George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography - Part 7 of 8
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GEORGE BUSH: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY - PART 7 of 8
THE ATTEMPTED COUP D'ETAT OF MARCH 30, 1981
For Bush, the vice-presidency was not an end in itself, but merely another
stage in the ascent toward the White House. With the help of his Brown
Brothers Harriman/Skull and Bones network, Bush had now reached the point
where but a single human life stood between him and the presidency.
Ronald Reagan was 70 years old when he took office, the oldest man ever to
be inaugurated as President. His mind wandered; long fits of slumber crept
over his cognitive faculties. His custom was to delegate all administrative
decisions to the cabinet members, to the executive departments and
agencies. Policy questions were delegated to the White House staff, who
prepared the options and then guided Reagan's decisions among the
pre-defined options. This was the staff that composed not just Reagan's
speeches, but the script of his entire life.
In addition, during the early years of Reagan's first term, there were
enough Reaganite loyalists in the administration, typified by William
Clark, to cause much trouble for the Bushmen. But as the years went by, the
few men like Clark whom Reagan had brought with him from California would
be ground up by endless bureaucratic warfare, and their replacements, like
McFarlane at the NSC, would come more and more from the ranks of the
Kissingerians. Unfortunately, Reagan never developed a plan to make the SDI
an irreversible political and budgetary reality, and this critical
shortcoming grew out of Reagan's failed economic policies, which never
substantially departed from Carter's.
But apart from rare moments like the SDI, Reagan tended to drift. Don Regan
called it "the guesswork presidency"; for Al Haig, frustrated in his own
lust for power, it was government by an all-powerful staff. Who were the
staff? At first, it was thought that Reagan would take most of his advice
from his old friend Edwin Meese, his close associate from California days,
loyal and devoted to Reagan, and sporting his Adam Smith tie. But it was
soon evident that the White House was really run by a troika: Meese,
Michael Deaver, and James Baker III, Bush's man.
Deaver gravitated by instinct toward Baker; Deaver tells us in his memoirs
that he was a supporter of Bush for vice president at the Detroit
convention. This meant that James Baker-Michael Deaver became the dominant
force over Ron and over Nancy; George Bush, in other words, already had an
edge in the bureaucratic infighting.
Thus it was that White House Press Secretary James Brady could say in early
March 1981: "Bush is functioning much like a co-President. George is
involved in all the national security stuff because of his special
background as CIA director. All the budget working groups he was there, the
economic working groups, the Cabinet meetings. He is included in almost all
the meetings." / Note #1
During the first months of the Reagan administration, Bush found himself
locked in a power struggle with Gen. Alexander Haig, whom Reagan had
appointed to be secretary of state.
Inexorably, the Brown Brothers Harriman/Skull and Bones networks went into
action against Haig. The idea was to paint him as a power-hungry
megalomaniac bent on dominating the administration of the weak figurehead
Reagan. This would then be supplemented by a vicious campaign of leaking by
James Baker and Michael Deaver, designed to play Reagan against Haig and
vice-versa, until the rival to Bush could be eliminated.
Three weeks into the new administration, Haig concluded that "someone in
the White House staff was attempting to communicate with me through the
press," by a process of constant leakage, including leakage of the contents
of secret diplomatic papers. Haig protested to Meese, NSC chief Richard
Allen, James Baker and Bush. Shortly thereafter, Haig noted that "Baker's
messeng ers sent rumors of my imminent departure or dismissal murmuring
through the press." "Soon, a 'senior presidential aide' was quoted in a
syndicated column as saying, 'We will get this man [Haig] under control.'|"
/ Note #2 It took more than a year for Baker and Bush to drive Haig out of
the administration. Shortly before his ouster, Haig got a report of a White
House meeting during which Baker was reported to have said, "Haig is going
to go, and quickly, and we are going to make it happen." / Note #3
Haig's principal bureaucratic ploy during the first weeks of the Reagan
administration was his submission to Reagan, on the day of his
inauguration, of a draft executive order to organize the National Security
Council and interagency task forces, including the crisis staffs, according
to Haig's wishes. Haig refers to this document as National Security
Decision Directive 1 (NSDD 1), and laments that it was never signed in its
original form, and that no comparable directive for structuring the NSC
interagency groups was signed for over a year. Ultimately a document called
NSDD 1 would be signed, establishing a Special Situation Group (SSG) crisis
management staff chaired by Bush. Haig's draft would have made the
secretary of state the chairman of the SSG crisis staff in conformity with
Haig's demand to be recognized as Reagan's "vicar of foreign policy." This
was unacceptable to Bush, who made sure, with the help of James Baker and
probably also Deaver, that Haig's draft of NSDD 1 would never be signed.
The struggle between Haig and Bush culminated toward the end of Reagan's
first 100 days in office. Haig was chafing because the White House staff,
meaning James Baker, was denying him access to the President.Haig's NSDD 1
had still not been signed. Then, on Sunday, March 22, Haig's attention was
called to an elaborate leak to reporter Martin Schram that had appeared
that day in the "Washington Post" under the headline "White House Revamps
Top Policy Roles; Bush to Head Crisis Management." Haig's attention was
drawn to the following paragraphs: "Partly in an effort to bring harmony to
the Reagan high command, it has been decided that Vice President George
Bush will be placed in charge of a new structure for national security
crisis management, according to senior presidential assistants. This
assignment will amount to an unprecedented role for a vice president in
"Reagan officials emphasized that Bush, a former director of the CIA and
former United Nations ambassador, would be able to preserve White House
control over crisis management without irritating Haig, who they stressed
was probably the most experienced and able of all other officials who could
serve in that function.
"|'The reason for this [choice of Bush] is that the secretary of state
might wish he were chairing the crisis management structure,' said one
Reagan official, 'but it is pretty hard to argue with the vice president
being in charge.'|" / Note #4
Haig says that he called Ed Meese at the White House to check the truth of
this report, and that Meese replied that there was no truth to it. Haig
went to see Reagan at the White House. Reagan was concerned about the leak,
and reassured Haig: "I want you to know that the story in the "Post" is a
fabrication. It means that George would sit in for me in the NSC in my
absence, and that's all it means. It doesn't affect your authority in any
But later the same afternoon, White House Press Secretary James Brady read
the following statement to the press: "I am confirming today the
President's decision to have the Vice President chair the Administration's
'crisis management' team, as a part of the National Security Council
system.... President Reagan's choice of the Vice President was guided in
large measure by the fact that management of crises has traditionally --
and appropriately -- been done in the White House." / Note #5
In the midst of the Bush-James Baker cabal's relentless drive to seize
control over the Reagan administration, John Warnock Hinckley, Jr. carried
out his attempt to assassinate President Reagan on the afternoon of March
30, 1981. George Bush was visiting Texas that day. Bush was flying from
Fort Worth to Austin in his Air Force Two Boeing 707.
In Austin, Bush was scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of
the Texas state legislature. It was Al Haig who called Bush and told him
that the President had been shot, while forwarding the details of Reagan's
condition, insofar as they were known, by scrambler as a classified
message. Haig was in touch with James Baker III, who was close to Reagan at
George Washington University hospital. Bush's man in the White House
situation room was Admiral Dan Murphy, who was standing right next to Haig.
Bush agreed with Haig's estimate that he ought to return to Washington at
once. But first his plane needed to be refueled, so it landed at Carswell
Air Force Base near Austin.
Bush says that his flight from Carswell to Andrews Air Force Base near
Washington took about two and one-half hours, and that he arrived at
Andrews at about 6:40 p.m. Bush says he was told by Ed Meese that the
operation to remove the bullet that had struck Reagan was a success, and
that the President was likely to survive.
Back at the White House, the principal cabinet officers had assembled in
the Situation Room and had been running a crisis management committee
during the afternoon. Haig says he was at first adamant that a conspiracy,
if discovered, should be ruthlessly exposed: "Remembering the aftermath of
the Kennedy assassination, I said to Woody Goldberg, 'No matter what the
truth is about this shooting, the American people must know it.'|" / Note
In his memoir Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger recalls, that "at almost e
xactly 7:00, the Vice President came to the Situation Room and very calmly
assumed the chair at the head of the table." / Note #7 Bush asked
Weinberger for a report on the status of U.S. forces, which Weinberger
Another eyewitness of these transactions was Don Regan, who records that
"the Vice President arrived with Ed Meese, who had met him when he landed
to fill him in on the details. George asked for a condition report: 1) on
the President; 2) on the other wounded; 3) on the assailant; 4) on the
international scene.... After the reports were given and it was determined
that there were no international complications and no domestic conspiracy,
it was decided that the U.S. government would carry on business as usual.
The Vice President would go on TV from the White House to reassure the
nation and to demonstrate that he was in charge." / Note #8
As Weinberger recounts the same moments: "[Attorney General William French
Smith] then reported that all FBI reports concurred with the information I
had received; that the shooting was a completely isolated incident and that
the assassin, John Hinckley, with a previous record in Nashville, seemed to
be a 'Bremmer' type, a reference to the attempted assassin of George
Wallace." / Note #9
Those who were not watching carefully here may have missed the fact that
just a few minutes after George Bush had walked into the room, he had
presided over the sweeping under the rug of the decisive question regarding
Hinckley and his actions: Was Hinckley a part of a conspiracy, domestic or
international? Not more than five hours after the attempt to kill Reagan,
on the basis of the most fragmentary early reports, before Hinckley had
been properly questioned, and before a full investigation had been carried
out, a group of cabinet officers chaired by George Bush had ruled out "a
priori" any conspiracy. Haig, whose memoirs talk most about the possibility
of a conspiracy, does not seem to have objected to this incredible
From that moment on, "no conspiracy" became the official doctrine of the
U.S. regime and the most massive efforts were undertaken to stifle any
suggestion to the contrary.
Curiously enough, press accounts emerging over the next few days provided a
"prima facie" case that there had been a conspiracy around the Hinckley
attentat, and that the cons piracy had included members of Bush's immediate
family. Most of the overt facts were not disputed, but were actually
confirmed by Bush and his son Neil.
On Tuesday, March 31, the "Houston Post" published a copyrighted story
under the headline: "Bush's Son Was to Dine with Suspect's Brother." The
lead paragraph read as follows: "Scott Hinckley, the brother of John
Hinckley, Jr., who is charged with shooting President Reagan and three
others, was to have been a dinner guest Tuesday night at the home of Neil
Bush, son of Vice President George Bush, the "Houston Post" has learned."
According to the article, Neil Bush had admitted on Monday, March 30 that
he was personally acquainted with Scott Hinckley, having met with him on
one occasion in the recent past. Neil Bush also stated that he knew the
Hinckley family, and referred to large monetary contributions made by the
Hinckleys to the Bush 1980 presidential campaign. Neil Bush and Scott
Hinckley both lived in Denver at this time. Scott Hinckley was the vice
president of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation, and Neil Bush was employed as a
landman for Standard Oil of Indiana. John W. Hinckley, Jr., the would-be
assassin, lived on and off with his family in Evergreen, Colorado, not far
Neil Bush was reached for comment on Monday, March 30, and was asked if, in
addition to Scott Hinckley, he also knew John W. Hinckley, Jr., the
would-be killer. "I have no idea," said Neil Bush. "I don't recognize any
pictures of him. I just wish I could see a better picture of him."
Sharon Bush, Neil's wife, was also asked about her acquaintance with the
Hinckley family. "I don't even know the brother," she replied, suggesting
that Scott Hinckley was coming to dinner as the date of a woman whom
Sharon did know. "From what I know and have heard, they [the Hinckleys] are
a very nice family ... and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign.
I understand he [John W. Hinckley, Jr.] was just the renegade brother in
the family. They must feel awful."
It also proved necessary for Bush's office to deny that the Vice President
was familiar with the "Hinckley-Bush connection." Bush's press secretary,
Peter Teeley, said when asked to comment: "I don't know a damn thing about
it. I was talking to someone earlier tonight, and I couldn't even remember
his [Hinckley's] name. All I know is what you're telling me."
On April 1, 1981, the "Rocky Mountain News" of Denver carried Neil Bush's
confirmation that if the assassination attempt had not happened on March
30, Scott Hinckley would have been present at a dinner party at Neil Bush's
home the night of March 31. According to Neil, Scott Hinckley had come to
the home of Neil and Sharon Bush on January 23, 1981 to be present along
with about 30 other guests at a surprise birthday party for Neil, who had
turned 26 one day earlier. Scott Hinckley had come "through a close friend
who brought him," according to this version, and this same close female
friend was scheduled to come to dinner along with Scott Hinckley on that
last night of March, 1981.
"My wife set up a surprise party for me, and it truly was a surprise, and
it was an honor for me at that time to meet Scott Hinckley," said Neil Bush
to reporters. "He is a good and decent man. I have no regrets whatsoever in
saying Scott Hinckley can be considered a friend of mine. To have had one
meeting doesn't make the best of friends, but I have no regrets in saying I
do know him."
Neil Bush told the reporters that he had never met John W. Hinckley, Jr.,
the gunman, nor his father, John W. Hinckley, Sr., president and chairman
of the board of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation of Denver. But Neil Bush also
added that he would be interested in meeting the elder Hinckley: "I would
like [to meet him]. I'm trying to learn the oil business, and he's in the
oil business. I probably could learn something from Mr. Hinckley."
Neil Bush then announced that he wanted to "set straight" certain
inaccuracies that had appeared the previous day in the "Houston Post" about
the relations between the Bush and Hinckley families. The first was his own
wife Sharon's reference to the large contributions from the Hinckleys to
the Bush campaign. Neil asserted that the 1980 Bush campaign records showed
no money whatever coming in from any of the Hinckleys. All that could be
found, he argued, was a contribution to that "great Republican," John
The other issue the "Houston Post" had raised regarded the 1978 period,
when George W. Bush of Midland, Texas, Neil's oldest brother, had run for
Congress in Texas's 19th Congressional District. At that time, Neil Bush
had worked for George W. Bush as his campaign manager, and in this
connection Neil had lived in Lubbock, Texas during most of the year. This
raised the question of whether Neil might have been in touch with gunman
John W. Hinckley, Jr. during that year of 1978, since gunman Hinckley had
lived in Lubbock from 1974 through 1980, when he was an intermittent
student at Texas Tech University there. Neil Bush ruled out any contact
between the Bush family and gunman John W. Hinckley, Jr. in Lubbock during
The previous day, elder son George W. Bush had been far less categorical
about never having met gunman Hinckley. He had stated to the press: "It's
certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to
him.... I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing
they had on TV, and the name doesn't ring any bells. I know he wasn't on
our staff. I could check our volunteer rolls."
Neil Bush's confirmation of his relations with Scott Hinckley was matched
by a parallel confirmation from the Executive Office of the Vice President.
This appeared in the "Houston Post", April 1, 1981 under the headline,
"Vice President Confirms his Son was to have Hosted Hinckley Brother." Here
the second-string press secretary, Shirley M. Green, was doing the talking.
"I've spoken to Neil," she said, "and he says they never saw [Scott]
Hinckley again [after the birthday party]. They kept saying 'we've got to
get together,' but they never made any plans until tonight." Contradicting
Neil Bush's remarks, Ms. Green asserted that Neil Bush knew Scott Hinckley
Later in the day, Bush spokesman Peter Teeley surfaced to deny any campaign
donations from the Hinckley clan to the Bush campaign. When asked why
Sharon Bush and Neil Bush had made reference to large political
contributions from the Hinckleys to the Bush campaign, Teeley responded, "I
don't have the vaguest idea." "We've gone through our files," said Teeley,
"and we have absolutely no information that he [John W. Hinckley, Sr.] or
anybody in the family were contributors, supporters, anything."
Once the cabinet had decided that there had been no conspiracy, all such
facts were irrelevant anyway. There is no record of Neil Bush, George W.
Bush, or Vice President George H.W. Bush ever having been questioned by the
FBI in regard to the contacts described. They never appeared before a grand
jury or a congressional investigating committee. Which is another way of
saying that by March 1981, the United States government had degenerated
into total lawlessness, with special exemptions for the now-ruling Bush
family. Government by law had dissolved.
Haig Is Out
The media were not interested in the dinner date of Neil Bush and Scott
Hinckley, but they were very interested indeed in the soap opera of what
had gone on in the Situation Room in the White House during the afternoon
of March 30. Since the media had been looking for ways to go after Haig for
weeks, they simply continued this line into their coverage of the White
House scene that afternoon. Haig had appeared before the television cameras
to say: "Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice
President, and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the
President decide that he wants to transfer the helm he will do so. He has
not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending
the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something
came up, I would check with him, of cou rse."
The "I'm in control here" story on Haig was made into the leitmotif for his
sacking, which was still a year in the future. Reagan's own ghostwritten
biography published the year after he left office gives a good idea what
James Baker and Michael Deaver fed the confused and wounded President about
what had gone on during his absence: "On the day I was shot, George Bush
was out of town and Haig immediately came to the White House and claimed he
was in charge of the country. Even after the vice-president was back in
Washington, I was told he maintained that he, not George, should be in
charge. I didn't know about this when it was going on. But I heard later
that the rest of the cabinet was furious. They said he acted as if he
thought he had the right to sit in the Oval Office and believed it was his
constitutional right to take over -- a position without any legal basis." /
Note #1 / Note #0
This fantastic account finds no support in the Regan or Weinberger memoirs,
but is a fair sample of the Bushman line.
What also interested the media very much was the story of John W. Hinckley,
Jr.'s obsession with the actress Jodie Foster, who had played the role of a
teenage prostitute in the 1976 movie "Taxi Driver." The prostitute is
befriended by a taxi driver, Travis Bickle, who threatens to kill a Senator
who is running for President in order to win the love of the girl. Young
John Hinckley had imitated the habits and mannerisms of Travis Bickle.
When John Hinckley, Jr. had left his hotel room in Washington, D.C. on his
way to shoot Reagan, he had left behind a letter to Jodie Foster:
There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get
Reagan. It is for this reason that I am writing you this letter now. As
you well know by now, I love you very much. The past seven months I have
left you dozens of poems, letters, and messages in the faint hope you would
develop an interest in me.... Jodie, I'm asking you to please look into
your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to
gain your respect and love.
I love you forever.
[signed] John Hinckley / Note #1 / Note #1
In 1980, Jodie Foster was enrolled at Yale University in New Haven,
Connecticut, as an undergraduate. Hinckley spent three weeks in September
1980 in a New Haven hotel, according to the "New York Daily News". In early
October, he spent several days in New Haven, this time at the Colony Inn
motel. Two bartenders in a bar near the Yale campus recalled Hinckley as
having bragged about his relationship with Jodie Foster. Hinckley had been
arrested by airport authorities in Nashville, Tennessee on October 9, 1980
for carrying three guns, and was quickly released. Reagan had been in
Nashville on October 7, and Carter arrived there on October 9. The firearms
charge on the same day that the President was coming to town should have
landed Hinckley on the Secret Service watch list of potential presidential
assassins, but the FBI apparently neglected to transmit the information to
the Secret Service.
In February 1981, Hinckley was again near the Yale campus. During this
time, Hinckley claimed that he was in contact with Jodie Foster by mail and
telephone. Jodie Foster had indeed received a series of letters and notes
from Hinckley, which she had passed on to her college dean. The dean
allegedly gave the letters to the New Haven police, who supposedly gave
them to the FBI. Nevertheless, nothing was done to restrain Hinckley, who
had a record of psychiatric treatment. Hinckley had been buying guns in
various locations across the United States. Was Hinckley a Manchurian
candidate, brainwashed to carry out his role as an assassin? Was a network
operating through the various law enforcement agencies responsible for the
failure to restrain Hinckley or to put him under special surveillance?
The FBI soon officially rubber-stamped the order promulgated by the cabinet
that no conspiracy be found: "There was no conspiracy and Hinckley acted
alone," said the bureau. Hinckley's parents' memoir refers to some notes
penciled by Hinckley which were found during a search of his cell and which
"could sound bad." These notes "described an imaginary conspiracy -- either
with the political left or the political right .. to assassinate the
President." Hinckley's lawyers, from Edward Bennett Williams's law firm,
said that the notes were too absurd to be taken seriously, and they have
been suppressed. / Note #1 / Note #2
In July 1985, the FBI was compelled to release some details of its
investigation of Hinckley under the Freedom of Information Act. No
explanation was offered of how it was determined that Hinckley had acted
alone, and the names of all witnesses were censored. According to a wire
service account, "The file made no mention of papers seized from Hinckley's
prison cell at Butner, North Carolina, which reportedly made reference to a
conspiracy. Those writings were ruled inadmissible by the trial judge and
never made public." / Note #1 / Note #3
The FBI has refused to release 22 pages of documents concerning Hinckley's
"associates and organizations," 22 pages about his personal finances, and
37 pages about his personality and character. The Williams and Connally
defense team argued that Hinckley was insane, controlled by his obsession
with Jodie Foster. The jury accepted this version, and in July 1982,
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was remanded to St.
Elizabeth's mental hospital where he remains to this day with no fixed term
to serve; his mental condition is periodically reviewed by his doctors.
Bush Takes Over
Bush took up the duties of the presidency, all the while elaborately
denying, in his self-deprecating way, that he had in fact taken control.
During the time that Reagan was convalescing, the President was even less
interested than usual in detailed briefings about government operations.
Bush's visits to the chief executive were thus reduced to the merest
courtesy calls, after which Bush was free to do what he wanted.
Bush's key man was James Baker III, White House chief of staff and the
leading court favorite of Nancy Reagan. During this period, Michael Deaver
was a wholly controlled appendage of Baker, and would remain one for as
long as he was useful to the designs of the Bushmen.
And Baker and Deaver were not the only Bushmen in the White House. There
were also Bush campaign veterans David Gergen and Jay Moorhead. In the
cabinet, one Bush loyalist was Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, who
was flanked by his assistant secretary, Fred Bush (apparently not a member
of the George Bush family). The Bushmen were strong in the sub-cabinet:
Here were Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
John Holdridge, who had served Bush on his Beijing mission staff and during
the 1975 Pol Pot caper in Beijing; and Assistant Secretary of State for
Congressional Affairs Richard Fairbanks; with these two in Foggy Bottom,
Haig's days were numbered. At the Pentagon was Henry E. Catto, the
assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Catto would later be
rewarded by Bush with an appointment as U.S. ambassador to the Court of St.
James in London, the post that foreign service officers spend their lives
striving to attain. Bush was also strong among the agencies: His pal
William H. Draper III, son of the Nazi banker, was the chairman and
president of the Export-Import Bank. Loret Miller Ruppe, Bush's campaign
chairman in Michigan, was director of the Peace Corps.
At the Treasury, Bush's cousin, John Walker, would be assistant secretary
for enforcement. When the BCCI scandal exploded in the media during 1991,
William von Raab, the former director of the U.S. Customs, complained
loudly that, during Reagan's second term, his efforts to "go after" BCCI
had been frustrated by reticence at the Treasury Department. By this time,
James Baker III was secretary of the treasury, and Bush's kissing cousin,
John Walker, was an official who would have had the primary responsibility
for the intensity of such investigations.
At the Pentagon, Caspar Weinberger's d eputy assistant secretary for East
Asia, Richard Armitage, was no stranger to the circles of Shackley and
Clines. Bush's staff numbered slightly less than 60 during the early spring
of 1981. He often operated out of a small office in the West Wing of the
White House where he liked to spend time because it was "in the traffic
pattern," but his staff was principally located in the Old Executive Office
Building. Here Bush sat at a mammoth mahogany desk which had been used in
1903 by his lifetime ego ideal, the archetypal liberal Republican
extravagant, Theodore Roosevelt.
During and after Reagan's recovery, Bush put together a machine capable of
steering many of the decisions of the Reagan administration. Bush had a
standing invitation to sit in on all cabinet meetings and other executive
activities, and James Baker was always there to make sure he knew what was
going on. Bush was a part of every session of the National Security
Council. Bush also possessed guaranteed access to Reagan, in case he ever
needed that: Each Thursday Reagan and Bush would have lunch alone together
in the Oval Office.
Each Tuesday, Bush attended the weekly meeting of GOP committee chairmen
presided over by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker at the Senate. Then
Bush would stay on the Hill for the weekly luncheon of the Republican
Policy Committee hosted by Senator John Tower of Texas.
Prescott's old friend William Casey was beginning to work his deviltry at
Langley, and kept in close touch with Bush.
The Attempt on the Pope
Forty-four days after the attempted assassination of Reagan, there followed
the attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II during a general audience in
St. Peter's Square in Rome. During those 44 days, Bush had been running the
U.S. government. It was as if a new and malignant evil had erupted onto the
world stage, and was asserting its presence with an unprecedented violence
and terror. Bush was certainly involved in the attempt to cover up the true
authors of the attentat of St. Peter's Square. An accessory before the fact
in the attempt to slay the pontiff appears to have been Bush's old cohort
Frank Terpil, who had been one of the instructors who had trained Mehmet
Ali Agca, who fired on the Pope.
After a lengthy investigation, the Italian investigative magistrate, Ilario
Martella, in December 1982 issued seven arrest warrants in the case, five
against Turks and two against Bulgarians. Ultimate responsibility for the
attempt on the Pope's life belonged to Yuri Andropov of the Soviet KGB. On
March 1, 1990, Viktor Ivanovich Sheymov, a KGB officer who had defected to
the West, revealed at a press conference in Washington, D.C. that as early
as 1979, shortly after Karol Woityla became Pope, the KGB had been
instructed through an order signed by Yuri Andropov to gather all possible
information on how to get "physically close to the Pope." / Note #1 / Note
According to one study of these events, during the second week of August
1980, when the agitation of the Polish trade union Solidarnosc was at its
height, the Pope had dispatched a special emissary to Moscow with a
personal letter for Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev. The Pope's message
warned the Soviet dictator that if the Red Army were to invade Poland, as
then seemed imminent, the Pope would fly to Warsaw and lead the resistance.
It is very likely that shortly after this the Soviets gave the order to
eliminate Pope John Paul II. / Note #1 / Note #5
With the Vatican supporting Judge Martella in his campaign to expose the
true background of Ali Agca's assault, it appeared that the Bulgarian
connection, and with it the Andropov-KGB connection, might soon be exposed.
But in the meantime, Brezhnev had died, and had been succeeded by the sick
and elderly Konstantin Chernenko. Bush was already in the "you die, we fly"
business, representing Reagan at all important state funerals, and carrying
on the summit diplomacy that belongs to such occasions. Bush attended
Brezhnev's funeral in November 1982, and conferred at length with Yuri
Andropov. Chernenko was a transitional figure, and the Anglo-American
elites were looking to KGB boss Andropov as a desirable successor with whom
a new series of condominium deals at the expense of peoples and nations all
over the planet might be consummated. For the sake of the condominium, it
was imperative that the hit against the Pope not be pinned on Moscow. There
was also the scandal that would result if it turned out that U.S. assets
had also been involved within the framework of derivative assassination
During the first days of 1983, Bush lodged an urgent request with Monsignor
Pio Laghi, the apostolic pro-nuncio in Washington, in which Bush asked for
an immediate private audience with the Pope. By February 8, Bush was in
Rome. According to reliable reports, during the private audience Bush
"suggested that John Paul should not pursue quite so energetically his own
interest in the plot." / Note #1 / Note #6
Bush's personal intervention had the effect of supplementing and
accelerating a U.S. intelligence operation that was already in motion to
sabotage and discredit Judge Martella and his investigation. On May 13,
1983, the second anniversary of the attempt on the Pope's life, Vassily
Dimitrov, the first secretary of the Bulgarian embassy in Rome, expressed
his gratitude: "Thanks to the CIA, I feel as if I were born again!" / Note
#1 / Note #7
Bush consistently expressed skepticism on Bulgarian support for Agca. On
December 20, 1982, responding to the Martella indictments, Bush told the
"Christian Science Monitor": "Maybe I speak defensively as a former head of
the CIA, but leave out the operational side of the KGB -- the naughty
things they allegedly do: Here's a man, Andropov, who has had access to a
tremendous amount of intelligence over the years. In my judgment, he would
be less apt to misread the intentions of the U.S.A. That offers potential.
And the other side of that is that he's tough, and he appears to have
solidified his leadership position."
According to one study, the German foreign intelligence service (the
Bundesnachrichtendienst) believed at this time that "a common link between
the CIA and the Bulgarians" existed. / Note #1 / Note #8
Martella was convinced that Agca had been sent into action by Sergei
Antonov, a Bulgarian working in Rome. According to author Gordon Thomas,
Martella was aware that the White House, and Bush specifically, were
determined to sabotage the exposure of this connection. Martella brought
Agca and Antonov together, and Agca identified Antonov in a line-up. Agca
also described the interior of Antonov's apartment in Rome. "Later,
Martella told his staff that the CIA or anyone else can spread as much
disinformation as they like; he is satisfied that Agca is telling the truth
about knowing Antonov." / Note #1 / Note #9
Later, U.S. intelligence networks would redouble these sabotage efforts
with some success. Agca was made to appear a lunatic, and two key Bulgarian
witnesses changed their testimony. A campaign of leaks was also mounted. In
a bizarre but significant episode, even New York Senator Al D'Amato got
into the act. D'Amato alleged that he had heard about the Pope's letter
warning Brezhnev about invading Poland while he was visiting the Vatican
during early 1981: As the "New York Times" reported on February 9, 1983,
"D'Amato says he informed the CIA about the letter and identified his
source in the Vatican when he returned to the U.S. from a 1981 trip to
Rome." Later, D'Amato was told that the Rome CIA station had never heard
anything from Langley about his report of the Pope's letter. "I gave them
important information and they clearly never followed it up," complained
D'Amato to reporters.
In February 1983, D'Amato visited Rome once again on a fact-finding mission
in connection with the Agca plot. He asked the U.S. embassy in Rome to set
up appointments for him with Italian political leaders and law enforcement
officials, but his visit was sabotaged by U.S. Ambassador Maxwell Raab. The
day before D'Amato was scheduled to leave Washington, he found that he had
no meetings set up in Rome. Then an Italian-speaking member of the staff of
the Senate Intelligence Committee, who was familiar with the Agca
investigation and who was scheduled to accompany D'Amato to Rome, informed
the Senator that he would not make the trip. D'Amato told the press that
this last-minute cancellation was due to pressure from the CIA.
Much to D'Amato's irritation, it turned out that George Bush personally had
been responsible for a rather thorough sabotage of his trip. D'Amato showed
the Rome press "a telegram from the American Ambassador in Rome urging him
to postpone the visit because the embassy was preoccupied with an
overlapping appearance by Vice President Bush," as the "New York Times"
reported. This was Bush's mission to warn the Pope not to pursue the
Bulgarian connection. D'Amato said he was shocked that no one on the CIA
staff in Rome had been assigned to track the Agca investigation.
The CIA station chief in Rome during the early 1980s was William Mulligan,
a close associate of former CIA Deputy Assistant Director for Operations
Theodore Shackley. Shackley, as we have seen, was a part of the Bush for
President campaign of 1980.
Mehmet Ali Agca received training in the use of explosives, firearms, and
other subjects from the "former" CIA agent Frank Terpil. Terpil was known
to Agca as "Major Frank," and the training appears to have taken place in
Syria and in Libya.
Agca's identification of Terpil had been very precise and detailed on Major
Frank and on the training program. Terpil himself granted a television
interview, which was incorporated into a telecast on his activities and
entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in the World," broadcast in January 1982,
during which Terpil described in some detail how he had trained Agca.Shortl
y after this, Terpil left his apartment in Beirut, accompanied by three
unidentified men, and disappeared. Terpil and Ed Wilson had gone to Libya
and begun a program of terrorist training at about the time that George
Bush became the CIA director. Wilson was indicted for supplying explosives
to Libya, for conspiring to assassinate one of Qaddafi's opponents in
Egypt, and for recruiting former U.S. pilots and Green Berets to work for
Qaddafi. Wilson was later lured back to the U.S. and jailed. Frank Terpil
presumably continues to operate, if he is still alive. Was Terpil actually
a triple agent?
What further relation might George Bush have had to the attempt to take the
life of the Pope?
Notes for Chapter XVIII, Part 2
1. Clay F. Richards, "George Bush: 'co-president' in the Reagan
administration," United Press International, March 10, 1981.
2. Alexander Haig, "Caveat" (New York: MacMillan, 1984), p. 115.
3. "Ibid.," p. 302.
4. "Washington Post," March 22, 1981.
5. Haig, "op. cit.," pp. 144-45.
6. Haig, "op. cit.," p. 151.
7. Caspar Weinberger, "Fighting for Peace" (New York: Warner Books, 1990),
8. Donald T. Regan, "For the Record" (New York: Harcourt, Brace,
Jovanovich, 1988), p. 168.
9. Weinberger, "op. cit.," p. 95.
10. Ronald Reagan, "An American Life" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990),
11. Jack and JoAnn Hinckley, "Breaking Points" (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books,
1985), p. 169.
12. "Ibid.," p. 215.
13. Judy Hasson, United Press International, July 31, 1985.
14. "Washington Post," March 2, 1990.
15. See Gordon Thomas, "Pontiff" (New York: Doubleday, 1983).
16. Gordon Thomas, "Averting Armageddon" (New York: Doubleday, 1984), p. 74.
17. "American Leviathan," "op. cit."
18. "Ibid.," p. 268.
19. "Ibid.," p. 75.
"What pleases the prince has the force of law."
-- Roman law ""As long as the police carries out the will of the
leadership, it is acting legally.""
-- Gestapo officer Werner Best / Note #1 We cannot provide here a complete
overview of the Iran-Contra affair. We shall attempt, rather, to give an
account of George Bush's decisive, central role in those events, which
occurred during his vice-presidency and spilled over into his presidency.
The principal elements of scandal in Iran-Contra may be reduced to the
1) the secret arming of the Khomeini regime in Iran by the U.S. government,
during an official U.S.-decreed arms embargo against Iran, while the U.S.
publicly denounced the recipients of its secret deliveries as terrorists
2) the secret arming of its "Contras" for war against the Sandinista regime
in Nicaragua, while such aid was explicitly prohibited under U.S. law;
3) the use of communist and terrorist enemies -- often "armed directly by
the Anglo-Americans" -- to justify a police state and covert, oligarchical
rule at home;
4) paying for and protecting the gun-running projects with drug-smuggling,
embezzlement, theft by diversion from authorized U.S. programs, and the
"silencing" of both opponents and knowledgeable participants in the
5) the continual, routine perjury and deception of the public by government
officials pretending to have no knowledge of these activities.
Bush's Central Role
When the scandal broke, in late 1986 and early 1987, George Bush maintained
that he knew nothing about these illegal activities.
Since that time, many once-classified documents have come to light, which
suggest that Bush organized and supervised many, if not most, of the
criminal aspects of the Iran-Contra adventures.
The most significant events relevant to George Bush's role are presented
here in the format of a chronology.
Over the time period covered, the reader will observe the emergence of new
structures in the U.S. government:
/ Note #b^The "Special Situation Group," together with its subordinate
"Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group" (May 14, 1982).
/ Note #b^The "Crisis Management Center" (February 1983).
/ Note #b^The "Terrorist Incident Working Group" (April 3, 1984).
/ Note #b^The "Task Force on Combatting Terrorism" (or simply Terrorism Task Force) (July 1985).
/ Note #b^The "Operations Sub-Group" (January 20, 1986).
All of these structures revolved around the secret command role of the
then-vice president, George Bush.
The propaganda given out to justify these changes in government has
stressed the need for secrecy to carry out necessary "covert acts" against
enemies of the nation (or of its leaders). Certainly, a military command
will act secretly in war, and will protect secrets of its vulnerable
But the Bush apparatus, within and behind the government, was formed to
carry out "covert policies": to make war when the constitutional government
had decided not to make war; to support enemies of the nation (terrorists
and drug-runners) who are the friends or agents of the secret government.
In the period of the chronology, there are a number of meetings of public
officials. By looking at the scant information that has come to light on
these meetings, we may reach some conclusions about who advocated certain
policy choices; but we have not then learned much about the actual origin
of the policies that were being carried out. This is the rule of an
oligarchy whose members are unknown to the public, an oligarchy which is
bound by no known laws.
"March 25, 1981:"
Vice President George Bush was named the leader of the United States
"crisis management" staff, "as a part of the National Security Council
"March 30, 1981:"
President Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination.
"May 14, 1982:"
Bush's position as chief of all covert action and "de facto" head of U.S.
intelligence -- in a sense, the acting President -- was formalized in a
The memo explained that "National Security Decision Directive 3, Crisis
Management, establishes the Special Situation Group (SSG), chaired by the
Vice President. The SSG is charged ... with formulating plans in
anticipation of crises."
The memo in question also announced the birth of another organization, the
Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), which was to work as an
intelligence-gathering agency for Bush and his SSG. This new subordinate
group, consisting of representatives of Vice President Bush, National
Security Council (NSC) staff members, the CIA, the military, and the State
Department, was to "meet periodically in the White House Situation
Room...." They were to identify areas of potential crisis and "[p]resent
... plans and policy options to the SSG" under Chairman Bush. And they were
to provide to Bush and his assistants, "as crises develop, alternative
plans," "action/options" and "coordinated implementation plans" to resolve
Finally, the subordinate group was to give to Chairman Bush and his
assistants "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance
the likelihood of successful execution." It was announced that the CPPG
would meet for the first time on May 20, 1982, and that agencies were to
"provide the name of their CPPG representative to Oliver North, NSC
The memo was signed ""for the President"" by Reagan's national security
adviser, William P. Clark. It was declassified during the congressional
Iran-Contra hearings. / Note #2
Gregg, Rodriguez, and North
Vice President Bush hired Donald P. Gregg as his principal adviser on
national security affairs. Gregg now officially retired from the Central
Donald Gregg brought along into the vice president's office his old
relationship with mid-level CIA assassinations manager "Felix I.
Rodriguez". Gregg had been Rodriguez's boss in Vietnam.
Donald Gregg worked under Bush in Washington from 1976 -- when Bush was CIA
director -- through the later 1970s, when the Bush clique was at war with
President Carter and his CIA director, Stansfield Turner. Gregg was
detailed to work at the National Security Council between 1979 and 1982.
From 1976 right up through that NSC assignment, CIA officer Gregg saw CIA
agent Rodriguez regularly. Both men were intensely loyal to Bush. / Note #3
Their continuing collaboration was crucial to Vice President Bush's
organization of covert action. Rodriguez was now to operate out of the vice
"December 21, 1982:"
The first "Boland Amendment" became law: "None of the funds provided in
this Act [the Defense Appropriations Bill] may be used by the Central
Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military
equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military
activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing
the government of Nicaragua."
"Boland I," as it was called, remained in effect until Oct. 3, 1984, when
it was superseded by a stronger prohibition known as "Boland II." / Note #4
Fawn Hall joined Oliver North as his assistant. Ms. Hall reported that she
worked with North on the development of a secret "Crisis Management
Lt. Colonel North, an employee of the National Security Council, is seen
here managing a new structure within the Bush-directed SSG/CPPG
arrangements of 1981-82. / Note #5
"March 3, 1983:"
In the spring of 1983, the National Security Council established an office
of "Public Diplomacy" to propagandize in favor of and run cover for the
Iran-Contra operations, and to coordinate published attacks on opponents of
Former CIA Director of Propaganda Walter Raymond was put in charge of the
effort. The unit was to work with domestic and international news media, as
well as private foundations. The Bush family-affiliated Smith Richardson
Foundation was part of a National Security Council "private donors steering
committee" charged with coordinating this propaganda effort.
A March 3, 1983 memorandum from Walter Raymond to then-NSC Director William
Clark, provided details of the program: "As you will remember you and I
briefly mentioned to the President when we briefed him on the N[ational]
S[ecurity] D[ecision] D[irective] on public diplomacy that we would like to
get together with some potential donors at a later date....
"To accomplish these objectives Charlie [United States Information Agency
Director Charles Z. Wick] has had two lengthy meetings with a group of
people representing the private sector. This group had included principally
program directors rather than funders. The group was largely pulled
together by Frank Barnett, Dan McMichael (Dick [Richard Mellon] Scaife's
man), Mike Joyce (Olin Foundation), Les Lenkowsky (Smith Richardson
Foundation) plus Leonard Sussman and Leo Cherne of Freedom House. A number
of others including Roy Godson have also participated." / Note #6
Elsewhere, Raymond described Cherne and Godson as the coordinators of this
group. Frank Barnett was the director of the Bush family's National
Strategy Information Center, for which Godson was the Washington, D.C.
director. Barnett had been the project director of the Smith Richardson
Foundation prior to being assigned to that post.
The Smith Richardson Foundation has sunk millions of dollars into the
Iran-Contra projects. Some Smith Richardson grantees, receiving money since
the establishment of the National Security Council's "private steering
committee" include the following:
/ Note #b^"Freedom House." This was formed by Leo Cherne, business partner
of CIA Director William Casey. Cherne oversaw Walter Raymond's "private
/ Note #b^"National Strategy Information Center", founded in 1962 by
Casey, Cherne, and the Bush family.
Thus, when an item appeared in a daily newspaper, supporting the Contras,
or attacking their opponents -- calling them "extremists," etc. -- it is
likely to have been planted by the U.S. government, by the George Bush-NSC
"private donors" apparatus.
"March 17, 1983:"
Professional assassinations manager Felix I. Rodriguez met with Bush aide
Donald P. Gregg, officially and secretly, at the White House. Gregg then
recommended to National Security Council adviser Robert "Bud" McFarlane a
plan for El Salvador-based military attacks on a target area of Central
American nations including Nicaragua.
Gregg's March 17, 1983 memo to McFarlane said: "The attached plan, written
in March of last year, grew out of two experiences:
" -- Anti-Vietcong operations run under my direction in III Corps Vietnam
from 1970-1972. These operations [see below], based on ... a small elite
force ... produced very favorable results.
" -- Rudy Enders, who is now in charge of what is left of the para-military
capability of the CIA, went to El Salvador in 1981 to do a survey and
develop plans for effective anti-guerrilla operations. He came back and
endorsed the attached plan. (I should add that Enders and Felix Rodriguez,
who wrote the attached plan, both worked for me in Vietnam and carried out
the actual operations outlined above.)
"This plan encountered opposition and skepticism from the U.S. military....
"I believe the plan can work based on my experience in Vietnam...." / Note #7
Three years later, Bush agent Rodriguez would be publicly exposed as the
supervisor of the covert Central American network illegally supplying arms
to the Contras.
Rodriguez's uncle had been Cuba's public works minister under Fulgencio
Batista, and his family fled Castro's 1959 revolution. Felix Rodriguez
joined the CIA, and was posted to the CIA's notorious Miami Station in the
early 1960s. The Ted Shackley-E. Howard Hunt organization there, assisted
by Meyer Lansky and Santos Trafficante's mafiosi, trained Rodriguez and
other Cubans in the arts of murder and sabotage.
Felix Rodriguez recounted his early adventures in gun-running under false
pretexts in a ghost-written book, "Shadow Warrior": "[J]ust around the time
President Kennedy was assassinated, I left for Central America.
"I spent almost two years in Nicaragua, running the communications network
for [our enterprise].... [O]ur arms cache was in Costa Rica. The funding
for the project came from the CIA, but the money's origin was hidden
through the use of a cover corporation.... The U.S. government had the
deniability it wanted; we got the money we needed....
"In fact, what we did in Nicaragua twenty-five year s ago has some pretty
close parallels to the Contra operation today." / Note #8
Rodriguez followed his CIA boss Ted Shackley to Southeast Asia in 1970.
Shackley and Donald Gregg put Rodriguez into the huge assassination and
dope business which Shackley and his colleagues ran during the Indochina
war; this bunch became the heart of the "Enterprise" that went into action
15 to 20 years later in Iran-Contra.
Shackley funded opium-growing Meo tribesmen for murder, and used the dope
proceeds in turn to fund his hit squads. He formed the Military Assistance
Group-Special Operations Group (MAG-SOG) political murder unit; Gen. John
K. Singlaub was a commander of MAG-SOG; Oliver North and Richard Secord
were officers of the unit. By 1971, the Shackley group had killed about
100,000 civilians in Southeast Asia as part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix.
After Vietnam, Felix Rodriguez went back to Latin American CIA operations,
while other parts of the Shackley organization went on to drug-selling and
gun-running in the Middle East.
By 1983, both the Mideast Shackley group and the self-styled "Shadow
Warrior," Felix Rodriguez, were attached to the shadow commander-in-chief,
"May 25, 1983:"
Secretary of State George Shultz wrote a memorandum for President Reagan,
trying to stop George Bush from running Central American operations for the
U.S. government. Shultz included a draft National Security Decision
Directive for the President to sign, and an organizational chart ("Proposed
Structure") showing Shultz's proposal for the line of authority -- from the
President and his NSC, through Secretary of State Shultz and his assistant
secretary, down to an interagency group.
The last line of the Shultz memo says bluntly what role is reserved for the
Bush-supervised CPPG: "The Crisis Pre-Planning Group is relieved of its
assignments in this area."
Back came a memorandum on White House letterhead but bearing no signature,
saying no to Shultz: "The institutional arrangements established in NSDD-2
are, I believe, appropriate to fulfill [our national security requirements
in Central America]...." With the put-down is a chart headlined ""NSDD-2
Structure for Central America."" At the top is the President; just below is
a complex of Bush's SSG and CPPG as managers of the NSC; then below that is
the secretary of state, and below him various agencies and interagency
groups. / Note #9
"July 12, 1983:"
Kenneth De Graffenreid, new manager of the Intelligence Directorate of the
National Security Council, sent a secret memo to George Bush's aide,
Admiral Daniel Murphy:
"... Bud McFarlane has asked that I meet with you today, if possible, to
review procedures for obtaining the Vice President's comments and
concurrence on all N[ational] S[ecurity] C[ouncil] P[lanning] G[roup]
covert action and MONs." / Note #1 / Note #0
The Bush Regency in Action
"October 20, 1983:"
The U.S. invasion of the Caribbean island-nation of Grenada was decided
upon in a secret meeting under the leadership of George Bush. National
Security Council operative Constantine Menges, a stalwart participant in
these events, described the action for posterity: "My job that afternoon
was to write the background memorandum that would be used by the vice
president, who in his role as 'crisis manager' would chair this first NSC
meeting on the [Grenada] issue....
"Shortly before 6:00 p.m., the participants began to arrive: Vice President
Bush, [Secretary of Defense Caspar] Weinberger, [Attorney General Edwin]
Meese, J[oint] C[hiefs of] S[taff] Chairman General Vessey, acting CIA
Director McMahon, [State Dept. officer Lawrence] Eagleburger, ... North and
"President Reagan was travelling, as were [CIA Director] Bill Casey and
"Vice President Bush sat in the President's chair."
Menges continued: "The objective, right from the beginning, was to plan a
rescue [of American students detained on Grenada] that would guarantee
quick success, but with a minimum of casualties....
"Secrecy was imperative.... As part of this plan, there would be no change
in the schedule of the top man. President Reagan ... would travel to
Augusta, Georgia, for a golf weekend. Secretary of State Shultz would go
Work now proceeded on detailed action plans, under the guidance of the vice
president's Special Situation Group.
"Late Friday afternoon [Oct. 21] .. the CPPG ... [met] in room 208.... Now
the tone of our discussions had shifted from whether we would act to how
this could be accomplished....
"[The] most secure means [were to] be used to order U.S. ships to change
course ... toward Grenada. Nevertheless, ABC news had learned about this
and was broadcasting it."
Thus, the course of action decided upon without the President was "leaked"
to the news media, and became a "fait-accompli." Menges's memo continues:
"It pleased me to see that now our government was working as a team....
That evening Ollie North and I worked together ... writing the background
and decision memoranda. Early in the evening [NSC officer Admiral John]
Poindexter reviewed our first draft and made a few minor revisions. Then
the Grenada memoranda were sent to the President, Shultz and McFarlane at
the golf course in Georgia....
"Shortly before 9:00 a.m. [Oct. 22], members of the foreign policy cabinet
[sic!] began arriving at the White House -- all out of sight of reporters.
The participants included Weinberger, Vessey, and Fred Ikle from Defense;
Eagleburger and Motley from State; McMahon and an operations officer from
CIA; and Poindexter, North and myself from NSC. Vice President Bush chaired
the Washington group.
"All participants were escorted to room 208, which many had never seen
before. The vice president sat at one end of the long table and Poindexter
at the other, with speaker phones positioned so that everyone could hear
President Reagan, Shultz, and McFarlane.
"The detailed hour-by-hour plan was circulated to everyone at the meeting.
There was also a short discussion of the War Powers Resolution, which
requires the President to get approval of Congress if he intends to deploy
U.S. troops in combat for more than sixty days. There was little question
that U.S. combat forces would be out before that time....
"The President had participated and asked questions over the speaker phone;
he made his decision. The U.S. would answer the call from our Caribbean
neighbors. We would assure the safety of our citizens." / Note #1 / Note #1
Clearly, there was no perceived need to follow the U.S. Constitution and
leave the question of whether to make war up to the Congress. After all,
President Reagan had concurred, from the golf course, with Acting President
Bush's decision in the matter.
"November 3, 1983:"
Bush aide Donald Gregg met with Felix Rodriguez to discuss "the general
situation in Central America." / Note #1 / Note #2
Oliver North accompanied Vice President Bush to El Salvador as his
assistant. Bush met with Salvadoran army commanders. North helped Bush
prepare a speech, in which he publicly called upon them to end their
support for the use of "death squads." / Note #1 / Note #3
Attack from Jupiter
"January 1 through March 1984:"
The "Wall Street Journal" of March 6, 1985 gave a de-romanticized version
of certain aquatic adventures in Central America: "Armed speedboats and a
helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency 'mother ship'
attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's
night in 1984.
"A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the
next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also
in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal
positions, Americans flew -- and fired from -- an armed helicopter that
accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided
sophisticated reconaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks.
"The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of
U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any
single event, it so lidified congressional opposition to the covert war,
and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last
CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984]....
"CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the
Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began
to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small "Latino" force....
[The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983,
against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline
at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't
lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and
the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no
longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua.
"The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining
"The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a
private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field
service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters
The reader may have already surmised that Vice President Bush (with his
background in "oilfield service" and his control of a "top-level committee
of the National Security Council") sat in his Washington office and planned
these brilliant schemes. But such a guess is probably incorrect -- it is
off by about 800 miles.
On Jupiter Island, Florida, where the Bush family has had a seasonal
residence for the past several decades, is the headquarters of Continental
Shelf Associates, Inc. (CSA). / Note #1 / Note #4
This company describes itself as "an environmental consulting firm
specializing in applied marine science and technology ... founded in
1970.... The main office ... is located in Jupiter, Florida, approximately
75 miles north of Miami."
The founder and chief executive of CSA is Robert "Stretch" Stevens. A
former lieutenant commander in naval special operations, Stevens has been a
close associate of CIA officer "Theodore Shackley", and of Bush agent
"Felix Rodriguez" since the early 1960s, when Stevens served as a boat
captain in the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, and through the Vietnam
During the period 1982-85, CSA was contracted by the U.S. intelligence
community, including the CIA, to carry out coastal and on-the-ground
reconnaissance and logistical support work in the eastern Mediterranean in
support of the U.S. Marine deployment into Lebanon; and coastal mapping and
reconnaissance of the Caribbean island of Grenada prior to the October 1983
U.S. military action.
Beginning in approximately the autumn of 1983, CSA was employed to design
and execute a program for the mining of several Nicaraguan harbors. After
the U.S. Senate restricted such activities to non-U.S. personnel only, CSA
trained "Latin American nationals" at a facility located on El Bravo Island
off the eastern coast of Nicaragua.
Acta Non Verba (Deeds Not Words) is a "subsidiary" of CSA, incorporated in
1986 and located at the identical Jupiter address.
"Rudy Enders", the head of the CIA's paramilitary section -- and deployed
by George Bush aide Donald Gregg -- is a minority owner of Acta Non Verba
ANV's own tough-talking promotional literature says that it concentrates on
"counter-terrorist activities in the maritime environment."
A very high-level retired CIA officer, whose private interview was used in
preparation for this book, described this "Fish Farm" in the following more
realistic terms: "Assassination operations and training company controlled
by Ted Shackley, under the cover of a private corporation with a regular
board of directors, stockholders, etc., located in Florida. They covertly
bring in Haitian and Southeast Asian boat people as recruits, as well as
Koreans, Cubans, and Americans. They hire out assassinations and
intelligence services to governments, corporations, and individuals, and
also use them for covering or implementing 'Fish Farm'
The upshot of the attack from Jupiter -- the mining of Nicaragua's harbors
-- was that the Congress got angry enough to pass the "Boland II"
amendment, re-tightening the laws against this public-private warfare.
"April 3, 1984:"
Another subcommittee of the Bush terrorism apparatus was formed, as
President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 138. The new
"Terrorist Incident Working Group (TIWG)" reported to Bush's Special
Situation Group. The TIWG geared up government agencies to support militant
counterterrorism assaults, on the Israeli model. / Note #1 / Note #5
"How Can Anyone Object?"
"June 25, 1984:"
The National Security Planning Group, including Reagan, Bush, and other top
officials, met secretly in the White House situation room at 2:00 p.m. They
discussed whether to risk seeking "third-country aid" to the Contras, to
get around the congressional ban enacted Dec. 21, 1982.
George Bush spoke in favor, according to minutes of the meeting.
Bush said, "How can anyone object to the U.S. encouraging third parties to
provide help to the anti-Sandinistas under the [intelligence] finding. The
only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to
give these third parties something in return so that "some people might
interpret" this as some kind of an exchange" [emphasis added].
Warning that this would be illegal, Secretary of State Shultz said: "I
would like to get money for the Contras also, but another lawyer
[then-Treasury Secretary] Jim Baker said if we go out and try to get money
from third countries, it is an impeachable offense."
CIA Director Casey reminded Shultz that "Jim Baker changed his mind [and
now supported the circumvention]...."
NSC adviser Robert McFarlane cautioned, "I propose that there be no
authority for anyone to seek third party support for the anti-Sandinistas
until we have the information we need, and I certainly hope none of this
discussion will be made public in any way."
President Ronald Reagan then closed the meeting with a warning against
anyone leaking the fact they were considering how to circumvent the law:
"If such a story gets out, we'll all be hanging by our thumbs in front of
the White House until we find out who did it." In March of the following
year, Bush personally arranged the transfer of funds to the Contras by the
Honduran government, assuring them they would receive compensating U.S.
The minutes of this meeting, originally marked ""secret,"" were released
five years later, at Oliver North's trial in the spring of 1989. / Note #1
/ Note #6
"October 3, 1984:"
Congress enacted a new version of the earlier attempt to outlaw the U.S.
secret war in Central America. This "Boland II" amendment was designed to
prevent any conceivable form of deceit by the covert action apparatus.
This law was effective from October 3, 1984, to December 5, 1985, when it
was superceded by various aid-limitation laws which, taken together, were
referred to as "Boland III." / Note #1 / Note #7
"November 1, 1984:"
Felix Rodriguez's partner, Gerard Latchinian, was arrested by the FBI.
Latchinian was then tried and convicted of smuggling $10.3 million in
cocaine into the United States. The dope was to finance the murder and
overthrow of the President of Honduras, Roberto Suazo Cordova. Latchinian
was sentenced to a 30-year prison term.
On Nov. 10, 1983, a year before the arrest, Felix Rodriguez had filed the
annual registration with Florida's secretary of state on behalf of
Latchinian and Rodriguez's joint enterprise, "Giro Aviation Corp." / Note
#1 / Note #8
"December 21, 1984:"
Felix Rodriguez met in the office of the vice president with Bush adviser
Donald Gregg. Immediately after this meeting, Rodriguez met with Oliver
North, supposedly for the first time in his life. But Bush's adviser
strenuously denied to investigators that he "introduced" his CIA employee
to North. / Note #1 / Note #9
"January 18, 1985:"
Felix Rodriguez met with Ramon Milian Rodriguez, accountant and money
launderer, who had moved $1.5 billion for the Medellin cocaine cartel.
Milian testified before a Senate investigation of the Contras'
drug-smuggling, that more than a year earlier he had granted Felix's
request and given $10 million from the cocaine cartel to Felix for the
Milian Rodriguez was interviewed in his prison cell in Butner, North
Carolina, by investigative journalist Martha Honey. He said Felix Rodriguez
had offered that "in exchange for money for the Contra cause he would use
his influence in high places to get the [Cocaine] cartel U.S. 'good
will'.... Frankly, one of the selling points was that he could talk
directly to Bush. The issue of good will wasn't something that was going to
go through 27 bureaucratic hands. It was something that was directly
between him and Bush."
Ramon Milian Rodriguez was a Republican contributor, who had partied by
invitation at the 1981 Reagan-Bush inauguration ceremonies. He had been
arrested aboard a Panama-bound private jet by federal agents in May 1983,
while carrying over $5 million in cash. According to Felix Rodriguez,
Milian was seeking a way out of the narcotics charges when he met with
Felix on January 18, 1985.
This meeting remained secret until two years later, when Felix Rodriguez
had become notorious in the Iran-Contra scandal. The "Miami Herald" broke
the story on June 30, 1987. Felix Rodriguez at first denied ever meeting
with Ramon Milian Rodriguez. But then a new story was worked out with
various agencies. Felix "remembered" the Jan. 18, 1985 meeting, claimed he
had "said nothing" during it, and "remembered" that he had filed documents
with the FBI and CIA telling them about the meeting just afterwards. / Note
#2 / Note #0
"January 22, 1985":
George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez in the Executive Office Building.
Felix's ghost writer doesn't tell us what was said, only that "Mr. Bush was
easy to talk to, and he was interested in my stories." / Note #2 / Note #1
"Late January, 1985:"
George Bush's office officially organized contacts through the State
Department for Felix Rodriguez to operate in Central America from a base in
El Salvador, in a false "private" capacity.
The U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Thomas Pickering, then cabled to Gen.
Paul F. Gorman, commander of the U.S. Army Southern Command: "Rodriguez has
high-level contacts at the White House, DOS [State Department] and DOD
[Defense Department], some of whom are strongly supporting his use in El
"It would be in our best interests that Mr. Rodriguez confer with you
personally prior to coming to El Salvador. I have some obvious concerns
about this arrangement...."
Felix Rodriguez flew to Panama to speak to General Gorman. They discussed
his covert aid to the Contras "since the early eighties." / Note #2 / Note
Rodriguez, by George Bush's story the private, volunteer helper of the
Contras, flew from Panama to El Salvador on General Gorman's personal C-12
airplane. General Gorman also sent a confidential cable to Ambassador
Pickering and Col. James Steele, U.S. military liaison man with the Contra
resupply operation in El Salvador: "I have just met here with Felix
Rodriguez, [deleted, probably "CIA"] pensioner from Miami. Born in Cuba, a
veteran of guerrilla operations [several lines deleted]....
"He is operating as a private citizen, but his acquaintanceship with the
V[ice] P[resident] is real enough, going back to the latter's days as
D[irector of] C[entral] I[ntelligence].
"Rodriguez' primary commitment to the region is in [deleted] where he wants
to assist the FDN [Contras military forces]." / Note #2 / Note #3
"February 7, 1985:"
The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), subordinate to Chairman Bush of the
Special Situation Group (SSG), met to discuss means to circumvent the
Boland amendment's ban on aid to the Contras. They agreed on a
"presidential letter" to be sent to President Suazo of Honduras, "to
provide several enticements to Honduras in exchange for its continued
support of the Nicaraguan Resistance. These enticements included expedited
delivery of military supplies ordered by Honduras, a phased release of
withheld economic assistance (ESF) funds, and other support."
The preceding was the admission of the United States government in the 1989
Oliver North trial -- number 51 in a series of "stipulations" that was
given to the court to avoid having to release classified documents.
"February 12, 1985:"
The government admissions in the North trial continued:
"52: ... North proposed that McFarlane send a memo [to top officials on]
the recommendation of the CPPG [the Bush-supervised body, often chaired by
Bush adviser Don Gregg].... The memo stated that this part of the message
[to the Honduran President] should not be contained in a written document
but should be delivered verbally by a discreet emissary." This was to be
George Bush himself.
Honduras would be given increased aid, to be diverted to the Contras, so as
to deceive Congress and the American population. / Note #2 / Note #4
"February 15, 1985:"
After Rodriguez had arrived in El Salvador and had begun setting up the
central resupply depot for the Contras, Ambassador Thomas Pickering sent an
"Eyes Only" cable to the State Department on his conversation with
Rodriguez. Pickering's cable bore the postscript, "Please brief Don Gregg
in the V.P.'s office for me." / Note #2 / Note #5
"February 19, 1985:"
Felix Rodriguez met with Bush's staff in the vice-presidential offices in
the Executive Office Building, briefing them on the progress of his
Over the next two years, Rodriguez met frequently with Bush staff members
in Washington and in Central America, often jointly with CIA and other
officials, and conferred with Bush's staff by telephone countless times. /
Note #2 / Note #6
"March 15-16, 1985:"
George Bush and Felix Rodriguez were in Central America on their common project.
On Friday, Rodriguez supervised delivery in Honduras of military supplies
for the FDN Contras whose main base was there in Honduras.
On Saturday, George Bush met with Honduran President Roberto Suazo Cordova.
Bush told Suazo that the Reagan-Bush administration was expediting delivery
of more than $110 million in economic and military aid to Suazo's
government. This was the "quid pro quo": a bribe for Suazo's support for
the U.S. mercenary force, and a transfer through Honduras of the Contra
military supplies, which had been directly prohibited by the Congress.
Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 1
1. William L. Shirer, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of
Nazi Germany" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960), p. 271.
2. Memo, May 14, 1982, two pp. bearing the nos. 29464 and 29465.
3. Testimony of Donald P. Gregg, pp. 72-73 in Stenographic Transcript of
Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Nomination
Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be Ambassador to the Republic of Korea.
Washington, D.C., May 12, 1989.
4. "Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran Contra
Affair", published jointly by the U.S. House of Representatives Select
Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran, and the U.S.
Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the
Nicaraguan Opposition, Nov. 17, 1987, Washington, D.C., pp. 395-97.
5. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 12.
6. Memoranda and meetings of March 1983, in the "National Security Archive"
Iran-Contra Collection on microfiche at the Library of Congress, Manuscript
7. Don Gregg Memorandum for Bud McFarlane, March 17, 1983, stamped SECRET,
since declassified. Document no. 77 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
8. Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, "Shadow Warrior" (New York: Simon and
Schuseter), 1989 p. 119.
9. Shultz Memorandum, May 25, 1983 and White House reply, both stamped
SECRET/SENSITIVE. Documents beginning no. 00107 in the Iran-Contra
10. De Graffenreid Memorandum for Admiral Murphy, July 12, 1983, since
declassified, bearing the no. 43673. Document no. 00137 in the Iran-Contra
11. Constantine C. Menges, "Inside the National Security Council" (New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), pp. 70-78.
12. Chronology supplied by the Office of the Vice President, cited in "The
Progressive", May 18, 1987, London, England, p. 20.
13. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 221.
14. This section is based on 1) literature supplied by CSA, Inc. and its
subsidiary ANV, and 2) an exhaustive examination of CSA/ANV in Jupiter and
15. Scott Armstrong, Executive Editor for The National Security Archive,
"The Chronology: The Documented Day-by-Day Account of the Secret Military
Assistance to Iran and the Contras" (New York: Warner Books, 1987), p. 55.
Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter, "The Iran-Contra
Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era" (Boston:
South End Press, 1987), pp. 219-20.
16. National Security Planning Group Meeting Minutes, June 25, 1984, pp. 1
17. This is an excerpt from Section 8066 of Public Law 98-473, the
Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985.
18. Armstrong, "op. cit.," Nov. 1, 1984 entry, p. 70, citing "Miami Herald"
11/2/84 and 11/3/84, "Wall Street Journal" 11/2/84, "Washington Post"
8/15/85, "New York Times" 12/23/87.
Armstrong, "op. cit.," Nov. 10, 1983 entry, p. 42, citing corporate records
of the Florida secretary of state 7/14/86, "Miami Herald" 11/2/84, "New
York Times" 11/3/84.
19. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 220-21.
20. Report of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International
Operations of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate,
December 1988, pp. 61-62.
21. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 221-22.
22. "Ibid.," pp. 224-25.
23. General Gorman "Eyes Only" cable to Pickering and Steele, Feb. 14,
1985. Partially declassified and released on July 30, 1987 by the National
Security Council, bearing no. D 23179. Document no. 00833 in the
24. U.S. government stipulations in the trial of Oliver North, reproduced
in "EIR SpecialReport:" "Irangate...," pp. 20, 22.
25. Gregg Hearings, p. 99.
26. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 227.
In July 1985, Vice President George Bush was designated by President Reagan
to lead the "Task Force on Combatting Terrorism".
Bush's task force was a means to sharply concentrate the powers of
government into the hands of the Bush clique, for such policies as the
Iran-Contra armaments schemes.
The task force had the following cast of characters: George Bush, U.S. vice
president: chairman; Admiral James L. Holloway III: executive assistant to
Chairman Bush; Craig Coy: Bush's deputy assistant under Holloway; Vice
Admiral John Poindexter: senior NSC representative to Chairman Bush; Marine
Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North: day-to-day NSC representative to George Bush;
Amiram Nir: counterterror adviser to Israeli Premier Shimon Peres; Lt. Col.
Robert Earl: staff member; Terry Arnold: principal consultant; Charles E.
Allen, CIA officer: Senior Review Group; Robert Oakley, director, State
Department Counter Terrorism Office: Senior Review Group; Noel Koch, deputy
to asstistant secretary of defense Richard Armitage: Senior Review Group;
Lt. Gen. John Moellering, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Senior Review Group;
Oliver "Buck" Revell, FBI executive: Senior Review Group.
The Terrorism Task Force organization, as we shall see, was a permanent
affair. / Note #2 / Note #7
"August 8, 1985:"
George Bush met with the National Security Planning Group in the residence
section of the White House. Spurring on their deliberations on the
terrorism problem, a car bomb had blown up that day at a U.S. air base in
Germany, with 22 American casualties.
The officials discussed shipment of U.S.-made arms to Iran through Israel
-- to replenish Israeli stocks of TOW missiles and to permit Israel to sell
arms to Iran.
According to testimony by Robert McFarlane, the transfer was supported by
George Bush, Casey and Donald Regan, and opposed by Shultz and Weinberger.
/ Note #2 / Note #8
"August 18, 1985:"
Luis Posada Carriles escaped from prison in Venezuela, where he was being
held for the terrorist murder of 73 persons. Using forged documents falsely
identifying him as a Venezuelan named "Ramon Medina," Posada flew to
Central America. Within a few weeks, Felix Rodriguez assigned him to
supervise the Bush office's Contra resupply operations being run from the
El Salvador air base. Posada personally ran the safe-houses used for the
CIA flight crews.
Rodriguez explained the arrangement in his book: "Because of my
relationship with [El Salvador Air Force] Gen. Bustillo, I was able to pave
the way for [the operations attributed to Oliver] North to use the
facilities at Ilopango [El Salvador air force base].... I found someone to
manage the Salvadorian-based resupply operation on a day-to-day basis. They
knew that person as Ramon Medina. I knew him by his real name: Luis Posada
Carriles.... I first [sic!] met Posada in 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia,
where we went through basic training together .. as U.S. Army second
Rodriguez neglects to explain that agent Posada Carriles was originally
recruited and trained by the same CIA murder operation, "JM/WAVE" in Miami,
as was Rodriguez himself.
Felix continues: "In the sixties, he reportedly went to work for DISIP, the
Venezuelan intelligence service, and rose to considerable power within its
ranks. It was rumored that he held one of the top half-dozen jobs in the
"After the midair bombing of a Cubana airliner on October 6, 1976, in which
seventy-three people were killed, Posada was charged with planning the
attack and was thrown in prison.... Posada was confined in prison for more
than nine years...." / Note #2 / Note #9
"September 10, 1985:"
George Bush's national security adviser, Donald Gregg, met at 4:30 P.M.
with Oliver North and Col. James Steele, the U.S. military official in El
Salvador who oversaw flights of cargo going to the Contras from various
points in Central America. They discussed information given to one or more
of them by arms dealer Mario DelAmico, supplier to the Contras. According
to the entry in Oliver North's notebook, they discussed particularities of
the supply flights, and the operations of FDN commander Enrique Bermudez.
Elsewhere in the diary pages for that day, Colonel North noted that
DelAmico had procured a certain 1,000 munitions items for the Contras. /
Note #3 / Note #0
"November 1985 :"
George Bush sent Oliver North a note, with thanks for "your dedication and
tireless work with the hostage thing and with Central America." / Note #3 /
Congress passed new laws limiting U.S. aid to the Contras. The CIA, the
Defense Department, and "any other agency or entity of the United States
involved in intelligence activities" were prohibited from providing
"armaments" to the Contras. The CIA was permitted to provide communications
equipment and training. "Humanitarian" aid was allowed.
These laws, known together as "Boland III," were in effect from December 4,
1985 to October 17, 1986.
"December 18, 1985:"
CIA official Charles E. Allen, a member of George Bush's Terrorism Task
Force, wrote an update on the arms-for-hostages dealings with Iran. Allen's
memo was a debriefing of an unnamed member of the group of U.S. government
officials participating in the arms negotiations with the Iranians. The
unnamed U.S. official is referred to in Allen's memo as "Subject".
Allen wrote: "[Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Hashemi] Rafsanjani ..
believes Vice President George Bush is orchestrating the U.S. initiative
with Iran. In fact, according to Subject, Rafsanjani believes that Bush is
the most powerful man in the U.S. because in addition to being Vice
President, he was once Director of CIA." / Note #3 / Note #2
"December 1985-January 1986:"
George Bush completed his official study of terrorism in December 1985.
John Poindexter now directed Oliver North to go back to work with Amiram
Amiram Nir came to Washington and met with Oliver North. He told U.S.
officials that the Iranians had promised to free all hostages in exchange
for more arms. Reportedly after this Nir visit, Pr esident Reagan was
persuaded of the necessity of revving up the arms shipments to Iran. / Note
#3 / Note #3
"December 27, 1985:"
Terrorists bombed Rome and Vienna airports, killing 20 people, including
five Americans. The Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG), supervised by Bush's
office and reporting to Bush, blamed Libyans for the attack and began
planning for a military strike on Libya. Yet an unpublished CIA analysis
and the Israelis both acknowledged that the Abu Nidal group (in effect, the
Israeli Mossad agency) carried out the attacks. / Note #3 / Note #4
Bush's CPPG later organized the U.S. bombing of Libya, which occurred in
"December 31, 1985:"
Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi told Paris-based CIA agent Bernard
Veillot that Vice President Bush was backing arms sales to Iran, and that
official U.S. approval for private sales to Iran, amounting to $2 billion,
was "going to be signed by Mr. Bush and [U.S. Marine Corps commandant] Gen.
[Paul X.] Kelley on Friday." / Note #3 / Note #5
Loudly and publicly exposed in the midst of Iran arms deals, Veillot was
indicted by the United States. Then the charges were quietly dropped, and
Veillot went underground. A few months later, Hashemi died suddenly of
"leukemia." / Note #3 / Note #6
"January 2, 1986:"
Israeli counterterrorism chief Amiram Nir met with North and Poindexter in
Washington. The Bush report on terrorism had now been issued within the
government but was not yet published. Bush's report was urging that a
counterterrorism coordinator be named for the entire U.S. government -- and
Oliver North was the one man intended for that slot.
At this meeting, Nir proposed specifically that prisoners held by
Israeli-controlled Lebanese, and 3,000 American TOW missiles, be exchanged
for U.S. hostages held by Iran. Other discussions between Nir and Bush's
nominee involved the supposedly new idea that the Iranians be overcharged
for the weapons shipped to them, and the surplus funds be diverted to the
Contras. / Note #3 / Note #7
"January 6, 1986:"
President Reagan met with George Bush, Donald Regan, McFarlane and
Poindexter. The President was handed a draft "Presidential Finding" that
called for shipping arms to Iran through Israel. The President signed this
document, drafted following the discussions with Amiram Nir.
The draft consciously violated the National Security Act which had
established the Central Intelligence Agency, requiring notification of
Congress. But Bush joined in urging President Reagan to sign this
"I hereby find that the following operation in a foreign country ... is
important to the national security of the United States, and due to its
extreme sensitivity and security risks, I determine it is essential to
"limit prior notice, and direct the Director of Central Intelligence to
refrain from reporting this finding to the Congress as provided in Section
501 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, until I otherwise
direct"" [emphasis added].
"... The USG[overnment] will act to facilitate efforts by third parties and
third countries to establish contacts with "moderate elements" within and
outside the Government of Iran by providing these elements with arms,
equipment and related materiel in order to enhance the credibility of these
Of course, Bush, Casey and their Israeli allies had never sought to bolster
"moderate elements" in Iran, but overthrew them at every opportunity --
beginning with President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr. / Note #3 / Note #8
"January 7, 1986:"
President Reagan and Vice President Bush met at the White House with
several other administration officials. There was an argument over new
proposals by Amiram Nir and Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar to
swap arms for hostages.
Secretary of State George Shultz later told the Tower Commission that
George Bush supported the arms-for-hostages deal at this meeting, as did
President Reagan, Casey, Meese, Regan and Poindexter. Shultz reported that
he himself and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger both opposed further
arms shipments. / Note #3 / Note #9
"January 9, 1986:"
Lt. Col. Oliver North complained, in his notebook, that "Felix [Rodriguez]"
has been "talking too much about the V[ice] P[resident] connection." / Note
#4 / Note #0
"January 15, 1986:"
CIA and Mossad employee Richard Brenneke wrote a letter to Vice President
Bush giving full details, alerting Bush about his own work on behalf of the
CIA in illegal -- but U.S. government-sanctioned -- sales of arms to Iran.
/ Note #4 / Note #1
George Bush and Oliver North worked together on the illegal plan.
Later, at North's trial, the Bush administration -- portraying Colonel
North as the master strategist in the case! -- stipulated that North
"prepared talking points for a meeting between Admiral Poindexter,
Vice-President Bush, and [the new] Honduran President [Jose Simon] Azcona.
North recommended that Admiral Poindexter and Vice-President Bush tell
President Azcona of the need for Honduras to work with the U.S. government
on increasing regional involvement with and support for the Resistance.
Poindexter and Bush were also to raise the subject of better U.S.
government support for the states bordering Nicaragua."
That is, Honduras, which of course "borders on Nicaragua," was to get more
U.S. aid and was to pass some of it through to the Contras.
In preparation for the January 1986 Bush-Azcona meeting, the U.S. State
Department sent to Bush adviser Donald Gregg a memorandum, which "alerted
Gregg that Azcona would insist on receiving clear economic and social
benefits from its [Honduras's] cooperation with the United States." / Note
#4 / Note #2
Two months after the January Bush-Azcona meeting, President Reagan asked
Congress for $20 million in emergency aid to Honduras, needed to repel a
cross-border raid by Nicaraguan forces against Contra camps. Congress voted
the "emergency" expenditure.
"January 17, 1986:"
George Bush met with President Reagan, John Poindexter, Donald Regan, and NSC staff member Donald Fortier to review the
final version of the January 7 arms-to-Iran draft.
With the encouragement of Bush, President Reagan signed the authorization
to arm the Khomeini regime with missiles, and keep the facts of this scheme
from congressional oversight committees.
The official story about this meeting -- given in the Tower Commission
Report -- is as follows:
"[T]he proposal to shift to direct U.S. arms sales to Iran ... was
considered by the president at a meeting on January 17 which only the Vice
President, Mr. Regan, Mr. Fortier, and VADM Poindexter attended.... There
was no subsequent collective consideration of the Iran initiative by the
NSC principals before it became public 11 months later....
"The National Security Act also requires notification of Congress of covert
intelligence activities. If not done in advance, notification must be 'in
timely fashion.' The Presidential Finding of January 17 directed that
congressional notification be withheld, and this decision appears to have
never been reconsidered." / Note #4 / Note #3
"January 18, 1986:"
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was directed to prepare the transfer of
4,000 TOW anti-tank missiles to the CIA, which was to ship them to
Khomeini's Iran. Bypassing normal channels for covert shipments, he elected
to have his senior military assistant, Lt. Gen. Colin L. Powell, handle the
arrangements for the arms transfer. / Note #4 / Note #4
"January 19-21, 1986:"
George Bush's deputy national security aide, Col. Samuel Watson, worked
with Felix Rodriguez in El Salvador, and met with Col. James Steele, the
U.S. military liaison officer with the covert Contra resupply organization
in El Salvador. / Note #4 / Note #5
Bush Sets Up North
"January 20, 1986:"
Following the recommendations of an as-yet-unofficial report of the George
Bush Terrorism Task Force, President Reagan signed National Security
Decision Directive (NSDD) 207.
The unofficial Bush report, the official Bush report released in February,
and the Bush-organized NSDD 207, together p ut forward Oliver North as "Mr.
Iran-Contra." North became the nominal, up-front coordinator of the
administration's counterterrorism program, hiding as best he could Bush's
hand in these matters. He was given a secret office and staff (the Office
to Combat Terrorism), separate from regular NSC staff members.
George Bush now reassigned his Terrorism Task Force employees, Craig Coy
and Robert Earl, to do the daily work of the North secret office. The Bush
men spent the next year working on Iran arms sales: Earl devoted
one-quarter to one-half of his time on Iran and Contra support operations;
Coy "knew everything" about Project Democracy. North traveled much of the
time. Earl and Coy were at this time officially attached to the Crisis
Management Center, which North worked on in 1983. / Note #4 / Note #6
FBI Assistant Director Revell, often George Bush's "hit man" against Bush's
domestic opponents, partially disclosed this shell game in a letter to Sen.
David Boren (D-Ok.), explaining the FBI's contacts with North: "At the time
[April 1986], North was the NSC official charged by the President with the
coordination of our national counterterrorist program. He was responsible
for working closely with designated lead agencies and was responsible for
participating in all interagency groups, maintaining the national
programming documents, assisting in the coordination of research and
development in relation to counterterrorism, facilitating the development
of response options and overseeing the implementation of the Vice
President's Terrorism Task Force recommendations.
"This description of Col. North's position is set forth in the public
report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism, February
1986. There is an even more detailed and comprehensive description of Col.
North's position in the classified National Security Decision Directive
#207 issued by the President on January 20, 1986." / Note #4 / Note #7
The Bush Terrorism Task Force, having completed its official work, had simply made itself into a renamed, permanent,
covert agency. Its new name was "Operations Sub-Group" (OSG).
In this transformation, CIA Contra-handler Duane Clarridge had been added
to the Task Force to form the "OSG," which included North, Poindexter,
Charles Allen, Robert Oakley, Noel Koch, General Moellering and "Buck"
According to the Oliver North diaries, even before this final phase of the
Bush-North apparatus there were at least 14 meetings between North and the
Bush Task Force's senior members Holloway, Oakley, and Allen, its principal
consultant Terry Arnold, and its staff men Robert Earl and Craig Coy. The
North diaries from July 1985 through January 1986, show one meeting with
President Reagan, and four meetings with Vice President Bush: either the
two alone, North with Bush and Amiram Nir, or North with Bush and Donald
The Bush counterterrorism apparatus had its own communications channels,
and a global antiterrorist computer network called Flashboard outside of
all constitutional government arrangements. Those opposed to the arming of
terrorists, including cabinet members, had no access to these
communications. / Note #4 / Note #8
This apparatus had responsibility for Iran arms sales; the private funding
of the Contras, from contributions, theft, dope-running; the "public
diplomacy" of Project Democracy to back these efforts; and
counterintelligence against other government agencies and against domestic
opponents of the policy. / Note #4 / Note #9
"January 28, 1986:"
George Bush met with Oliver North and FDN Contra Political Director Adolfo
Calero in the Old Executive Office Building. / Note #5 / Note #0 North and
Calero would work together to protect George Bush when the Contra supply
effort blew apart in October 1986.
"January 31, 1986:"
Iranian arms dealer Cyrus Hashemi was told by a French arms agent that
"[a]n assistant of the vice president's going to be in Germany ... and the
indication is very clear that the transaction can go forward" referring to
George Bush's supposed approval of the private arms sale to Iran. / Note #5
/ Note #1
"February 6, 1986:"
Responding to the January 15 letter from Richard Brenneke, Bush aide Lt.
Col. E. Douglas Menarczik wrote to Brenneke: "The U.S. government will not
permit or participate in the provision of war materiel to Iran and will
prosecute any such efforts by U.S. citizens to the fullest extent of the
law." / Note #5 / Note #2
"February 7, 1986:"
Samuel M. Evans, a representative of Saudi and Israeli arms dealers, told
Cyrus Hashemi that "[t]he green light now finally has been given [for the
private sale of arms to Iran], that Bush is in favor, Shultz against, but
nevertheless they are willing to proceed." / Note #5 / Note #3
"February 25, 1986:"
Richard Brenneke wrote again to Bush's office, to Lt. Col. Menarczik,
documenting a secret project for U.S. arms sales to Iran going on since
Brenneke later said publicly that early in 1986, he called Menarczik to
warn that he had learned that the United States planned to buy weapons for
the Contras with money from Iran arms sales. Menarczik reportedly said, "We
will look into it." Menarczik claimed not to have "any specific
recollection of telephone conversations with" Brenneke. / Note #5 / Note #4
"Late February, 1986:"
Vice President George Bush issued the public report of his Terrorism Task
Force. In his introduction to the report, Bush asserted: "We firmly oppose
terrorism in all forms and wherever it takes place.... We will make no
concessions to terrorists." / Note #5 / Note #5
According to a sworn statement of pilot Michael Tolliver, Felix Rodriguez
had met him in July 1985. Now Rodriguez instructed Tolliver to go to Miami
International Airport. Tolliver picked up a DC-6 aircraft and a crew, and
flew the plane to a Contra base in Honduras. There Tolliver watched the
unloading of 14 tons of military supplies, and the loading of 12 and 2/3
tons of marijuana. Following his instructions from Rodriguez, Tolliver flew
the dope to Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. The next day Rodriguez
paid Tolliver $75,000. / Note #5 / Note #6
Tolliver says that another of the flights he performed for Rodriguez
carried cocaine on the return trip to the U.S.A. He made a series of arms
deliveries from Miami into the air base at Agucate, Honduras. He was paid
in cash by Rodriguez and his old Miami CIA colleague, Rafael "Chi Chi"
In another circuit of flights, Tolliver and his crew flew between Miami and
El Salvador's Ilopango air base. Tolliver said that Rodriguez and Quintero
"instructed me where to go and who to see." While making these flights, he
"could go by any route available without any interference from any agency.
We didn't need a stamp of approval from Customs or anybody...." / Note #5 /
With reference to the covert arms shipments out of Miami, George Bush's son
Jeb said: "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped, but
does that break any law? I'm not sure it's illegal. The Neutrality Act is a
completely untested notion, established in the 1800s." / Note #5 / Note #8
Trafficking in lethal weapons without government authorization is always a
tricky business for covert operators. But when the operatives are smuggling
weapons in a particular traffic which the U.S. Congress has expressly
prohibited, a good deal of criminal expertise and certain crucial contacts
are required for success.
And when the smugglers report to the Vice President, who wishes his role to
remain concealed, the whole thing can become very sticky -- or even
ludicrous to the point of low comedy.
"March 26, 1986:"
Oliver North sent a message to Robert McFarlane about his efforts to
procure missiles for the Contras, and to circumvent many U.S. laws, as well
as the customs services and police forces of several nations. The most
important component of such transactions, aside from the purchase money,
was a falsified document showing the supposed recipient of the arms, the
"end-user certificate" (EUC).
In the message he wrote, North said that "we have" an EUC; that is, a false
document has been acquired for this arms sale: "[W]e are trying to find a
way to get 10 BLOWPIPE launchers and 20 missiles from [a South American
country] ... thru the Short Bros. Rep.... Short Bros., the mfgr. of the
BLOWPIPE, is willing to arrange the deal, conduct the training and even
send U.K. 'tech. reps' ... if we can close the arrangement. Dick Secord has
already paid 10% down on the delivery and we have a [country deleted] EUC
which is acceptable to [that South American country]." / Note #5 / Note #9
Now, since this particular illegal sale somehow came to light in the
Iran-Contra scandal, another participant in this one deal decided not to
bother hiding his own part in it. Thus, we are able to see how Colonel
North got his false certificate.
"April 20, 1986:"
Felix Rodriguez met in San Salvador with Oliver North and Enrique Bermudez,
the Contras' military commander. Rodriguez informs us of the following in
his own, ghost-written book:
"Shortly before that April 20 meeting, Rafael Quintero had asked me to
impose upon my good relations with the Salvadoran military to obtain
'end-user' certificates made out to Lake Resources, which he told me was a
Chilean company...." / Note #6 / Note #0
The plan was to acquire false end-user certificates from his contacts in
the Salvadoran armed forces for Blowpipe ground-to-air missiles supposedly
being shipped into El Salvador. The missiles would then be illegally
diverted to the Contras in Honduras and Nicaragua.
Rodriguez continues, with self-puffery: "The Salvadorans complied with my
request, and in turn I supplied the certificates, handing them over
personally to Richard Secord at that April 20 meeting." / Note #6 / Note #1
While arranging the forgery for the munitions sale, Rodriguez was in touch
with the George Bush staff back in his home office. On April 16, four days
before the Rodriguez-North missile meeting, Bush national security adviser
Donald Gregg asked his staff to put a meeting with Rodriguez on George
Gregg said the purposeof the White House meeting would be "to brief the
Vice President on the war in El Salvador and resupply of the Contras." The
meeting was arranged for 11:30 A.M. on May 1. / Note #6 / Note #2
Due to its explicitly stated purpose -- clandestine weapons trafficking in
an undeclared war against the rigid congressional prohibition -- the
planned meeting was to become one of the most notorious of the Iran-Contra
"April 30, 1986:"
Felix Rodriguez met in Washington with Bush aide Col. Sam Watson.
The following reminder message was sent to George Bush:
"Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President"
Event: Meeting with Felix Rodriguez
Date: Thursday, May 1, 1986
Time: 11:30-11:45 a.m. -- West Wing
From: Don Gregg
Felix Rodriguez, a counterinsurgency expert who is visiting from El
Salvador, will provide a briefing on the status of the war in El Salvador
and resupply of the Contras.
III. [sic] PARTICIPANTS
The Vice President
IV. MEDIA COVERAGE
Staff photographer. [i.e. internal-use photographs, no media coverage] /
Note #6 / Note #3
"May 1, 1986:"
Vice President Bush and his staff met in the White House with Felix
Rodriguez, Oliver North, financier Nicholas Brady, and the new U.S.
ambassador to El Salvador, Edwin Corr.
At this meeting it was decided that "private citizen" Felix Rodriguez would
continue his work in Central America. / Note #6 / Note #4
"May 16, 1986:"
George Bush met with President Reagan, and with cabinet members and other
officials in the full National Security Planning Group. They discussed the
urgent need to raise more money for the Contras.
The participants decided to seek support for the Contras from nations
("third countries") which were not directly involved in the Central
As a result of this initiative, George Bush's former business partners, the
Sultan of Brunei, donated $10 million to the Contras. But after being
deposited in secret Swiss bank accounts, the money was "lost." / Note #6 /
"May 20, 1986:"
George Bush met with Felix Rodriguez and El Salvador Air Force commander
Gen. Juan Rafael Bustillo at a large reception in Miami on Cuban
independence day. / Note #6 / Note #6
"May 29, 1986:"
George Bush, President Reagan, Donald Regan and John Poindexter met to hear
from McFarlane and North on their latest arms-for-hostages negotiations
with Iranian officials and Amiram Nir in Teheran, Iran. The two reported
their arrangement with the Khomeini regime to establish a secure covert
communications network between the two "enemy" governments. / Note #6 /
"July 10, 1986:"
Eugene Hasenfus, whose successful parachute landing would explode the
Iran-Contra scandal into world headlines three months later, flew from
Miami to El Salvador. He had just been hired to work for "Southern Air
Transport," a CIA front company for which Hasenfus worked previously in the
Within a few days he was introduced to "Max Gomez" -- the pseudonym of
Felix Rodriguez -- as "one of the Cuban coordinators of the company."
He now began work as a cargo handler on flights carrying military supplies
to Contra soldiers inside Nicaragua. / Note #6 / Note #8
"July 29, 1986:"
George Bush met in Jerusalem with Terrorism Task Force member Amiram Nir,
the manager of Israel's participation in the arms-for hostages schemes.
Bush did not want this meeting known about. The vice president told his
chief of staff, Craig Fuller, to send his notes of the meeting only to
Oliver North -- not to President Reagan, or to anyone else.
Craig Fuller's memorandum said, in part:
1. SUMMARY. Mr. Nir indicated that he had briefed Prime Minister Peres and
had been asked to brief the V[ice] P[resident] by his White House contacts.
He described the details of the efforts from last year through the current
period to gain the release of the U.S. hostages. He reviewed what had been
learned which was essentially that the radical group was the group that
could deliver. He reviewed the issues to be considered -- namely that there
needed to be ad [sic] decision as to whether the items requested would be
delivered in separate shipments or whether we would continue to press for
the release of the hostages prior to delivering the items in an amount
agreed to previously.
2. The VP's 25 minute meeting was arranged after Mr. Nir called Craig
Fuller and requested the meeting and after it was discussed with the VP by
Fuller and North....
14. Nir described some of the lessons learned: 'We are dealing with the
most radical elements.... They can deliver ... that's for sure.... [W]e've
learned they can deliver and the moderates can't.... / Note #6 / Note #9
"July 30, 1986:"
The day after his Jerusalem summit with Amiram Nir, Vice President Bush
conferred with Oliver North. This meeting with North was never acknowledged
by Bush until the North diaries were released in May 1990.
"Early September, 1986:"
Retired Army Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub sent a memo to Oliver North on the
Contra resupply effort under Felix Rodriguez. Singlaub warned North that
Rodriguez was boasting about having "daily contact" with George Bush's
office. / Note #7 / Note #0
The Scandal Breaks
"October 5, 1986:"
A C-123k cargo aircraft left El Salvador's Ilopango air base at 9:30 a.m.,
carrying "10,000 pounds of small arms and ammunition, consisting mainly of
AK rifles and AK ammunition, hand grenades, jungle boots." It was scheduled
to make air drops to Contra soldiers in Nicaragua. / Note #7 / Note #1
The flight had been organized by elements of the CIA, the Defense
Department, and the National Security Council, coordinated by the Office of
Vice President George Bush.
At that time, such arms resupply was prohibited under U.S. law.
The aircraft headed south along the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, turned east
over Costa Rica, then headed up north into Nicaraguan air space. As it
descended toward the point at which it was to drop the cargo, the plane was
hit in the right engine and wing by a ground-to-air missile. The wing burst
into flames and broke up. Cargo handler Eugene Hasenfus jumped out the left
cargo door and opened his parachute. The other three crew members died in
the crash. / Note #7 / Note #2
Meanwhile, Felix Rodriguez made a single telephone call -- to the office of
Vice President George Bush. He told Bush aide Samuel Watson that the C-123k
aircraft was missing and was possibly down.
"October 6, 1986:"
Eugene Hasenfus, armed only with a pistol, took refuge in a small hut on a
jungle hilltop inside Nicaragua. He was soon surrounded by Sandinista
soldiers and gave himself up. / Note #7 / Note #3
Felix Rodriguez called George Bush's aide Sam Watson again. Watson now
notified the White House Situation Room and the National Security Council
staff about the missing aircraft.
Oliver North was immediately dispatched to El Salvador to prevent publicity
over the event, and to arrange death benefits for the crew. / Note #7 /
After the shoot-down, several elaborate attempts were made by government
agencies to provide false explanations for the origin of the aircraft.
A later press account, appearing on May 15, 1989, after Bush was safely
installed as President, exposed one such attempted coverup:
Official: Contras Lied to Protect VP Bush
By Alfonso Chardy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
WASHINGTON -- Nicaraguan rebels falsely assumed responsibility for an
arms-laden plane downed over Nicaragua in 1986 in an effort to shield
then-Vice President George Bush from the controversy that soon blossomed
into the Iran-Contra scandal, a senior Contra official said in early May
According to the Contra official, who requested anonymity but has direct
knowledge of the events, a Contra spokesman, Bosco Matamoros [official FDN
representative in Washington, D.C.], was ordered by [FDN Political
Director] Adolfo Calero to claim ownership of the downed aircraft, even
though the plane belonged to Oliver North's secret Contra supply
Calero called (Matamoros) and said, "Take responsibility for the Hasenfus
plane because we need to take the heat off the vice president," the Contra
The senior Contra official said that shortly after Calero talked to
Matamoros, Matamoros called a reporter for the "New York Times" and
"leaked" the bogus claim of responsibility. The "Times" ran a story about
the claim on its front page. / Note #7 / Note #5
"October 7, 1986:"
Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tx.) called for a congressional investigation of
the Nicaraguan air crash, and the crash of a Southern Air Transport plane
in Texas, to see if they were part of a covert CIA operation to overthrow
the Nicaraguan government.
"October 9, 1986:"
At a news conference in Nicaragua, captured U.S. crew member Eugene
Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez, alias "Max Gomez," as the head of an
international supply system for the Contras. The explosive, public phase of
the Iran-Contra scandal had begun.
Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 2
27. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, pp. 13-14.
On Amiram Nir, see Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 225-26, citing "Wall Street
Journal" 12/22/86, "New York Times" 1/12/87.
On Poindexter and North, see Menges, "op. cit.," p. 264.
28. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 140-41, citing Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence, "Report on Preliminary Inquiry," Jan. 29, 1987.
29. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 239-41.
30. Oliver North's diary, since edited and partially declassified, entries
for "10 Sep 85." Document no. 01527 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
31. "Washington Post," June 10, 1990.
32. Charles E. Allen "Memorandum for the Record," December 18, 1985.
Partially declassified/released (i.e. some parts are still deleted) by the
National Security Council on January 26, 1988. Document no. 02014 in the
33. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 226-27, citing "Wall Street Journal"
12/22/86, "New York Times" 12/25/86 and 1/12/87.
34. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 231, citing "Washington Post" 2/20/87, "New
York Times" 2/22/87.
35. "Ibid.," p. 232, citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.
36. Interview with Herman Moll in "EIR Special Report:" "Irangate...," pp.
37. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 235, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86,
12/27/86, 1/10/87 and 1/12/87; "Ibid.," p. 238, citing Tower Commission
Report; Menges, "op. cit.," p. 271.
38. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 240-41, citing "Washington Post" 1/10/87 and
1/15/87; Sen. John Tower, Chairman, "The Tower Commission Report: The Full
Text of the President's Special Review Board" (New York: Bantam Books,
1987), p. 217.
39. "Ibid.," pp. 37, 225.
40. North notebook entry Jan. 9, 1986, Exhibits attached to Gregg
Deposition in Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey v. John Hull, Rene Corbo,
Felipe Vidal et al., 29 April 1988.
41. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 258, citing the Brenneke letter, which was
made available to the National Security Archive.
42. U.S. government stipulations at the North trial, in "EIR Special
Report:" "Irangate...," p. 22.
43. "Tower Commission Report", pp. 67-68, 78.
44. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 266, citing "Washington Post" 1/10/87 and 1/15/87.
45. Chronology supplied by Office of Vice President Bush; Armstrong, "op.
cit.," p. 266, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86.
46. Deposition of Robert Earl, "Iran-Contra Report", May 2, 1987, Vol. 9,
pp. 22-23; Deposition of Craig Coy, "Iran-Contra Report", March 17, 1987,
Vol. 7, pp. 24-25: cited in "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 13.
47. Oliver Revell to Sen. David Boren, chairman of Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence, April 17, 1987; "Washington Post" Feb. 17, 20 and 22,
1987; "Wall Street Journal" Feb. 20, 1987: cited in "CovertAction," No. 33,
Winter 1990, p. 13.
"Newsweek," Oct. 21, 1985, p. 26; Earl Exhibit, nos. 3-8, attached to Earl
Deposition, "op. cit.": cited in "CovertAction" No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.
49. Earl Deposition, "op. cit.," May 30, 1987, pp. 33-37; May 15, 1987, pp.
117-21 (Channell and Miller); May 15, 1987, pp. 131, 119 (private
50. Donald Gregg Briefing Memorandum for the Vice President, Jan. 27, 1986;
released by the National Security Council March 22, 1988. Document no.02254
in Iran-Contra Collection.
51. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 275, citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.
52. "Ibid.," p. 280, citing the Menarczik letter to Brenneke which was made
available to the National Security Archive.
53. "Ibid.," citing "Miami Herald" 11/30/86.
54. "New York Times," Nov. 30, 1986, Dec. 4, 1986. See Gregg testimony:
Brenneke had M's number.
55. Quoted in Menges, "op. cit.," p. 275.
56. Deposition of Michael Tolliver in Avirgan and Honey, "op. cit."
57. Allan Nairn, "The Bush Connection," in "The Progressive" (London: May
18, 1987), pp. 21-22.
58. Nairn, "op. cit.," pp. 19, 21-23.
59. "Tower Commission Report," p. 465
60. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 244-45.
62. "Schedule Proposal," Office of the Vice President, April 16, 1986,
exhibit attached to Gregg Deposition in Avirgan and Honey, "op. cit."
63. Office of the Vice President Memorandum, April 30, 1986, released Aug.
28, 1987 by the National Security Council. Document no. 02738 in the
64. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," pp. 245-46.
See also Gregg confirmation hearings, excerpted "infra," and numerous other
65. Armstrong, "op. cit.," pp. 368-69, citing Senate Select Intelligence
Committee Report, Jan. 29, 1987.
66. "Ibid.," p. 373, citing "Washington Post" 12/16/86.
67. "Ibid.," p. 388-89, citing McFarlane testimony to the Tower Commission.
68. Affidavit of Eugene Harry Hasenfus, October 12, 1986, pp. 2-3. Document
no. 03575 in the Iran-Contra Collection.
69. "Tower Commission Report," pp. 385-88.
70. "Washington Post", Feb. 26, 1987.
71. Hasenfus Affidavit, pp. 6-7.
73. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 7.
74. Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 508, citing the chronology provided by George
Bush's office, "Washington Post" 12/16/86; "New York Times" 12/16/86,
12/17/86 and 12/25/86; "Wall Street Journal" 12/19/86 and 12/24/86.
75. "Laredo [Tex as] Morning Times," May 15, 1989, p. 1.
On October 11, 1986, the "Washington Post" ran two headlines side-by-side:
"Captured American Flyer to be Tried in Nicaragua" and "Bush is Linked to
Head of Contra Aid Network."
The "Post" reported: "Max Gomez, a Cuban American veteran of the CIA's
ill-fated Bay of Pigs operation, has told associates that he reported to
Vice President Bush about his activities as head of the secret air supply
operation that lost a cargo plane to Nicaraguan missile fire....
"Gomez has said that he met with Bush twice and has been operating in
Nicaragua with the Vice President's knowledge and approval, the sources
"Asked about these matters, a spokesman for Bush, Marlin Fitzwater, said:
'Neither the vice president nor anyone on his staff is directing or
coordinating an operation in Central America.'
"... The "San Francisco Examiner", which earlier this week linked [Bush
adviser Donald] Gregg to Gomez, reported that Gomez maintains daily contact
with Bush's office...." / Note #7 / Note #6
George Bush's career was now on the line. News media throughout the world
broke the story of the Hasenfus capture, and of the crewman's fingering of
Bush and his underlings Rodriguez and Posada Carriles.
Bush was now besieged by inquiries from around the world, as to how and why
he was directing the gun-running into Latin America.
Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, George Bush described Max
Gomez/Rodriguez as "a patriot." The vice president denied that he himself
was directing the illegal operations to supply the Contras: ""To say I'm
running the operation ... it's absolutely untrue.""
Bush said of Rodriguez: "I know what he was doing in El Salvador, and I
strongly support it, as does the President of El Salvador, Mr. Napoleon
Duarte, and as does the chief of the armed forces in El Salvador, because
this man, an expert in counterinsurgency, was down there helping them put
down a communist-led revolution [i.e. in El Salvador, not Nicaragua]." /
Note #7 / Note #7
Two days later, Gen. Adolfo Blandon, armed forces chief of staff in El
Salvador, denied Bush's contention that Felix Rodriguez worked for his
country's military forces. / Note #7 / Note #8
"October 12, 1986:"
Eugene Hasenfus gave and signed an affidavit in which it was stated: "About
Max Gomez [Felix Rodriguez], Hasenfus says that he was the head Cuban
coordinator for the company and that he works for the CIA and that he is a
very close friend of the Vice-President of the United States, George
"About Ramon Medina [escaped airplane bomber Luis Posada Carriles],
Hasenfus says that he was also a CIA agent and that he did the 'small work'
because "Max Gomez" was the 'senior man.' He says that "Ramon" took care of
the rent of the houses, the maids, the food, transportation and drivers,
and also, coordination of the fuel for the aircraft, etc." [emphasis in the
original]. / Note #7 / Note #9
His cover being blown, and knowing he was still wanted in Venezuela for
blowing up an airliner and killing 73 persons, Posada Carriles now
"vanished" and went underground. / Note #8 / Note #0
"October 19, 1986:"
Eugene Hasenfus, interviewed in Nicaragua by Mike Wallace on the CBS
television program "60 Minutes," said that Vice President Bush was well
aware of the covert arms supply operation. He felt the Reagan-Bush
administration was "backing this 100 percent."
Wallace asked Hasenfus why he thought that Gomez/Rodriguez and the other
managers of the covert arms resupply "had the blessing of Vice President
Bush." Hasenfus replied, "They had his knowledge that he was working [on
it] and what was happening, and whoever controlled this whole organization
-- which I do not know -- Mr. Gomez, Mr. Bush, I believe a lot of these
other people. They know how this is being run. I do not." / Note #8 / Note
Cover-Up of Bush Role
"November 3, 1986:"
The Lebanese newspaper "Al-Shiraa" revealed that the U.S. government was
secretly dealing arms to the Khomeini regime. This was three weeks after
the Eugene Hasenfus expose of George Bush made world headlines.
"November 22, 1986:"
President Reagan sent a message, "through Vice President George Bush," to
Secretary of State George Shultz, along the lines of "Support me or get off
my team." / Note #8 / Note #2
"December 18, 1986:"
CIA Director William Casey, a close ally of George Bush who knew everything
from the inside, was operated on for a "brain tumor" and lost the power of
That same day, associates of Vice President George Bush said that Bush
believed White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan should resign, but claimed
Bush had not yet broached the issue with the President. Donald Regan said
that he had no intention of quitting. / Note #8 / Note #3
"February 2, 1987:"
CIA Director William Casey resigned. He soon died, literally without ever
"February 9, 1987:"
Former National Security Director Robert McFarlane, a principal figure in
the Reagan-Bush administration's covert operations, attempted suicide by
taking an overdose of drugs. McFarlane survived.
"February 26, 1987:"
The President's Special Review Board, commonly known as the Tower
Commission, issued its report. The commission heavily blamed White House
Chief of Staff Donald Regan for the "chaos that descended upon the White
House" in the Iran-Contra affair.
The commission hardly mentioned Vice President George Bush except to praise
him for his "vigorous reaffirmation of U.S. opposition to terrorism in all
The afternoon the Tower Commission report came out, George Bush summoned
Donald Regan to his office. Bush said the President wanted to know what his
plans were about resigning. Donald Regan blasted the President: "What's the
matter -- isn't he man enough to ask me that question?" Bush expressed
sympathy. Donald Regan said he would leave in four days. / Note #8 / Note
"February 27, 1987:"
Cable News Network televised a leaked report that Donald Regan had already
been replaced as White House chief of staff. After submitting a
one-sentence letter of resignation, Donald Regan said, "There's been a
deliberate leak, and it's been done to humiliate me." / Note #8 / Note #5
George Bush, when President, rewarded the commission's chairman, Texas
Senator John Tower, by appointing him U.S. secretary of defense. Tower was
asked by a reporter at the National Press Club, whether his nomination was
a "payoff" for the "clean bill of health" he gave Bush. Tower responded
that "the commission was made up of three people, Brent Scowcroft and
[Senator] Ed Muskie in addition to myself, that would be sort of impugning
the integrity of Brent Scowcroft and Ed Muskie.... We found nothing to
implicate the Vice President.... I wonder what kind of payoff they're going
to get?" / Note #8 / Note #6
President Bush appointed Brent Scowcroft his chief national security adviser.
But the Senate refused to confirm Tower. Tower then wrote a book and began
to talk about the injustice done to him. He died April 5, 1991 in a plane
"March 8, 1987:"
In light of the Iran-Contra scandal, President Reagan called on George Bush
to reconvene his Terrorism Task Force to evaluate the current program!
"June 2, 1987:"
Bush summarized his findings in a press release: "[O]ur current policy as
articulated in the Task Force report is sound, effective, and fully in
accord with our democratic principles, and national ideals of freedom." /
Note #8 / Note #7
"November 13, 1987:"
The designated congressional committees filed their joint report on the
Iran-Contra affair. Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney, the senior
Republican member of the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms
Transactions with Iran, helped steer the joint committees to an impotent
result. George Bush was totally exonerated, and was hardly mentioned.
George Bush, when President, rewarded Dick Cheney by appointing him U.S.
secretary of defense, after the Senate refused to confirm John Tower.
The Mortification of the U.S. Congress
"January 20, 1989:"
George Bush was inaugurated President of the United S tates.
"May 12, 1989:"
President Bush's nomination of Donald Gregg to be U.S. ambassador to Korea
was considered in hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
What follows are excerpts from the typed transcript of the Gregg hearings.
The transcript has never been reproduced, it has not been printed, and it
will not be published by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is
evidently embarrassed by its contents. / Note #8 / Note #8
"Gregg:" [As] his national security adviser [for] six and a half years ...
I worked closely with the vice president keeping him informed as best I
could on matters of foreign policy, defense, and intelligence....
[After Vietnam] I did not see [Felix Rodriguez] until the early eighties
where he would drop into Washington sporadically ... we remained
friends.... So, some of those contacts would have been [1979-1982] when I
was at the White House at the NSC.
"Sen. Sarbanes:" And Felix would come to see you there?
"Gregg:" No, at my home.... [Then] he brought me in '83 the plan which I
have already discussed with Senator Cranston.... [At that point] I was
working for the vice president ... [which I began in] August 1982.
"Sen. Sarbanes:" In December of 1984 he came to see you with the idea of
going to El Salvador. You ... cleared it with the vice president?
"Gregg:" ... I just said, "My friend Felix, who was a remarkable former
agency employee ... wants to go down and help with El Salvador. And I am
going to introduce him to [State Department personnel] and see if he can
sell himself to those men," and the vice president said fine.
"Gregg:" Felix went down there about the first of March . Before he
went ... I introduced him to the vice president....
"Sen. Sarbanes:" So before he went down, you undertook to introduce him to
the vice president.... Why did you do that?
"Gregg:" Well, the vice president had always spoken very highly and
enthusiastically of his career [!], or his one-year as DCI [Director of
Central Intelligence]. I had gone out with him to the agency just after I
joined him in '82 and I saw the tremendous response he got there and he got
quite choked up about it and as we drove back in the car he said, you know,
that is the best job I have ever hadbefore I became vice president.
So here it was, as I said probably the most extraordinary CIA comrade I had
known, who was going down to help in a country that I knew that the vice
president was interested in....
The vice president was interested in the progress of the Contras.
There were two occasions on which he asked me, how are they doing and I, on
one occasion went to a CIA officer who was knowledgeable and got a run-down
on how they were doing from that and sent it to the vice president and he
sent it back with no comment.
On another occasion, he asked me again, how are they doing, and I went -- I
drew a memo up, I think on the basis of a conversation with North. Again,
he returned that with no comment. So he was interested in the Contras as an
instrument of putting pressure on the Sandinistas....
"Sen. Simon:" Let me read another section from Senator Cranston's
statement. I believe the record suggests the following happened: After
Boland II was signed in October 1984 [outlawing all U.S. aid to the
Contras], you and certain others in the White House were encouraged to
secure military aid for the Contras through unorthodox channels.
Your career training in establishing secrecy and deniability for covert
operations, your decades-old friendship for Felix Rodriguez, apparently led
you to believe you could serve the national interest by sponsoring a
freelance covert operation out of the vice president's office.
What is your response to that statement?
"Gregg:" Well, I think it is a rather full-blown conspiracy theory. That
was not what I was doing.... I was involved in helping the vice president's
task force on antiterrorist measures write their report. But normally I had
no operational responsibilities....
"Sen. Simon:" When did you first find out the law was being violated?
"Gregg:" By the law, do you mean the Boland amendment?
"Sen. Simon:" That is correct.
"Gregg:" I guess my knowledge of that sort of came at me piecemeal after
Hasenfus had been shot down....
"Sen. Simon:" So what you are telling us, you found out about the law being
violated the same time the rest of us found out the law was being violated?
"Gregg:" Yes, sir....
"Sen. Cranston:" From February 1985 to August 1986, you have acknowledged
that you spoke to Rodriguez many, many times on the telephone. Let me quote
from your sworn deposition to the Iran-Contra Committee: "Felix called me
quite often and frequently it was what I would call sort of combat
catharsis. He used to do the same thing in Vietnam...."
Now, is it still your testimony that Rodriguez never mentioned his deep
involvement in Contra supply activities during any of these phone
"Gregg:" That is my testimony.
"Sen. Cranston:" Is it still your testimony that prior to Aug. 8th, 1986,
Rodriguez never mentioned the status of his Contra resupply efforts during
his numerous face-to-face meetings with you in Washington?
"Sen. Cranston:" Is it still your testimony that Rodriguez did not mention
the status of his Contra resupply efforts in the very meetings that were
convened according to two memos bearing your name, for Rodriguez to "brief
the vice president on the status of the war in El Salvador and efforts to
resupply the Contras"?
"Gregg:" There was no intention to discuss resupply of the Contras and
everyone at that meeting, including former Senator Nick Brady have [sic]
testified that it was not discussed.
"Sen. Cranston:" As you know, it is difficult to reconcile those statements
about what happened in the meeting with the statement and memos from you
that the agenda was ... two things, one of them being efforts to resupply
"Gregg:" Those memos first surfaced to my attention in December of 1986,
when we undertook our first document search of the vice president's office.
They hit me rather hard because by that time I had put the pieces together
of what had been going on and I realized the implications of that agenda
I did not shred the documents. I did not hide it.... [T]his is the worst thi
ng I have found and here it is, and I cannot really explain it.... I have a
speculative explanation which I would like to put forward if you would be
"Sen. Cranston:" Fine.
"Gregg:" Again, turning to Felix [Rodriguez]'s book ... Felix makes the
following quote.... This is the quote, sir: "... I had no qualms about
calling [Sam Watson] or Don [Gregg] when I thought they could help run
interference with the Pentagon to speed up deliveries of spare chopper
parts." That means helicopters.
"I must have made many such calls during the spring of 1986. Without
operating Hughes 500 helicopters it was impossible to carry out my strategy
against the [El Salvadoran] insurgents...." [There are] then documented
steps that Colonel Watson had taken with the Pentagon to try to get spare
parts expedited for El Salvador....
So my construction is this, sir. I recall that in the meeting with the vice
president the question of spare parts for the helicopters in El Salvador
was discussed and so that I think "what the agenda item on the two memos
is, is a garbled reference to something like resupply of the copters,
instead of resupply of the Contras" [emphasis added]."
"Sen. Sarbanes:" How did the scheduling proposal of April 16, 1986 and the
briefing memorandum of April 30th take place?
"Gregg:" They were prepared by my assistant, Mrs. Byrne, acting on advice
from Colonel Watson. She signed my initials, but those are not my initials.
I did not see the documents until December 1986, when I called them to the
attention of the House Intelligence Committee.... And if .. my speculation
does not hold up, I have to refer you to a memorandum that I turned over to
the Iran-Contra Committee on the 14th of May 1987....
"Sen. Sarbanes:" I am looking at that memorandum now.
"Gregg:" Okay. That has been my explanation up until now.
"Sen. Sarbanes:" But you are now providing a different explanation?
"Gregg:" It is the only one -- I have been thinking about these documents
for over two years, and it is the only thing that I can come up with that
would come close to explaining that agenda item -- given the fact that
there was no intention of discussing resupply to the Contras. That resupply
of the Contras was not discussed, according to the testimony of everyone
who was in the meeting...."
"Sen. Kerry:" Douglas Minarczik is who?
"Gregg:" He was one of my assistants in my office responsible for Mid-East
and African affairs....
"Sen. Kerry:" And he was working for you in 1985 and 1986, that period?
"Sen. Kerry:" Now, when I began first investigating allegations of the
"gun-running" that was taking place out of Miami, "Miami was buzzing with
the notion that the vice president's office was somehow involved in
monitoring that, at least" [emphasis added].
Now, Jesus Garcia was a Miami corrections official who got into trouble and
wound up going to jail on weapons offenses. Through that connection, we
came across telephone records. And those telephone records demonstrate
calls from Garcia's house to Contra camps in Honduras, to John Hull in
Costa Rica, and Douglas Minarczik in, not necessarily in your office, but
directly to the White House.
However, there is incontrovertible evidence that he had in his possession
the name of Mr. Minarczik, a piece of paper in our possession, in Garcia's
home in connection with monitoring those paramilitary operations, in August
Now, how do you account for the fact that Minarczik's -- that the people
involved with the Contra supply operations out of Miami ... had Minarczik's
name and telephone number, and that there is a record of calls to the White
House at that time?
"Gregg:" I cannot account for it. Could it have anything to do with our old
friend Mr. Brenicke [sic]? Because Brenicke did have Minarczik's phone
"Sen. Kerry:" ... No. Totally separate.
"Gregg:" This is all new. I do not have an explanation, sir....
"Sen. Kerry:" Do you recall the downing of a Cuban airliner in  in
which 72 people lost their lives as a result; do you remember that?
"Sen. Kerry:" A terrorist bomb. And a Cuban-American named Luis Posada
[Carriles] was arrested in Venezuela in connection with that. He then
escaped in 1985 with assistance from Felix Rodriguez -- I do not know if
this is going to be in the [Rodriguez] book or not --
"Gregg:" It is.
"Sen. Kerry:" Okay, and he brought him to Central America to help the
Contras under pseudonym of Ramon Medina, correct?
"Gregg:" Now, I know that; yes.
"Sen. Kerry:" ... [Is] it appropriate for a Felix Rodriguez to help a man
indicted in a terrorist bombing to escape from prison, and then appropriate
for him to take him to become involved in supply operations, which we are
"Gregg:" I cannot justify that, sir. And I am not certain what role Felix
played in getting him out....
Committee Session June 15, 1989
"Sen. Cranston:" Before proceeding in this matter, I would like to state
clearly for the record what the central purpose of this investigation is
about and in my view what it is not about.
It is not about who is for or against the Contras....
Similarly, this investigation is not about building up or tearing down our
new President [Bush]. We have tried throughout this proceeding to avoid
partisan attacks. Indeed, "Republicans and Democrats alike" have sought Mr.
Gregg's withdrawal as one way to avoid casting aspersions on the [Bush]
White House.... [emphasis added].
Mr. Gregg remains steadfast in his loyalty to his boss, then-Vice President
Bush, and to his long-time friend, Felix Rodriguez. Mr. Gregg has served
his country in the foreign policy field for more than three decades.
By all accounts he is a loyal American....
As Mr. Gregg himself conceded last month, there are substantial reasons for
senators to suspect his version of events and to raise questions about his
It does not take a suspicious or partisan mind to look at the documentary
evidence, the back channel cables, the "eyes only" memos, and then to
conclude that Mr. Gregg has not been straight with us. Indeed, I am
informed that more than one Republican senator who has looked at the
accumulated weight of the evidence against Mr. Gregg, has remained
unconvinced and has sought Mr. Gregg's withdrawal.
Mr. Gregg, this committee has a fundamental dilemma. If we are to promote a
man we believe to have misled us under oath, we would make a mockery of
... [It] has been established that when you are confronted with written
evidence undermining your story, you point the finger of blame elsewhere.
At our last hearing you said Gorman's cables were wrong, North's notebooks
were wrong, Steele's memory was wrong, North's sworn testimony [that Gregg
introduced Rodriguez to him] was wrong, you concocted a theory that your
aide, Watson, and your secretary erred by writing "Contras" instead of
"helicopters" on those infamous briefing memos for the Vice President....
Incredibly, when senators confront you with the documentary evidence which
undermines your story, you accuse us of concocting conspiracy theories and
you do so with a straight face.
... I think it is clear by now that many important questions may never be
answered satisfactorily, especially because we have been stonewalled by the
The National Security Agency has rejected our legitimate enquiries out of
hand. The Central Intelligence Agency provided a response with access
restrictions so severe ... as to be laughable.
The Department of Defense has given an unsatisfactory response two days
late. The State Department's response was utterly unresponsive. They
answered our letter after their self-imposed deadline and failed to produce
specific documents we requested and which we know exist.
This Committee has been stonewalled by Oliver North, too. He has not
complied with the Committee subpoena for his unredacted notebooks. The
redacted notebooks contain repeated January 1985 references to Felix
Rodriguez which suggests North's involvement in Rodriguez' briefings of the
No member of the Senate can escape the conclusion that these administration actions are contemptuous of this
"Sen. McConnell:" ... During the period of the Boland Amendment, were you
ever asked to inform the vice president's office or lend his name to
private, nonprofit efforts to support the Contras?
"Gregg:" Yes. I recall one instance, in particular, where there was a
request -- I guess it was probably from one aspect of the Spitz Channell
organization, which had a variety of things going on in and around
We got, on December 2nd, 1985, a letter to the vice president, asking him
to get involved in something called the Friends of the Americas, which was
aid to the Meskito Indians ... in Nicaragua that had been badly mistreated
by the Sandinistas.... And so I have a document here which shows how we
dealt with it. I sent it to Boyden Gray, the counsel of the vice president
and said, "Boyden, this looks okay as a charity issue, but there is the
question of precedent. Please give me a legal opinion. Thanks." ... Boyden
Gray wrote back to me and said, "No, should not do. Raises questions about
indirect circumvention of congressional funding limits or restriction,
That is the only time I recall that we had a specific request like that,
and this is how we dealt with it.
"Sen. Pell" [Chairman of the Committee]":" ... First, you say that you
offered to resign twice, I think.
Knowing that you are a very loyal servant of what you view as the national
interest, and knowing the embarrassment that this nomination has caused the
administration, I was wondering why you did not ask your name to be
withdrawn ... to pull your name back.... [w]hich has been recommended by
many of us as being a way to resolve this problem.
"Gregg:" Well, I haven't because I think I'm fully qualified to b e
ambassador to South Korea. And so does the vice president [sic].
So I am here because he has asked me to serve....
"Sen. Cranston:" ... Senators will recall that on Oct. 5th of '86 a plane
bearing military supplies to the Contras was shot down over Nicaragua. The
sole survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, spoke publicly of the role of Felix
Rodriguez, alias Max Gomez, in aiding military resupply and noted Gomez's
ties to the vice president's office.
Could you please describe your understanding of why it was that the first
call to official Washington regarding the shootdown was from Felix
Rodriguez to your aid[e] in Washington?
"Gregg:" ... [It] was because on the 25th of June of that year he had come
to Washington to confront North about what he regarded as corruption in the
supply process of the Contras.... [H]e broke with North on the 25th of June
and has not been on speaking terms with the man since then.... [H]e tried
to get me -- he could not -- he reached Colonel Watson....
"Sen. Cranston:" As you recall, the vice president was besieged at that
time with inquiries regarding Rodriguez's ties to the vice president's
office. What did you tell [Bush press spokesman] Marlin Fitzwater regarding
"Gregg:" ... The thrust of the press inquiries was always that from the
outset I had had in mind that Rodriguez should play some role in the Contra
support operation, and my comments to Marlin ... were that that had not
been in my mind....
"Sen. Cranston:" Let me quote again from the "New York Times", George Bush
quoted October 13, '86. Bush said, "To the best of my knowledge, this man,
Felix Rodriguez, is not working for the United States government."
Now Mr. Gregg, you knew that Rodriguez was aiding the Contras and receiving
material assistance in the form of cars, housing, communications equipment
and transportation from the U.S. government. Did you inform Bush of those
facts so that he could make calculated misleading statements in ignorance
of his staff's activities?
"Gregg:" ... At that point I had no idea that Felix -- you said -- you
mentioned communications equipment. I had no idea he had been given by
North one of those encryption devices. I think I was aware that Colonel
Steele had given him access to a car, and I knew he was living in a BOQ at
the air base. He was not being paid any salary. His main source of income
was, as it is now, his retirement pension from CIA.
"Sen. Cranston:" ... You told the Iran-Contra committee that you and Bush
never discussed the Contras, had no expertise on the issue, no
responsibility for it, and the details of Watergate-sized scandal involving
NSC staff and the [Edwin] Wilson gang was not Vice Presidential.
Your testimony on that point I think is demonstrably false. There are at
least six memos from Don Gregg to George Bush regarding detailed Contra
"Sen Cranston:" Am I correct in this, that you have confirmed ... that
senior U.S. military, diplomatic ... and intelligence personnel, really
looked with great doubt upon Rodriguez's mission and that they tolerated it
only because Rodriguez used his contacts with the vice president and his
staff as part of the way to bolster his mission.
"Gregg:" ... I was not aware of the diplomatic; I was aware of the military
and intelligence, yes, sir.
"The committee voted in favor of confirmation." Cranston voted no. But
three Democrats -- Charles Robb, Terry Sanford and Chairman Claiborne Pell
-- joined the Republicans.
Sanford confirmed Cranston's viewpoint, saying that he was allowing the
nomination to go through because he was afraid "the path would lead to
Bush," the new President. Sanford said, shamefacedly, ""If Gregg was lying,
he was lying to protect the President, which is different from lying to
protect himself."" / Note #8 / Note #9
In George Bush's government, the one-party state, the knives soon came out,
and the prizes appeared.
The Senate Ethics Committee, including the shamefaced Terry Sanford, began
in November 1989, its attack on the "Keating Five." These were U.S.
Senators, among them Senator Alan Cranston, charged with savings and loan
corruption. The attack soon narrowed down to one target only -- the
Iran-Contrary Senator Cranston.
On Aug. 2, 1991, Senator Terry Sanford, having forgotten his shame, took
over as the new chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee.
Bush and Iran-Contra
George Bush and his friends have repeatedly told political pundits that
America is "tired" and "bored" of hearing about the Iran-Contra affair.
Bush has taken a dim view of those who were not tired or bored, but fought him.
Oct. 6, 1986 was a fateful day in Washington. The secret government
apparatus learned that the Hasenfus plane had been shot down the day
before, and went scurrying about to protect its exposed parts.
Notes for Chapter XIX, Part 3
76. "Washington Post," Oct. 11, 1986.
77. "Washington Post," Oct. 12, 1986, Oct. 14, 1986.
78. "Washington Post," Oct. 14, 1986.
79. Hasenfus Affidavit, p. 3.
80. Rodriguez and Weisman, "op. cit.," p. 241.
81. "Washington Post," Nov. 20, 1986.
82. "Washington Post," Feb. 12, 1987.
83. "Washington Post," Dec. 18, 1986, "Wall Street Journal," Dec. 19, 1986.
84. Donald T. Regan, "For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington" (New
York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, 1988), pp. 368-73.
86. "New York Times," March 2, 1989.
87. "CovertAction," No. 33, Winter 1990, p. 15.
88. Stenographic Transcript of Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations, Nomination Hearing for Donald Phinney Gregg to be
Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. Washington, D.C., May 12 and June 15,
89. Mary McGrory, "The Truth According to Gregg," "Washington Post," June
90. NEPL contributions 1985 printout, cited in Armstrong, "op. cit.," p. 226.
91. Kissinger letters, declassified in 1984, photostats in "EIR Special
Report:" "Irangate...," pp. 52, 55.
Angleton quote in Tom Mangold, "Cold Warrior" (New York: Simon and
Schuster, 1991), p. 352.
92. Director FBI to D[efense] I[ntelligence] A[gency], Sept. 30, 1986,
93. Bush at Shelton, Iowa, July 31, 1987, quoted in "EIR Special Report:"
"Irangate...," p. 65.
94. Secord to North 5/5/86 memorandum marked SECRET, declassified Feb. 26,
1988 by Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, photostat in "EIR Special
Report:" "Irangate...," p. 31.
95. "Washington Post," March 27, 1989.
96. Corporate records of the First National Bank of Alexandria and the
First Citizens Bank of Alexandria, 1940s to 1960s, in "Polk's Bankers
Clarence J. Robinson, "Reminiscences" (Fairfax, Va.: George Mason
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