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July 4, 1982
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Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDP09SO0048ROO0100020035-3 Na&i As a member of the Special Forces, Luke Thompson was involved in covert actions from Latin America to Asia. Then he was recruited to go to Libva to help train terrorists. Here he tells his story for the first time. organizers of the mission, Edwin P. 18y Piaibap TcubtCa% The first call came on a muggy July evening in 1977: Luke Thompson, a master sergeant in the Army Special Forces, was at home in Fayetteville, N.C. The caller identified himself as Pat Loomis from Washington and asked if., Thompson might be inter- ested in recruiting a team of former Green Berets for an overseas mission that'would pay well. Loomis provided no other information. Thompson conditionally accepted the proposal, not knowing that he was about to be- come involved in one of the strangest and most disturbing operations in the annals of international espionage.. When the conversation with Loomis ended, Thompson, who says he was initially concerned that the 'offer might be a trap by a hostile foreign in- telligence service, phoned military in- telligence officers at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, headquarters of the Spe- cial Forces, to report the call and to seek their guidance. Two officers drove to his house, according to Thompson, and the three men spent the evening discussing the operation. The next day, Loomis called again leave by his commanding officers - and three former Green Berets he had recruited were in Libya. Their mis- sion:,to train terrorists. Five years later; the Libyan opera- tion.remains a subject of mystery, controversy and investigation: The and told Thompson he wanted to ar- range a meeting the following day in Fayetteville. They agreed to meet at the Sheraton Motor Inn. The day of the meeting, Thompson. recalls, he was informed by the military intelli- gence officers that they had checked the offer "to the top" and found it was "legal. and aboveboard-."They told him, "You can pursue ~t as you de- sire," he says. Later, at the Sheraton, Loomis identified himself as a covert agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. Less than a week later, Thompson - who had been granted a Wilson and Frank E. Terpil, both or- mer American intelligence agents, were indicted by a Federal grand jury in 1980 on charges of illegally shipping explosives to Libya as part of the ter- rorist training operation. Wilson-was recently caught in an international trap set by the Justice Department and he is now being held in the Wash- ington area pending trial, with bail set at $20 million. Terpil remains a fugitive, at last report living in Bei- rut. Shortly before his meeting with Thompson, Pat Loomis had been dis- missed by the C.I.A. for helping Wil son; but because of administrative procedures Loomis was still on the agency's payroll when he contacted Thompson. The Central Intelligence Agency has repeatedly denied author- iiing or supporting the operation, but some sources suggest that senior agency officials who were close to Wilson may have given approval to the Libyan scheme, the hope it would produce valuable intelli- gence information on Libyan terror- ism. There is also a possibility, which Federal prosecutors are exploring, so accustomed w aLA.vJ'.s unsavory assignments from shadowy sources of authority .that they saw nothing unusual or suspicious in being sent by the United States Government to aid an anti-American dicta- tor? And was. there something about the organization of the American intelligence system, particularly the relationship be- tween the C.I.A. and the Green Berets, that encouraged agents to operate without clear lines of au- thority? Since the mid-1970's, the nation has known that the Government has 'con- ducted questionable operations over- seas, including assassinations. But the country never got to know any of the men who carried them out, the de- tails of what they did or the impact their work had on them. Most of the missions were highly classified: and the men were instructed never to dis- cuss them. Luke Thompson, now re- tired and disillusioned, decided to break that silence. This is the story of his experiences, a story which opens a window into the Byzantine, rarely viewed world of modern espionage. It is also a story which reduces certain governmental policies to a human scale on which the costs = for individ- uals and society - can be better fa- thomed. all of what Thompson claims can be checked against other sources that the same senior C.I.A. officials might have been silent business part- Hers of Wilson. Federal prosecutors in Washington, Houston, Denver and severalgating various aspects of the case and additional indictments are said to be likely this year. Of the many riddles that arise from these events, one of the most difficult to solve may be this: Why did a group of former Green Berets, men who were trained to be America's elite commando troops and who consider themselves unwavering American patriots, accept an offer to train ter- rorists for a hostile foreign govern- ment? The men themselves say the reasons are not hard to comprehend. The money was good (they say they were promised $6,500 a month), the action was appealing and, at least as important, they claim that they were firmly convinced that they were en- listing in an officially sanctioned American mission to infiltrate the Libyan intelligence apparatus. But was there something about these men, the training, they had received Philip Taubman, a Washington corre- spondent for The New York Times, frequently reports on intelligence matters. and the tasks they had carried out in the past that discouraged them from questioning what was clearly a ques- tionable mission? Had they become of information. The Government re- fuses to discuss some of the missions he describes. And his thoughts and emotions are clearly his alone. But most aspects of his story, including the incidents involving larger units of Green Berets, were witnessed by others and many were recorded in Government files. These sources, in- cluding current and former Defense Department officials, former intelli- gence officials and published and un- published Government records, con- firm that his account is solidly grounded in fact. For the years that he wore a green Right: A fade, Thompson, hi, the early 1960 badge issued I C.I.A. in The, beret, from 1962 to 1978, Thompson in- habited the dark corners of what might have been a Graham Greene novel. He was part of a secret Ameri- can army of covert agents who han- dled the dirty work of United States foreign policy - often under the su- pervision of the C.I.A. - all over the world. For example, Thompson says Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDPO9SO0048ROO0100020035-3 he took part in a previously undis: closed assassination plot in the Do- minican Republic in 1965. He claims his colleagues later went to Bolivia where they helped Government sol- diers hunt down and assassinate Er- nesto Che Guevara, the Cuban revolu- tionary leader. In Southeast Asia, Thompso.. says he and his fellow Green Berets assassinated province chiefs, businessmen and political leaders suspected of being Vietcong sympathizers, made reconnaissance missions into North Vietnam and car- ried out secret attacks in Cambodia months before the formal American incursion in 1970. His story raises questions that may be difficult for the nation to answer. Among them: How does one measure the costs to a free and lawful society of sending citizens .to assassinate for- eign political leaders just because they happen to be troublesome? Is there not a line between unconven- tional warfare and unacceptable war- fare? Can men be trained as elite, obedient commandos without de- stroying their ability to make inde- pendent judgments when necessary? And what responsibility does the Gov- ernment bear to help such men re- adjust to civilian life? . uke Floyd Thompson was. born on March 13, 1934, in Lewis County, Kentucky, the seventh of 15 children; four of his siblings died in infancy. The area was so rural, he says, that his home was lo- cated in no specific town. His father, Meredith, was a steelworker. His mother, Verna Gillum, was a full- time mother and housewife. When Luke was 3, the Ohio River over- flowed its banks and washed away the Thompsons' house. The family moved to Ashland, where his father, unable to find Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDPO9SOOO48ROOO1OOO2OO35-3 II II 11 III JII II; ! , I 11.1 a mill job, went to work for the W.P.A. The military was always an impor- tant part of the Thompson family. Luke's father served in the cavalry in France during World War I. His six brothers all enlisted in the military when they became.old enough, and four of them saw action during World War II. ' Luke joined the National Guard when he was 14 and enlisted in the Army three years later. Thompson was an "unruly" young- ster, as he puts it. He recalls taking part in the robbery of a bootlegger in Kentucky. "We went into the Red Bud Tavern, shot 'up the jukebox with a .45, and robbed the guy of $75. We had to park our getaway car on a hill 'cause that was the only way it would start." An encounter with the police the next day convinced Luke that he was finished with what he calls "the gangster business." In 1955, however, he "started becoming delinquent again," he says. This time, that delinquency took the form of going absent without leave and other violations of military regu- lations. Thompson was eventually brought up before a court martial hearing in 1956 and given a dishonora- ble discharge as well as a year at Fort Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. He was told, however, that he could re- store himself to active duty if he served the time with' good behavior.-' Even so, it took Thompson several years after his release from prison to persuade the Army to waive his dis- honorable discharge and permit him to re-enlist, which he did in 1959. At the time Thompson was admit- ted to Special Forces training in 1959, the Green Berets were still a small,. relatively untested group, established by the Army in 1952 to provide the United States with a unit capable of' conducting unconventional warfare operations, including commando and or queers," but as time.; passed, Thompson became intoxicated with the healing arts. After completing the initial phases of medical training in 1961,.Thompson joined the Seventh Special. Forces Group based at Fort Bragg:.,He was immediately assigned to an'A Team (the basic Special Forces unit, com- posed of 12 men) which was sent to Vietnam to train civilian irregular forces to fight the Vietcong. Thompson's next major assignment came in early April 1965. At that time, he says, he was selected to serve on a covert team sent to the Dominican Republic, where Col. Francisco Caamano Deii6, .was leading guerrilla forces in an attempt to overthrow the Government. The United States, in that period, was ostensibly taking a neutral position in the Dominican civil war. In late April, however, when violence escalated and the rebels appeared to be, near seizing power, President Johnson sent in the Marines, claiming that American lives were in danger. The Marines helped prevent a left-wing takeover. Whether Thompson's secret mis- sion was organized by the C.I.A. is un- clear. Some former agency officials who asked not to be. named said such an operation did take place. Other re- tired C.I.A. officials who were in- volved in the Dominican Republic at the time denied that the. operation was managed by the agency. Thomp- son says it began when a team of Green Berets was sent to the island only to monitor the activities of American civilians, including Peace Corps workers, to help assure their safety. When the Green Berets came upon evidence that some of the Americans were assisting guerrilla forces however, their major objec- tive shifted from protecting their fel- low countrymen to spying on them. The surveillance mission was abruptly cut short when Thompson and his colleagues were given orders to link up with a team of United States Navy unconventional-warfare spe- cialists and develop a plan to assassi- nate Caamano, he says. The joint team decided to attack Caamano at a building in Santa Domingo where he often met with other guerrilla lead- ers. They would approach from the beach down two parallel streets and carry explosives into the building by hand. After laying the charges, the Americans were supposed to fight their way back out, carrying any casualties with them to avoid detec- tion of American larticipation. At the last minute, he says, the mission was cancelled. No reason was ever pro- vided. Former intelligence officials now say the plan was considered too risky and might have harmed rather than helped American interests by making Caamano a martyr. . Thompson never returned to Latin America, but he reported that two years later several of his fellow Green Berets secretly took part in the cap- ture and killing of Che Guevara. Thompson's description of the opera- tion in Bolivia was confirmed by an- other former Green Beret who was a participant, and by former Defense Department and intelligence officials wliowere involved. All of them asked not to be identified. intelligence activities. They accepted for training only seasoned soldiers prepared to endure several years,of additional highly specialized and in- tense training, followed by a ca-reer on the cutting edge of American mili- tary.activities around the world. In the late 1950's, the C.I.A.. began turning to the Special Forces to pro- vide manpower for covert operations around the world. The relationship between the agency and the Green Berets flourished in Southeast Asia during the 1960's and 1970's, accord- ing to Defense Department officials, as hundreds of Special Forces troops served in operations supervised by the C.I.A. Such cooperation has con- tinued, intelligence officials acknowl- edge: Before the unsuccessful hos- tage rescue mission in Iran in 1980, a number, of Green Berets based in West Germany entered Teheran pos- ing as German businessmen to help with rescue preparations. Part of the mystique of the Green Berets has always derived from their training program. More than half the men who take the rigorous course ei- ther do not finish or are not consid- ered qualified at the end for induction into the Special Forces. Skill at killing is required'of all Green Berets and Thompson apparently learned his les- sons well. "There are only two ways to die," he says matter-of-factly. "If you stop breathing or your heart stops pumping blood. Everything else ?is-a practical application." After being inducted into the Spe- cial Forces, Thompson was selected to attend intelligence school, one of several areas in which Green Berets may specialize. But when he found out there would be a six-week delay before classes started, he opted for a specialty in medical training instead. At first, he recalls, he thought "all medics were conscientious objectors Thompson (driving) and another Green Beret returning from patrol with Vietnamese troops they had been training. Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDPO9SO0048ROO0100020035-3 I I III Il. LL II Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDP09S00048R000100020035-3 According to these accounts, a team of 10 to 12 Green Berets from the Eighth Special Forces Group based in Panama was sent to Bolivia in late 1967 as part of a C.I.A.-sponsored plan to train Bolivian forces in counterin- surgency techniques and to help the Bolivians stalk Guevara. In a camp located at the outskirts of La Paz, the Americans worked with 100 to 150 Bolivian special-forces troops. Dur- ing the training program, Bolivian in- telligence agents reported that Guevara was in the mountains east of La Paz. The Green Berets, according to a participant, conducted their own intelligence check and confirmed Guevara's presence. The next step was to formulate a plan to capture him. The bulk of this preparation was handled by the Americans, and over the course of several weeks a small team of Boliv- ians was specially . selected and trained for the operation. In the end, the capture was relatively straight- forward, with the Bolivians and their American advisers tracking down Guevara in a remote mountain vil- lage where he was training guerril- las. "He was caught and executed on the spot," said a former Green Beret who was there. "The Bolivians pulled the trigger. They needed to get the credit." Guevara's body was brought back to the camp, where it was identi- fied by two American intelligence agents who had flown in from Panama. ollowing the aborted assas- sination scheme in the Do- minican Republic, the focus of Thompson's career shifted back to Southeast Asia. He returned to Viet- nam for the first of several tours of duty there and in Thailand, with frequent missions into Laos, Cambodia and even North Vietnam. Thompson says. the purpose of the missions into North Vietnam was to collect strategic intelligence. He says he went on four such missions him- self, and knew of dozens of others. Former Defense Department offi- cials say. such missions involving Americans were made during the early years of the Vietnam War but were reduced and eventually ended by 1967-68. After that, they say, infil- tration into North Vietnam was han- dled by mercenary forces and was re- stricted primarily to border areas. Next, Thompson was ordered to join a covert operation in Thailand run by the Army and the C.I.A. Supervised by the MACV-SOG (Military Assist- ance Command, Vietnam-Special Operations Group), the mission in- volved the training of Thai special- forces teams, followed by their de- ployment with Green Berets to inter- dict the Ho Chi Minh trail. It was during this tour in Southeast Asia that assassinations became al- most routine for Thompson. He still remembers the first vividly. "The man was a Vietnamese interpreter. It was proved to the satisfaction of our intelligence sergeant that he was sup- plying information to the Vietcong. I was told, 'This one's yours.' ".A week later Thompson and the interpreter were sent on an operation together. "We came, into contact with the Viet- cong. As soon as we hit the ground, he got wiped out. He was a few feet, away. When the shooting. started, I put a burst in him. He never knew it." Although Thompson knew the man and hadn't considered him an enemy, he didn't dwell on the assassination. "It was a mechanical thing." he says. "It had to be done. It was a chore just like brushing your teeth." Whenever possible, he says, the Green. Berets would try to disguise their involve- ment and make it seem as if the kill- ing had been done by the Vietcong or either of the Vietnamese armies. "You try to isolate the subject from anyone or any situation that might lead back to the true source of his death by using 'sniper,' 'a firefight,' or 'explosive device.' There are no words. Just bang. You're not a tribu- nal. You're just a machine." Thompson says that assassination targets included anyone considered a Vietcong supporter or sympathizer. The list included civilians such as dis- trict chiefs, businessmen and politi- 1 cal leaders. Former Green Berets and Defense Department, officials confirm that such assassinations were common. "We had the most basic law: survival," Thompson says. "When it became obvious that someone was a threat to our efforts, it was just a job. On reflection, it's not something that I'm proud of ... I hope I didn't kill innocent people.". Thompson says he was troubled by a killing only once. It was in combat. He recalled the moment: "It was a straightforward case of kill or be killed. I was walking along a trail in textbook style, alert for anything. Suddenly, someone stepped around a bend in !the trail with his weapon on his shoulder. I killed him. Immedi- ately after, it was the greatest thrill in the world - I guess because I was alive - but as the day wore on, I was moved. to distraction thinking about this guy. He seemed more like a friend. He was doing exactly what he was told to do, and we had come into conflict and I had beat him. I didn't have any sense of victory. Here's this Joe Gook walking along and I'm G.I. Joe. I didn't know his name. He was a soul in the jungle, I was a soul in the jungle. I had an affinity for the guy. This was probably the worst any kill- ing's dwelled on me." During the same period that Thompson, in the jargon of the Green Berets, was "greasing" suspected Vietcong, he was also busy tending to wounded and sick Americans and Vietnamese, , including Vietcong forces. The contradiction never trou- bled Thompson. "I'd go from curing to killing," he said. "I'd take off my scrub suit and put on my camouflage fatigues and move out. I had no prob- lem making the transition." Thompson says he treated anyone who came to his field clinic. "I had to maintain a neutral posture. I might- 've treated a bunch of people who killed my buddies but I had to help gain the good will of the local popula- tion.That's money in the bank for everyone on the team." 13 Thompson's career in Southeast Asia concluded with missions that took him into Malaysia and Cambo- dia. In late 1967, after serving briefly Bolivian troops display the body of Ernesto Che Guevara to reporters. Thompson charges that'.Green Berets were involved in his killing in 1967. as a medical instructor back at Fort Bragg, he: was sent . to. Thailand, where he faced his biggest crisis as a medic: an epidemic of typhoid fever. He said that his primitive clinic had six beds to handle more than 170 pa- tients suffering from the disease. Thompson lost only a dozen patients, a far lower mortality rate than for other medics in the area, and he re- ceived commendations from the Army Surgeon General's office equat- ing his efforts with the feats of Walter Reed, the famous Army surgeon. He showed me copies of the commenda- tions. Thompson's penultimate tour began in January 1968, when he was assigned to a mobile strike force con- ducting search-and-destroy missions along the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Thompson says that the Green Berets commanded three battalions of mercenary troops composed pri- marily of Cambodians. "We were in and out of Cambodia all the time," he says. These raids into Cambodia took place two . years before President Nixon announced that American and South Vietnamese forces were mov- ing into Cambodia to attack North Vietnamese command headquarters and military stockpiles. Smaller raids, which Thompson and other former Green Berets say began in 1967, also predated the secret American bombing of ' Cambodia begun by the Nixon Administration in 1969. Thompson says that he and his colleagues were told the operations in Cambodia: were highly classified and that they were instructed not to dis- cuss them with anyone. The British journalist William Shawcross de- scribed the operations in "Sideshow," his book about the secret American war in Cambodia. Thompson's final assignment in Southeast. Asia took place in 1972, when he was sent to Thailand to train mercenaries, for operations in Laos. The training program, he says, was run by the C.I.A. Former intelligence officials confirmed that such an operation was mounted in Thailand at the time, but said they did not know whether Thompson was involved. By the time Thompson,left South- east Asia for the last time, late in 1972, he was exhausted and more than a little bitter. "I could have been a killer when I got out,".he says. "I would just walk up to a man and swing at him. Long hair, anything would set me off. If the U.S. decided to have a civil war, I would have fought on either. side, as long as Jane Fonda and George McGovern were on the other side." Fortunately, Thompson says, "I had time to straighten out my head." During a leave in Japan after his last mission in Vietnam, Thompson mar- ried a Japanese tour guide he had met at Expo '70 in Osaka. The Thompsons spent several months at a Special Forces base in Okinawa before going. to Fort Bragg. The marriage and the interval in Okinawa gave him time, he says, to shed some of'the violent in- stincts he had developed. From 1972 to 1977, Thompson spent most of his time on training missions in the United States.. Twice during those years, he traveled to Taiwan to help train Taiwanese special forces, and he spent several weeks in Zaire helping to train commando forces there. None of these operations, he says, were clandestine. Throughout all of this, Thompson remained an obedient soldier. "I per- sonally can't say that the Govern- ment ever asked me to do something improper," he says. "Maybe you or others would consider it wrong, but I Linked to Libyan terrorism, Edwin P. Wilson was recently arrested and is now awaiting trial in Washington. TNC MIW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE /JULY 4. 1982 21 Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDP09S00048R000100020035-3 think I've never been asked to do something wrong by my superiors." The man who, in the summer of 1977, proposed that Thompson recruit a team of former Green Berets to train Libyan commando troops was Patry E. Loomis, a former-Green Beret himself and a covert agent for the C.I.A., according to Federal in- vestigators and former intelligence officials who again declined to be named. He described the work when he talked to Thompson but he did not reveal that he had been dismissed several weeks earlier because he had assisted the former agents Wilson and Terpil in obtaining explosive timers for shipment to Libya. Wilson and Terpil, it was later discovered, had signed an agreement with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to help train terrorists. Wilson had served for 20 years as a covert agent for the C.I.A. and for a secret naval intelligence group called Task Force 157. He left Government employment in 1976, the same year he and Terpil reached their agreement with Libya. Terpil worked as a communications techni- cian for the C.I.A. before he was forced to resign in 1971 following vari- ous violations of C.I.A. regulations. He went on to become an interna- tional arms salesman and a key sup- plier of military equipment to the then Uganda strongman Idi Amin. Thompson's assumption that the Libyan operation was legitimate was partly conditioned by his background. Other Green Berets, including Thompson's commanding officer at the time, told me that the operation was no more bizarre than many they knew about which were sanctioned by the intelligence agency. The go-ahead Thompson says he received from military intelligence officials also al- leviated his doubts. How military in- telligence officials got the impression that the operation was approved by -the Government remains one of the major unresolved mysteries of the af- fair. Thompson is unable to recall the names of the two men who he says came to his home after Loomis first called. Two other Army intelligence officers at Fort Bragg gave contra- dictory accounts of what happened in interviews and were unable to recall the specific steps they took after Thompson first notified military in- telligence following the call from Loo- mis. The two men declined to be named. A third figure, Carl H. Oel- schig, who was a senior intelligence officer at Special Forces headquar- ters in 1977, said in an interview that he first learned about the Libyan operation only after Thompson re- turned from Libya. "I almost fell out of my chair when Luke told me what he had been doing," he recalled. Oelschig said he instructed Thomp- son to report to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and talk to other mili- tary intelligence officers at Fort Bragg. Meanwhile, Oelschig in- formed his superiors and recom- mended that a 'check be run through a more senior intelligence unit sta- tioned at Fort Meade, Md. He said he never learned what results, if any, were sent back to Fort Bragg. "I car- ried it as far as I could," he said, "and assumed it was being handled cor- rectly." Federal investigators be- Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDP09S00048R000100020035-3 lieve that senior officials at the C.I.A. who worked closely with Wilson while he was at the agency may have inter- cepted the inquiries from Fort Bragg. Others speculate that Wilson, who had friends at the Defense Depart- ment, might have somehow been able to get them to reach into the military intelligence system and persuade key officials that the Libyan operation was sanctioned. Finally, there is the possibility that Thompson, in an ef- fort to justify his actions, did not get the approval he claims he received. He says, however, that he is certain about these recollections. Another still-murky question is why Thompson's superiors at Fort Bragg granted him a leave of absence. Thompson assumed his request for a leave was approved because his com- manding officers had received orders from-their superiors in Washington to allow him to participate in the Libyan mission. The record, however, is not clear. Col. Robert A. Mountel, who was Thompson's commanding officer at the time, says he never received or- ders from anyone about the Libyan operation. He says that Thompson's leave was approved because Green Beret officers thought Thompson wanted. to check out a possible civil- ian job opportunity. Others say that it was fairly com- mon for veteran Green Beret troops to receive leaves so they could par- ticipate in official - and unofficial - overseas missions. Some Federal in- vestigators suggest that senior Spe- cial Forces officers permitted Thompson to go to Libya, even though they did not know whether the opera- tion had Government approval, be- cause they thought it might develop into a productive intelligence ven- ture. If so, they overstepped their au- thority, Army officials say. Intelli- gence operations involving the Green Berets are supposed to be cleared and approved by senior Pentagon officials with formal orders issued by the staff of the Joint Chiefs and passed down through the Army chain of command to Special Forces commanders. No such orders were issued in the Thompson case, according to Army officials. Whatever the explanation, any doubts that Thompson may have had vanished when he and three recruits who accompanied him met Wilson in the international zone of the Zurich airport in August 1977 to receive final instructions. "Ed Wilson is the most remarkable man I've ever met," Thompson says. "Professionalism came out of every pore ... He was aces." According to Thompson, Wilson told the men that, once in Libya, they should make themselves "indispensa. ble," that they should do nothing that would endanger United States se- curity and that they would receive the best hospital care in the world should they be injured. He closed by adding that he would kill them if they double- crossed him, just as he would expect them to kill him if he backed out of the . deal. Thompson and the other former Green Berets flew on to the Libyan capital of Tripoli carrying with them small arms and other military equip- ment in a 400-pound locker, plus sev- eral bags (Continued on Page 24) Continued from Page 22 filled with technical manuals and blueprints of advanced electronic equipment. Fol- lowing an initial round of meetings with Libyan col- leagues, the Americans were taken to a palace outside Tripoli where they were shown an explosives labora- tory. A group of American ordnance experts, most of them military veterans who had been recruited by Wil- son's associates, were al- ready there, instructing Liby- ans how to manufacture ter- rorist bombs, according to Thompson. At this point, he recalls becoming troubled by the direct link with terrorism. After several weeks of training Libyan forces in commando tactics, Thomp- son says he decided he could not adjust to working in Libya's terrorist organiza- tion. Claiming that he needed to return to the United States for personal reasons, Thomp- son was issued a ticket to Fort Bragg via London and Wash- ington. Back home, he re- ported to military intelli- gence officials, apparently in- cluding Oelschig, and was told to talk to the F.B.I., which by then had begun in- vestigating the Libyan opera- tion. Despite middle-of-the-night phone calls threatening his safety if he cooperated with Federal prosecutors, Thomp- son did testify before a grand jury and, as a result, was not indicted. But it quickly be- came clear to him that his military career was at an Solutions to Last Week's Puzzles end. In July 1978, he retired from the Green Berets. He says no Green Beret repre- sentative has contacted him since. The transition to civilian life has not been easy. In 1978, Thompson moved to Hawaii in search of solitude and an escape from the turmoil that followed the Libyan mission. For three years, he worked as a safety officer on oil rigs off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of Mexico, commuting for the two-week shifts from Hawaii. Thomp- son quit that job last Decem- ber after relations with the company soured in the wake of publicity about his involve- ment in Libya. He is now training-to become a regis- tered nurse, working the night shift at a hospital in Honolulu. His wife and three children, ages 5, 7 and 9, have made friends and settled into their neighborhood. Thomp- son says he has not. "I don't have any friends," he once told me. "You're the first per- son I've confided in." Almost every day, he re- treats to his sailboat. Its Japanese name is Sayochido- ri, which Thompson trans- lates as "Nightbird." With no formal training in sailing but lots of self-taught skill, he navigates around Kaneohe Bay, reefing the sails when the trade winds become brisk or rain squalls blow in from the Pacific. "I know I'm run- ning away from something, or to something," he says of his time on the boat. "I'm transported. If you asked me, though, it would be difficult for me to tell you what I think about. 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ME BEE f Y 1 R E I S N T I T I N G E T g SEA T M Approved For Release 2011/08/17: CIA-RDP09S00048R000100020035-3