Gene “Chip” Tatum, former CIA operative and pilot, was a firsthand witness to drug and weapons trafficking in the early 1980’s by Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, William Barr, and others. All of his claims are fully documented and backed up by records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. His discharge paperwork is at the bottom of the page.
The Chip Tatum Chronicles:
Testimony of Government Drug Running
BY GENE “CHIP” TATUM
These materials are the intellectual property of Chip Tatum. This material shall not be reprinted in nonelectronic form or distributed for commercial use with the written consent of Chip Tatum. To order hard copies of the Chronicles, call (352) 7870867 and get a recording or send $29.95 to P.O. Box 895082, Leesburg, FL 34789.
The Tatum Chronicle_
D.G. “Chip” Tatum PEGASUS An American Spy Story Book Two
By D.G. “Chip” Tatum
The Tatum Chronicles Published by D.G. “Chip” Tatum P.O. Box 895082, Leesburg, Florida 34789 (352) 787 0867
Copyright _ 1996 By D.G. “Chip” Tatum and Nancy J. Tatum
The Tatum Chronicles INTRODUCTION
I started government service in 1970 as a volunteer for military service during the Vietnam war. Having graduated Air Force Technical School, I became one of the Air Force’s first elite combat controllers (CCT). I was subsequently sent to NKP, Thailand. While in Thailand, during a covert mission into Cambodia, our unit, code named Team Red Rock, was captured by North Vietnamese and held as prisoners for 92 days. During interrogations by both Soviet and Chinese officers, Team Red Rock remained silent through the beatings and torture that more often than not ended in death. Had it not been for a patrol of US Marines finding the encampment where we were held prisoner, all of the team would have died. But, fortunately for myself and my platoon sergeant, we were liberated by the recon patrol before we had been tortured to death. During the fire fight between US forces and our captors, I was wounded. Already weak from the torture and beatings inflicted during interrogations, I slipped into a coma. Three weeks later I awoke in an Air Force hospital at Clark Air Force Base, Philippines. Within a few days a man from Saigon arranged to “debrief ” the mission. During the debriefing it was explained that the events which Team Red Rock were involved in had been classified by President Nixon for a period of twentyfive years. Due to the sensitive nature of the mission, the president required that I be “held close” for reasons of national security. It had been decided that the CIA would assume that responsibility. On June 6, 1971, William J. Colby, the man from Saigon assigned to debrief me, advised me that I was now under operational control of the CIA. My code name was Pegasus.
During the next eight years, I traveled five continents under the operational control of the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence). As I collected data concerning movement of POWS from Southeast Asia to Asia and on to Europe, and forwarded the data to my handler, William J. Colby, and his predecessor George Bush, I began to realize that our government was not going to act upon that data. At the end of my contract, I found myself compelled by a French resistance song to step aside for a greatly needed rest.
When you fall, my friend Another friend will emerge From the shadows To take your place.
I resigned in 1978 and left the service of my country to live in a quiet town tucked in the mountains of Colorado. Only time could heal the wounds I had suffered through the years as Pegasus.
In 1980, following the failed rescue attempt in the Great Salt Desert of Iran, I was involuntarily reactivated and placed in the U.S. Army. I soon found myself and my family at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, the new home of a U.S. Army Special Operations unit, Task Force 160.
Having participated in numerous covert missions with the 160th, I was given an assignment to Ft. Stewart, Georgia. I was tasked with the mission of infiltrating a medical evacuation unit which was preparing to go to Honduras in support of military exercises.
In February of 1985, two flight crews from the 3/498th Medical Company, Fort Stewart, Georgia, arrived at Palmerola Air Base, Honduras. Each flight crew consisted of a pilot, copilot, medic, and the crew chief.
Upon arrival, our crew was ordered to report to the Hospital Commander for further assignment and billeting. The Hospital Commander, Colonel Zichek introduced our crews to the outgoing medevac crews from Fort Riley, Kansas, home of the “Big Red One”.
Following orientation and checkrides with an instructor pilot familiar with the operating rules of the country, we assumed the medevac mission for Joint Task Force Bravo. Having flown extensively in Central America as a Special Operations pilot, I was well aware of the flight environment and the local operational restrictions. However, when I accepted the mission to infiltrate the 3/498th Medical Company and pose as a medevac pilot, as briefed by my handler, Oliver North, I was instructed to make no mention of previous involvement in the area.
On February 15, 1985, during a flight to La Cieba, Honduras I was instructed to contact the man assigned by Oliver North as my local handler, Major Felix Rodriguez. Upon arrival in La Cieba, I contacted Major
Rodriguez. He picked the crew up and gave us lodging for the night at a CIA safe house. The house was surrounded by a ten foot perimeter wall of concrete and at the only entrance was an uzi wielding guard. Following dinner, the crew was sent to their quarters while Major Rodriguez and I planned our four month support calendar. I was scheduled to leave Honduras in June of 1985.
I was instructed that in addition to our normal MEDEVAC missions, my duties included a covert group of missions. The control word for these missions was Pegasus. All Pegasus missions took priority over normal medical evacuation missions. Major Rodriguez also instructed me as to my “chain of command.” Missions could be ordered by any of the following:
Oliver North Assistant National Security Advisor to the White House
Amiram Nir Former Israeli Intelligence Officer (Mossad) and Advisor to Vice President Bush Felix Rodriguez CIA
Normal aviation support provided by Pegasus missions included flights to the following areas:
Ilapongo, El Salvador : This was where Corporate Air Services, a CIA owned aviation company, was based.
Contra Camps, Honduras and Nicaragua : Various Nicaraguan rebel camps were located in the jungles and mountains along the Nicaraguan/Honduran border.
The following morning our air crew departed La Cieba for Palmerola Air Base. During the next week, our missions were equally mixed between Pegasus flights into Contra villages and medevac support of U.S. military and Contra casualties. One common denominator on all Pegasus missions was the movement of large white coolers in and out of the Contra camps. They were always sealed and marked as medical supplies.
On October 23rd, 1986, a C123 cargo plane loaded with arms and ammunition was shot down over Nicaragua. The sole survivor of the crash was captured by the Nicaraguan military and taken to Managua for interrogation. During interrogation, Eugene Hasenfus would reveal to the Ortega led Nicaraguan government that the aircraft which was shot down was owned by the U.S. government and that he was on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Although the United States vehemently denied ownership of the aircraft and any knowledge of employing Mr. Hasenfus, subsequent investigations proved out Mr. Hasenfus’ allegations to be true.
Dubbed the “IranContra” affair by Attorney General Edwin Meese, President Reagan, denying any knowledge of U.S. involvement, called for a special investigation to “look” into these absurd allegations.
At a cost of over $40 million the investigation yielded only a few prosecutions for minor infractions. It is curious that neither the Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance To Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition subcommittee tasked with the congressional investigation of the IranContra, nor the office of the Special Prosecutor assigned to investigate criminal wrongdoings which occurred during the IranContra Affair, subpoenaed any active duty military personnel assigned to the border area of Nicaragua/Honduras. Had the service members been called to testify concerning the daily training/resupply, and support of the Contras, it would have been determined that the Boland Act, which prohibited any efforts of the United States or its military to support the Contra effort, was being violated. Testimony by military personnel would have also revealed that military aircraft and supplies were used to support the shipment of cocaine from manufacturing facilities co located with CIA supported Contra camps. Why weren’t we called to testify?
The following documents were filed with base operations at Palmerola Air Base, Honduras between February and May of 1985. This was a full two years prior to the world ever hearing the names Oliver North or Iran/Contra. The documents were filed and stored through the years by the Honduran Military. Recent attempts to locate the documents proved successful. I have compiled the military documents in chronological order which follows a weekbyweek sequence of events involving political, military, and intelligence officials from various countries.
As you read the Chronicles, you will find:
A. Flight Plans These are international flight plans filed in conjunction with the 1985 flights. Information includes the name of the crew members, destinations of the flight, and passenger names. Many flight plans will have remarks which were made by the pilots. These remarks were written on the reverse side of the flight plan.
B. Mission Briefs Prior to each flight and at the completion of the flight, any irregularities or information affecting the mission would be briefed and included in the comments section of the mission brief.
26 February, 1985
Wally World, our intelligence compound at Palmerola Air Base, tasked us with a mission requiring us to fly two civilian pilots to one of the largest Contra villages on the Honduran side of the Nicaragua/Honduras border. The names of our passengers as noted in Section 19 of the Department of Defense flight plan filed with Base Operation prior to departure from Palmerola (MHCG) were Bill Cooper and Buzz Sawyer. We departed at 1630Z (Greenwich Means Time). During the flight, Mr. Cooper told us that they worked for Corporate Air Services, a CIA proprietary, based out of Ilapongo Air Base, El Salvador. They were meeting with Contra leaders to coordinate air drops of arms and ammunition to various Contra camps. We arrived at El Paraiso, Honduras without incident. The meeting between the pilots and Contra leaders lasted just over an hour. At the termination of the meeting we were given a white cooler marked “vaccine” and instructed to deliver the cooler to a US Air Force C130 at La Mesa Airport. Upon arrival at La Mesa Airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the cooler was dropped by two of our crew members. It weighed in excess of 200 pounds. The seal broke on the cooler. I picked up some aviation tape commonly called “hundred mile an hour” tape to reseal the vaccine cooler. I gave the crew leave to get lunch ordered. I stayed to refuel the helicopter and reseal the cooler. Messrs. Cooper and Sawyer went to eat and wait for their flight to El Salvador. When I removed the torn tape from the cooler, I saw that the contents consisted of a number of bags of a white powdery substance. There was over one hundred bags of what appeared to be cocaine. I resealed the cooler and continued refueling the aircraft. About two hours following our arrival, the U.S. Air Force C130 bound for Panama finally arrived to pick up the vaccine.
We returned to Palmerola Air Base. Upon our return, I called Washington switch via land line (telephone) and advised Mr. North regarding my discovery of the cocaine. He told me that it was one of the trophies of war. “The Sandinistas are manufacturing cocaine and selling it to fund the military.” He further stated that “the cocaine was bound for the world courts as evidence.” I was reminded of the white coolers I had been asked to deliver to Arkansas on several occasions the year prior.
I was a Special Operations pilot at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. In 1983 and 1984 we would routinely receive requests from a medevac unit at Ft. Campbell to deliver white coolers marked medical supplies to Little Rock Air Force Base, and, on two occasions, to an airport west of Little Rock, in Mena, Arkansas. Further investigation on my part clarified some outstanding questions I had. The medevac unit at Ft. Campbell, the 324th Medical Battalion was a supporting unit for Task Force 160, a Special Operations Unit under the control of the CIA. Flight crews of the 324th Medical Battalion rotated in and out of Honduras on four month tours.
During my flights to Arkansas I was met by a man introducing himself as Dr. Dan Lasater. Dr. Lasater was never alone. He was usually accompanied by a plainclothes policeman who produced a badge and ID. His name was Raymond Young. I was introduced to him and found that his nickname was ‘Buddy’. Mr. Young would later show up in Honduras, posing as a member of the Arkansas National Guard (see flight plan dated 16 March, 1985).
On one occasion in the fall of 1983, I was tasked with delivering two such coolers to Little Rock Airport. The coolers, marked “medical supplies,” were to be delivered to Dr. Dan Lasater only. My instructions were to wait for Dr. Lasater, if he was not at the airport when we arrived.
Prior to take off, I helped our crew chief secure the cargo in the rear of the aircraft. I noticed that, although both coolers were identical in size, one cooler was significantly heavier than the other. I shook the lighter cooler, trying to guess its contents. But it was so tightly packed that nothing rattled. I recall thinking that it must have been organs or something, packed tightly in dry ice. So I opened the cooler to check its contents. After
thoroughly examining the contents, my curiosity was satisfied and I closed and resealed the cooler with military green hundredmileanhour tape. (They had originally been sealed with gray air conditioning duct tape.) I re secured the cargo and we departed for Little Rock.
We arrived late in the night, about 10:30 pm. Dr. Lasater was not waiting for us, so we began our postflight of the aircraft and flight planning for our next leg to Houston’s Hobby Airport. About 12:15am a limousine, followed by a van, and unmarked law enforcement vehicle, arrived at the FBO. Dr. Lasater was the first out of the limo. I recognized him from a previous flight. He was followed by two others. Dr. Lasater introduced himself to me, apparently not realizing we had met before, and asked if we were the aircraft with the donor organs. I told him that we had the coolers and pointed at them in the rear of the aircraft. Doug, our crew chief, helped Lasater’s limo driver with the coolers. The heavy cooler went into the limo and the light cooler was loaded into the van. Dr. Lasater introduced me to the two gentlemen with him. First, we were introduced to the Governor of Arkansas, Governor William J. Clinton, and then his security chief, Raymond “Buddy” Young. At this point, Mr. Young recognized me and stated so. I was then introduced to a third man standing at the limo. We were invited to stay the night and accepted. (After all, I thought, they may want to talk to me when they find the note I left in the lighter cooler.)
After returning to Ft. Campbell on Friday, I called Director Colby and told him of the delivery and my discovery. I told him that when I opened the cooler, which was ultimately taken by Governor Clinton, it contained several kilos of an offwhite powdery substance and lots of money.
The coolers which were delivered to Arkansas were identical to the one I just discovered at La Mesa Airport in Honduras containing cocaine. I decided that I had best begin documenting our cargo for the flight crew’s safety. I went to operations and noted the cocaine on the back of the flight plan.
26 FEBRUARY, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN front and back:
1 March, 1985
Two white coolers marked “medical supplies” were delivered to Dustoff (MEDEVAC) Operations. Major Rodriguez advised us to deliver the coolers to him in Tela, Honduras (LYA). I opened the coolers and checked the contents. They were both filled with about one hundred kilos of cocaine. We delivered the coolers as ordered to Major Rodriguez. He was waiting in front of an old DC3. We then returned to base at Palmerola.
1 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN Click front and back:
2 March, 1985
I was advised by Major Rodriguez that “The Company” had arranged for an unusually high concentration of chlorine in the water supply of a tactical communications site called Skywatch. The CIA was unable to obtain the satellite operations frequencies from the military controlled site. (This was not unusual. The Department of Defense and the CIA have never developed a level of trust adequate to share secret information between agencies. I was one of several U.S. military officers recruited by “The Company” to “spy” on our military for the CIA. This small group of military officers report directly to the Director of the CIA. I reported to William Colby.) My mission was to obtain these frequencies while the doctor was tending to the ill soldiers. We flew a PA and our medic to the TAC site. While the PA and medic tended to the stomach cramped and diarrhea ridden American servicemen, I went into the communications van and copied the frequencies. When we returned to Palmerola, we experienced engine failure and were forced to autorotate from 8500 feet. The tailboom of the helicopter cracked when we crash landed.
Later in the afternoon, I gained access to a secure line. I called Washington Switch and passed the frequencies to Don Gregg as I was instructed. Mr. Gregg, Vice President George Bushs’ National Security Advisor, asked me to pass them to Clair George. Before having my call transferred to Mr. George, I told Mr. Gregg of my discovery concerning the cocaine in the large, white coolers. I also told him about Major Rodriguez’ explanation. Mr. Gregg confirmed that the coolers were bound for the world courts as evidence against the Sandinistas. I was then transferred to Langley and passed the frequencies to Mr. George. He thanked me and advised me that he would pass them to Dewey, who was Dewey Clairage of the CIA (see letter dated October 1993 from the Security Section of the Israeli Embassy). I terminated the call and went to Base Operations. I noted the info on the back of the flight plan. I put additional notes on the mission brief.
The supporting maintenance officer for the US Army Aviation Element at Palmerola Air Base advised me, during our postcrash investigation, that the aircraft had experienced serious mechanical problems in flight. During maintenance the turbine was fitted with the wrong main seals causing the combustion chamber to crack on the jet ending in engine failure. Additionally, the main rotor blades had been adjusted so that when entering autorotation, the main rotor pitch would be in a negative position. This meant that instead of being driven by the relative wind, and providing sufficient RPMs to land safely, the main rotor blades were set to slow to the point of stalling, thus causing no lift and a fatal crash. I discovered the negative pitch in time to compensate and land with minimal damage to the aircraft and crew. Someone didn’t want us alive.
2 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN front and back:
2 MARCH, 1985 MISSION AFTER ACTION REPORT front and back:
5 March, 1985
Major Rodriguez called and advised me that he and three others needed to spend two days visiting several local villages and some of the north Contracamps. I called Col. Zichek, the Hospital Commander, and received authorization to fly two days of recon missions mapping villages which were not on our maps. The following passengers arrived with Major Rodriguez.
General Gustavo Alverez Honduran Army Chief of Staff (General Alverez usually flew under the name of Dr. Gus)
Honduran Colonel the General’s aide Amiram Nir CIA (Mossad)
We flew into all six villages listed, and picked up soldiers and took them to El Paraiso. We flew about seven sorties. Then we returned to base. Maintenance and weather hampered our efforts to fly the following day. Those missions would be flown on 7 March, 1985.
5 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
7 March, 1985
Missions continued from several villages to Contra camps. Major Rodriguez was utilized as an interpreter to provide instructions. Two of the camps in Nicaragua were under fire by Sandinistas. Our intelligence indicated that there was no problem. We flew four sorties into the camps under heavy fire. At El Paraiso, we picked up four large white coolers. I asked Rodriguez, “Evidence?” He responded patting the cooler with his hands, “You catch on fast.”
We dropped Rodriguez and the coolers off at San Lorenzo (SNL) and returned to base. I went to Operations and noted the cargo on the reverse side of the flight plan.
7 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
7 MARCH, 1985 BRIEFING SHEET front and back
13 March, 1985
At 3 A.M. I was called by J2 (which is Joint Task Force Bravo intelligence arm) and the Mil Group (CIA) from the embassy in Tegucigalpa. There was an immediate need for medevac into Nicaragua. Soviet built Hind helicopters had attacked several Contra camps along the border. I was tasked to fly into Nicaragua and find the home base for the Hinds so that the Contras could counterattack. We arrived at Ojo De Agua at 1720Z. Major Rodriguez advised us that Ocotal is the most probable base area for the Hinds. Flying low level with only the main rotors above the trees, we approached Ocotal. Before departing the area of the airfield, we were able to count eight HindD Soviet gunships. The aircraft alerted to our presence and launched.
We were able to evade them and complete our mission moving medical personnel and supplies from the damaged camps.
13 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN front and back
13 MARCH, 1985 MISSION BRIEFING front and back
13 MARCH, 1985 NOTES
Tried to reach J2 or installation for 3 furs. upon arrival at Oio De Agua officials (one civilian clothed, Engligh speaking) asked us to divert from original flight RQ to an urgent recon of shelled area no response frm J2 need e cisted we diverted to area suspected as Ocotol, Nic. entered @ Danli thru valley to El Paraiso Landed north of good size town in soccer field stayed about +5 min &c departed to north up river valley Noc Rcd radar from C~ & NIC inbound lost on APR39 throughout terrain flight no further contact until climbed appx 750′ agl. Suspect violation of boarder debriefed by Col at Ojo de Agua no one big enough in your chain repeated no one should know where we had been. Col was not Honduran mil (different uniform) black e greying hair strong face. very intelligent & knowledgeable of contra activities, name uns our aircraft did not have red chgs gun shot by crowd offender aprehended by flt crew. Adv North via Rodriguez
Note: El Porvinir & Ocotel are in Nicanam
15 March, 1985
I was called to a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Due to a patient with a head injury, I was unable to meet on time. Night flight was prohibited in country. It required a lifedeath situation. Mr. Hibbard, the pilot in charge (PIC) of the other medevac aircraft arrived late in the evening with the patient. The hospital at JTFBravo was unable to provide neurocare. They arranged for a neurosurgeon to fly into Tegucigalpa (TNT) that night. I replaced Mr. Hibbard’s copilot and flew the night mission to the capital city. As we approached Tegucigalpa the lights to the city were turned off. This was an indicator to us that word of our night flight was not passed on to the Honduran military as expected. When we saw the blackout of Tegucigalpa, we dropped to night lowlevel flight and turned off all of our position lights. We continued toward the city at about 60 knots. Our lowlevel recon revealed that we were just south east of the airport. Having flown into the airport on many occasions, I was aware of the antiaircraft artillery locations around the airport. One clear area was the main terminal. We repositioned over the city to the north of the air terminal, entered over the main terminal, then dropped to ground level, and flew about one foot above the runway to the U.S. military area. We shut down the aircraft as Honduran
military jeeps arrived with 50 calibre machine guns pointing at us. The ambulance and a car from the U.S. Embassy were held back until General Alverez arrived to take the prisoners (us). When he arrived, he asked another officer how a helicopter could breech the perimeter of the airport and main military base. We were still sitting in the helicopter with our flight helmets on. When we were ordered out, I took off my helmet and saluted the general. I pointed to the child who had been hit by a U.S. military truck earlier in the day. An ambulance arrived and we transferred the patient.
The general released us and accompanied us to the embassy. When I arrived at the embassy, I was introduced to William Barr, Mike Harari, and Buddy Young. I had met Mr. Young one year prior in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Barr represented himself as an emissary of Vice President Bush, who would be arriving in the future. This was an advance party designed to set up meetings for Vice President Bush. We joined the cocktail party and then accommodations were arranged at a local hotel. I was then asked to join Mr. Barr, Mr. Young, and Mr. Harari at a local German restaurant. I was picked up by the embassy car. Major Felix Rodriguez was in the car when I entered. We met the others for dinner and continued the meeting at the hotel. I was told that Mr. Young and Mr. Harari would fly back to Palmerola with me in the morning.
We departed the following morning with the passengers listed in Item 19 Remarks section of the Department of Defense Flight Plan dated 16 March, 1985.
The following conversation took place between Messrs. Harari and Young during the flight to Palmerola Air Base. The passengers were wearing headsets and speaking over the aircraft intercom system due to the high noise level in the helicopter. As the command pilot, I routinely monitor all conversations on our intercom. I did not advise our passengers that I was listening, or that I was recording the conversation.
Buddy: “Arkansas has the capability to manufacture anything in the area of weapons and if we don’t have it we’ll get it!”
Mike: “How about government controls?”
Buddy: “The Governor’s on top of it, and if the feds get nosey we hear about it and make a call. Then they’re called off.” He was looking around the countryside and continued, “Why the hell would anyone want to fight for a shithole like this?”
Mike: Shaking his head in awe, answered,”What we do has nothing to do with preserving a country’s integrity it’s just business, and third world countries see their destiny as defeating borders and expanding. The more of this mentality we can produce the greater our wealth. We train and we arm that’s our job. And, in return, we get a product far more valuable than the money for a gun. We’re paid with product. And we credit top dollar for product.”
Buddy: Still looked confused.
Mike: “Look one gun and 3,000 rounds of ammo is $1,200. A kilo of product is about $1,000. We credit the Contras $1,500 for every kilo. That’s top dollar for a kilo of cocaine. It’s equivalent to the American KMart special buy four, get one free. On our side we spend $1,200 for a kilo and sell it for $12,000 to $15,000. Now, that’s a profit center. And the market is much greater for the product than for weapons. It’s just good business sense understand?
Buddy: “Damn! So you guys promote wars and revolutions to provide weapons for drugs we provide the non numbered parts to change out and we all win. Damn that’s good!”
Mike: “It’s good when it works but someone is, how do you say, has his hand in the coffer.”
Buddy: Responding on the defensive,”Well, we get our ten percent right off the top and that’s plenty. GOFUS can make it go a long way.” Mike:”Who is GOFUS?”
Buddy: “Governor Clinton! That’s our pet word for him. You know they call the President ‘POTUS’ for ‘President of the United States’. Well, we call Clinton ‘GOFUS’ for ‘Governor of the United States’. He thinks he is anyhow.
Mike: “That’s your problem in America. You have no respect for your elected officials. They are more powerful than you think and have ears everywhere. You should heed my words and be loyal to your leaders. Especially when speaking to persons like me. Your remarks indicate a weakness something our intelligence analysts look for.”
Buddy: “Aw hell, Mike. Everybody knows the Clinton’s want the White House and will do anything to get it. That’s why I’m here instead of someone else. We know about the cocaine hell! I’ve picked it up before with Lasater when he was worried about going on Little Rock Air Base to get it.”
A new line of conversation ensued. Harari questioned Young about his knowledge of who the ‘players’ were. He went down a list. He started with ‘The Boss Clinton’. Here’s a synopsis of the players according to Young.
Buddy: “Clinton thinks he’s in charge, but he’ll only go as far as Casey allows. Me and my staff we keep the lid on things you know complaints about night flying Arkansas people are private folks they don’t like a lot of commotion and Mena just isn’t the right place for the operation. It keeps us busy at the shredder if you know what I mean. Dan the Man (Lasater) He does magic with the money between him and Jack Stevens we don’t have to worry a bit. Then we got Parks if there’s a problem he’s the man. We call him the Archer that’s the codename that Casey and Colby told us to assign to that position. Finnis oversee’s our drop zone. Nash he’s just the boss’ ‘yes’ man. Personally I think he’s a mistake! Seal and his guys I like his attitude “and leave the driving to us!” he said, quoting one of Seal’s good ole boy sayings.
Mike: “You like Seal?”
Buddy: “Hell! He’s the only one I trust respect is the word.”
Mike: “Do you see much of him?”
Buddy: “Hell, yea. We test drive Clinton’s rides before we send ’em on, ya know? (He laughed, grinding his hips.) Say how much coke do you recon you can make in a week?”
Mike: “One camp can produce 400 keys a week. The others are about half that. But that’s just our operation here. We have other sources in various parts of the world. Why do you ask?”
Buddy: “What? Oh, the Governor wanted to know our capacity.” Mike: “Who else is on the team?”
Buddy: “Well, hell, I forgot who I told you about.”
Mike ran down the list from memory.
Buddy: “Ok, there’s the manufacturers hell, these two..”
The tape stopped.
I didn’t recognize the names. I ran out of paper on my kneeboard shortly after the tape stopped. Something like Johnson and Johnson. The flight continued and so did their discussions…about people mostly. We landed and I went to Operations and made a note on the back of the flight plan that I filed by phone.
16 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
18 March, 1985
I was called at 0500 hours and told that there were three wounded soldiers at a Contra camp outside of Choloteca. We launched and picked up two observers in Choloteca as ordered. Mr. North and a Lt. Col. Ramon Navarro. I had met Lt. Col. Navarro on previous flights into contra camps, however, his uniform was not that of the U.S. or Honduran Military. We then proceeded to the Contra camp where our medic administered to the casualties. We loaded two of the casualties and were waiting for Specialist McDonald, our medic, to finish with the last patient. The last patient had a piece of what seemed to be wood sticking out of a bad wound to the upper left portion of his body. When we attempted to clean the area, we found a hole the size of a softball adjacent to the impaled object. McDonald began cleaning the area, causing a clear view of muscle hanging and the inside of the chest cavity. Mr. North fainted. I caught him and popped an ammonia capsule to bring him around. We then departed and delivered the casualties to San Lorenzo.
I would see Ramon Navarro on several occasions. The last time I saw Ramon was February 27th, 1991.
In 1990 the United States arrested General Manuel Noriega. General Noriega had been indicted by a federal grand jury under the drug conspiracy laws. Two of General Noriega’s codefendants were severed from the General and scheduled for trial in early 1991.
One of the government’s key witnesses against the two codefendants was Ramon Navarro. Navarro knew, from past experience, how valuable his testimony would be. After being subpoenaed, Navarro contacted Felix Rodriguez, one of his handlers from the Contra cocaine manufacturing facilities. Navarro told Rodriguez that he wanted $1 million cash or he would not only testify about Noriega’s involvement with drug manufacturing and trafficking, but he would also implicate Mr. Rodriguez, Mr. Oliver North, President George Bush and others.
Having been recruited into a covert operations intelligence unit in 1986, directed by William Colby and George Bush, I was tasked with the mission of delivering the money with its terms to Mr. Navarro. On February 26th, 1991, an Archer Team, consisting of three assassins and one tracker began surveillance of Mr. Navarro. A Saberliner was flown into Miami Airport with a satchel of money containing $1 million. My orders were to deliver the money to Mr. Navarro and advise him that he was to leave with me.
It had been arranged through Adolfo Colero, an exContra leader now in the Chamarro government of Nicaragua for Mr. Navarro to relocate and live in Nicaragua. Mr. Bush felt that it would be too dangerous for Navarro to
testify. I was ordered by Colby to give Navarro the money and take him to the Saberliner. I was further instructed that, if Navarro refused to relocate, he was to be terminated on the spot.
Two Archers were placed at Navarro’s home the night of February 27th, 1991. I was stationed outside of Navarro’s girlfriend’s house with the Major (code name for an Archer team leader) and another Archer. Mr. Navarro exited his girlfriend’s house at about 11:30 pm. I exited my vehicle and approached Ramon. When Navarro saw me approaching, he jumped in his car and sped off down the road. The red BMW was speeding through the streets of Miami at about 80 miles per hour with our two vehicles in pursuit. We notified the team at his home and they were prepared to apprehend him. Suddenly, Navarro lost control and crossed the median, crashing into a fence. Navarro was dead. We stopped and insured that he was dead, and then departed. I returned the satchel of money to the aircraft.
See flight plan and After Action Report on the following page.
18 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
18 MARCH, 1985 AFTER ACTION REPORT
22 March, 1985
I was asked to provide transportation for the following passengers back to Tegucigalpa.
General Gustavo Alverez Honduras
Felix Rodriguez CIA
Mike Harari Panama (Retired Mossad see letter from Israeli Embassy dated October 20th, 1993.)
Major Rodriguez advised me that I would need to modify aircraft #228 for a flight through Nicaragua to Costa Rica on the 24th. I ‘rogered’ and returned to Palmerola. Upon arriving I arranged for the modifications. The modification included four stinger missiles which were to be attached outside of the aircraft only if detection and acquisition were inevitable.
22 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
24 March, 1985 Purpose:
To deliver passengers to El Ocotal, Costa Rica and to gather vital intel from moles at Ojo de Agua/El Tamborcita, Nicaragua. It was necessary for pax to meet with contacts at Ojo and brief prior to meeting in Costa Rica.
It was determined by intelligence provided by Wally World, that both radar threat and airborne patrols of Soviet built HindD were in place. It was, therefore, determined that we would use a modified medevac UH1. If detected in a lowlevel flight across Nicaragua, it was most likely that the Sandinistas would not shoot down a humanitarian aircraft. The modification to the UH1 were gun mounts ready to be swung out of the aircraft with two stinger missiles mounted on each side. The mission was flown at a top altitude of twelve (12) feet above ground level (AGL).
Flown as Briefed. Comments:
The first leg of the flight was eventful. Utilizing the terrain elevation of the Cordillera Range northeast of Managua as a shield against Nicaraguan radar, the mission was flown with minimal hits of the APR39 (Radar
Indicator). The following passengers and crew participated in the meeting at Ojo de Agua: Mr. Rodriguez, General Alverez, and Joe Fernandez. Mr. Harari showed minimal interest in the intel. Familiarization with the usage of the photo equipment followed the briefing. I refueled from a tactical ball dropped a day earlier. We carried two auxfuel bladders in the hell holes of the chopper. The flight resumed to El Ocotal, Costa Rica with minimal hits on the APR39. The meeting was held at a remote seaside retreat. A communications center was set up at the chopper utilizing a phone provided by Mr. Fernandez.
Attending the meeting were the following: General Noriega Panama
Mike Harari Panama (retired Mossad) Felix Rodriguez U.S.
Joe Fernandez U.S. (CIA)
General Gustavo Alverez Honduras
William Barr U.S.
Via Sat/Com link:
Oliver North U.S. (National Security Council) William Clinton Governor of Arkansas George Bush U.S. Vice President
General Noriega and Mr. Barr greeted the aircraft when we arrived. The passengers adjourned to their meeting while I secured the aircraft. I was invited to join when I finished. Two Latin American soldiers set up the Sat/Com device and stood guard on the aircraft. I joined the meeting approximately thirty minutes later. When I arrived, the discussion was concerning the loss of over $100 million dollars worth of drugs and cash. The “Enterprise” was being drained. There were three Compaq Computers set up with operators, obviously working for Mr. Barr. There were approximately eight (8) administrative personnel correlating data provided by computer discs brought by the principles of the meeting. The discussions continued. It was obvious that the purpose of the meeting was to identify the source of the loss. The money flow was traced from Panama to several destinations in the U.S. Their Ohio source was ruled out early. Their Colorado source was also ruled out. That left Arkansas. It was discussed by the members that either Seal or Clinton were siphoning from the “Enterprise”. At this point, my food was brought, so I moved to a separate table and ate. By the time I finished, Mr. Fernandez signaled me to join him. We went back to the aircraft and used the phone. He called Mr. North and told him that the loss was definitely occurring on the Arkansas drop. He said, “That means either Seal, Clinton or Noriega.” (I thought it noteworthy that Mr. Fernandez added General Noriega to the suspect list.) He hung up. I started back, but Fernandez stopped me and told me to get Barr and Rodriguez. I summoned Barr and Rodriguez to the aircraft. About 15 minutes later, the phone activated and Barr answered. He listened, not speaking but nodding his head in agreement. When he spoke, he told the caller that it had been determined that the problem existed on the Arkansas connection. “I would propose that no one source would be bold enough to siphon out that much money, but it is more plausible that each are sihoning a portion causing a drastic loss.” He then acknowledged something with a “Yes, sir,” and told the caller he would see him and give an updated report in two days. At that point the phone was handed to me. I answered, “Tatum.” Vice President Bush asked me to ensure that General Noriega and Mr. Harari boarded Seal’s plane and departed prior to my departure. He also wanted the tail number of Seal’s plane. I was told to tell no one that we spoke. He then instructed me to pass the tail number to North via land lines when I returned to base. I acknowledged and handed the phone back to Barr. Barr stated that he and Fernandez were staying in Costa Rica until the following day. They needed to visit the “ranch.” He then terminated the call. Mr. Barr then made another call. He asked for Governor Clinton. He must have had a direct
number because he didn’t have to wait. He began immediately. He explained that a substantial amount of “Enterprise” monies had disappeared. He further explained to Governor Clinton that it was suspected to be in excess of $100 million dollars and that it was definitely disappearing along the Panama to Arkansas connection. He suggested that Governor Clinton investigate on that end, and that he and Mr. North would continue investigating on the Panama side and that it must be resolved or it could lead to problems. “Big problems,” he reiterated. He then asked Clinton to put his best man on it and stated that this was priority one. Then he terminated the call.
We broke down the equipment. I dropped Noriega and Harari at the airport and waited for Seal to leave in a Lear jet tail number N13SN. Then I returned the other passengers to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
This is the content of the meeting and the mission. The following is the mission flight plan and passenger list.
24 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
30 March, 1985
We arranged to remain over night (RON) in Tela, Honduras. We settled into the hotel and I excused myself for the night. I walked to the airfield (it was approximately 1 mile away) and flew the helicopter to La Cieba. I picked up the following passengers:
CIA & Vice President Bush Felix Rodriguez
CIA acted as copilot
General Alverez Honduras
We flew into several villages on the Nicaragua/Honduras border to recon for a later mission. I recorded actual village locations for cargo drops by CH47’s scheduled later in April. Three of the villages were Rus Rus, Waspam and Santa Anna.
Mr. North was pleased with the operations. He stated that Vice President Bush appreciated the extra effort I was giving. General Alverez told Mr. North of my ability to sneak into his airfield under their radar. He asked North if I could instruct some of his security team and pilots for future use. North declined stating that I was a national secret, laughing. We landed at Santa Anna and met with Enrique Bermudez and other Contra leaders. We were then taken to a processing area of some sort. As we approached, there was a strong smell of jet fuel and acetone. There were several tactical bladders, used for carrying fuels, sitting around the area. Six large fuel pods were on the ground but had the tops torched off. Inside there was fuel and groundup coca leaves.
Mr. North stated the following to the other passengers, “One more year of this and we’ll all retire.” He then made a remark concerning Barry Seal and Governor Clinton. “If we can keep those Arkansas hicks in line, that is,” referring to the loss of monies as determined the week prior during their meeting in Costa Rica. I stood silently by the vat of leaves, listening to the conversation. General Alverez had gone with the Contra leader to discuss logistics. The other three North, Rodriguez, and Ami Nir continued through the wooden building, inspecting the cocaine. North continued, “…but he (Vice President Bush) is very concerned about those missing monies. I think he’s going to have Jeb (Bush) arrange something out of Columbia,” he told his comrades, not thinking twice of my presence. What Mr. North was referring to ended up being the assassination of Barry Seal by members of the Medellin Cartel in early 1986.
“How about ‘Pineapple’?” Rodriguez asked. (Speaking of General Noriega.)
“Naw,” North answered, “something’s up there.” Bush later insured Noriega was indicted and imprisoned for drug trafficking.
I recalled the mysterious army officers remarks in Ojo de Agua, “Tell no one. There’s no one big enough in your chain of command.” I just heard North tell Rodriguez that the Vice President, the Governor of Arkansas and the three of them are manufacturing cocaine. I flew them back to La Cieba and I continued back to Tela in time for drinks downtown with my crew and friends. We returned the following day to Palmerola. I went to Ops an put a few notes on the back of the flight plan.
30 MARCH, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
6 April, 1985
Six coolers marked medical supplies were delivered to Dustoff Operations. We were tasked with dropping them off in Trijillo at the airstrip. We met a U.S. Air Force C130 bound for Panama and passed the coolers of cocaine to them. I asked the pilot, “Who gets these?” He looked at his manifest and told me that a Dr. Harari would be called on arrival.
6 APRIL, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
9 April, 1985
We flew into a small village forty kilometers east north east of Ocotal in Nicaragua. Rodriguez was there with the Contra leader Enrique Bermudez when we arrived. We walked through the camp which was still being
cleared and organized. Four fuel pods with their tops cut off were sitting outside a large military tent. Several tactical fuel balls were located next to the pods. Rodriguez told the air crew that this was a Sandinista base that was captured. I noted that all of the equipment, the GP large tent, the fuel pods, and the tactical fuel balls were U.S. made. And inside the tent were several women packaging the cocaine. When we left, we carried four 110 quart, white coolers marked medical supplies to San Lorenzo, dropped them off to a civilian C123 and returned to base.
9 APRIL, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
10 April, 1985
We were tasked with flying six coolers marked “medical supplies” to San Lorenzo, Honduras. While we were flying on 9 April, Dr. Gus (General Gustavo Alverez), delivered six coolers to Dustoff operations. I opened all six coolers to check their contents. I only counted the packages of cocaine in one of the coolers. There were 110 packages. Major Hethcox, the Aviation Support Commander, sent his Administrative Officer, Lt. Willett, to Dustoff Operations to fly one leg of our flight as my copilot. I suspected Hethcox was curious why we were flying so much. We loaded the coolers marked “medical supplies” and headed for San Lorenzo (SLN). Upon arrival we hovered to a C123 cargo aircraft that we had met the previous day. The C123 was based out of El Salvador and was tasked with carrying the cargos from San Lorenzo back to El Salvador. I noticed something familiar as the C123 pilot approached. It was Barry Seal, an old friend.
Barry was holding a jar of olives in his hand as he walked up to the chopper and greeted me. Barry had promised me weeks before in Panama, during a meeting with Harari, Noriega, and North, to see that I got some olives. I had visited the base liquor store (Class 6) at Howard Air Force Base, but it was out of olives, as was the commissary. I told him that I didn’t expect “curbservice.” He gave his cherub laugh and invited us to a caf‚ for a cokacola. The crew joined us as he commandeered an Air Force truck for the short drive from the airstrip to the village.
Barry and I walked outside of the cafe so that we could talk privately. I asked Barry to level with me concerning the drugs and who was involved. I felt that Barry Seal was the only person I had met to date that I could get a straight answer out of. The following is what Barry Seal told me concerning the drugs in general and, more specifically, the destination of the drugs which we delivered to San Lorenzo on 9 and 10 April, 1985.
“The Contras needed weapons for their rebellion against the Sandinistas. When the CIA approached the Contras in the early 80’s they promised total support in weapons, training, and money required to sustain the operations. This is what prompted the Nicaraguans to begin open recruiting against the Ortegaled Sandinista government.
But, as time went on, the U.S. renigged on their promise to the rebels. Not only did the U.S. cut money needed for medical and food supplies for the Contra camps, but they also refused to provide the weaponry needed to stay alive. This left the Contras in a hell of a spot. William Casey met with Adolfo Colero and it was decided that the Contras would get the much needed money and weapons in exchange for cocaine. Casey put Ollie North over the project. North, at the CIAs promptings, recruited Seal to oversee delivery of the products, and a man named Ramon Navarro (Medellin Cartel) to train the Contras in the manufacturing process. Colero was the “point man” for the Contras. He dealt with Washington and others as needed. Contra leader Enrique Bermudez was tasked with getting the cocaine kitchens built and protected. Bermudez had solicited three other Contra commanders to assist in this project. Their names are Commander Fernando, Commander Franklin, and Commander Marlan. Ramon Navarro supplied the cocaine paste and raw coca leaves to the Contras. The U.S. provided the equipment. It was delivered to the camps by Chinook helicopters (CH47) out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (159th Aviation Battalion). It was Barry’s job to deliver the finished product and monies to destinations as dictated by Mr. North.
Barry gave me the names of his various drop points and told me to be very wary of North. “He’ll give up his mamma if he has to!” was his comment concerning North’s lack of honor. He also gave me the names of U.S. officials, politicians, and drug enforcement officials involved in the cocaine enterprise.
I asked him to be exact about the shipments so that I could better understand. He used the six coolers that we just delivered as his example. He said that these coolers and the coolers delivered the previous day would be taken to El Salvador. From El Salvador they would be taken to a site in Southern California. There it would be distributed in rock form called “crack.” I made note of his comments and his “Boss Hog” list, as Barry called it, on the back of the flight plan concerning this specific flight. The notes were made on the evening of 10 April, 1985.
10 APRIL 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
13 April, 1985
I scheduled an instrument training flight to La Mesa and then to Tela. Major Rodriguez needed another night flight into Waspam and Rus Rus. I carried eight passengers all medical staff from the Joint Task Force hospital to Tela, a beautiful beach town on the Caribbean. While the others slept, I walked to the airfield and met Major Rodriguez. We flew to the two Contra camps and returned with eight coolers. We stored the coolers marked medical supplies in a broken down hangar on the airfield at Tela. The Major told me that a C123 should be there in the morning to pick up the evidence. He also told me that 350 kilos of cocaine had been stolen from international drug dealers based out of Colombia. He further told me that it had been secured by the Contras in Costa Rica. He pointed to four of the coolers, proud of the theft and the fact that he had possession of the cocaine. An armed guard was posted outside the hangar. I felt numb. He must have thought me a complete idiot to believe the trophies of war story he kept trying to pass to me. But who could I tell? It even involved the Vice President! I just kept telling myself to keep good notes.
Upon returning, I was called to the JTFB Command Center. There I was met by the Commander of the Army Aviation Assets in Honduras. He told me he knew I was being directed by someone other than military officials and he demanded to know who directed my flights. I told him that his security clearance simply wasn’t substantial enough for me to answer his question. He handed me a message that confirmed his suspicions. I have attached a copy of the message to the flight plan dated 13 April, 1985.
When I returned to Dustoff Operations, I called North and told him that the military authority was getting wise to the Pegasus flights. He said that he had a copy of the “twixt” and would handle it.
13 APRIL, 1985 FLIGHT PLAN
19 April, 1985
I was called by Major Rodriguez and told to deliver the map I had made of the Waspam/Rus Rus area two weeks prior, to a CH47 (Chinook) out of the 159th Aviation Battalion, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. The Chinook was scheduled to arrive in La Mesa at daybreak on the 20th, so I gathered my crew, gave excuses of a dental problem and no fuel available to top off at Palmarola. I was able to get the authority to fly by the J3 Operations for Joint Task Force Bravo. We flew to La Mesa. Unfortunately, there was no fuel there either. When we arrived, the refueling point had shut down for the night. We went to the hotel. The following morning I met the aircraft to give them an orientation. I was on board as it was taxiing to a new parking and the refueling point. Suddenly the main rotors meshed. The top of the helicopter was torn from the aircraft, throwing all of us violently around the interior of the aircraft. I was drenched in hydraulic fluid. My back had been injured. I was able to get to a hangar and get washed. I returned to my hotel room for two days. I then reported to the hospital at JTF Bravo to find that I had sustained a compression fracture of the spine. I was flown back to Ft. Stewart, Georgia.
19 APRIL, 1985 FLIGHT BRIEF
19 APRIL, 1985 MISSION BRIEFING
EXHIBIT-Israeli Embassy Letter
EXHIBIT National Security Agency Letter