U.S. District Court Judge John H. Pratt yesterday unsealed an indictment against a former Northern Virginia resident who allegedly supervised terrorist training and construction of bombs disguised as household items such as ashtrays and lamps for Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
The indictment, sealed since being issued Aug. 7, charges Douglas M. Schlacter with various violations of statutes on munitions control and registration of foreign agents.
Schlacter, who supported the Libyan terrorist operation through a Rosslyn firm, Delex International, is a fugitive operating an air charter service in the central African nation of Burundi.
Through the State Department, federal prosecutors have been seeking Burundian cooperation in returning Schlacter to the United States. Justice Department officials say they are concerned about the pace of these discussions since Schlacter has been made aware by press reports that he is wanted.
The federal grand jury, which has been investigating involvement of Americans in the Libyan terrorist operation for nearly four years, characterized Schlacter as an employe of former CIA agents Edwin P. Wilson and Francis E. Terpil, indicted by the grand jury in April, 1980, for the same alleged violations.
The 17-page Schlacter indictment repeated and expanded the alleged criminal conspiracy organized and funded by Wilson and Terpil to "supply covertly and for a profit the government of Libya with personnel, explosives, explosive material and other goods necessary to make explosive devices and to teach others how to make explosive devices in a terrorist training project."
Schlacter has been described as Wilson's "country manager" in Libya overseeing delivery of terrorist training and support services under a contract Wilson and Terpil signed with Libyan leaders in April, 1976.
Wilson is in Libya and has denied any wrongdoing, while Terpil has been reported living in Syria and Lebanon.
Schlacter was not included in that portion of the indictment alleging that Wilson and Terpil accepted a $1 million assassination contract from Qaddafi to silence a member of the Libyan Revolutionary Council living in exile in Egypt.
The case involving Wilson, Terpil, Schlacter and Jerome S. Brower, formerly a California explosives manufacturer who pleaded guilty and served a short prison sentence last year for his role in supplying Qaddafi, has focused congressional and administration attention on activities of former CIA and military Special Forces agents who sell skills and services to hostile governments.
Intelligence officials have ordered redrafting of the basic CIA employment contract in an effort to prevent such abuses. The House Intelligence Committee also is investigating the Wilson-Terpil case and may recommend changes in federal statutes to control activities of Americans trained to use sophisticated and classified military technology.
The Schlacter indictment charges that he left a job as manager of Wilson's 2,400-acre farm in Fauquier County in August, 1976, to supervise the Libyan operation, which recruited U.S. Special Forces soldiers to train Libyan commandos. It also says Wilson set up and staffed a small bomb-making factory at the palace of the deposed Libyan monarch, King Idris, near Tripoli.
The indictment says Schlacter traveled with a former CIA ordnance specialist, John Henry Harper, and others to the palace where Wilson arranged construction of bombs disguised as ashtrays, lamps, alarm clocks, coat hangers, boxes of tea and vases.
In October, 1976, the indictment alleges that Schlacter and Terpil asked Brower to "supply them with the material and manpower necessary to produce clandestine pyrotechnic devices that could set fires or cause time-delayed detonations for explosions."
In July, 1977, the grand jury charged, Schlacter and two other conspirators "directed and supervised the placement of a quantity of Brower's explosives into several motor vehicles in such a manner that use of any of these vehicles would result in detonation of the explosives, thus injuring or killing the user."