The Crimes of Mena:

Thornburgh's Promise


The following article was printed in the Thursday, September 14, 1989
issue of *The Arkansas Gazette* on page 3B.

   ATTORNEY GENERAL TO CHECK INTO MENA DRUG CASE PROGRESS,
   ALEXANDER SAYS

   By Maria Henson

   WASHINGTON - Rep. Bill Alexander, D-Ark., secured a commitment
Wednesday from Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to look into allegations
about a lack of action by the U.S. Attorney's office at Fort Smith
regarding a drug probe in Mena.
   Alexander discussed with Thornburgh the testimony of a former
Internal Revenue Service agent who helped investigate money laundering
and international drug smuggling out of the Mena Airport. He passed along
the written testimony to Thornburgh and received "strong assurance"
from the attorney general that the matter would be examined further,
according to Alexander's press secretary.
   The former IRS agent, William Duncan, testified before a House
subcommittee in July about how IRS attorneys allegedly pressured him
to withhold information from Congress. Duncan alleged that there was a
lack of action in the U.S. Attorney General's office in Fort Smith
in the drug trafficking case.
   Duncan was investigating the activities of the late Barry Seal, a 
convicted drug smuggler turned government informant. Seal operated
out of the Mena Airport from 1984 until he was slain in February 1986
at Baton Rouge, La.
   The activities of Seal have been the subject of numerous federal and
state investigations, none of which has resulted in criminal indictments.
   Alexander has said that Duncan was under orders from then-Attorney
General Ed Meese's office in Washington to withhold information.


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DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY,
AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1990.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on
Appropriations, House of Representatives, One Hundred First
Congress, First Session. September 13, 1989.
-----------------------------------------------------------
Washington : U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O.,
Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office, 1989.
-----------------------------------------------------------
GOV DOC. # Y 4.Ap 6/1:C 73/2/990/pt.9
-----------------------------------------------------------

Congressman Neil Smith (D-Iowa), was Chairman of the Subcommittee on
the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, The Judiciary,
and Related Committees.

Congressman Bill Alexander (D-Arkansas) is speaking to U.S. Attorney 
General Richard L. Thornburgh and National Drug Control Policy Director 
William J. Bennett.

The following excerpts are from pp. 1, 67-68. 


                 DEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND
              STATE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES
                      APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1990

                            _____________
 
                                          Wednesday, September 13, 1989
 
                    NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL STRATEGY

                               WITNESSES
 

HON. DICK THORNBURGH, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES

HON. WILLIAM J. BENNETT, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY

HON. RICHARD DARMAN, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET


                             OPENING STATEMENT

   Mr. SMITH of Iowa. Today, the Appropriations Committee is holding a 
hearing to discuss President George Bush's National Drug Control 
Strategy. A major element, of course, is the request for $7.9 billion for 
anti-drug abuse funding. That compares to $5.7 billion that was in the 
February request.
   Joining us today on this side of the table are Mr. Whitten, the 
chairman of the full committee; and two of the subcommittee chairmen, Mr. 
Obey and Mr. Murtha. Appearing for the Administration are the Director of 
the National Drug Control Policy, William J. Bennett; Attorney General 
Richard L. Thornburgh; and Mr. Richard G. Darman, Director of the Office 
of Management and Budget.
   I would like to thank all of you for being here....

   Mr. COUGHLIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
   Mr. SMITH of Iowa. Mr. Alexander.

                     COMPREHENSIVE DRUG CONTROL POLICY

   Mr. ALEXANDER. Thank you.
   Welcome, gentlemen, for coming to the committee today, and I want to 
commend especially Mr. Bennett on the signal effort that you have 
demonstrated in producing the National Drug Control Strategy. During the 
20 years that I have observed this issue, this is the first Administration
that has presented a comprehensive drug control, anti-drug policy.
   I certainly agree with the Chairman of our committee that the drug 
abuse is the greatest threat to our national security, even greater than 
Communism was 20 years ago, and that we should treat it equally as a 
threat to our national security and to the future of our Nation.
   I agree that we need more enforcement, more prosecution, more judges, 
more jails, more treatment, more disruption of supply, and more education 
to meet this demand. And I pledge my support.
   To restate my statement over a minute ago, I will present an amendment 
to be offered as a part of the legislative package which will exempt the 
provisions of the Alexander-Brooke amendment, which now requires an 
automatic cutoff of Federal funds to foreign countries if those nations 
are in arrears on payments and obligations are more than one year.
   It originally started out to be 60 days. The Senate made it a year, and 
that is how it got to be the Brooke amendment. There are two questions 
which I would like to ask. One has to do with our own law enforcement. 
While I don't want to dwell on the past, there is one issue that must be 
addressed if the people in Arkansas are to have any confidence in any law 
enforcement initiative.

                          AIRPORT INVESTIGATION

   It is known as the Mena, Arkansas airport investigation. It is an 
investigation that has been on and off now for a number of years. It is 
one that arises out of an alleged transport of guns from Mena Airport to 
Central America, and one that in which drugs were returned to Mena, 
Arkansas for distribution.
   I have here a copy of a statement which I will present to you from one 
Bill Duncan, a former Special Agent with the Criminal Division of the 
Internal Revenue Service, in which he says that his intended testimony 
before a Congressional committee was compromised - where he was ordered 
to be compromised, and that he believes that indictments should result 
from this investigation where none have occurred.
   I will present to you, Mr. Attorney General, a summary of this 
investigation. I am sure that it is one that you will want to know about. 
It is one that occurred before your tenure of office, but one that 
deserves further investigation. Congress is looking into it on three 
fronts in the House, at least, and on at least one front in the Senate.
   My question to you is: Will you pursue the investigation?
   Attorney General THORNBURGH. We certainly will, Congressman. I am not 
familiar with the case, but we will pursue it.







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