Barry Seal

Adler Berriman Seal, or "Barry Seal" (July 16, 1939February 19, 1986) was a pilot with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a drug smuggler (also with the CIA) turned Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informant. After a 1984 arrest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for money laundering and Quaalude smuggling, Seal negotiated a plea bargain that included him becoming an informant for the DEA and testifying against his former Colombian employers, putting several of them in jail. He was murdered on February 19, 1986 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The entire time Seal was engaged in drug trafficking he was also a commercial airline pilot. He flew transcontinental flights for TWA until he was fired after his 1984 arrest. Sam Dalton, the New Orleans attorney who represented the Colombian hit men subpoenaed the CIA about what he suspected was its complicity in Seal's assassination in court, and with great difficulty and the assistance of the judge, was able to get the suitcase Seal was carrying on the night of his murder. Though it had been ransacked, he found a piece of paper in the wallet with the private phone number of George H. W. Bush. [ Bush Seal connection] ] :

Undercover Informant

In 1984, a Washington Times article stated DEA informant Barry Seal had successful infiltrated the Medellin cartel's operations in Panama. The story was leaked by Oliver North to show the Nicaraguan Sandanistas' involvement in the drug trade. [ [ PBS’s Frontline: Thirty Years of America’s Drug War: A Chronology] ] In an attempt his 1984 arrest in Florida, Seal agreed to cooperate with the DEA, and testify against his former colleagues. Amongst those Seal testified against were Prime Minister Norman Saunders and members of the Medellín Cartel. Seal also testified before the President's Commission on Organized Crime in October 1985.

Seal had also been used by the DEA and CIA in an attempted sting operation against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. In 1984 Seal arrived at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida with a shipment of cocaine that had been allegedly brokered through the Sandinista government. Seal testified that pictures taken during the trip showed Sandinista officials brokering a cocaine deal with members of Colombia’s drug cartel, although the poor quality of the pictures meant that Seal’s eyewitness account was the primary evidence for the claim. The story was later broken by both "The Washington Times" and "The Wall Street Journal", exposing Seal’s identity and involvement of his former Colombian associates.

As part of his plea agreement, Seal was ordered to a halfway house in Baton Rouge, where he was murdered. His former Medellin employers have been identified as the perpetrators, but some critics also implicate US administration.Fact|date=September 2007

As another minor historical and perhaps-not-coincidental note, the same C-123 Provider that was leased by a CIA front company (Southern Air Transport) that was used in the sting operation was later shot down by Sandinista 12.7 mm machine gun fire while air dropping supplies to Contras forces in Nicaraguan air space and the sole survivor, Eugene H. Hasenfus, was captured by the Nicaraguan government, bringing to light the international weapons-trafficking operation dubbed the Iran-Contra Affair.

His story was made into a film in 1991 by HBO, "Doublecrossed".


On February 19, 1986, Barry Seal was assassinated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in front of a branch of the Salvation Army on Airline Hwy. As he sat in his Cadillac, two men carrying machine guns approached him. One of them then fired two shots into his head, killing Seal instantly, which brought the DEA's most important investigation to an end.


Further reading

* [ Page on Seal]
* "The Kingpin and his many connections" Michael Haddigan, The Arkansas Gazette
*Terry Reed and John Cummings, "Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA" (Clandestine Publishing, 1995) ISBN 1-883955-02-5
*Daniel Hopsicker, "Barry and the Boys:The CIA, the Mob and America's Secret History" (Mad Cow Press 2006) ISBN 978-0-9706591-7-0


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