18; Thorn, Hillary (and Bill). 154. ↑
Reed, Compromised. ↑
Reed, Compromised, ch. 17; Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 161, 162. ↑
Reed, Compromised, 277. Johnson continued: “you and guys like you are the fathers of the new government. We are the new covenant.” ↑
Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 157; John Crudele, “‘American Made’ Sheds Light on Shady Arkansas Airfield Deals,” The New York Post, October 25, 2017, https://nypost.com/2017/10/25/american-made-sheds-light-on-shady-arkansas-airfield-deals/ ↑
“Mena Uncovered: Judicial Watch Discloses Secret CIA Report,” Judicial Watch, June 29, 2020, https://www.judicialwatch.org/investigative-bulletin/mena-uncovered-judicial-watch-discloses-secret-cia-report/; Office of the Inspector General Investigations Staff, Report of Investigation, Unclassified Summary of Investigation Regarding Purported CIA Activities at or around Mena, Arkansas and Related Topics,” November 8, 1996, https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/CIA-Mena-Report.pdf ↑
Odom, Circle of Death, 197, 198; Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 202. ↑
George Carpozi, Jr., Clinton Confidential: The Climb to Power: The Unauthorized Biography of Bill and Hillary Clinton (Emery Dalton Communications, 1995), 381. As a result of its disenchantment, the CIA allegedly switched the operation away from Mena to a small out-of-the-way airport in Mexico. ↑
Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 206; Sam Smith, “Arkansas Connections,” The Progressive Review, 1998, http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/clinton/arkansas.htm; Odom, Circle of Death, 138; and Cockburn and St. Clair, Whiteout, 334-337. Roger Clinton and Ward’s son-in-law Finis Shellnut allegedly participated in drug pickups from his ranch. The Rose Law Firm where Hillary Clinton worked drew up the paperwork for the ADFA’s loan to POM. When Mark Swaney visited the POM site, he saw camouflaged trucks with trailers mounted with what looked like generators for creating smoke screens along with military transport trucks and interviewed soldiers who told them they were part of a “smoke unit.” IRS investigator Bill Duncan similarly saw chemical tanker trucks. Both were describing the scene of a military-industrial landscape. Riconosciuto had developed computer software to help launder drug money emanating from the Mena operation. He was providing information to investigative reporter Danny Casolaro, who was subsequently murdered. A congressional subcommittee looking into Casolaro’s death in September 1992 accused Justice Department officials of criminal misconduct and recommended the appointment of a special prosecutor, a request that was denied by Attorney General William Barr. ↑
David Stout, “Seth Ward, 79, Businessman Involved in Whitewater Case,” The New York Times, July 11, 2000. Hubbell was later jailed for over-billing clients while at the Rose Law Firm. His excuse was that everyone at the Rose Law Firm had done what he did. ↑
Brown, Crossfire, 226; Micah Morrison, “The Mena Coverup,” The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 1994, in Whitewater, Vol. II: From the Editorial Pages of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Bartley, Micah Morrison, Melanie Kirkpatrick, eds. (New York: Dow Jones & Co., 1997), 12, 13, and “Mena Coverup? Razorback Columbo to Retire,” The Wall Street Journal, May 10, 1995, in Whitewater, Vol. II, Bartley et al., eds., 73; Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 182; and Sam Smith, “Arkansas Connections,” The Progressive Review, 1998, http://ontology.buffalo.edu/smith/clinton/arkansas.htm. ↑
Stone and Morrow, The Clintons’ War on Women; Carpozi, Jr., Clinton Confidential, 349; and Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Drugs Volume, 139. ↑
Bresnahan, The Larry Nichols Story, 72; Micah Morrison, “The Mena Coverup,” The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 1994, in Whitewater, Vol. II, Bartley, et al., eds., 12, 13; and Thorn, Hillary (and Bill), 218. State Attorney General Winston Bryant and Arkansas Rep. Bill Alexander sent two boxes of Mena files to special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. Alexander later said, “The feds dropped the ball and covered it up. I have never seen a whitewash job like this case.” Asa Hutchinson, the U.S. Attorney for Western Arkansas (including Mena) started the investigation but then resigned in November 1985. He was later promoted to DEA Administrator and then served as the Department of Homeland Security’s Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security. He is currently serving as Governor of Arkansas. ↑
Stone and Morrow, The Clintons’ War on Women; Ambrose Evans Pritchard, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1997). Gary Parks believes that his father, Jerry, was killed in a suspicious car accident after he had compiled information about Clinton’s involvement in the Mena operation. Parks had worked security for Clinton and said he made trips to Mena and would come back with envelopes filled with cash that he gave the governor. Parks’s wife, Jane, also managed the apartment complex where Clinton’s half-brother, Roger, lived rent-free. She witnessed Roger doing cocaine and saw Clinton, then age 37, coming by to snort cocaine and have sex with young girls (she estimated around 17 or 18). Twice, Jane heard Clinton copulating in the bed. Parks told British reporter Ambrose Pritchard that he believed “that Bill Clinton had my father killed to protect his political career. We’re dealing with a secretive machine here in Arkansas that can shut anyone up in a moment.” [NOTE: Is “17 or 18” the ages of the girls or the number of girls who came?] ↑
See Mara Leveritt, The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother’s Crusade to Bring Her Son’s Killers to Justice (Little Rock: Bird Call Press, 1999); Daniel Hopsicker, The (Secret) Heartbeat of America: A New Look at the Mena Story,” The Washington Weekly, May 12, 1997. All of the engineers on the train reported that the boys were lying motionless beneath a tarp, bodies laid out identically across the tracks with almost military precision. The boys’ blood was dark and tar-like, indicating they had been dead for some time before they were struck by the train. Linda Ives told Hopsicker that “the most amazing thing we learned was that Kevin and Don were killed because of a very large drug smuggling operation that involved public officials and public corruption, even in the murders themselves.” ↑
Micah Morrison, “The Lonely Crusade of Linda Ives,” in Whitewater II, Robert L. Bartley, et al., eds., 328, 329. Duffey felt the criminal conspiracy went up to the governor’s office and CIA, finding it odd that when Oliver North was asked about Mena at the Iran-Contra hearings, his response was given in closed-door session. ↑
Leveritt, The Boys on the Tracks; Victor Thorn, Hillary (and Bill): The Murder Volume (Washington, D.C.: Sysiphus Press, 2008), 470. Wilson was subsequently arrested by Harmon and given a draconian 31-year sentence for a minor drug offense.↑
Leveritt, The Boys on the Tracks, 322. ↑
Dime’s Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, eds. (Oakland: AK Press/Counterpunch, 2004), 12; Jeremy Kuzmarov, “Distancing Acts: Private Mercenaries and the War on Terror in American Foreign Policy,” The Asia Pacific Journal, December 21, 2014, https://apjjf.org/2014/12/52/Jeremy-Kuzmarov/4241.html. Clinton’s close ties to George H.W. Bush were apparent in his renaming CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia, after him in 1998, an odd move given that Bush served as CIA Director for less than one year. ↑
James Risen, “The Nation; the Clinton Administration’s See No Evil CIA,” The New York Times, September 10, 2000. ↑
James Risen and Doyle McManus, “Clinton Okd Iranian Arms for Bosnia, Officials Say,” Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1996, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-04-05-mn-55275-story.html; John R. Schindler, Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al Qaeda and the Rise of Global Jihad (London: Zenith Press, 2007), 182; Michel Chossudovsky, “Twenty years ago. NATO’s War on Yugoslavia: Bill Clinton Worked Hand in Glove with Al Qaeda: “Helped Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base,” Global Research, March 22, 2019, https://www.globalresearch.ca/bill-clinton-worked-hand-in-glove-with-al-qaeda-helped-turn-bosnia-into-militant-islamic-base/5474094. ↑
Schindler, Unholy Terror, 182, 183. The arms included automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, anti-armor rockets and TOW missiles.” ↑
Schindler, Unholy Terror, 182, 183; Cees Wiebes, Intelligence and the War in Bosnia 1992-1995 (Münster: LIT Verlag 2003), 177, 178. The Krk base was also used to operate predator drones. The U.S. relied for the airdrops on the Cengic family, which were described by Western intelligence services as “mafia.” ↑
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About the Author
Jeremy Kuzmarov is Managing Editor of CovertAction Magazine.
He is the author of four books on U.S. foreign policy, including Obama’s Unending Wars (Clarity Press, 2019) and The Russians Are Coming, Again, with John Marciano (Monthly Review Press, 2018).
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