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Iran Contra Scandal

Iran Contra Scandal

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Iran Contra Scandal

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  1. Iran Contra Scandal • Camille Lundberg

  2. Sandinistas • officially known as theSandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) • socialist movement in Nicaragua, founded in 1961; wanted to overthrow Somoza’s dictatorship • seized power in 1979 • influenced by Marxist-Leninist teachings

  3. Immediate Response • President Carter sent $99 million in aid • by March ’80, the Sandinistas made agreements with the USSR; would start receiving arms • US saw that the FSLN wouldn’t change policies; Carter allowed CIA support of resistance forces (propaganda efforts)

  4. The Contras • formed mid 1980 • opposition force • Nicaraguan Democratic Force (NDF), was the main contra group

  5. Reagan’s Response • shortly after inauguration in January ’81, he cut off aid to FSLN • Sandinistas supported leftist rebels in El Salvador • December ’81 Reagan signed an order allowing the CIA to aid the Contras with supplies & money (covert operations)

  6. Boland Amendments • Boland I- passed in 1982; restricts humanitarian aid to contras, prohibits use of US funds “for the purpose of overthrowing the government in Nicaragua.” • Boland II- passed in 1984; outlawed any third nation parties from supporting the contras; “...supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization or individual.”

  7. People to Know • Robert McFarlane- national security adviser • Poindexter- succeded McFarlane • Donald Regan- chief of staff • Oliver North- Lt. colonel, aide to the NSC • Caspar Weinberger- sec of defense

  8. How is Iran involved? • Iran was in a war with Iraq; the US was engaged in an arms embargo, Operation Staunch • Iran needed weapons and the US needed 7 American hostages in Lebanon to be released • July ’85 McFarlane meets w/ Reagan in the hospital to get approval for plan • would send 100 American made TOW missiles to Iran via Israel, in exchange for hostages.. and money

  9. btw • TOW= Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided

  10. The Enterprise • August ’85- 96 TOW missiles were sent to Iran via Israel • “financial intermediates” - Ghorbanifar (Iran) and Khashoggi (Saudi Arabia) • 500 TOW missiles later, one hostage was released, Benjamin Weir • by November, funds were diverted to the Contras

  11. Then, • North suggests that the US sells Iran the arms directly, instead of through Israel, at a markup of $15 million • North gets the approval of this from Poindexter, but Reagan is not notified

  12. But.... • Despite sending 1,000 TOWs to Iran in February of ’86, with the expectation of the hostages being freed, none were actually released • 1 more hostage was released in May ’86 • but they were still getting $$$$

  13. And the whole world finds out • November ’86- a Lebanese magazine exposes the scandal • 10 days later, Reagan addressed the public about the affair • after a few days, a press conference was held; Reagan made several contradictions/blunders, which questioned his credibility and role in the event

  14. Oh, North.. • 2 days after the press conference, North shredded/destroyed a bunch of NSC documents related to the affair • then Poindexter resigns and North gets fired by Reagan • tried in court and gave immunized testimony in July ’87 • testified that he was proud of his actions

  15. Tower Commission • Reagan appoints senator John Tower to lead a review board • purpose: “evaluating the operation of the National Security Council in general and the role of the NSC staff in particular.” • released findings in Feb ’87 • overall: put most blame on Poindexter and Regan; didn’t find Reagan guilty but said he should have been more informed

  16. Outcome of Hearings • McFarlane-plead guilty, w/ 4 counts of withholding info from Congress • North- convicted of altering and destroying documents, accepting an illegal gratuity, and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of Congress • Poindexter- convicted of conspiracy, false statements, falsification, destruction and removal of records, and obstruction of Congress • Weinberger was charged with four counts of false statements and perjury