For those who were not around or do not remember, there was a pall cast over Ronald Reagan’s presidency by the Iran Contra scandal in which sales of arms to Iran were made in violation of U.S. policy in order to secretly fund right-wing Contra rebels in Nicaragua – which was also in violation of U.S. policy. One of the masterminds of the operation was none other than Oliver North, later convicted of three felonies (overturned on a technicality) and now a Fox News host. Reagan said he did not know that money from the sale of arms to Iran had been secretly diverted. But last night, on Hannity, Oliver North suggested otherwise.
In a diatribe against President Obama’s “incompetence, malevolence and misfeasance” with regard to what happened during the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, North said he thought it “entirely possible” that Obama was not paying attention to his national security briefings. When Hannity said he couldn’t believe that, North defended his view by talking about his experience working for President Reagan.
I worked for a president who, every morning at eight o’clock, he got a briefing. It took him a total of 45 minutes to make a decision to take down the aircraft that was escaping with the terrorists who had hijacked the Achille Lauro. I know what it’s like to work for a president who pays attention.
Oh, really? Unlike the phony Benghazi scandal, the Iran Contra affair involved lawbreaking from within the presidential administration. Reagan's National Security Advisor attempted suicide over it. A Congressional Committee investigating the matter blasted Reagan:
As it stands, the President has publicly stated that he did not know of the diversion. (National Security Advisor John) Poindexter testified that he shielded the President from knowledge of the diversion. North said that he never told the President, but assumed that the President knew. Poindexter told North on November 21, 1986, that he had not informed the President of the diversion. (Operative Richard) Secord testified that North told him he had talked with the President about the diversion, but North testified that he had fabricated this story to bolster Secord's morale.
Nevertheless, the ultimate responsibility for the events in the Iran-contra affair must rest with the President. If the President did not know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have. It is his responsibility to communicate unambiguously to his subordinates that they must keep him advised of important actions they take for the Administration. The Constitution requires the President to ''take care that the laws be faithfully executed.'' This charge encompasses a responsibility to leave the members of his Administration in no doubt that the rule of law governs.
If Reagan was a guy who paid such close attention, how did he not know what his own national security advisors, including North, were up to with the Iran Contra affair? Or has North just revealed that Reagan did know?
His affiliation with Fox is a great confirmation of the saying,“Birds of a feather”.