Barry Seal

Barry Seal

Barry Seal, the son of a candy wholesaler, was born in Baton Rouge on 16th July, 1939. Seal's father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Seal became obsessed with aircraft and took his first solo flight at the age of fifteen and was soon making a living towing advertising banners. In 1955 Seal joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in Baton Rouge. Soon afterwards Seal took part in a CAP joint training mission with the New Orleans unit that was run by David Ferrie. According to John Odom, a fellow CAP member, Seal met Lee Harvey Oswald during this training.

Tosh Plumlee claims that Barry Seal began working for the Central Intelligence Agency in the mid 1950s: "Barry Seal was involved with military intelligence in the early days... Military intelligence was the real game, with the CIA just acting as logistical people. Barry was a peripheral player back then, but he was a CIA 'contract' pilot all the way back to 1956 or 1957."

In 1958 Seal began ferrying weapons to Fidel Castro fighting against the the Fulgencio Batista regime in Cuba. At the time a section of the CIA was supporting the overthrow of Batista. However, the policy changed soon after Castro gained power and Seal is said to have taken part in air attacks on the new government.

The following year Barry Seal became a CIA pilot in Guatemala. It is also believed that Seal was involved in training Cuban exiles on No-Name Key in Florida and on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. He also ran a couple of companies based in Baton Rouge: Seal Sky Service and Aerial Advertising Associates and had an office in the International Trade Center run by Clay Shaw.

Gerry Hemming claims that Barry Seal was a member of Operation 40 in the early 1960s. Hemming told author, Daniel Hopsicker: "Yeah, Barry was Op 40. He flew in killer teams inside the island (Cuba) before the invasion to take out Fidel."

In December, 1962, Seal joined the 21st Special Forces Group and attended the Fort Benning Jump School. In May 1963 he was assigned to company D Special Operations Detachment of the 20th Special Forces Group Airborne. Seal also seems to have been involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. According to his wife, Deborah, "Barry Seal flew a getaway plane out of Dallas after JFK was killed."

In 1964 Seal joined the 245th Engineer Battalion based in St. Louis. He left in 1966. Soon afterwards he went to work for Howard Hughes and the TWA Corporation. According to his biographer, Daniel Hopsicker (Barry and the Boys), Seal "becomes first the youngest 707 Captain, and then later the youngest Captain of a 747."

Tosh Plumlee claims that Barry Seal also worked for Ted Shackley and the CIA: "Barry Seal did a lot of damn good stuff in the late 60s. In 67 and 68 he was with Air America in South Vietnam and Laos during Search and Destroy and Special Ops with Ted Shackley's boys. He'd been recruited for Special Ops because of the Cuban thing."

On 1st July, 1972, Barry Seal was arrested in New Orleans and accused of sending C4 explosives to anti-Castro Cubans in Mexico. A DC-4 was seized at the Shreveport Regional Airport loaded with almost seven tons of plastic C-4 explosives, 7,000 feet of explosive primer cord and 2,600 electric blasting caps. James Miller, Richmond Harper, Marlon Hagler and Murray Kessler were also arrested with Seal. Kessler's partner, Manny Gambino, was kidnapped around the same time the others were arrested. His corpse was later found in a New Jersey garbage dump.

The DC-4 was owned by James Boy, a known associate of the CIA. Boy's aircraft were later used to fly Oliver North's mercenaries in and out of Honduras. The man who organized the entrapment of Seal and his friends was Cesario Diosdado, an official with the United States Customs.

It took the authorities over two years to bring Barry Seal to trial. When the trial finally got underway in June, 1974, government prosecutors promptly introduced into evidence an automatic weapon that had nothing at all to do with the charges against the defendants. A mistrial was declared and Seal and his fellow defendants were released. According to Pete Brewton (The Mafia, CIA & George Bush), as soon as Seal was freed he "began working full-time for the CIA, travelling back and forth from the United States to Latin America." Daniel Hopsicker claims Seal was now "sheep-dipped" into the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as an agent for the Special Operations Group. Seal worked under Lucien Conein, who ran secret missions for the DEA. Egil Krogh, who was employed by Richard Nixon as liaison to the FBI and the DEA, later admitted that he placed Cronein in the Office of Narcotics in the White House.

This photograph was taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963. It isbelieved that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40. Closest to thecamera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal.Tosh Plumlee is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the pictureare Alberto 'Loco' Blanco (3rd right) and Jorgo Robreno (4th right).
This photograph was taken in a nightclub in Mexico City on 22nd January, 1963. It is
believed that the men in the photograph are all members of Operation 40. Closest to the
camera on the left is Felix Rodriguez. Next to him is Porter Goss and Barry Seal.
Tosh Plumlee is attempting to hide his face with his coat. Others in the picture
are Alberto 'Loco' Blanco (3rd right) and Jorgo Robreno (4th right).

According to Deborah Seal, her husband became involved in drug smuggling in 1975. On 10th December, 1979, Barry Seal and Steve Planta were arrested in Honduras, after arriving from Ecuador with 40 kilos of cocaine. Newspapers reported that $25 million worth of cocaine was confiscated and the men were charged with having 17 kilos of cocaine in their possession. Seal spent nine months in prison before being released without charge.

While in prison, Barry Seal met William Roger Reeves, a fellow drug smuggler who worked for the Ochoa family of Medellin. In 1981, Reeves, Ochoa's business manager in New Orleans, introduced Seal to Felix Bates. As a result Seal began a close relationship with the Colombians and became part of what became known as the Medellin Cartel. Established in 1980, the Medellin Cartel began when Jorge Ochoa convinced the major cocaine families to contribute $7 million each for the formation of a 2,000-man army in order to destroy the Marxist revolutionary group M-19, that was causing the drug barons problems in Colombia.

Drug barons such as Jorge Ochoa and Pablo Escobar now began working together. It has been estimated that the cartel made up to $60 million per month and its leaders joined the list of the world's richest men. The CIA watched this development with interest. It decided that the Medellin Cartel could be used to help defeat communism throughout Latin America. According to Leslie Cockburn, CIA agent, Felix I. Rodriguez, persuaded the Medellin Cartel to make a $10 million contribution to the Contras.

By 1982 Barry Seal was bringing in drugs to the United States on behalf of the Medellin Cartel. Seal moved his base of operations from Louisiana to Mena, an obscure airport in the secluded mountains of western Arkansas. Seal told friends that he once made $1.5 million on a single cocaine flight. Seal worked directly for Sonia Atala, the CIA protected drug baron (Michael Levine, The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic). It is also claimed that Seal's fleet of planes to ferry supplies to Contra camps in Honduras and Costa Rica. His planes also made return trips to airstrips in the mountains of Colombia and Venezuela. According to Roger Morris (Partners in Power): "His well-connected and officially-protected smuggling operation based in Mena accounted for billions in drugs and arms".

Seal also obtained two new multi-million dollar Beech Craft King Air 200s. According to Daniel Hopsicker, these aircraft were purchased by a Phoenix-based corporation that acted as a "front" for John Singlaub. This company also owned Southern Air, a CIA proprietary connected to William Casey, Richard Secord, Felix I. Rodriguez and George H. W. Bush.

Seal also owned a Lear jet. It had previously been owned by Reggie and Bill Whittington. In 1981 the brothers were arrested and charged in Florida with importing 400,000 pounds of marijuana and evading taxes on $73 million. The Lear jet was then passed on to Seal. It was registered as being owned by Intercontinental Holding, a CIA front company in the Cayman Islands that had been established by Paul Helliwell.

In March, 1984, Seal was indicted at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for smuggling Quaaludes and laundering money. Former undercover narcotics investigator Stan Hughes told Daniel Hopsicker (Barry and the Boys) that: "When Barry got busted on the Quaalude thing, and I heard about their being government intervention to save his ass, I didn't believe it at first. But talk to any smuggler, and they'll tell you: they can always buy their way out of a dope deal."

In an attempt to avoid an expected 10 year sentence, Seal made contact with George H. W. Bush. He then appeared before a secret session of Bush's Task Force on Drugs in Washington where he testified that the Sandinistas were directly involved in drug trafficking into the United States. Seal claimed that the Medellin Cartel had made a deal with the Sandinistas, awarding them cuts of drug profits in exchange for the use of an airfield in Managua as a trans-shipment point for narcotics.

This news was welcomed by President Ronald Reagan who wanted to launch an all out war on the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was now put under pressure to enlist Seal as an undercover informant with a special emphasis on the "Nicaraguan connection".

Seal agreed to organize a sting operation where he managed to get a photograph of Pablo Escobar helping Nicaraguan soldiers to load 1,200 kilos of cocaine on a C-123 military cargo plane. Soon afterwards Reagan went on television with the photograph to denounce the "Sandinistas as drug smugglers corrupting American youth".

As a result of Seal's cooperation in setting up this sting, the judge in Florida reduced his sentence from ten years to six months probation. The judge praised Seal for his work against the Sandinistas and pointing out that "when an informant puts his life on the line to help the forces of law and order, they deserve just compensation".

Seal also offered to provide information to the DEA implicating federal officials in the Iran-Contra scandal. This included Richard Ben-Veniste, a Watergate prosecutor who played a crucial role in the successful fight to secure the secret Richard Nixon White House tapes. Ben-Veniste represented both Barry Seal and Bill Clinton in the early 1980s. Ben-Veniste served as chief counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. However, the authorities were not interested in this information.

In December 1984, Seal was arrested in Louisiana after flying in a cargo of marijuana. After paying a $250,000 bond, Seal was released and returned to drug smuggling. In return Seal provided information that resulted in the US government obtaining 17 criminal convictions. According to Daniel Hopsicker: "Seal told investigators that between March 1984, and August 1985, he made a quarter-million dollars smuggling up to 15,000 kilos of cocaine while working for the DEA, and another $575,000 when the DEA let him keep the money from one shipment."

Barry Seal appeared before Judge Frank Polozola in Baton Rouge on 20th December, 1985. Found guilty of two drug felony convictions, Seal was sentenced to six months supervised probation. A condition of the sentence was that he had to spend every night, from 6.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m., at the Salvation Army halfway house on Baton Rouge's Airline Highway strip. Judge Polozola barred him from carrying a gun or hiring armed guards. Barry Seal told his friends "they made me a clay pigeon".

Barry Seal was asked by his close friend, Rene Martin, if he feared being killed by the Ochoa family. Barry Seal replied that he was not afraid of the Colombians because he had not implicated senior members of the organization. Seal was more worried about his contacts within the US government. This view is supported by Lewis Unglesby, Seal’s lawyer. He confirmed that the man Seal was willing to testify against was George H. W. Bush.

On 19th February, 1986, Barry Seal returned to his Salvation Army hostel at 6.00 p.m. As he parked his white Cadillac he was approached by a man carrying a machine-gun. Two quick bursts hit Seal's head and body. One of Seal's friends, Russ Eakin, observed the killing. "I saw Barry get killed from the window of the Belmont hotel coffee shop. The killers were both out of the car, one on either side, but I only saw one shoot, cause Barry saw it coming and just put his head down on the steering column."

The assassination of Barry Seal (19th February, 1986)
The assassination of Barry Seal (19th February, 1986)

Over the next few days the police received information that enabled them to arrest several men for the killing of Barry Seal. This included Miguel Velez, Bernardo Vasquez, Luis Quintero-Cruz, John Cardona, Eliberto Sanchez and Jose Renteria. A seventh, Rafa Cardona, managed to escape back to Colombia. He was murdered later that year. Eliberto Sanchez and John Cardona were deported and never appeared in court for the crime. Nor did Jose Coutin who supplied the weapons for the killing of Seal. However, he was not charged with any crime and instead testified in court against Miguel Velez, Luis Quintero-Cruz and Bernardo Vasquez. According to Leslie Cockburn (Out of Control) Coutin was a CIA asset.

One of those originally arrested, Jose Renteria, took photographs of the dead Seal in the car. When his camera was confiscated by an FBI agent at New Orleans airport, it was opened and the film inside exposed. While being interrogated, Renteria claimed that Jose Coutin was linked to Oliver North. However, this information was never produced in court as Renteria was not charged with the murder and was instead deported to Colombia.

Miguel Velez, Luis Quintero-Cruz and Bernardo Vasquez were found guilty of Barry Seal's murder and sentenced to life terms without parole. The official story was that Jorge Ochoa had murdered Seal in order to stop him testifying at his U.S. trial. Yet Ochoa never stood trial in the U.S. Nor did Seal appear to be afraid of Ochoa. His concern was with George H. W. Bush and the CIA. For example, Barry Seal's secretary, Dandra Seale (no relation) does not believe the Medellin Cartel carried out the assassination. "The CIA people here allowed it to happen. He had a chart, he had dirt on anybody and everybody."

Further evidence comes from Dee Ferdinand. She told Daniel Hopsicker that her father, Al Carone, was a CIA paymaster and a Colonel in Army Intelligence, had been sent to Dallas to pay off Jack Ruby before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Se also claimed that 33 years later Carone performed the same function for the killing of Barry Seal. According to FAA investigator, Rodney Stich, Carone was Oliver North's bagman.

Richard Sharpstein, defense attorney for one of Seal's assassins, Miguel Velez, says: "All three Colombians who went on trial always said they were being directed, after they got into this country, on what to do and where to go by an ‘anonymous gringo,' a US military officer, who they very quickly figured out was Oliver North,"

There was apparently another reason why George Bush wanted Seal dead. According to friends, Seal had a copy of a videotape of a 1985 DEA cocaine sting which had netted George Bush's two sons, George and Jeb, picking up kilos of cocaine at a Florida airport.

After his death, his widow, Debbie Seal, received a $29 million dollar jeopardy assessment from the Internal Revenue Service. It has been claimed that this was a strategy to keep her from talking to reporters. While defending herself from the IRS charge, she discovered a frequently-called phone number in Barry's records. When she dialed it she discovered it belonged to the Defense Intelligence Agency. She was told to "never call it again". Later that day, the DIA phoned her back. "Debbie, you're young, you have a whole life ahead of you, and you have your kids to think about... Don't call anyone in Washington again."

On 5th October, 1986, a Sandinista patrol in Nicaragua shot down a C-123K cargo plane that was supplying the Contras. That night Felix Rodriguez made a telephone call to the office of George H. W. Bush. He told Bush aide, Samuel Watson, that the C-123k aircraft had gone missing. Eugene Hasenfus, an Air America veteran, survived the crash and told his captors that he thought the CIA was behind the operation. He also provided information that several Cuban-Americans running the operation in El Salvador. This resulted in journalists being able to identify Rafael Quintero, Luis Posada and Felix Rodriguez as the Cuban-Americans mentioned by Hasenfus.

It was the beginning of the Iran-Contra scandal. The C-123K cargo plane that had been shot down had previously been owned by Barry Seal. Eugene Hasenfus, later claimed it was sheer coincidence that a plane once owned by Seal was now part of a secret network led by Oliver North.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Gerry P. Hemming, interviewed by Daniel Hopsicker for Barry and the Boys (2001)

Lucien Conein was organizing an assassination program. Once we got it underway in 1974, with a bunch of anti-Castro Cuban assets, I went down to Colombia. The big thing then was sailboats and a small planes and Conein jumped in and the Quantum Corporation and Stewart Mott was around.

See, the people who control intel nets and have palace access are gun dealers and drug dealers. When I met Barry in 1974, his 'cover' was as an ex-coast guard pilot. But Barry was primarily just a plane-mover back then. He's moving planes around, gunrunning, hauling cars and cigarettes and stuff...

First of all, we figure, who's using this dope? Leftists! This is not a fact that messes up my chess game. This is not a fact that messes up my chess game. You cannot allow that kind of capability to remain freelance. There is too much money. Some tinhorn asshole can come in, take over, and end up ruling a subcontinent. We were always looking for signs of foreign intelligence and military penetration of the South American drug trade, signs of Soviet or Cuban presence.

(2) John Semein, The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate (10th October, 1986)

A supply plane shot down over Nicaragua this week was dubbed "the fat lady" by one of its former owners, slain drug informant Adler "Barry" Seal.

The Contra weapons supply plane identified by the Sandinista government is owned by Doan Helicopters Inc. of Daytona Beach, Fla., according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Attorney Dale Baringer, who is handling Seal's estate, on Thursday said a 1985 purchase order shows Seal sold the Fairchild C-123 K-model transport plane to Doan in June 1985. "Barry acquired it to complete an undercover operation in Nicaragua," Baringer said. "Barry sold it with certain rights to reacquire it or to share in the profit if it was sold."

Seal acquired the large transport plane in June 1984 for a DEA undercover operation that ultimately involved the CIA, producing the first documented evidence of the communist Sandinista government's involvement in cocaine trafficking, according to court testimony from DEA agents.

Transcripts of court testimony show Seal allowed the CIA to equip the plane with hidden cameras that produced photographs of Nicaraguan government official Federico Vaughan loading a shipment of cocaine onto the C-123, with the help of members of the Cuban Army and reputed Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar-Gaviria.

Release of the photos and details of the operation by federal officials prematurely ended the undercover DEA operation in late 1984, according to court testimony. But one of the photos resurfaced in March when it was displayed by President Reagan in a nationwide television address to help explain his administration's charge that Nicaraguan government officials are involved in drug trafficking.

(3) New York Times (May 15, 1987)

The three Colombian nationals were convicted of murder in the death of Adler (Barry) Seal, an informer who was to have been a Government witness in a drug case. Miguel Velez, Luis Carlos Quinter-Cruz and Bernardo Antonio Vasquez were sentenced to life terms without parole after a jury rejected a possible death sentence.

Defendants being taken from court after trial Wednesday in Lake Charles, La. The three Colombian nationals were convicted of murder in the death of Adler (Barry) Seal, an informer who was to have been a Government witness in a drug case. Miguel Velez, Luis Carlos Quinter-Cruz and Bernardo Antonio Vasquez were sentenced to life terms without parole after a jury rejected a possible death sentence.

(4) Michael Haddigan, The Arkansas Gazette (27th June, 1988)

For seven years, Barry Seal flew tons of cocaine from the jungle airstrips of Colombia to drop zones in the Louisiana swamps.

When he became a government informant in 1984 and double-crossed the cocaine cartel he once worked for, he knew what could happen. "I can take the pressure," he said. "I'm not worried about the contract. If it comes, it comes."

It came February 19, 1986, in the parking lot of the Salvation Army halfway house on Baton Rouge's busy Airline Highway strip.

As Seal, 43, returned to the halfway house for the evening, a condition of his federal probation, assassins sprayed his white Cadillac Fleetwood with machine-gun fire. Six of the .45-caliber bullets ripped into Seal's chest, neck and head.

Seal's activities and associations at the Mena Intermountain Regional Airport in western Arkansas are now the subject of seven official investigations. Investigators are examining allegations of an international conspiracy involving gun running, cocaine smuggling and the illegal supply network serving the Nicaraguan contra rebels.

The first question they will face may not be easy to answer: Who was Barry Seal? A review of police files, federal court trial transcripts, Seal's testimony before the President's Commission on Organized Crime and interviews with those who knew him have formed a sketch of Seal. Seal's friends and enemies say he could fly anything with wings. They say he was a gregarious, confident hustler who could sell you an empty sardine can for a dollar. "He was a good con artist, very arrogant and good at what he was doing," said A. L. Hadaway of Mena, the former Polk County sheriff who investigated Seal. "He was probably one of the best and most profitable smugglers in the country."

Some will tell you he was a loving family man and a generous employer. "He was sweet and good, and he was there when you needed him," Dandra Seale of Baton Rouge, his former secretary, said. Others say he was a ruthless, violent cocaine smuggler who ruined thousands of lives. "Don't make him into a hero," one Louisiana law enforcement officer said.

While other teenagers were learning to drive, Barry Seal was learning to fly. At 15, Seal made his first solo flight at Baton Rouge's Ryan Airport. After a hitch in the Army, Seal joined Trans World Airlines. However, his airline career ended in 1972 when Seal was charged with smuggling explosives into Mexico for anti-Castro Cubans trained by the Central Intelligence Agency. He was later acquitted. But there were other options for a pilot like Seal. Seal began smuggling marijuana in 1977, but cocaine's "ease of handling" and big profits soon caught his attention, he said. Seal bragged that he once made $1.5 million on a single cocaine flight.

"Basically, smuggling was so simple, so anonymous and so lucrative that it eventually became my sole occupation," he told the President's Commission on Organized Crime in 1985.

In December 1979, Seal was arrested and jailed in Honduras after authorities there found a machine gun in his airplane. While in jail, Seal met Emile Camp of Slidell, La., another drug pilot. After they were released, Camp became Seal's co-pilot. "Emile and Barry worked really closely," Dandra Seale said. "They were together at all times."

Hadaway, who is now manager of an aircraft engine shop near the Mena airport, said Seal may have based some planes at Mena in late 1981. He said Seal began making frequent appearances at Mena in late 1982 or early 1983.

Seal's transformation from smuggler to government informant began in March 1984 when he was indicted at Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for smuggling Quaaludes and laundering money. A month later, he made the first of several unsuccessful attempts to interest the federal government in a deal. If federal authorities would agree to reduce his sentence, he would help build a case against the Colombian drug cartel. He found no takers. So he went over their heads.

Seal testified in a federal drug trial at Las Vegas in 1985 that he flew in his Lear jet to Washington, D. C., in March 1984 and met with two members of Vice President George Bush's drug task force. They put him in touch with the Justice Department's Drug Enforcement Administration at Miami. Seal and the DEA struck a deal. Soon, Seal was working as an undercover informant.

(5) Daniel Hopsicker, The Washington Weekly (18th August, 1997)

"The biggest drug smuggler in American History was a CIA Agent."

That's the mind-boggling conclusion of a 6-month investigation into the life and death of Barry Seal, a pivotal figure of the Iran/Contra '80s. Seal's C123 military cargo plane figured prominently in two of the biggest and least-understood events of the decade, the Sandinista 'drug-sting' operation, designed to be the 'Gulf of Tonkin Incident' in a US-Nicaragua war, and the downing, six months after Seal's assassination, of his beloved Fat Lady cargo plane over Nicaragua, with Eugene Hasenfus onboard, precipitating what came to be known, mistakenly, as Iran/Contra.

We have learned that the official cover-up of Seal's CIA affiliation began before his body was cold.

Until now, the 'official version of events' retailed the popular legend of Barry Seal's assassination, with Seal being gunned down by Colombians on a Medellin cartel hit.

Three Colombians were convicted of his murder, and while their cartel connections have been revealed to the world, their connection to Oliver North's Enterprise has not. The 'shooter team' was armed by somebody with long experience with shooter teams, Miami CIA asset Jose Coutin, whose Miami gun shop also supplied weapons to the Contras.

They are part of what we call the Secret History; that is, that history of our life and times in which lone gunmen do NOT play any significant role.

Speculation has long been that Seal was assassinated, not on cartel orders, but at the behest of the CIA. But unless the Medellin cartel was giving orders to the FBI, which confiscated and then withheld evidence in Seal's capital murder investigation in Baton Rouge Louisiana of February 1986, the 'conspiracy theorists' among us may turn out to be right: the CIA ordered the hit on Seal.

The Medellin 'hit' story has always had one big flaw: who would dare to kill one of the CIA's own? Recall, for example, what the KGB did in Lebanon in the 80's when one of their agents was kidnapped in the Bekaa Valley: if you didn't hear that grisly story of Russian-retaliation-via- human-dismemberment, you were fortunate.

So a cartel hit on a CIA Agent is a dubious proposition. But the Medellin Cartel fulfilling the contract has always made a certain sense, at least to those who understand that the most important doctrine of American Foreign Policy is not the Monroe Doctrine, but the Doctrine of Plausible Deniability.

When, for example, the Gambino Family (to cite another organized crime syndicate) finds it necessary to enforce discipline by 'splashing' one of their own, they may contract it out to another 'outfit.' But woe betide the organization that takes it on itself to kill one of their own without permission.

Our investigation, with some of its evidence presented here for the first time, proves that the biggest cocaine smuggler in American History, Barry Seal, was a CIA Agent. So, would the Medellin Cartel risk the wrath of the CIA to kill Seal?

Other than those whose cars get waved through the checkpoints at Langley Virginia, there has been only one person until today in a position to find out. And he had his doubts about the cartel-hit cover story, as well.

His name is Sam Dalton, and he was the New Orleans attorney who represented the Colombian hit men who killed Seal in the penalty phase of their trial. Sam Dalton subpoenaed the CIA about what he suspected was its complicity in Seal's assassination in a court of law.

The "conspiracy theorists" among us (you know who you are) were right.

"We were trying to subpoena the CIA because we felt like they had documents, exhibits, and evidence that would indicate complicity in Seal's assassination," Dalton says slowly.

Through discovery, his investigation gained access to something more valuable than gold, the contents of the trunk of Barry Seal's Cadillac on the night he died, and discovered that a cover-up was underway before Seal's body had grown cold in the Baton Rouge morgue.

"The FBI went into the Baton Rouge Police Department and literally and physically seized the contents of that trunk from the Baton Rouge Police. In fact, the Baton Rouge Police probably would have had to draw their guns to keep possession of that trunk," Dalton says today, in an explosive interview on the just-released 2-hour TV special "The Secret Heartbeat of America."

His voice slows further, his words growing more deliberate. "And, actually, by law, the Baton Rouge Police should have done that, but they didn't."

Why didn't they? What was there about Barry Seal that led the FBI and the CIA to refuse to cooperate with state officials in the most publicized assassination in Louisiana history?

Dalton wanted to know. And so he began a legal battle to gain access to the evidence seized. Even he sounds surprised that he was, eventually, at least partly successful.

"They (the CIA and FBI) wouldn't even honor the subpoena," he states, about the demands of the trial judge for the return of the seized evidence.

But then a wild card entered the picture, as wild cards often do in America, even today, in the form of a courageous state judge. "It wasn't until a state judge really backed them up, and threatened to hold them in contempt, that they partially complied."

Dalton described the brinkmanship necessary to gain access to what the defense should have had as a matter of course during discovery.

"If it hadn't been for a good state judge, with enough courage to back the federal government up," Dalton stated, "we'd have never gotten inside that trunk. He (the judge) made them give us that trunk back."

And when the FBI finally did turn over the contents of the trunk they had obviously ransacked it first, Dalton says. "Some of the things that had been in it we didn't get back."

Then Dalton's voice turns positively gleeful. "But they had missed a few things that indicated just how valuable that trunk was. Because that's where that phone number was. That's where we found George Bush's private phone number. "

"They were regularly talking to each other very seriously over what was probably a secure phone," he states.

"Barry Seal was in direct contact with George Bush."

Barry Seal and George Bush? Could they have been, secretly, one of Washington's Fun Couples of the '80's?

Lewis Unglesby is today one of the most powerful and well-known attorneys in Louisiana. But back in 1986, he was just a 36-year-old lawyer who represented Barry Seal, and who, Unglesby himself admits, was made by Seal to operate on a "need-to-know basis."

"I sat him down one time," recalls Unglesby, talking about his relationship with Seal, "and said: I cannot represent you effectively unless I know what is going on. Barry smiled, and gave me a number, and told me to call it, and identify myself as him (Seal.)

I dialed the number, a little dubiously, and a pleasant female voice answered: 'Office of the Vice President.'"

"This is Barry Seal," Unglesby said into the phone.

"Just a moment, sir," the secretary replied. "Then a man's voice came on the line, identifying himself as Admiral somebody, and said to me, 'Barry, where have you been?'"

"Excuse me, Sir, "Unglesby replied, "but my name is Lewis Unglesby and I'm Barry Seal's attorney."

There was a click, Unglesby relates. The phone went dead. "Seal just smiled when I looked over at him in shock, and then went back to treating me on a need-to-know basis."

(The Admiral in question might well have been Admiral Daniel Murphy, assigned to work in the Office of the Vice President, from which numerous reports state Contra operations were masterminded.)

But this is not just a case of (yet another) official cover-up of the murder of a quasi-public official, Barry Seal. There is strong evidence that the murder was not just covered-up, but orchestrated by the very same people who later trooped dutifully up Capital Hill to lie to the United Stages Congress about what became known as the Iran/Contra. Scandal.

Consider, for example, the simple mathematics of the hit team. Seven people were arrested in connection with Seal's assassination. But only four men were charged with the crime, and only three were convicted. The fourth Colombian charged, although presumably guilty at the least of conspiracy to commit murder, was extradited to Columbia.

And what are we to make of the evidence of George Bush's personal phone number in Seal's possession at the time of his death? Is this some historical anomaly, upon which experts will eternally disagree? What was George Bush's knowledge and involvement in cocaine smuggling under the pretext of national security carried out in Mena Arkansas?

The complete answer waits another day, but consider this: pretend that your unlisted phone number had been found with the body of the biggest drug smuggler in American History. What sort of questions might the police ask you?

The story of Barry Seal, drug smuggler, is well known today, at least in its outlines. What hasn't been known before now is much about the story of Barry Seal, CIA Agent.

We spoke with one of the three government witnesses in the penalty phase of the Colombians' trial whose testimony was so damning about Seal's activities on behalf of the federal government that two jurors attempted to change their verdict to 'not guilty.'

In our television special, Sam Dalton has this to say about this man: "If all our government people were as courageous as he was, we wouldn't have the problems today in this country that we have."

Ten years ago, this man knew as much about Barry Seal's drug-smuggling activities as anyone alive. Today this man holds an important and sensitive government position requiring anonymity, and thus requested anonymity when we interviewed him.

Attorney Sam Dalton offers another bombshell. "Lieutenant ______ caught Seal smuggling drugs red-handed at the docks, and the DEA and the CIA showed up, and told the state police to butt out, and took over the operation." Its not known if the DEA or CIA ever made efforts to charge Seal for this crime, but we wouldn't bet on it.

"Barry's involvement in Contra re-supply began way before the commonly accepted date of 1983," this source told us in a matter-of-fact tone.

We asked him of his knowledge of Seal's CIA connections. "Barry's been a spook since 1971," he stated calmly. "In fact, Barry goes all the way back to the Bay of Pigs."

Ten years ago, honest state law enforcement officials in affected states like Louisiana and Arkansas were outspoken in their condemnation of what they saw as officially-sanctioned drug smuggling in Mena Arkansas.

Yet, ten years ago, the cocaine continued to flow.

Today, courageous San Jose Mercury News journalist Gary Webb has been relegated to writing obituaries in Cupertino, California for his refusal to "get with the program."

But others have stepped forward to continue the fight to expose the scandal that swirls around the CIA, the Contras, and cocaine, and particularly on the Mena, Arkansas front on this battleground to know the truth.

Today, new sources like Sam Dalton are coming forward with forthright testimony to add to the voluminous evidence and testimony that already exists, testimony ranging from US Congressmen (former Ark. Rep. Bill Alexander) to state police (Arkansas State Criminal Investigator Russell Welch), to former drug pilots, that have testified that the CIA operation Barry Seal set up in Mena was used, and is still being used, to smuggle drugs with official sanction into the United States of America.

Today, all this is already known.

And today, the cocaine continues to flow.

(6) Preston Peet, Inside the Octopus: The Barry Seal Story (6th May, 2002)

"Seal's lawyer, Lewis Unglesby, testified that when they told Barry he had to report to the halfway house, Barry told them it was a death warrant. Seal went back to Unglesby's office, where they called George Bush directly, who was then both Vice President and coordinator of the Drug Task Force. Barry threatened to blow the whistle on the Contra guns-for-drugs deals. Barry had openly said to many people that he had hired and trained a lot of the pilots on that operation, and he had the goods on Bush and others. IRS agents showed up at his house, and claimed there was a $30 million lien on him because he'd made $60 million in the drug business. Barry told them to go to hell. He called Bush again and told him to get the IRS off his ass. He wouldn't let the IRS agents in the house, so they came back with a warrant. He was burning things in the toilet. This testimony came from IRS agents in the sentencing phase when we were trying to prove the government was involved. Shortly before he was killed, they were threatening to take away his house." The IRS was able to seize most of Seal's aircraft, while his million-dollar offshore bank accounts were also mysteriously emptied out.

"An interesting thing came up from the local cops," Sharpstein continues. "When it went out on the honk as to who it was that was killed at the halfway house, the FBI showed up and cleaned out Seal's car. There was almost nothing left. We finally made them give us a couple of boxes. They claimed they gave us what they had, like a phony passport from Honduras, but nothing heavy."

When HT pointed out that didn't sound legal, seizing evidence from a murder scene under investigation, Sharpstein replied ruefully, "Right. But there were a lot of funny things that went on. The Colombians got a life sentence instead of the death penalty, because we showed government complicity." The most important item retrieved from Seal's car was George Bush's private phone number.

Hopsicker is the first researcher to note there were other murders that same day, including top people in the Medellin cartel. Pablo Carrera, the number-two man, was gunned down in Colombia, as was Pablo Ochilla, the brother-in-law of Jorge Ochoa. The murders took place simultaneously in Colombia, Miami and Baton Rouge.

"Barry Seal wasn't assassinated by the Medellin cartel," says Hopsicker, who alleges that up to 30 cartel soldiers were also murdered that same evening. "Seal's murder may have been the opening salvo in the cleanup of Operation Black Eagle, a network of 5,000 people who made possible the export of arms in the direction of Central America, and the import of drugs back."

(7) Joel Skousen, The Good Old Boy Network (26th May, 2006)

This is an amplification of the workings of Group Four--the corrupt law enforcement boys that do the dirty work for the controllers. They constitute what are referred to as the “black” sectors of our own government, and are linked to a larger sector of the organized criminal world. This is one reason why the FBI maintains so many underworld contacts. It’s not just for utilitarian purposes of tracking the underworld. They assist each other in numerous covert activities.

Each of the Federal Services (FBI, CIA, ATF, INS, Secret Service, etc.) have many good and patriotic people working for them. The good guys are the regular, naive, “want to serve my country” types who are assigned the legitimate tasks of government enforcement. Virtually every agency head knows about the black side of his organization. No one is allowed to run these agencies unless he can be trusted to execute the special orders that come down via discrete private channels. Upper level managers who are part of the conspiracy are always watching and judging both the above ground side and the covert “black” side to see who can be trusted to do corrupt work or who has to be removed.

They look for signs of unprincipled behavior in those they invite to do the “dirty tricks” stuff. These guys carouse, they cheat regularly on their wives, and in short, don’t have any scruples about doing any job for money or future advancement. These are carefully cultivated and tested with a variety of semi-legal activities to make sure they don’t have much of a conscience. Once they enter the “black” underground, they enter the world of covert operations--but not just ordinary covert operations (because there are both legitimate and criminal types of operations performed by the same agency). I do not have the space in this book to detail all the evidence for this, but I will tell you this:

1. The CIA runs a worldwide drug distribution net, to finance this black underground series of operations. Kun San, the infamous drug warlord of the Iron triangle testified of this openly--that his major client was the CIA and he could name names. Barry Seal was killed after revealing his involvement in flying cargo planes loaded with drugs for the CIA into the famous Mena Arkansas 10,000 foot rural runway (during Governor Clinton’s term).

2. The FBI regularly assists and covers up for numerous illicit government operations. Occasionally, critical evidence is falsified in their now discredited forensics labs in order to alter the outcomes of certain investigations. The FBI played a major role in the cover-up of the JFK assassination, the Waco attack, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the Vince Foster murder.

3. CIA and Secret Service agents who were part of the “black” underground side, pulled off the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to make them martyrs for a much larger political purpose. The killers may not have known the purpose, but those who gave the orders did.

John F. Kennedy was, in my opinion, the first president to be elected who actually knew that he was put into power by this powerful underground group. He was only a second level person himself however, and quite disposable, as we later found out. JFK was taken out by the very same leaders who put him in. The job was carried out by a select group of dirty tricks boys from the CIA, Secret Service, and FBI. This was the world’s first good look at the workings of the conspiracy. They made a lot of sloppy mistakes, and got away with it for only one reason--they had enough control over the media, members of the Supreme Court, Congress, and a host of others that they could cover up almost anything. Their errors were huge and needed multiple cover-ups. Watching how they did it told me a lot about how extensive their powers are. Before I go into some details, let me backtrack and show how this gang of government hit-men operates in various parts of the federal security forces.