9. WHERE GEORGE WAS
the events of the Iran-contra scandal have faded from the minds of the American
press, the unanswered and perhaps the most intriguing question continues to be:
"Where was George?"
Despite the vast experience that Bush acquired
while serving as U.S. ambassador to China, director of the CIA, and head of the
Reagan administration's task force on combating terrorism, his assertion that
he was "out of the loop" has yet to be challenged or explored by the
But new material from North's diaries, which has yet to
be widely examined or disseminated by the mainstream media, combines with previous
evidence to paint a different picture of Bush's role. The new evidence was obtained
through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive
and Public Citizen.
The diaries provide additional evidence that Bush played
a major role in Iran-contra from the beginning. He passed up repeated opportunities
to cut the transactions short or at least make President Reagan think twice. While
the secretaries of state and defense were both cut out of the arms-for-hostages
deals after objecting to it, Bush attended almost every key meeting.
publicly stating that, "It never became clear to me, the arms for hostages
thing, until it was fully debriefed, investigated and debriefed by (the Senate
Intelligence Committee on December 20, 1986)," White House logs show that
Bush attended the first key Iran-contra meeting on August 6, 1985. It was at this
meeting that Reagan, Bush, Schultz, Weinberger, and Chief of Staff Donald Regan
heard National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane present the first deal-a swap
of 100 TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran in exchange for the release of four American
hostages in Lebanon.
Neither the Tower Commission nor the congressional committees elicited
from any of the participants in the Aug. 6 meeting any memory of Bush's
position on the issue. Bush's staff has said he was not present, citing
their own records in conflict with the White House logs.
Additionally, the combination of the North diaries, the congressional
committee's report, and White House logs place Bush at key meetings
on January 6, 7, and 17; May 29; July 1 and 29; August 6; and October
3rd of 1986.
While mounting evidence continues to thoroughly contradict the President's
disclaimers, the White House sticks by its stock response: "The
vice president's role in the Iran-contra affair was completely examined
in the congressional inquiry, and we have nothing to add."
Evidently, the mainstream press doesn't either.
SSU CENSORED RESEARCHER: STEVE MYTINGER
SOURCE: The National Security Archive, 1755 Massachusetts Ave., NW,
Suite 500, Washington DC 20036, DATE: 7/10/90 (Published in THE WASHINGTON
TITLE: "Where George Was"
AUTHOR: TOM BLANTON
COMMENTS: While there was massive coverage of the Iran-contra
affair, the media never did ask the most important questions and then
considered the scandal finished the day Admiral John Poindexter testified
to Congress that he didn't tell President Reagan about the diversion
of cash to the contras from arms to the Ayatollah. As author Tom Blanton
points out, the primary beneficiary of this press breakdown was Reagan's
heir apparent, George Bush, whose inherently incredible version of Iran-contra
events remains almost completely unchallenged in the media. Blanton
also comments on why there was a media breakdown. "It's perhaps
understandable that the press, by and large throughout Iran-contra,
failed to digest and report the mountains of declassified documents
that a reluctant government ultimately disgorged. It's less forgivable
that the press failed even to read each other's clips or provide the
comprehensive overviews of the evidence that would allow the American
public to draw its own conclusions. The media's failure is a systematic
one, deriving as it does from excessive dependence upon official sources,
often anonymously quoted. Journalists, by and large, are unwilling to
suffer the marginalization and red-baiting that, for instance, I.F.
Stone endured as a result of his refusal to play the power game -- they
prefer receiving their journalism awards in their thirties, rather than
their eighties. Journalistic advancement in the modern age is predicated
not upon expertise but upon access, usually official access. It's no
accident that the White House press corps (elites of the journalism
world) was the last to report about North and Poindexter's activities
right there in the basement. North was a source, a protected source,
for many of them. Likewise, many reporters who covered the Iran-contra
Congressional hearings switched assignments by the time of the North
and Poindexter trials; and it was a rare reporter in either case who
came to Iran-contra with any expertise in either Central America or
the Middle East. Combined with Congress's failure to address the fundamental
Iran-contra questions, the press's lack of institutional memory means
that articles like this one (`Where George Was') on George Bush are
like pebbles thrown into a pond. Hopefully, Project Censored will raise
the ripple rate." Blanton also warns why it is important to know
what happened with Iran-contra: "Knowing Bush's role in Iran-contra
not only provides insights into the President's personality, it should
also alert us all to the dangers inherent in his penchant for secrecy,
his fondness for covert operations, and his willing participation in
secret deals with foreign countries."