The Unreported StoryWhen Bill Clinton stood outside the Old State House in Little Rock to announce his candidacy for President, Linda Ives was there. She positioned herself where she could easily be seen by all, and she held up a sign that read, "Clinton for President, Malak for Surgeon General." The media ignored her, but the Secret Service watched her closely.
Linda cried when Clinton was elected. She had been battling the powers of state government for five years searching for accountability for Kevin's murder, and now one of her opponents was the President of the United States. If this was supposed to be intimidating, it wasn't - Linda Ives is the mother of a murdered child and nothing is more fearless.
The unexpected benefit of Clinton becoming president was the international interest in Arkansas scandals that surround him, including the "train deaths." Linda had always been willing to talk with anyone who would listen. She didn't care if they were from the right or from the left or from Mars. Linda told the same story which had previously been embraced by the liberal Arkansas media, but that was before they had a home-grown president to take care of.
One of the reporters who contacted Linda was Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He was the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the London Sunday Telegraph. He listened to Linda's story and, as did many other reporters, he wrote about it. But Ambrose was different. He wasn't interested in reporting about a string of scandals. He wanted to know connections and common factors. He wanted to understand the big picture. So he worked, and studied, and researched. His reporting was so well founded, he became "the reporter most feared by the White House."
Ambrose was not only interested in gathering information, he was generous about sharing information. When the FBI opened their own investigation of the "train deaths" and persuaded me to get involved, Ambrose and I communicated regularly. He is one of the few outsiders who has a complete understanding of Saline County corruption, and believe me, that is no simple accomplishment. His knowledge became so thorough, he was able to recognize useful information when he ran across it. He would pass it on to me which I would, of course, share with Linda and the FBI.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Ambrose in the D.C. Press Club one evening in the summer of 1994. Hobnobbing with the elite does not have much appeal to me, but I was impressed with the esteem most everyone who brushed by our table extended to Ambrose. Ambrose was not one of the Clinton-apologists, but he was obviously respected by them.
Ambrose is back in Europe, but he left us with a book he finished this summer. The name of it is "The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories." It is divided into three sections: The Oklahoma Bombing, Vince Foster, and Come to Arkansas. Chapter 17, called Death Squad, is the Saline County story, and it is poignant. I have no personal knowledge of any other part of his book, but I do know the Saline County story, and Linda Ives and I vouch for the veracity of every word Ambrose wrote about us. There is nothing more important to Linda and me than truth and accuracy. They are our only weapons - they are powerful and we guard them fiercely.
I was, however, concerned about some of the information Ambrose reported about Sharline Wilson. True, she was my task force's best and most reliable informant. True, I never caught her in a lie. True, everything she told me panned out. Yet, as I read her confessions to Ambrose about picking up drugs from the Mena Airport, I felt uneasy. I knew nothing that could corroborate this, and I found myself wishing Ambrose had not included it in his book. Sharline had certainly been a drug-runner, but unloading planes at Mena seemed far-fetched.
Then, I began to think back to when I first got to know Sharline. One of my task force officers developed her as an informant against the dirty sheriff's department in Hot Spring County. I remember she came up with some pretty incredible accusations against the sheriff and some of his deputies, but time proved her absolutely correct. Then I remembered the first time she mentioned Dan Harmon to me.
We had not worked Sharline in Saline County, and it never occurred to me to ask about Harmon. One day she blurted out that she used to date "Danny" and he "always had cocaine on him." As I sat and listened to her, I remember thinking, "if this is true, why has she never mentioned it before - she knows Harmon is the primary target of my drug task force." For whatever reason Sharline had for holding back, she later testified before the 1990 federal grand jury about Harmon (as well as Roger and Bill Clinton). Several other women have since told similar stories about Harmon, but Sharline was the first and she paid the price. Harmon was protected from indictment and became the district's prosecutor. He had his drug task force set Sharline up on drug charges, and she is serving an incredible 30-year prison sentence.
Sharline hit me with another story a few years later after I got involved with the FBI's probe. She told me she drove Dan Harmon to the tracks (the sight of a drug drop) the night Kevin and Don were murdered. She went on to say she sat in the car waiting on Harmon to return and saw some kids running out of the woods. Believe me, I was not about to tell this story to a soul, and further, I was through vouching for Sharline's veracity - four year in prison had obviously sent her off the deep end. But it happened again - her story proved to be true. One of the kids she saw running out of the woods came forward to Linda Ives and told her he had been in the woods by the tracks with some friends when he saw Dan Harmon and others on the tracks with Kevin and Don. He said a shot rang out and they ran out of the woods. This kid passed an FBI polygraph test and was put into protective custody. He knew nothing about Sharline and Sharline knew nothing about him, yet their stories corroborated each other.
There is another argument on behalf of Sharline - the state police and the FBI have attempted to discredit her. They claim she has failed two polygraph tests - not true. One did not get past the preliminary-questions stage. The other she took after spending the night in isolation and says she was so traumatized she couldn't even pass the "state your name" part.
It took a lot of guts for Ambrose to follow his instincts about Sharline and write the incredible things she claims. He was bound to have known his critics would have a field day, but Ambrose had an agenda - he wanted to tell the story of the people who paid a price for standing up to the political machine in Arkansas, and that's exactly what he did. He is having to pay for doing so, but he has recorded history, and if I know Ambrose he will consider his bludgeoning by Clinton's apologists a very small price.
If you don't buy another book this year, you should buy this one. Even though the New York Times would not review it, it has made the United Press International Best Seller List, and in spite of the New York Times' refusal to review it, it made the NYT extended list at #22 last week.
"The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories" has renewed my faith that the government does not yet control the thoughts and minds of America. There are still enough people who recognize the truth in spite of what we are being fed by the mainstream media.
Thanks, Ambrose. It is an honor to know you. I hope our paths cross again.