Bill Clinton and the Missing $100 Million

by J. Orlin Grabbe

D.G. "Chip" Tatum was already familiar with Central America when he was asked by Oliver North to infiltrate the 3/498th Medical Company of Ft. Steward, Georgia, as a MEDEVAC pilot. He had already flown extensively in Central America as a Special Operations pilot.

And it was as a Special Operations pilot operating out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, in 1983 and 1984, that Tatum would routinely deliver white coolers marked "medical supplies" to Little Rock Airforce base and to the Mena airport in Arkansas. There he would be met by Dan Lasater and Raymond "Buddy" Young. The coolers were similar to the one marked "vaccine" that had broken open at La Mesa airport in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. That container had held packages of cocaine, not vaccine.

Tatum's account of his dealings with these individuals are recounted at length in "The Tatum Chronicles", which is Part II of Chip Tatum's autobiography "Life as Pegasus". (Part I, "Nixon's Darkest Secret: Operation Red Rock" is available in manuscript form for $32.95 from Nancy Tatum, P.O. Box 895082, Leesburg, FL 34789).

But it was on March 24, 1985, flying under cover as a MEDEVAC pilot that Tatum attended a meeting involving General Noriega, President of Panama; Mike Harari, a former Mossad agent who was Noriega's principal advisor; William Barr, General Counsel for the CIA airline Southern Air Transport, and later Attorney General of the U.S.; the Honduran General Gustavo Alverez; two CIA agents (Felix Rodriguez and Joe Fernandez); and--via satellite link--Oliver North, Bill Clinton, and George Bush.

There was $100 million missing from North's "Enterprise", and the purpose of the meeting was to find out where it went. The meeting was held at a remote seaside retreat at El Ocotal, Costa Rica. In Tatum's words:

        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; Felix Rodriquez-US; Joe 
        Fernandez-US; General Gustav 
        Alverez-Honduras; William Barr-
        US.  Via Sat/Com link: Oliver 
        North-US; William Clinton-
        Governor of Arkansas; George 
        Bush-US 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 joined the meeting 
        approximately thirty minutes later.  
        When I arrived, the discussion was 
        concerning the loss of over $100 
        million.  The "Enterprise" was being 
        drained. . . .  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 
        US.  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 [Barry] Seal or 
        [Bill] Clinton were siphoning from 
        the "Enterprise". . . .

Fernandez and Tatum returned to the aircraft to use the phone.

        He [Fernandez] called Mr. North.  
        The discussion pin-pointed three 
        people.  Fernandez told North that 
        the loss was definitely occurring on 
        the Arkansas drop.  He said, "That 
        means either Seal, Clinton or 

Tatum summoned Barr and Rodriquez to the aircraft.

        About 15 minutes later the phone 
        activated and Barr answered. . . . "I 
        would propose that no one source 
        [among Clinton, Noreiga, and Seal] 
        would be bold enough to siphon out 
        that much money, but it is more 
        plausible that each are siphoning a 
        portion causing a drastic loss." . . .

        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. . 
        . .

        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 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 
        definately 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.
        My sources say Chip Tatum's word is reliable, 

moreso than Terry Reed's. So we have here the beginnings of a nice bipartisan scandal. And we haven't even gotten to the Mena information that Jim Guy Tucker coughed up as part of his plea bargain.