Former CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson arranged for the transport from the United States to Europe of a handgun used in the May 1980 assassination of a Libyan dissident in Bonn, according to court records and federal firearms officials.
Wilson's alleged involvement was outlined yesterday at a federal court hearing in Alexandria where a former Wilson associate, Wallace Lloyd Klink, pleaded guilty to a charge of interstate transportation of four handguns without a license.
Klink has told federal investigators that Wilson called him in March 1979, asking him to get the .38- and .357-caliber revolvers, but did not tell him how the guns would be used. Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Greenberg said yesterday prosecutors have "absolutely no evidence" that Klink "knew what they were going to be used for."
"We are still determining what action to take with regard to Mr. Wilson," Greenberg told reporters after a brief hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr.
Wilson, who was arrested last month in New York and is jailed in lieu of bond totaling $40 million, has been indicted both here and in Houston on charges of exporting explosives and training terrorists in Libya and of arranging an abortive assassination plot in 1976 against an opponent of Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi. Wilson also is under investigation in connection with the attempted 1980 assassination in Colorado of another exiled Qaddafi opponent. A former Green Beret who worked for Wilson in Libya was convicted of assault in that case, in which the exile was wounded twice in the head.
Klink, 59, of Bealeton, Va., a retired sergeant major in the U.S. Army Special Forces, worked for Wilson in Libya in 1978 for about seven months and later lived and worked on Wilson's farm in Upperville, Va. He could be sentenced go up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for the firearms offense.
Klink told investigators that in 1979 he used $1,500 he got from Wilson to buy the handguns from an associate in Fayetteville, N.C. He said he then brought them to Virginia and gave them to another Wilson employe, who hid them in a tool box that was then checked aboard a flight from Dulles International Airport to London and Rotterdam.
According to court records and an official of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the unidentified Wilson employe then drove the weapons to Bonn, where they were turned over to a Libyan in front of the Libyan Embassy there.
On May 10, 1980, one of those guns, a Smith & Wesson .357, was used to assassinate Omran El-Mehdawi, a former finance attache and second secretary in the Libyan Embassy who had refused a Qaddafi order to return to Libya. According to German prosecutors, a suspect arrested in the shooting claimed he was acting on orders of the Libyan government. The gun was traced by BATF agents to Fayetteville and eventually to Klink.
Klink's associate in Fayetteville has told investigators that Klink said the guns were going to be used for a CIA operation overseas, a statement that Klink yesterday denied making.