New documents just released via declassification reveal Israel’s role in the Iran-Contra Affair that rocked the Reagan administration in the 1980s.
Caspar Weinberger warned Reagan that “washing” illegal arms transactions between the US and Iran in the nation of Israel would not make them legal.
This story in YNet news, an Israeli news service, reviews Israel’s involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal.
Since the covert operation involved providing Iran with arms, it seems particularly ironic today while Israel is attempting to foment a US war against Iran.
Michael Carmichael, November 28, 2011
New report suggests Israel linked to Irangate scandal
New revelations published on 25th anniversary of Iran-Contra affair say Israel played secondary part in the scandal which rocked DC in 1986. ‘Washing the transaction through Israel wouldn’t make it legal,’ President Reagan was told
WASHINGTON – New documents regarding the Iran–Contra affair revealed a possible Israeli link to the political scandal that rocked Washington in 1986.
The report was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Security Archive, on the 25th anniversary of the affair, which saw accusations that the Reagan Administration secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran – the subject of an arms embargo under the US Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
The report notes that several top officials in the Reagan Administration believed that the administration’s failure to alert Congress that some of its covert operations were in violation of the AECA were illegal and prosecutable.
Minutes from a meeting held in December 1985 recorded then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger as telling President Ronald Reagan that “washing the transaction through Israel wouldn’t make it legal.”
Still, associate independent counsel in the case, Christian Mixter, concluded two decades ago that neither Reagan nor his vice president, George H.W. Bush, were criminally liable in the case.
In his final report, dated 1991, Mixter determined that even though Reagan was briefed in advance about every weapons shipment sold to Iran in the arms-for-hostages deals in 1985-86, it would be difficult to prosecute him for violating the Arms Export Control Act, which mandates congressional notification of arms transfers through a third country – Israel in this case.
Part of the deal also entailed CIA usage of funds to finance the rebels in Nicaragua – a move also deemed illegal by the Congress.
Mixter’s report details an outline of then-Vice President Bush’s involvement in the Iran-Contra operations, including what he called Bush’s “meeting with a high Israeli official on the sales of arms to Iran in July 1986.”*
Notations made by Secretary Weinberger in December 1985, state that “The disastrous November HAWK shipment prompted US officials to take direct control of the arms deals with Iran. Until then, Israel had been responsible for making the deliveries, for which the US agreed to replenish their stocks of American weapons.”
Mixter determined no charges could be filed against Reagan because then-Attorney General Meese had informed him that the 1947 National Security Act could be invoked to supersede the AECA.
Providing the public with half-truths and partial lies “is not a crime,” Mixter ruled.
*Shimon Peres was Prime Minister of Israel in 1986. Yitzhak Rabin served as Minister of Defense from 1984-1990. Ariel Sharon was Minister for Trade and Industry from 1984-1990. George H. W. Bush may have met with Peres, Rabin and/or Sharon – now clearly defining his operational role in the Iran-Contra scandal for the first time.