Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/17/10

Lee Hamilton, the Un-Wise Man

By       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     (# of views)   6 comments
Author 1553
Message Robert Parry
Become a Fan
  (85 fans)
- Advertisement -
Reprinted from Consortium News

But the sad truth is that Lee Hamilton has done great damage to the U.S. political process by elevating bipartisanship above a commitment to the truth. One reason why many Americans buy into baseless conspiracy theories today is that Hamilton failed to expose real ones when he was in Congress.

For instance, it was surely "bipartisan" in August 1986 when Hamilton joined other members of the House Intelligence Committee, including Rep. Dick Cheney, in concluding that stories about White House aide Oliver North running money and guns to the Nicaraguan contras were false.

Hamilton, then the committee's chairman, accepted denials from North and his boss, National Security Adviser John Poindexter, and agreed to kill a proposed congressional investigation into what was then known as "the North network."

- Advertisement -

Since I and my Associated Press colleague Brian Barger had been writing the stories about North's secret operation (based then on about two dozen sources), I got a call from one of Hamilton's aides and was told that Hamilton and the panel had the choice of "believing you and your 24 sources or these honorable men. And it wasn't a close call."

It was, however, an erroneous call. And it was not without consequences, both in the larger scheme of things and on the personal side.

At the AP that summer, Barger had been assigned to the overnight desk as a way to transition him onto the AP regular staff (he originally had been hired into a temporary position to work with me on the North project). However, in August, Barger was informed that his time on the overnight would be extended indefinitely, a development that prompted Barger to quit.

- Advertisement -

If Hamilton had done his duty by insisting on a real investigation to get at the truth about North's network instead of caving in to Cheney and the other Republicans our situation at AP would have been quite different. With a congressional investigation validating our reporting, I probably could have sprung Barger from his overnight assignment and kept our team together.

Instead, Hamilton's out-of-hand rejection of an investigation amounted to a repudiation of our work our critics quickly noted that even the Democrats deemed our reporting not worthy of pursuit and AP management was left with an impression that we had taken the news agency out onto a dangerous limb.

In the bigger picture, Hamilton was demonstrating what would become his M.O., putting bipartisanship and collegiality ahead of truth and accountability.

Iran-Contra, Anyway

For the next few months, the AP investigation of North, which also had lifted the curtain on the Reagan administration's tolerance of contra drug trafficking, remained in limbo.

However, on Oct. 5, 1986, one of the last planned flights by North's little contra-supply air force was shot down over Nicaragua. One American onboard, Eugene Hasenfus, survived and began talking.

- Advertisement -

Between Hasenfus's account and documents that were recovered from the plane, it became clear that not only were our earlier articles about the North network true but that the secret contra supply operation was bigger and more sophisticated than we had understood.

Nevertheless, President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George H.W. Bush and other officials continued to deny a U.S. government connection to the downed plane. Apparently, the White House remained confident that it could fend off the growing evidence. After all, it had successfully co-opted Hamilton and the intelligence committee in August.

But the scandal continued to grow. In early November 1986, a Beirut newspaper disclosed Reagan's secret arms-for-hostages deals with Iran.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

 

- Advertisement -

Well Said 1   Supported 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Robert Parry Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
(more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court