In 1996, while meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasir Arafat, Carter reportedly raised his hands into a physical stop position when Arafat tried to confess his role in the Republican maneuvering to block Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations.
"There is something I want to tell you," Arafat said, addressing Carter at a meeting in Arafat's bunker in Gaza City in the presence of historian Douglas Brinkley. "You should know that in 1980 the Republicans approached me with an arms deal [for the PLO] if I could arrange to keep the hostages in Iran until after the [U.S. presidential] election."
Arafat was apparently prepared to provide additional details and evidence, but Carter raised his hands, indicating that he didn't want to hear anymore.
In the interview with Till, Carter also expressed continued uncertainty as to why a crucial helicopter for the U.S. hostage-rescue operation in April 1980 turned back rather than fly on to Tehran, a decision that forced the surprise assault to be scrubbed, a huge embarrassment for the Carter administration.
To carry out the mission, Carter had ordered eight helicopters to take part, including two as backups. As the mission proceeded, two helicopters developed mechanical troubles, cutting the number to the minimal of six. But one helicopter had turned back "with no reasonable explanation," Carter said, forcing the rescue to be called off when the number of available helicopters dropped to five.
The so-called "Desert One fiasco" raised questions about Carter's competence and ever since then rumors have persisted regarding possible sabotage of the operation by military and intelligence personnel who were hostile to Carter's presidency.
While no hard evidence has ever emerged about the sabotage of Carter's rescue operation, significant evidence does exist that operatives inside Reagan's campaign -- with the help of Israeli operatives -- took steps to frustrate Carter's attempt to negotiate release of the hostages before the November 1980 election.
In the ensuing decades, the failure of the U.S. political/media structure to get to the bottom of the October Surprise and its sequel the Iran-Contra scandal also makes the prospect for a repeat in 2012 more likely.
Since Israeli's Likud has never been held accountable for its alleged interference in the U.S. political process in 1980, Menachem Begin's ideological descendants might feel embolden to try it again.