"Alexander threatens budget ax to get agency's cooperation He pledges to continue investigation into drug trafficking" By Maria Henson THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE October 5, 1988 WASHINGTON Rep. Bill Alexander, D-Ark., is prepared to wield a new weapon in his quest for drug trafficking information: the budget ax. "If we don't get it through cooperation, then we get it by intimidation," he said. Alexander has been trying to get assistance from the Reagan administration for a General Accounting Office investigation into the ways that information about drug trafficking by foreign officials influences decisions by U.S. foreign policymakers. So far, he has been stonewalled. Tuesday he reiterated, with a threat, his pledge to keep pressing for information. "I can promise you this when we take up the appropriations, I intend to investigate the and the , as well the federal judicial system, and all the matters that we've pursued," he said. He added, "If you can hold up their money, you can get what you want." Alexander is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the key committee responsible for deciding on actual spending for federal agencies and programs. Will garner committee support He acknowledged that he alone would be unable to hold up spending bills for the agencies. "I have to have the support of my committee," he said. "I expect it will be forthcoming." If Alexander tried to affect the appropriations process, he would do it during the next session of Congress, likely to begin in January. Congress is busy winding down its business for this session and has approved all appropriations bills for the current budget year. The GAO investigation is focusing on possible illegal activities by Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega and what U.S. officials knew of drug trafficking to this country. The White House has said it won't provide information sought by investigators unless the scope of the investigation is narrowed. It has said the GAO request goes beyond the statutory authority of the GAO, an investigative arm of Congress. Alexander has said the GAO also is investigating the Mena airport and its alleged link to foreign drug trafficking. Drug dealers allegedly operated at the Mena airport. A congressional committee heard testimony this spring that the late Barry Seal, a convicted drug pilot turned government informant, flew a cocaine smuggling mission out of the airport in May 1984.
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