- Iran–Contra affair
Iran–Contra Scandal Other names Iran–Contra Participants Ronald Reagan, Robert McFarlane, Caspar Weinberger, Hezbollah, Nicaraguan contras, Oliver North, Manucher Ghorbanifar, John Poindexter Date August 20, 1985– March 4, 1987
The Iran–Contra affair (Persian: ایران-کنترا, Spanish: caso Irán-contras), also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo. Some U.S. officials also hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress.
The scandal began as an operation to free American hostages being held by terrorist groups with Iranian ties. It was planned that Israel would ship weapons to Iran, and then the U.S. would resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by Muslim Students of the Imam Khomeini Line who in turn were connected to the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution. The plan deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages. Large modifications to the plan were devised by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North of the National Security Council in late 1985, in which a portion of the proceeds from the weapon sales was diverted to fund anti-Sandinista and anti-communist rebels, or Contras, in Nicaragua.
While President Ronald Reagan was a supporter of the Contra cause, no conclusive evidence has been found showing that he authorized the diversion of the money raised by the Iranian arms sales to the Contras. Handwritten notes taken by Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger indicate that Reagan was aware of potential hostages transfers with Iran, as well as the sale of Hawk and TOW missiles to what he was told were "moderate elements" within that country. Oliver North, one of the central figures in the affair, wrote in a book that "Ronald Reagan knew of and approved a great deal of what went on with both the Iranian initiative and private efforts on behalf of the contras and he received regular, detailed briefings on both." Mr. North also writes: "I have no doubt that he was told about the use of residuals for the Contras, and that he approved it. Enthusiastically." After the weapon sales were revealed in November 1986, Reagan appeared on national television and stated that the weapons transfers had indeed occurred, but that the United States did not trade arms for hostages. To this day, it is unclear exactly what Reagan knew and when, and whether the arms sales were motivated by his desire to save the U.S. hostages. Notes taken December 7, 1985, by Defense Secretary Weinberger record that Reagan said that "he could answer charges of illegality but he couldn't answer charge [sic] that 'big strong President Reagan passed up a chance to free hostages.'" The investigation was impeded when large volumes of documents relating to the scandal were destroyed or withheld from investigators by Reagan administration officials. On March 4, 1987, Reagan returned to the airwaves in a nationally televised address, taking full responsibility for any actions that he was unaware of, and admitting that "what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages."
Several investigations ensued, including those by the United States Congress and the three-man, Reagan-appointed Tower Commission. Neither found any evidence that President Reagan himself knew of the extent of the multiple programs. In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been vice-president at the time of the affair. Several of those involved in the Iran–Contra scandal, later became a member of the administration of George W. Bush. Only one, Elliott Abrams, was convicted of two misdemeanors and subsequently pardoned.
- 1 Background
- 2 Arms sales to Iran
- 3 U.S. knowledge of drug trafficking and the Contras
- 4 Discovery and scandal
- 5 Tower Commission
- 6 Aftermath
- 7 Reports & documents
- 8 See also
- 9 Footnotes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Contra militants based in Honduras waged a guerilla war to topple the government of Nicaragua. The Contras' form of warfare was "one of consistent and bloody abuse of human rights, of murder, torture, mutilation, rape, arson, destruction and kidnapping." The "Contras systematically engage in violent abuses... so prevalent that these may be said to be their principal means of waging war." A Human Rights Watch report found that the Contras were guilty of targeting health care clinics and health care workers for assassination; kidnapping civilians; torturing and executing civilians, including children, who were captured in combat; raping women; indiscriminately attacking civilians and civilian homes; seizing civilian property; and burning civilian houses in captured towns.
Direct funding of the Contras insurgency had been made illegal through the Boland Amendment, the name given to three U.S. legislative amendments between 1982 and 1984 aimed at limiting US government assistance to the Contras militants. In violation of the Boland Amendment, senior officials of the Reagan administration continued to secretly arm and train the Contras and provide arms to Iran, an operation they called "the Enterprise".
Arms sales to Iran
Michael Ledeen, a consultant of National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, requested assistance from Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for help in the sale of arms to Iran. At the time, Iran was in the midst of the Iran–Iraq War and could find few Western nations willing to supply it with weapons. The idea behind the plan was for Israel to ship weapons through an intermediary (identified as Manucher Ghorbanifar) to a supposedly moderate, politically influential Iranian group opposed to the Ayatollah Khomeni; after the transaction, the U.S. would reimburse Israel with the same weapons, while receiving monetary benefits. The Israeli government required that the sale of arms meet high level approval from the United States government, and when Robert McFarlane convinced them that the U.S. government approved the sale, Israel obliged by agreeing to sell the arms.
In 1985, President Reagan entered Bethesda Naval Hospital for colon cancer surgery. While the President was recovering in the hospital, McFarlane met with him and told him that representatives from Israel had contacted the National Security Agency to pass on confidential information from what Reagan later described as "moderate" Iranians opposed to the Ayatollah. According to Reagan, these Iranians sought to establish a quiet relationship with the United States, before establishing formal relationships upon the death of the Ayatollah. In Reagan's account, McFarlane told Reagan that the Iranians, to demonstrate their seriousness, offered to persuade the Hezbollah terrorists to release the seven U.S. hostages. McFarlane met with the Israeli intermediaries; Reagan claims that he allowed this because he believed that establishing relations with a strategically located country, and preventing the Soviet Union from doing the same, was a beneficial move. Although Reagan claims that the arms sales were to a "moderate" faction of Iranians, the Walsh Iran/Contra Report states that the arms sales were "to Iran" itself, which was under the control of the Ayatollah.
Following the Israeli-U.S. meeting, Israel requested permission from the U.S. to sell a small number of TOW antitank missiles (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) to the "moderate" Iranians, saying that it would demonstrate that the group actually had high-level connections to the U.S. government. Reagan initially rejected the plan, until Israel sent information to the U.S. showing that the "moderate" Iranians were opposed to terrorism and had fought against it. Now having a reason to trust the "moderates", Reagan approved the transaction, which was meant to be between Israel and the "moderates" in Iran, with the U.S. reimbursing Israel. In his 1990 autobiography An American Life, Reagan claimed that he was deeply committed to securing the release of the hostages; it was this compassion that supposedly motivated his support for the arms initiatives. The president requested that the "moderate" Iranians do everything in their capability to free the hostages held by Hezbollah.
- August 20, 1985. 96 TOW anti-tank missiles
- September 14, 1985. 408 more TOWs
- November 24, 1985. 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles
- February 17, 1986. 500 TOWs
- February 27, 1986. 500 TOWs
- May 24, 1986. 508 TOWs, 240 Hawk spare parts
- August 4, 1986. More Hawk spares
- October 28, 1986. 500 TOWs
First arms sale
On August 20, 1985, Israel sent 96 American-made BGM-71 TOW antitank missiles to Iran through an arms dealer named Manucher Ghorbanifar, a friend of Iran's Prime Minister, Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Hours after receiving the weapons, the Islamic fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad (that later evolved into Hezbollah) released one hostage they had been holding in Lebanon, the Reverend Benjamin Weir.
Arrow Air 1285 crash
After a botched delivery of Hawk missiles, and a failed London meeting between McFarlane and Manucher Ghorbanifar, Arrow Air Flight 1285, a plane containing 248 American servicemen, crashed in Newfoundland on December 12, 1985, killing all people aboard. On the day of the crash, responsibility was claimed by the Islamic Jihad Organization, a wing of Hezbollah that had taken credit for the kidnapping of the very Americans in Lebanon whom the Reagan administration sought to have released. The crash came on the second anniversary of another attack for which Islamic Jihad took credit: the near-simultaneous bombings of six targets in Kuwait, the French and American Embassies among them. Members of Hezbollah had participated in, and were jailed for, those attacks, but most of the conspirators were members of al-Dawa. The accident was investigated by the Canadian Aviation Safety Board (CASB), and was determined to have been caused by the aircraft's unexpectedly high drag and reduced lift condition, which was most likely due to ice contamination, although a minority report stated as part of its conclusions that "Fire broke out on board while the aircraft was in flight, possibly due to a detonation in a cargo compartment".
Modifications in plans
Two days later, Reagan met with his advisors at the White House, where a new plan was introduced. This one called for a slight change in the arms transactions: instead of the weapons going to the "moderate" Iranian group, they would go to "moderate" Iranian army leaders. As the weapons were delivered from Israel by air, the hostages held by Hezbollah would be released. Israel would still pay the United States for reimbursing the weapons. Though staunchly opposed by Secretary of State George Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the plan was authorized by Reagan, who stated that, "We were not trading arms for hostages, nor were we negotiating with terrorists." Now retired National Security Advisor McFarlane flew to London to meet with Israelis and Ghorbanifar in an attempt to persuade the Iranian to use his influence to release the hostages before any arms transactions occurred; this plan was rejected by Ghorbanifar.
On the day of McFarlane's resignation, Oliver North, a military aide to the United States National Security Council (NSC), proposed a new plan for selling arms to Iran, which included two major adjustments: instead of selling arms through Israel, the sale was to be direct, and a portion of the proceeds would go to Contras, or Nicaraguan guerilla fighters opposed to communism, at a markup. North proposed a $15 million markup, while contracted arms broker Ghorbanifar added a 41% markup of his own. Other members of the NSC were in favor of North's plan; with large support, Poindexter authorized it without notifying President Reagan, and it went into effect. At first, the Iranians refused to buy the arms at the inflated price because of the excessive markup imposed by North and Ghorbanifar. They eventually relented, and in February 1986, 1,000 TOW missiles were shipped to the country. From May to November 1986, there were additional shipments of miscellaneous weapons and parts.
Both the sale of weapons to Iran, and the funding of the Contras, attempted to circumvent not only stated administration policy, but also the Boland Amendment. Administration officials argued that regardless of the Congress restricting the funds for the Contras, or any affair, the President (or in this case the administration) could carry on by seeking alternative means of funding such as private entities and foreign governments. Funding from one foreign country, Brunei, was botched when North's secretary, Fawn Hall, transposed the numbers of North's Swiss bank account number. A Swiss businessman, suddenly $10 million richer, alerted the authorities of the mistake. The money was eventually returned to the Sultan of Brunei, with interest.
On January 7, 1986, John Poindexter proposed to the president a modification of the approved plan: instead of negotiating with the "moderate" Iranian political group, the U.S. would negotiate with "moderate" members of the Iranian government. Poindexter told Reagan that Ghorbanifar had important connections within the Iranian government, so with the hope of the release of the hostages, Reagan approved this plan as well. Throughout February 1986, weapons were shipped directly to Iran by the United States (as part of Oliver North's plan, without the knowledge of President Reagan) and none of the hostages were released. Retired National Security Advisor McFarlane conducted another international voyage, this one to Tehran. He met directly with the "moderate" Iranian political group that sought to establish U.S.-Iranian relations in an attempt to free the four remaining hostages. This meeting also failed. The members requested concessions such as Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which the United States rejected.
In late July 1986, Hezbollah released another hostage, Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, former head of Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon. Following this, William Casey, head of the CIA, requested that the U.S. authorize sending a shipment of small missile parts to Iranian military forces as a way of expressing gratitude. Casey also justified this request by stating that the contact in the Iranian government might otherwise lose face, or be executed, and hostages killed. Reagan authorized the shipment to ensure that those potential events would not occur.
In September and October 1986 three more Americans — Frank Reed, Joseph Ciccipio, Edward Tracy — were abducted in Lebanon by a separate terrorist group. The reasons for their abduction are unknown, although it is speculated that they were kidnapped to replace the freed Americans. One more original hostage, David Jacobsen, was later released. The captors promised to release the remaining two, but the release never happened.
U.S. knowledge of drug trafficking and the Contras
Col. North's handwritten notebooks and memoranda show that North and other U.S. officials were repeatedly informed that the Contras' ties to trafficking of drugs from Latin America into the United States and that airplanes from the U.S. used to supply arms to the Contras were being flown back with Contras personnel aboard carrying cocaine into the United States. The matter was further examined in the 1997 report of the US Department of Justice Inspector General, where the main question under investigation was whether CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles, and where evidence was presented of patronizing by CIA of drug trafficking to Los Angeles, California. The report however stated that the allegations were "exaggerated".
Discovery and scandal
After a leak by Iranian Mehdi Hashemi, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on November 3, 1986. This was the first public reporting of the weapons-for-hostages deal. The operation was discovered only after an airlift of guns was downed over Nicaragua. Eugene Hasenfus, who was captured by Nicaraguan authorities, initially alleged in a press conference on Nicaraguan soil that two of his coworkers, Max Gomez and Ramon Medina, worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. He later said he did not know whether they did or not. The Iranian government confirmed the Ash-Shiraa story, and ten days after the story was first published, President Ronald Reagan appeared on national television from the Oval Office on November 13 stating:
"My purpose was... to send a signal that the United States was prepared to replace the animosity between [the U.S. and Iran] with a new relationship... At the same time we undertook this initiative, we made clear that Iran must oppose all forms of international terrorism as a condition of progress in our relationship. The most significant step which Iran could take, we indicated, would be to use its influence in Lebanon to secure the release of all hostages held there."
The scandal was compounded when Oliver North destroyed or hid pertinent documents between November 21 and November 25, 1986. During North's trial in 1989, his secretary, Fawn Hall, testified extensively about helping North alter, shred, and remove official United States National Security Council (NSC) documents from the White House. According to The New York Times, enough documents were put into a government shredder to jam it. North's explanation for destroying some documents was to protect the lives of individuals involved in Iran and Contra operations. It was not until years after the trial that North's notebooks were made public, and only after the National Security Archive and Public Citizen sued the Office of the Independent Council under the Freedom of Information Act.
During the trial North testified that on November 21, 22, or 24, he witnessed Poindexter destroy what may have been the only signed copy of a presidential covert-action finding that sought to authorize CIA participation in the November 1985 Hawk missile shipment to Iran. US Attorney General Edwin Meese admitted on November 25 that profits from weapons sales to Iran were made available to assist the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. On the same day, John Poindexter resigned, and Oliver North was fired by President Reagan. Poindexter was replaced by Frank Carlucci on December 2, 1986.
In his expose Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981–1987, journalist Bob Woodward chronicles the role of the CIA in facilitating the transfer of funds from the Iran arms sales to the Nicaraguan Contras spearheaded by Oliver North. Then Director of the CIA, William J. Casey, admitted to Woodward in February 1987 that he was aware of the diversion of funds to the contras confirming a number of encounters documented by Woodward. The admission occurred while Casey was hospitalized for a stroke. On May 6, 1987 William Casey died the day after Congress began its public hearings on the Iran-contra affair.
On November 25, 1986, President Reagan announced the creation of a Special Review Board to look into the matter; the following day, he appointed former Senator John Tower, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft to serve as members. This Presidential Commission took effect on December 1 and became known as the "Tower Commission". The main objectives of the commission were to inquire into "the circumstances surrounding the Iran-Contra matter, other case studies that might reveal strengths and weaknesses in the operation of the National Security Council system under stress, and the manner in which that system has served eight different Presidents since its inception in 1947." The commission was the first presidential commission to review and evaluate the National Security Council.
President Reagan appeared before the Tower Commission on December 2, 1986, to answer questions regarding his involvement in the affair. When asked about his role in authorizing the arms deals, he first stated that he had; later, he appeared to contradict himself by stating that he had no recollection of doing so. In his 1990 autobiography, An American Life, Reagan acknowledges authorizing the shipments to Israel.
The report published by the Tower Commission was delivered to the President on February 26, 1987. The Commission had interviewed 80 witnesses to the scheme, including Reagan, and two of the arms trade middlemen: Manucher Ghorbanifar and Adnan Khashoggi. The 200 page report was the most comprehensive of any released, criticizing the actions of Oliver North, John Poindexter, Caspar Weinberger, and others. It determined that President Reagan did not have knowledge of the extent of the program, especially about the diversion of funds to the Contras, although it argued that the President ought to have had better control of the National Security Council staff. The report heavily criticized Reagan for not properly supervising his subordinates or being aware of their actions. A major result of the Tower Commission was the consensus that Reagan should have listened to his National Security Advisor more, thereby placing more power in the hands of that chair.
The Democratic-controlled United States Congress issued its own report on November 18, 1987, stating that "If the president did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have." The congressional report wrote that the president bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides, and his administration exhibited "secrecy, deception and disdain for the law." It also read in part: "The central remaining question is the role of the President in the Iran-contra affair. On this critical point, the shredding of documents by Poindexter, North and others, and the death of Casey, leave the record incomplete."
The Nicaraguan government sued the United States before the International Court of Justice, which in the case The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America ruled in favour of Nicaragua mandating the payment of compensation, which the United States refused to do. Compliance proved futile as the United States, a permanent member of the Security Council, blocked any enforcement mechanism attempted by Nicaragua.
Reagan expressed regret regarding the situation during a nationally televised address from the White House Oval Office on March 4, 1987 and two other speeches; Reagan had not spoken to the American people directly for three months amidst the scandal. President Reagan told the American people the reason why he did not update them on the scandal:
"The reason I haven't spoken to you before now is this: You deserve the truth. And as frustrating as the waiting has been, I felt it was improper to come to you with sketchy reports, or possibly even erroneous statements, which would then have to be corrected, creating even more doubt and confusion. There's been enough of that."
He then took full responsibility for the acts committed:
"First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration. As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities. As disappointed as I may be in some who served me, I'm still the one who must answer to the American people for this behavior."
Finally, the president stated that his previous assertions that the U.S. did not trade arms for hostages were incorrect:
"A few months ago I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not. As the Tower board reported, what began as a strategic opening to Iran deteriorated, in its implementation, into trading arms for hostages. This runs counter to my own beliefs, to administration policy, and to the original strategy we had in mind."
Domestically, the scandal precipitated a drop in President Reagan's popularity as his approval ratings saw "the largest single drop for any U.S. president in history", from 67% to 46% in November 1986, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. The "Teflon President", as Reagan was nicknamed by critics, survived the scandal, however, and by January 1989 a Gallup poll was "recording a 64% approval rating," the highest ever recorded for a departing President at that time.
Internationally the damage was more severe. Magnus Ranstorp wrote, "U.S. willingness to engage in concessions with Iran and the Hezbollah not only signalled to its adversaries that hostage-taking was an extremely useful instrument in extracting political and financial concessions for the West but also undermined any credibility of U.S. criticism of other states' deviation from the principles of no-negotiation and no concession to terrorists and their demands."
In Iran Mehdi Hashemi, the leaker of the scandal, was executed in 1987, allegedly for activities unrelated to the scandal. Though Hashemi made a full video confession to numerous serious charges, some observers find the coincidence of his leak and the subsequent prosecution highly suspicious.
Oliver North and John Poindexter were indicted on multiple charges on March 16, 1988. North, indicted on 16 counts, was found guilty by a jury of three minor counts. The convictions were vacated on appeal on the grounds that North's Fifth Amendment rights may have been violated by the indirect use of his testimony to Congress which had been given under a grant of immunity. In 1990, Poindexter was convicted on several felony counts of conspiracy, lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and altering and destroying documents pertinent to the investigation. His convictions were also overturned on appeal on similar grounds. Arthur L. Liman served as chief counsel for the Senate during the Iran-Contra Scandal.
- Caspar Weinberger (R) Secretary of Defense, was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice on June 16, 1992. . Weinberger received a pardon from George H. W. Bush on December 24, 1992 before he was tried.
- William Casey (R) Head of the CIA. Thought to have conceived the plan, was stricken ill hours before he would testify. Reporter Bob Woodward records that Casey knew of and approved the plan.
- Robert C. McFarlane (R) National Security Adviser, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush
- Elliott Abrams (R) Assistant Secretary of State, convicted of withholding evidence, but after a plea bargain was given only 2 years probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/summpros.htm.
- Alan D. Fiers Chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force, convicted of withholding evidence and sentenced to one year probation. Later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush
- Clair George Chief of Covert Ops-CIA, convicted on 2 charges of perjury, but pardoned by President George H. W. Bush before sentencing.
- Oliver North (R) member of the National Security Council convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents, but the ruling was overturned since he had been granted immunity.
- Fawn Hall, Oliver North's secretary was given immunity from prosecution on charges of conspiracy and destroying documents in exchange for her testimony.
- John Poindexter National Security Advisor (R) convicted of 5 counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, defrauding the government, and the alteration and destruction of evidence. The Supreme Court overturned this ruling.
- Duane Clarridge An ex-CIA senior official, he was indicted in November 1991 on 7 counts of perjury and false statements relating to a November 1985 shipment to Iran. Pardoned before trial by President George H. W. Bush.
- Richard V. Secord Ex-major general in the Air Force who organized the Iran arms sales and Contra aid. He pleaded guilty in November 1989 to making false statements to Congress. Sentenced to two years of probation.
- Albert Hakim A businessman, he pleaded guilty in November 1989 to supplementing the salary of North by buying a $13,800 fence for North with money from "the Enterprise", which was a set of foreign companies Hakim used in Iran-Contra. In addition, Swiss company Lake Resources Inc., used for storing money from arms sales to Iran to give to the Contras, plead guilty to stealing government property. Hakim was given two years of probation and a $5,000 fine, while Lake Resources Inc. was ordered to dissolve.
President George H. W. Bush
Ronald Reagan's (R) Vice President George H. W. Bush (R) during his election campaign in 1988, Bush denied any knowledge of the Iran Contra Affair by saying he was "out of the loop." But his own diaries from that time stated "I'm one of the few people that know fully the details ..." He had repeatedly refused to disclose this to investigators and won the election. (1988)
On December 24, 1992, nearing the end of his term in office after being defeated in election by Bill Clinton the previous month, George H. W. Bush pardoned six administration officials, namely Elliott Abrams, Duane Clarridge, Alan Fiers, Clair George, Robert McFarlane, and Caspar Weinberger.
President George W. Bush
- Elliott Abrams: during Iran-Contra, Abrams had pled guilty to two counts of unlawfully withholding information and was pardoned by H. W. Bush, under George W. Bush he became a Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on the National Security Council for Near East and North African Affairs.
- Otto Reich: head of the Office of Public Diplomacy under Reagan, became Assistant Secretary of State under Bush.
- John Negroponte: Ambassador to Honduras, under Bush, served as the Ambassador to Iraq, the National Intelligence Director, and the Deputy Secretary of State.
- Admiral John Poindexter: under Bush, Director of the Information Awareness Office; in Iran-Contra, found guilty of multiple felony counts for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to Congress, defrauding the government, and the alteration and destruction of evidence, convictions reversed.
In Poindexter's hometown of Odon, Indiana, a street was renamed to John Poindexter Street. Bill Breeden, a former minister, stole the street's sign in protest of the Iran-Contra Affair. He claimed that he was holding it for a ransom of $30 million, in reference to the amount of money given to Iran to transfer to the Contras. He was later arrested and confined to prison, making him, as satirically noted by Howard Zinn, "the only person to be imprisoned as a result of the Iran-Contra Scandal."
Reports & documents
The 100th Congress formed a joint committee and held hearings in mid 1987. Transcripts were published as: Iran-Contra Investigation: Joint Hearings Before the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition and the House Select Committee to Invesitgate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran (US GPO 1987-88). A closed Executive Session heard classified testimony from North & Poindexter; this transcript was published in a redacted format. The joint committee's final report was Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair With Supplemental, Minority, and Additional Views (US GPO Nov 17 1987)  The records of the committee are at the National Archives, but many are still non-public.
Testimony was also heard before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and can be found in the Congressional Record for those bodies. The Senate Intelligence committe produced two reports: Preliminary Inquiry into the Sale of Arms to Iran and Possible Diversion of Funds to the Nicaraguan Resistance (February 2, 1987) and Were Relevant Documents Withheld from the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair? (June 1989).
The Tower, Muskie, & Scowcroft commission report was published as the Report of the President's Special Review Board. US GPO Feb 26 1987. It was also published as The Tower Commission Report, Bantam Books, 1987, ISBN 0553269682 
The Office of Independent Counsel / Walsh investigation made four "Interim Reports" to congress. It also made a final report, published as Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters. Walsh's records are available at the National Archives.
Dozens of court cases followed from the OIC prosecution and grand jury indictments. The rulings of the courts have been published and frequently contain a great deal of background information.
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- ^ Fisher, Louis (October 1989). "How Tightly Can Congress Draw the Purse Strings?". American Journal of International Law 83 (4): 758–766. doi:10.2307/2203364. JSTOR 2203364.
- ^ "Iran Contra Hearings; Brunei Regains $10 Million". New York Times. 1987-07-22. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DEED7133DF931A15754C0A961948260. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- ^ a b Reagan, Ronald (1990), p. 516
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- ^ Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon: The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, New York, St. Martins Press, 1997 pp. 98-99
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- ^ National Security Archive, Electronic Briefing Book No. 2: "The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations," http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/nsaebb2.htm#1
- ^ National Security Archive, "Congressional Inquiry into Alleged Central Intelligence Agency Involvement in the South Central Los Angeles Crack Cocaine Drug Trade: Testimony of Peter Kornbluh Senior Analyst, National Security Archive, October 19, 1996," http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB2/pktstmny.htm
- ^ December 1997 US Department of Justice Inspector General Report of Drug Trafficking by CIA (online copy)
- ^ USDOJ/OIG Special Report: THE CIA-CONTRA-CRACK COCAINE CONTROVERSY A REVIEW OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT’S INVESTIGATIONS AND PROSECUTIONS, December 1997, see section executive summary, chapter XII conclusions (online copy)
- ^ Cave, George. "Why Secret 1986 U.S.-Iran "Arms for Hostages" Negotiations Failed". Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs. http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/0994/9409008.htm. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- ^ "IN SUMMARY; Nicaragua Downs Plane and Survivor Implicates C.I.A". The New York Times. 1986-10-12. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50717F83B5E0C718DDDA90994DE484D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fOrganizations%2fC%2fCentral%20Intelligence%20Agency%20. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
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- ^ "White House Shake-Up: A Task is Handed to State Dept.; Poindexter and North Have Limited Options". The New York Times. 1986-11-26. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F5071FFD3C550C758EDDA80994DE484D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fP%2fPoindexter%2c%20John%20M%2e. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- ^ "Timeline of Ronald Reagan's life". PBS. 2000. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/reagan/timeline/index_5.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- ^ Woodward, Bob (1987). VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987. New York: Simon and Schuster.
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- ^ a b c Church, George J (1987-03-02). "Tower of Judgement". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,963668,00.html. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
- ^ Reagan, Ronald (1990), p. 501
- ^ Blumenthal, Sidney (June 9, 2005). "Nixon's Empire Strikes Back". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5211614-103677,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ^ Constanze Schulte (January 2004). COMPLIANCE WITH DECISIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE. 81. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 282–285. ISBN 0-19-927672-2..
- ^ "Iran-Contra Multimedia". http://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/multimedia.php.
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- ^ Mayer, Jane and Doyle McManus, Landslide: The Unmaking of The President, 1984-1988. Houghton Mifflin, (1988) p.292 and 437
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- ^ Sussman, Dalia (2001-08-06). "Improving With Age: Reagan Approval Grows Better in Retrospect". ABC. http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/poll_reagan010806.html. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
- ^ Ranstorp, Magnus, Hizb'allah in Lebanon: The Politics of the Western Hostage Crisis, New York, St. Martins Press, 1997 p.203
- ^ Abrahamian, Tortured Confessions, University of California, (1999), pp 162-166
- ^ Shenon, Philip (1988-03-17). "North, Poindexter and 2 Others Indicted on Iran-Contra Fraud and Theft Charges". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0716F63B5B0C748DDDAA0894D0484D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fP%2fPoindexter%2c%20John%20M%2e. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
- ^ Haberman, Clyde (July 18, 1997). "Arthur L. Liman, a Masterly Lawyer, Dies at 64". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DEED71E38F93BA25754C0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ^ FAS.org
- ^ "Did A Dead Man Tell No Tales?" by Richard Zoglin, Time, October 12, 1987
- ^ ^ Pichirallo, Joe (March 12, 1988). "McFarlane Enters Guilty Plea Arising From Iran-Contra Affair; Former Reagan Adviser Withheld Information From Congress". Washington Post.
- ^ Walsh, Lawrence E. (August 4, 1993). "Final Report of the Independent Counsel For Iran/Contra Matters Vol. I: Investigations and Prosecutions". Summary of Prosecutions. U. S. Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia.
- ^ "Walsh Iran / Contra Report - Chapter 17 United States v. Clair E. George". Fas.org. http://fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/chap_17.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
- ^ www.nytimes, July 21, 1988, "Civil Liberties Union Asks Court to Quash Iran-Conta Indictment" by Philip Shanon
- ^ Hall, North Trial Testimony, 3/22/89, pp. 5311–16, and 3/23/89, pp. 5373–80, 5385–87; Chapter 5 Fawn Hall 147
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- ^ "Iran-Contra Pardons". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press (Bangor, Maine): p. 2 accessdate=14 January 2011. 24 December 1992. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JbYzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=TTgHAAAAIBAJ&pg=4087,3010575&dq=duane+clarridge&hl=en.
- ^ a b "The Iran-Contra Defendants". The Milwaukee Journal. Journal wire services (Milwaukee, Wisconsin): p. A6. 17 September 1991. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=4aIaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QCwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6774,768311&dq=albert+hakim+sentenced&hl=en. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- ^ David Johnston (9 November 1989). "Secord is Guilty Of One Charge in Contra Affair". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FA0710FF3C5E0C7A8CDDA80994D1484D81. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- ^ Pete Yost (22 November 1989). "Hakim, one company plead guilty to Iran-Contra counts". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press (Modesto, CA): p. A-4. http://news.google.com/newspapersid=Sx4jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=P88FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1225,370748&dq=albert+hakim+pleaded+guilty&hl=en. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- ^ Martin, Douglas (May 1, 2003). "Albert Hakim, Figure in Iran-Contra Affair, Dies at 66". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/01/us/albert-hakim-figure-in-iran-contra-affair-dies-at-66.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
- ^ Johnston, David (December 25, 1992). "Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails 'Cover-Up'". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/06/29/reviews/iran-pardon.html. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- ^ http://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_scandal/thelegalaftermath.php
- ^ http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB210/index.htm
- ^ Bush, George H.W. (December 24, 1992). "Proclamation 6518 - Grant of Executive Clemency". The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=20265. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- ^ Campbell, Duncan (2001-04-06). "Bush nominees under fire for link with contras". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,469208,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-12.
- ^ "Return of the Iran-Contra brigade". London: The Observer. 2002-12-08. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,856095,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-12.
- ^ "Personnel Announcement". The White House. http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2005/02/20050202-10.html. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
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- ^ Sutherland, John (2002-02-18). "No more Mr Scrupulous Guy". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4358017,00.html. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
- ^ Zinn, Howard (2003), pp. 587-588
- ^ Report of the Congressional Committees... p 15
- ^ Several appendices of the report are available online, from archive.org
- ^ Iran-Contra joint committee documents, at the National Archives.
- ^ The two Senate Intelligence Committee reports are online: senate.gov, 100th congress and 101st congress
- ^ Excepts of the Tower Report are online at UC Santa Barbara
- ^ Portions of the OIC report are online at: http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/
- ^ National Archives, Records of Independent Counsels, Lawrence Walsh
- ^ The Reagan Library has his speeches online. They are searchable by going to google and typing site:reagan.utexas.edu Iran-Contra
- Asleson, Vern. Nicaragua: Those Passed By. Galde Press ISBN 1-931942-16-1, 2004
- Cockburn, Alexander and Jeffrey St. Clair (1998). Whiteout, the CIA, drugs and the press. New York City: Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5.
- Reagan, Ronald (1990). An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster.
- Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair (S. Rep. No. 216, H.R. Rep. No. 433, 100th Cong., 1st Sess.). United States Government Printing Office, via Google Books. November 11, 1987. http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0788126024&id=ew_K3auTwEgC&pg=PA3&lpg=PA3&dq=committees&as_brr=1&sig=jrbRSeUgdNVpav3Eh1pijaCG-sY#PPR1,M1. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- Shenon, Philip and Stephen Engelberg (July 5, 1987). "Eight Important Days in November: Unraveling the Iran-Contra Affair". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE6DC1F3EF936A35754C0A961948260. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- Tower, John; Edmund Muskie and Brent Scowcroft (February 26, 1987). "Tower Commission Report (Excerpts)". The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/PS157/assignment%20files%20public/TOWER%20EXCERPTS.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-23.
- Webb, Gary (1998). Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the crack cocaine explosion. Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-888363-68-1.
- Zinn, Howard (2003). A People's History of the United States. New York: Perennial. ISBN 0-06-052837-0.
- Understanding the Iran-Contra Affairs, a comprehensive website
- Final Report of the Independent Counsel for Iran/Contra Matters (Walsh Report)
- Busby, Robert (2011-02-03) The scandal that almost destroyed Ronald Reagan, Salon.com
- Time Article
- Arms for Hostages
- Story needs to be told
- The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On: Documents Spotlight Role of Reagan, Top Aides. By the National Security Archive
- How the Reagan Administration Taught Iran the Wrong Lessons – Middle East Review of International Affairs, June, 2007 article by Nathan Thrall
- Audio, "The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis", 1987 Bill Moyers special on the Iran-Contra Affair
- Condensed article outlining Iran-Contra
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