Monday, November 27, 2006

Gates and the Iran Arms Sales: Robert Parry

The shipments not only were politically sensitive, but also violated federal export laws – in part because Iran was officially designated a terrorist state. So, playing down Iran’s hand in terrorism worked for the White House whether supported by the facts or not.

At that time, Gates was deputy director in charge of the DI, putting him in a key bureaucratic position as the CIA worked to justify geopolitical openings to Iran. Even earlier, in spring 1985, Gates had overseen the production of a controversial National Intelligence Estimate that had warned of Soviet inroads in Iran and conjured up supposed moderates in the Iranian government.

That Gates, two years later, would make exculpatory claims about the CIA’s reporting – assertions contradicted by an internal DI report – suggests that he remained more interested in protecting the Reagan administration’s flanks than being straight with the American public.

In his affidavit, [Ray] McGovern wrote that after Gates’s exculpatory articles in November 1987, “efforts to correct the record remained unsuccessful.”

[McGovern’s report to senior DI management about the Iran-terrorism issue was dated Oct. 30, 1987; his affidavit was signed Oct. 5, 1991, during Gates’s confirmation to be CIA director, but the sworn statement was not made public at that time.]

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