But then I showed Larry Casey the sign-in sheets for the Reagan-Bush campaign headquarters. The entries recorded Larry Casey's parents picking up Bill Casey for the dinner on Oct. 15, four days earlier. Larry Casey acknowledged his error, and indeed an American Express receipt later confirmed Oct. 15 as the date of the Jockey Club dinner.
In 1992, however, Larry Casey had replaced the Jockey Club dinner with "the phone call alibi," which he had not mentioned in the Frontline interview.
Though Larry Casey's alibi was anything but "credible," the House task force accepted it as solid proof.
An alibi for George H.W. Bush on that same day also had holes. Bush -- as the vice presidential nominee -- was under Secret Service protection, so it should have been easy to establish his whereabouts, but it wasn't.
Bush's redacted Secret Service records listed one non-public trip on Oct. 19, to the Chevy Chase Country Club, but it could not be corroborated either by club officials, Bush's supposed guests or his Secret Service team.
Another reputed movement by the candidate that afternoon was to the home of a personal friend, but the Bush administration refused to disclose the identity of the friend. Eventually, in mid-1992, the administration agreed to tell a few task force officials the name of the personal friend but only if the congressional investigators agreed not to interview the witness.
The task force accepted this peculiar arrangement, even though one might have thought that then-President Bush would have been eager to clear up any suspicions by allowing an interview. No interview was ever conducted and the name of the supposed alibi witness remains secret from the American people.
Another person connected to the alleged Paris meeting on Oct. 19, 1980, CIA officer Donald Gregg, also struggled to come up with an alibi, ultimately producing a photograph of himself in bathing trunks at a beach. On the back of the photo, there was a stamp showing that the photo had been processed in October 1980, a point that proved nothing.
There were other problems with the alibis. Documents that investigators expected to find, such as Casey's 1980 passport and key pages from his calendar, had disappeared.
Meanwhile, as December 1992 wore on, more and more evidence was arriving implicating Republicans in 1980 contacts with Iranians, including the sworn testimony of the biographer for the chief of French intelligence Alexandre deMarenches.
The biographer, journalist David Andelman, said deMarenches had described arranging meetings between Republicans and Iranians in the summer and fall of 1980, with one meeting held in Paris in October. But deMarenches demanded that the story be kept out of his memoir to protect the reputations of his friends, George H.W. Bush and William Casey, Andelman said.
Andelman's testimony corroborated longstanding claims from a variety of international intelligence operatives about a Paris meeting involving Casey and Bush. But the task force brushed Andelman's testimony aside, paradoxically terming it "credible" but then claiming it was "insufficiently probative."
The task force also was aware of contemporaneous knowledge about the alleged Bush-to-Paris trip by Chicago Tribune reporter John Maclean. Maclean, the son of author Norman Maclean who wrote A River Runs Through It, said a well-placed Republican source told him in mid-October 1980 about Bush's secret trip to Paris to meet with Iranians on the U.S. hostage issue.
After hearing this interesting tidbit, Maclean passed on the information to David Henderson, a State Department Foreign Service officer. Henderson recalled the date as Oct. 18, 1980, when the two met at Henderson's Washington home to discuss another matter.