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.

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.

13 Articles

NSA wanted to use the Espionage Act to prosecute a journalist for using FOIA

NSA wanted to use the Espionage Act to prosecute a journalist for using FOIA

Declassified documents in the Central Intelligence Agency’s archives show that while the CIA was looking to include the Freedom Of Information Act in its war on leaks, the National Security Agency was seriously considering using the Espionage Act to target Puzzle Palace author James Bamford for using FOIA.

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CIA's asset in Mexico was architect of some of the worst atrocities of the Dirty War

CIA’s asset in Mexico was architect of some of the worst atrocities of the Dirty War

Mexico’s “Dirty War,” nestled in the middle of what the Central Intelligence Agency called a period of “stability” for the country was carried out in part by their asset Miguel Nazar Haro and his secret police. Nazar would later be arrested for his role in the “disappearance” of 1,200 dissidents, and investigated for torture, murder, and even genocide, all while working with, and protected by, the CIA.

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Mexican spymaster’s car theft ring shows CIA’s tolerance for corruption

Mexican spymaster’s car theft ring shows CIA’s tolerance for corruption

When Mexican spymaster Miguel Nazar Haro was implicated in a car theft ring operating in both the United States and Mexico, the Central Intelligence Agency moved to prevent prosecution of one of their most valuable assets. As the ensuing investigation revealed, however, the web of corruption surrounding Nazar connected to more than just grand theft auto, with ties to narcotics trafficking, the torture and disappearance of numerous dissidents, and at the murder of a DEA Agent.

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Justice Department records confirm PROMIS scandal's ties to Israel

Justice Department records confirm PROMIS scandal’s ties to Israel

Justice Department documents recently released by the National Archives confirm what some Inslaw witnesses have been saying for decades: that a copy of PROMIS software was given to Israel.

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How KGB cowboys and a fictional plot against Reagan helped the CIA's war on oversight

How KGB cowboys and a fictional plot against Reagan helped the CIA’s war on oversight

For years, accusations of KGB penetration of the Government Accountability Office helped further the Central Intelligence Agency’s ‘s efforts to pit the Congressional committees against GAO. In the early 1980s, an opportunity presented itself that would deepen these divides without any action from CIA - a conspiracy against President Reagan involving a Soviet diplomat with a penchant for ten gallon hats.

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The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 2

The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 2

According to the Department of Justice, not only is some material on the PROMIS affair being withheld to protect wiretap information, the FBI’s material is also being withheld to protect the Intelligence Community’s sources and methods, except where it was lost or destroyed as so often happens with files relating to the PROMIS scandal. In addition, the DOJ also positively affirmed that as of earlier this year, the FBI had an open investigation relating to PROMIS while hinting that part of it remains “pending” even now.

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The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 1

The Enduring Octopus: What FOIA withholdings reveal about the PROMIS scandal Part 1

Over two decades after Danny Casolaro died while investigating the PROMIS affair, a recent FOIA response from the National Archives confirms that it truly is “the scandal that wouldn’t die.” Where a previous release saw only 4% of the total redacted and nothing withheld in full, this release sees 23% of the pages redacted or withheld in full. The letter from the Archives’ suggests that the difference is due to the presence of wiretap information in the Casolaro investigation, a fact which has been previously undisclosed by the government.

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CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the '80s Part 2

CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the ‘80s Part 2

Fresh on the heels of Iran-Contra, the CIA refused to allow the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit the Agency “with respect to funds authorized for the Nicaraguan Resistance,” insisting that since any such funds would break the law, there was nothing for GAO to audit, and therefore GAO’s request was being denied. Similarly, any other hypothetical assistance to the Nicaraguan Resistance would have been subject to Congressional oversight, and on which grounds the Agency would similarly deny the GAO access.

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CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the '80s Part 1

CIA’s 60 year war with the Government Accountability Office: the ‘80s Part 1

During the ’80s, CIA’s efforts to shut down the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) access to the Agency not only went on unchecked, but reached a new level of success when the Agency convinced Congress to further consolidate Oversight within the intelligence committees. Not only did this nearly cut the GAO out entirely, but it allowed the CIA to spread its exemption to other agencies eager to avoid an audit.

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FBI investigated General with ties to CIA money laundering for ... being a librarian

FBI investigated General with ties to CIA money laundering for … being a librarian

Brigadier General Edwin Black is best known for his role in the Nugan-Hand scandal, in which the Australian bank was accused of being used by the Central Intelligence Agency for narcotics and arms trafficking and money laundering purposes. To learn more about the scandal, Emma Best filed FOIA requests for all the people associated with it, and General Black’s file reveald two things: First, the FBI file’s only mention of his ties to Nugan-Hand is in the form of a Wall Street Journal clipping. Second, Hoover’s FBI briefly investigated him for being a librarian.

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Declassified CIA memo predicted the 1980 October Surprise

Declassified CIA memo predicted the 1980 October Surprise

A formerly TOP SECRET memo to the CIA Director written by the Agency’s Office of Political Analysis shows that as early as August 1980, the Agency had concluded Iranian hardliners such as Ayatollah Khomeini were “determined to exploit the hostage issue to bring about President Carter’s defeat in the November elections.” While the document doesn’t prove the Reagan campaign intended to collude with Iran, it does document Iran’s motives and matches the October Surprise narrative outlined by former CIA officers.

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CIA’s former senior officer for Congressional affairs was convicted of lying to Congress

CIA’s former senior officer for Congressional affairs was convicted of lying to Congress

Clair George, the CIA officer who was placed in charge of briefing Congress on CIA’s activities, withheld information about the beginnings of the Iran-Contra affair, and was later convicted of lying to Congress. After an eight-month tenure that led to a nearly complete communications breakdown between the Agency and Congress, George was promoted to the third most senior position within the CIA.

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Sir Robert Maxwell's FBI file is getting more classified by the minute

Sir Robert Maxwell’s FBI file is getting more classified by the minute

Sir Robert Maxwell is mostly remembered as the Czech-born British media mogul who owned the Daily Mirror and was a Member of Parliament. Less remembered is that he was an alleged spy for both the U.K. and Israel, and was accused of ties to the Mossad abduction of Mordechai Vanunu - accusations which he denied shortly before his apparent suicide. All but forgotten, however, are his alleged ties to the PROMIS affair, thanks in no small part to the FBI withdrawing his file from public view.

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104 Requests

Awaiting Response

2 files

202-449-9944

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

Awaiting Response

1 file

92-0711-TAF

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

Awaiting Appeal

8 files

ACT II DEA

Emma Best sent this request to the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

4 files

ACT II FBI

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

Awaiting Response

2 files

Adnan Khashoggi

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

Awaiting Appeal

6 files

Amiram Nir

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

No Responsive Documents

17 files

Carl Channell

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

No Responsive Documents

1 file

Casolaro MPD

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

Awaiting Appeal

4 files

Contras manual

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

Awaiting Response

2 files

CPG/SSPC contracts

Emma Best sent this request to the U.S. Department of State of the United States of America

No Responsive Documents

4 files

Cuellar (FBI)

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

No Responsive Documents

7 files

David Kimche

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

No Responsive Documents

2 files

Donald Goddard

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

Awaiting Response

2 files

Edwin Wilson

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

Fix Required

18 files

Gary Webb

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

Awaiting Appeal

4 files

Gary Webb

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

No Responsive Documents

2 files

Hadron PROMIS Trident (NSSC)

Emma Best sent this request to the Naval Sea Systems Command of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

1 file

Illwind

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

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Iran-Contra destroyed docs

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

Awaiting Response

2 files

John Galvin

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

Awaiting Response

8 files

MCA Records

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

Awaiting Response

2 files

Nitze FBI

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

Awaiting Acknowledgement

Promis AFMC

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

Awaiting Response

4 files

PROMIS DIA

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

Awaiting Acknowledgement

PROMIS film

Emma Best sent this request to the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs of the United States of America

Awaiting Response

2 files

PROMIS NSA

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

Awaiting Response

8 files

Reagan FBI

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

Awaiting Response

5 files

Roy Furmark

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

No Responsive Documents

4 files

Senator Heinz (FBI)

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

Completed

10 files

Wedtech

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

Awaiting Response

1 file

Wrong PROMIS NSA

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