Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Flynn Falls on His Sword. It Was a Different Story for Reagan.
It's pretty embarrassing for a freshly minted president to lose his national security advisor to scandal in the first month of the administration. What felled retired general Mike Flynn were lies, alternative facts if you will, when he denied that he had discussed ending American sanctions against Russia prior to Trump's inauguration.
Flynn's indiscretions brought back to mind events in 1980 when Ronald Reagan's team purportedly struck a deal with Iran to delay the release of American hostages held in Tehran until after the election, lest an earlier release tip the election to Jimmy Carter. This later unfolded as the "Iran Contra" and the arms for hostages scandal.
Much of this information is laid out in the In These Times article cited above, and also in three articles by Christopher Hitchens in the June 20, July 11, and August 8, 1987, issues of The Nation. Several Washington Post articles, and Alfonso Chardy, writing in the Miami Herald, also supply evidence of a deal between Iranian emissaries and future Reagan administration officials. Many of the names cited in these accounts of the 1980 events reappear in the 1987 congressional Iran-contra investigations. They include William Casey, Attorney General Edwin Meese, Undersecretary of Defense Fred Ikle, former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, former CIA Deputy Director Max Hugel, Richard Secord, Oliver North, and Michael Ledeen.
Both operations involved some of the same characters, the same shadowy connections to Israel, the same secret wheeling and dealing with Iran, and the same extensive investigation by congressmen who then shied away from closing the circle. They pulled back when they realized that, standing with the president in the docket, was not only some of Israel's shadow government in Washington, but the Israeli government itself.
Hitchens sums it all up as follows: "Well, the hostages were released at just the right time, and the first shipments of weapons began the very next month. You may wonder if the Reaganites were capable of making such a vile deal. But you don't really wonder that, do you?