The Crow-Qadhafi Connection

How a mythic Texas family won the gratitude of a dictator

One is a September 1, 1992, proposed agreement between the Libyan government and IAG International, the foreign company Bodine set up in an attempt to circumvent the U.S. sanctions. The six-page document calls for IAG International to assist the Libyan government "in the solution of the Lockerbie problem" and "in enhancing the relations with Western European nations." The document calls for the signature of Geraldine I'Anson, identified as IAG International's London representative.

IAG International is offered, in exchange, an annual fee of $8 million, to be paid in installments. Though other records show Bodine was operating on Libya's behalf and that the IAG-Libya consulting agreement was consummated, the copy of the document obtained by the Observer was unsigned.

Bodine did not respond to Observer calls for comment.
When telephoned in London about her role, I'Anson said she had done no business with the Crow family, but insisted that, as a British citizen, U.S. sanctions against doing business with Libya did not apply to her.

Aware of Bodine's contacts with El Bukhari--and the Libyan's desire to solve "the Lockerbie problem"--Henry Billingsley, in an August 27, 1992, letter, urged Bodine to bring El Bukhari to his father-in-law's annual East Texas expedition for rich and powerful men.

"Mr. Crow's camp-out is going to be from Friday to Sunday, October 30 to November 1," Billingsley wrote Bodine. "...If you can make it, come on down and bring your friend if he wants to get a good feel for what is the current mood of the country."

Should Crow's camp-out fail to appeal, Billingsley had another extraordinary invitation to offer Moammar al-Qadhafi's aide. "We are going to be skiing between Xmas and New Years in Vail and Dan Quayle is going to be at our house so we could likely arrange a meeting at that time," Billingsley scrawled at the bottom of his letter, in a handwritten postscript.

Billingsley need not have worried about luring Bodine's "friend" to Texas. A tall, dark man who dons aviator spectacles with darkened lenses in photographs, Mohamed El Bukhari didn't wait for the ski adventure--or the October camp-out--to meet Henry Billingsley. Instead, El Bukhari tacked a trip to Dallas onto an excursion to Washington, D.C., that he had already planned for September 1992.

El Bukhari had secured a visa to come to Washington to make a speech in late September to a conference of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. "He was a very, very nice gentleman, very soft-spoken," recalls Gordon Wade, a private government-relations consultant. Wade, who met El Bukhari during that visit, confirms a U.S. News account of how he helped the Libyan make Washington contacts during that visit, even exploring the idea of contributing to the Bush presidential campaign. (Bush campaign officials told U.S. News they summarily rejected the suggestion because such contributions are illegal.)

El Bukhari showed his congenial side at the international banking conference. "I hope this gathering today is the beginning of many contacts between Libyans and Americans," El Bukhari told IMF and World Bank conference attendees. "We have nothing to hide...We want justice for the victims of Lockerbie and justice for our two citizens." Hoping to ease the international embargo, El Bukhari offered, on Libya's behalf, to allow U.N. inspections to check for nuclear arms. For the first time, he talked about sending the two Lockerbie suspects to a neutral country for trial. Wire-service reporters covered El Bukhari's speech, which echoed a statement he released at the same time to The Washington Post.

But no reporters covered El Bukhari's travels afterward: to Dallas. A printout from Wyndham Travel Management Company, a travel agency owned by Lucy Billingsley, shows that El Bukhari was in Dallas the week of September 29. He came with a small entourage, including IAG's Bodine and I'Anson, as well as a Jordanian woman named Daad Sharab, identified in documents as El Bukhari's business associate.

The travel-agency printouts show that after their stay in Dallas, Bodine, I'Anson, Sharab, and a passenger listed as "Mohamed A." flew on the same September 29 American Airlines flight from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to New York, and then on to different destinations. "Mohamed A." was booked on a flight to Tunis, the most convenient open airport, given the U.N. embargo, to Libya.

Government officials say the trip to Dallas represented a violation of El Bukhari's visa, which allowed him to travel only to Washington. But, for the Libyan, Billingsley's invitation to Texas offered an extraordinary opportunity that he was unwilling to pass up: a chance to meet President George Bush in the intimate atmosphere of Harlan Crow's Highland Park mansion. When Billingsley invited the Libyan to Texas, it had been arranged for El Bukhari to appear on a guest list to attend an exclusive reelection fundraiser there for President Bush on the evening of September 28. General Brent Scowcroft, the U.S. National Security Advisor, and Robert Teeter, chairman of the Bush reelection committee, would also be present.

But as it turned out, Billingsley had overreached his ability to exploit even the Crow family's potent political connections. When shocked government officials discovered that a Libyan was on the guest list, they killed the idea, citing security concerns.

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