Iran-Contra, October Surprise and Reagan's Wrongs

A look into the wrongdoings of the Reagan administration and campaign, including the October Surprise, Debategate, MCA Records, the Inslaw and Wedtech scandals and the Iran-Contra scandal, which has been called Reagan's unchecked abuse of Presidential power.

The Iran-Contra scandal saw Congress’ restrictions on foreign arms sales circumvented by high level politicians, military and intelligence officers who were aided by smugglers and traffickers. Many of the details have never been released. By signing onto a FOIA saying that these documents are in the public interest, you can help change that.

This project will collect new materials with FOIA and examine them to understand who really did what, who knew what and what their motives were. It will also explore other scandals and allegations involving the Reagan campaign and administration, including the October Surprise, Debategate, Inslaw and Wedtech sandals and the dropped investigation into MCA Records. The goal is to explore history through primary documents, not to demonize or vilify those involved.

To accomplish this, public involvement is needed. The FBI has a history of attempting to thwart FOIA requests through excessive fees, denying press status, denying fee waivers in the public interest and denying that the files exist. One recent example comes from Danny Casolaro, a journalist who died controversially while investigating the links between Iran-Contra, the October Surprise and the Inslaw Affair. It took at least five FOIA requests before FBI acknowledged having a file on him more than 1,000 pages. Even then, they only acknowledged this a week after Department of Justice documents proving an extensive file existed were obtained separately and uploaded through That 1 Archive to the Internet Archive. The FBI’s reluctance to acknowledge the public interest in FOIA disclosures goes so far as to insist that there is no public benefit to or interest in releasing its files on the investigation into then-First Lady Hillary Clinton illegally accessing FBI files, declining to expedite processing and release the files before the election.

It’s likely that the FBI and CIA will continue to attempt to deny press status and legitimate fee waiver requests, although this becomes much more difficult with your support. Most importantly, they’ll try to withhold at least some files entirely on the grounds of privacy, despite the exemption when the public interest and previous disclosures outweighs the interest of privacy for the individual.

Please consider signing this letter of support to petition the government to release all files associated with these cases and to waive all search and duplication fees. Your support will be especially important if and when it becomes necessary to appeal or sue to have these files released.

Those involved and investigated include:

  • Elliott Abrams - former American diplomat and lawyer who served in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations

  • Richard Armitage - 13th United States Deputy Secretary of State at the State Department. He has acknowledged that he publicly released the classified information that Valerie Plame Wilson was a secret agent for the CIA

  • George Bush - Vice President, Director of Central Intelligence and President of the United States

  • William Casey - Director of Central Intelligence

  • Carl Channell - Conservative fund raiser

  • Duane Clarridge - Senior operations officer for CIA, head of Latin American division

  • Thomas Clines - Senior CIA officer

  • Edwin Corr - U.S. Ambassador to several Latin-American nations

  • Robert Earl - Marine lieutenant colonel and a deputy to Oliver North at the National Security Agency during the early 1980s.

  • Joseph Fernandez - CIA station chief in Costa Rica (operating under the pseudonym Tomás Castillo) and a figure in the Iran-Contra Affair.

  • Alan Fiers, Jr. - President Reagan’s Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Central American Task Force from October 1984 until his retirement in 1988.

  • Robert Gates - Served for 26 years in the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council, and was Director of Central Intelligence under President George H. W. Bush.

  • Clair George - CIA officer in the clandestine service who oversaw all global espionage activities for the agency in the mid-1980s.

  • Donald Gregg - worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 31 years. He was a National Security Council advisor (1979–1982) and National Security Advisor to U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush (1982–1989).

  • Albert Hakim - Iranian-American businessman and a figure in the Iran-Contra affair who participated in an aerial reconnaissance program run by CIA and Imperial Iranian Air Force from bases inside Iran against the Soviet Union.

  • M. Charles Hill - Senior adviser to George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, and President Reagan, as well as Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

  • Edwin Meese III - Served within the Reagan Presidential Transition Team and the Reagan White House, eventually rising to hold the position of Attorney General, from which he resigned while under investigation from a special prosecutor.

  • Robert McFarlane - National Security Advisor to President Reagan

  • Richard Miller - Communications consultant who helped raise money for the Nicaraguan rebels and plead guilty to a conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

  • Oliver North - National Security Council staff member alleged by John Kerry to have created a privatized Contra network that attracted drug traffickers looking for cover for their operations, then turned a blind eye to repeated reports of drug smuggling related to the Contras, and actively worked with known drug smugglers such as Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to assist the Contras.

  • Nicholas Platt - American diplomat to Pakistan, Philippines, Zambia, and as a high level diplomat in Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Japan.

  • John Poindexter - Deputy National Security Advisor and National Security Advisor for President Reagan, convinced of multiple felonies as a result of Iran-Contra.

  • Ronald Reagan - President of the United States

  • Donald Regan - President Reagan’s Secretary of the Treasury and White House Chief of Staff

  • Richard Secord - Took part in CIA’s secret war in Laos, involved in Iran-Contra and one of its precursors, Operation Tipped Kettle.

  • George Shultz - President Reagan’s Secretary of State, known for opposition to the Iran-Contra scandal.

  • Paul Thompson - Navy commander who was detailed to the National Security Council staff, military assistant to National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane.

  • Caspar Weinberger - President Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, claimed to be opposed to the sale but participated in the transfer of United States Hawk and TOW missiles to Iran during the Iran–Contra affair. He was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush, who was Reagan’s vice president during the scandal.

3 Articles

The Senate’s final report on Iran-Contra showed extent to which the investigation had been stonewalled

While some of the inherent problems in the Tower Commission, such as Senator Tower’s conflict of interest and family ties to CIA, have been documented, the fact is that none of the government’s investigations into the matter were able to proceed without obstruction. The final report on Iran-Contra, which has rarely been seen but was found in the CREST archive, makes this explicitly clear.

Read More

FBI can’t find its files on the investigation into Reagan’s “Debategate”

By its own admission, the FBI spent over 700 man-hours investigating the allegation that during the 1980 Presidential Election, the Reagan campaign received a copy of at least one debate briefing book used by the Carter campaign, giving the Reagan camp a clear advantage. But when asked for those investigatory files, the Bureau only produced a two-page memo ordering the case closed.

Read More

John Tower’s FBI file reveals role in Iran-Contra cover-up

A recently released copy of John Tower’s FBI file deals with long under-examined allegations that the Tower Commission, officially known as the President’s Special Review Board, was part of a whitewash for the Iran-Contra affair – which, it turns out, Senator Tower had personal connections to, along with a pivotal role in the 1980 “October Surprise.”

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98 Requests

Awaiting Acknowledgement

202-449-9944

Michael Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

1 file

ACT II FBI

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Adnan Khashoggi

Michael Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

17 files

Carl Channell

Michael Best sent this request to the Department of Justice of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

14 files

Casolaro

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

1 file

Casolaro MPD

Michael Best sent this request to the Martinsburg Police Department of Martinsburg, WV

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Contras manual

Michael Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

4 files

Cuellar (FBI)

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

7 files

David Kimche

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

2 files

Donald Goddard

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

2 files

Edwin Wilson

Michael Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

14 files

Gary Webb

Michael Best sent this request to the Department of Justice of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

1 file

Illwind

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

1 file

Nitze FBI

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Procurement Staff PROMIS+

Michael Best sent this request to the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Promis AFMC

Michael Best sent this request to the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

3 files

PROMIS DIA

Michael Best sent this request to the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

1 file

PROMIS NSA

Michael Best sent this request to the National Security Agency of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

7 files

Reagan FBI

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

6 files

Sam Pierce

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

4 files

Senator Heinz (FBI)

Michael Best sent this request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America

Completed

10 files

Wedtech

Michael Best sent this request to the Department of Justice of the United States of America

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Wrong PROMIS NSA

Michael Best sent this request to the National Security Agency of the United States of America