By the mid-1980s, Arkansas was a crucial link in the contra war against Nicaragua that was secretly being masterminded from Washington. One scheme for helping to maintain the cover-up for Oliver North's network was, it appears, planned in the Governor's mansion occupied by Bill Clinton.
Among the occupants of that same mansion was Buddy Young, a man then, as later, in charge of Clinton's security. (BTW, Young was later appointed as a regional director for FEMA.) According to court documents filed by Terry Reed, a former CIA asset involved in North's contra supply effort, Young was a pivotal figure in a case designed to land Reed in prison not long after Reed had walked out of an arms-for-drugs operation in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he had been working with CIA man, Felix Rodriguez.
Arkansas' role in the contra war and in an arms-for-drugs supply network goes back to the early 1980s and the airport at Mena, Arkansas. A federal investigation aided by the Arkansas State Police established that Barry Seal, a drug dealer working for the Medellin cartel, as well as with the ClA and the DEA, had his planes retrofitted at Mena for drug drops, trained pilots there, and laundered his profits partly through financial institutions in Arkansas. Seal, at this time, was in close contact with North, who acknowledged the relationship in his memoir. These were the years in which North was constructing his covert supply lines of drugs and guns for the contras. (Click here for source article.)
"I had met Mr. Young one year previously 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, 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 Young: "Arkansas has the capability to manufacture anything in the area of weapons, and if we don't have it we'll get it!"
Mike Harari: "How about government controls?"