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CIA Inspector General Probes Drug Smuggling Allegations in Arkansas


October 1996

CIA and congressional officials announced on August 7 that the CIA's inspector general is investigating alleged CIA involvement in illegal arms shipments and drug smuggling at an isolated airstrip in Mena, Arkansas during the 1980s (Susan Schmidt, "CIA Probed in Alleged Arms Shipments," Washington Post, August 7, 1996, p. A6; Associated Press, "CIA inspector probes claims of gun, drug smuggling," Star Ledger, August 8, 1996, p. 11).

CIA Director John Deutch ordered CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz to report on allegations that the CIA used the Mena airstrip to transport arms shipments to the Nicaraguan rebels during the 1980s, and that pilots returned to the U.S. with large shipments of cocaine. Hitz will also report on allegations that the CIA obstructed law enforcement investigations of Mena.

Deutch ordered the investigation in February at the request of House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach (R-Iowa). Leach's committee is looking into alleged drug money laundering in the Mena area, stemming from the committee's Whitewater inquiry.

American Spectator Editor R. Emmett Tyrrell, asserts in his book, "Boy Clinton," that Clinton, Governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992, knew about the CIA operations and drug smuggling at Mena. Clinton denies having anything to do with activities at Mena. White House spokesman Mark Fabiani said, "The allegations are as bizarre as they are false."