30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Iran-Contra Affair, 1985-1994

Nov 25, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 25, 2016 – Exactly thirty years ago, President Ronald Reagan announced to the nation – after weeks of denials – that members of his White House staff had engaged in a web of covert intrigue linking illicit U.S. support for a guerrilla war in Central America with an illegal and politically explosive arms-for-hostages bargain with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The revelation quickly led to a new phrase – “Iran-Contra” – which became synonymous with political hubris, government incompetence, and dishonesty in the public sphere.
Sep 5, 2014 | Briefing Book
"At last, the Reagan administration's Iran-Contra affair finally has a comprehensive history worthy of the scandal ... Malcolm Byrne has told the complex story in brilliant fashion." — Seymour Hersh Washington, DC, September 5, 2014 – A new book on the Iran-Contra affair shows that President Ronald Reagan stood at the epicenter of the scandal both in terms of his willingness to break the law in order to free American hostages in Lebanon and his failure to take account of the costs and consequences of his decisions, including the illicit conduct of numerous aides.
Mar 26, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, March 26, 2014 – The passing away of Iran-Contra Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh on March 19, at age 102, is an appropriate occasion to recall some of the extraordinary outcomes of his investigation into the most significant political scandal of the 1980s. The Iran-Contra affair stirred up profound political passions. Walsh found himself at the center of seemingly perpetual controversy from the time of his appointment in late 1986 until his last major case against a former cabinet official — Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger — jolted to a halt in December 1992.
Nov 25, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 25, 2011 – President Ronald Reagan was briefed in advance about every weapons shipment in the Iran arms-for-hostages deals in 1985-86, and Vice President George H. W. Bush chaired a committee that recommended the mining of the harbors of Nicaragua in 1983, according to previously secret Independent Counsel assessments of "criminal liability" on the part of the two former leaders posted today by the National Security Archive.
Nov 24, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 24, 2006 - On November 25, 1986, the biggest political and constitutional scandal since Watergate exploded in Washington when President Ronald Reagan told a packed White House news conference that funds derived from covert arms deals with the Islamic Republic of Iran had been diverted to buy weapons for the U.S.-backed Contra rebels in Nicaragua. In the weeks leading up to this shocking admission, news reports had exposed the U.S.
Nov 10, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 10, 2006 - Bush administration nominee for Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates had a long career in government which showed a notable combination of ambition and caution, according to a new book by Archive senior analyst John Prados [Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2006)] which deals with Gates among its much wider coverage of the agency since its inception.
Apr 12, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., April 12, 2005 - As the Senate Intelligence Committee convenes to consider the nomination of John Negroponte to be Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Archive today posted hundreds of his cables written from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa between late 1981 and 1984. The majority of his "chron file"- cables and memos written during his tenure as Ambassador- was obtained by the Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.
Feb 26, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., 26 February 2004 - Diaries, e-mail, and memos of Iran-contra figure Oliver North, posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive, directly contradict his criticisms yesterday of Sen. John Kerry's 1988 Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee report on the ways that covert support for the Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s undermined the U.S. war on drugs. Mr. North claimed to talk show hosts Hannity & Colmes that the Kerry report was "wrong," that Sen.
Mar 2, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 2, 2001 – The Bush administration has floated the name of Otto Juan Reich for possible nomination as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs (see Al Kamen, "In the Loop," The Washington Post, 15 February 2001). Mr. Reich served in the Reagan administration as assistant administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID) from 1981 to 1983, then as the first director of the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (S/LPD) from 1983 to 1986, and finally as ambassador to Venezuela. Mr.

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