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#1 Gary L. Aguilar

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 11:39 AM

It is hardly a surprise that as old and loyal a Reagan/Bush soldier as Robert Gates got the nod to replace Rumsfeld.

For those interested, I'd be happy to send them sourcenotes and url's detailing how, when he was William Casey's understudy at the CIA, Gates did yeoman's work exaggerating the "imminent threats" the last-gasping USSR posed, exaggerations that kept the coffers of the defense-intelligence sector brimming and kept the USA on an unnecessary war fear footing. (Robert Parry, of Iran-Contra fame, has done the best work on this I've seen.)

But I pass along the following because the petard upon which Gates is herein securely hoisted is wielded by a lifelong Republican judge, Lawrence Walsh, who was appointed by a Republican in the Reagan era to investigate Iran Contra.

For those who don't happen to have a copy of Walsh's scathing account of the scandal, "Firewall," (Norton, 1997), this short piece by Walsh from Alex Cockburn's site is a worthwhile update on Gates' Iran-Contra contributions. If you want more, Gates is mentioned on over 20 separate pages in Walsh's book, and if anyone's interested in writing about it but doesn't have the book, let me know and I'll fax along the pages. But let me know soon since I'll be out of town for a few days starting Saturday.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, eh?

I wonder what other imminent threats are just over the horizon.

#2 Pat Speer

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 12:58 PM

It is hardly a surprise that as old and loyal a Reagan/Bush soldier as Robert Gates got the nod to replace Rumsfeld.

For those interested, I'd be happy to send them sourcenotes and url's detailing how, when he was William Casey's understudy at the CIA, Gates did yeoman's work exaggerating the "imminent threats" the last-gasping USSR posed, exaggerations that kept the coffers of the defense-intelligence sector brimming and kept the USA on an unnecessary war fear footing. (Robert Parry, of Iran-Contra fame, has done the best work on this I've seen.)

But I pass along the following because the petard upon which Gates is herein securely hoisted is wielded by a lifelong Republican judge, Lawrence Walsh, who was appointed by a Republican in the Reagan era to investigate Iran Contra.

For those who don't happen to have a copy of Walsh's scathing account of the scandal, "Firewall," (Norton, 1997), this short piece by Walsh from Alex Cockburn's site is a worthwhile update on Gates' Iran-Contra contributions. If you want more, Gates is mentioned on over 20 separate pages in Walsh's book, and if anyone's interested in writing about it but doesn't have the book, let me know and I'll fax along the pages. But let me know soon since I'll be out of town for a few days starting Saturday.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, eh?

I wonder what other imminent threats are just over the horizon.


I bought Gates' memoirs some years back looking for dirt and was surprised by his relative fairness. Unique among Republican loyalists, he stressed in his book that Reagan and Bush were not responsible for the U.S. ' victory in the cold war, but that all the Presidents from Truman on shared in the victory. I was actually quite shocked by his assertion that Jimmy Carter was vastly underrated. It is a historical fact, of course, that the military build-up attributed to Reagan actually began under Carter, in no small part due to the inflated numbers of Russian missiles purported by Bush's CIA and his team of "A-team" loyalists, including, one would guess, Gates.

Washington insiders have been saying all day that Gates' closest alliances are with Scowcroft, Baker, and Bush I. If this is true, he was against the invasion of Iraq from the outset and will almost certainly push to extricate the U.S. from its Mess O' Potamia.

Edited by Pat Speer, 09 November 2006 - 10:55 PM.


#3 Dawn Meredith

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 05:50 PM

It is hardly a surprise that as old and loyal a Reagan/Bush soldier as Robert Gates got the nod to replace Rumsfeld.

For those interested, I'd be happy to send them sourcenotes and url's detailing how, when he was William Casey's understudy at the CIA, Gates did yeoman's work exaggerating the "imminent threats" the last-gasping USSR posed, exaggerations that kept the coffers of the defense-intelligence sector brimming and kept the USA on an unnecessary war fear footing. (Robert Parry, of Iran-Contra fame, has done the best work on this I've seen.)

But I pass along the following because the petard upon which Gates is herein securely hoisted is wielded by a lifelong Republican judge, Lawrence Walsh, who was appointed by a Republican in the Reagan era to investigate Iran Contra.

For those who don't happen to have a copy of Walsh's scathing account of the scandal, "Firewall," (Norton, 1997), this short piece by Walsh from Alex Cockburn's site is a worthwhile update on Gates' Iran-Contra contributions. If you want more, Gates is mentioned on over 20 separate pages in Walsh's book, and if anyone's interested in writing about it but doesn't have the book, let me know and I'll fax along the pages. But let me know soon since I'll be out of town for a few days starting Saturday.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, eh?

I wonder what other imminent threats are just over the horizon.





Welcome to the forum Gary, great to see you here.

Dawn

#4 John Simkin

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 08:12 PM

I bought Gates' memoirs some years back looking for dirt and was surprised by his relative fairness. Unique among Republican loyalists, he stressed in his book that Reagan and Bush were not responsible for the U.S. ' victory in the cold war, but that all the Presidents after Truman shared in the victory. I was actually quite shocked by his assertion that Jimmy Carter was vastly underrated. It is a historical fact, of course, that the military build-up attributed to Reagan actually began under Carter, in no small part due to the inflated numbers of Russian missiles purported by Bush's CIA and his team of "A-team" loyalists, including, one would guess, Gates.

Washington insiders have been saying all day that Gates' closest alliances are with Scowcroft, Baker, and Bush I. If this is true, he was against the invasion of Iraq from the outset and will almost certainly push to extricate the U.S. from its Mess O' Potamia.


I have also read Gates's memoirs, From the Shadows. He does try to portray himself as a "progressive" but so also did David Atlee Phillips in his memoirs, The Night Watch.

Have you also read Lawrence Walsh's Final Report into the Iran-Contra Scandal. It definitely provides a different view of Gates. I tend to believe Walsh's version of events.

In his final report Walsh suggested that Gates lied when he said he only became aware on the "Iran/Contra activities" when he was told about it on 1st October, 1986. by Charles E. Allen. According to DDI Richard Kerr, Gates received a report that "Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the contras" during the summer of 1986. Allen also testified that he believed he sent a memorandum to Gates several months before about the money that Oliver North needed to pay Manucher Ghorbanifar.

In his report Walsh remarked: "Accordingly, the evidence was clear that Gates's statements concerning his initial awareness of the diversion were wrong: Kerr brought him the information from Allen over a month earlier than Gates admitted. This would have been material because it suggested that the CIA continued to support North's activities without informing North's superiors or investigating..... Gates's defense was that he did not recall the Kerr meeting. To say the least, this was disquieting." However, Walsh came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to warrant a prosecution of Gates.

Gates was nominated to become the Director of Central Intelligence in early 1987, but was forced to withdraw when it became clear that he was going to be rejected by the Senate. This was partly because most members believed he lied about his involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal. It was also believed that Gates had illegally passed intelligence to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war.

#5 John Simkin

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 08:45 PM

In 1974 Robert Gates joined the National Security Council staff and worked for President Jimmy Carter. He left in 1979 and rejoined the CIA as executive assistant to Stansfield Turner, the CIA director.

During the 1980 presidential election campaign Ronald Reagan was informed that Jimmy Carter was attempting to negotiate a deal with Iran to get the American hostages released. Robert Parry has argued that Gates was the source of this leak to Reagan. "We now have a lot of documents. We have some records from that period. We have statements from former Iranian officials, including the former Iranian president, Banisadr, the former defense minister, the former foreign minister, all of whom saying that they had these dealings with the Republicans behind the scenes. So, as we went back through that, the evidence built up that there had been these earlier contacts and that Bob Gates was one of the people involved in them."

Jimmy Carter's secret negotiations posed a serious problem for the Reagan campaign. If Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of the man might change and he might be elected for a second-term. As Michael Deaver later told the New York Times: "One of the things we had concluded early on was that a Reagan victory would be nearly impossible if the hostages were released before the election... There is no doubt in my mind that the euphoria of a hostage release would have rolled over the land like a tidal wave. Carter would have been a hero, and many of the complaints against him forgotten. He would have won."

According to Barbara Honegger, a researcher and policy analyst with the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign, William J. Casey and other representatives of the Reagan presidential campaign made a deal at two sets of meetings in July and August at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid with Iranians to delay the release of Americans held hostage in Iran until after the November 1980 presidential elections. Reagan’s aides promised that they would get a better deal if they waited until Carter was defeated.

On 22nd September, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The Iranian government was now in desperate need of spare parts and equipment for its armed forces. Jimmy Carter proposed that the US would be willing to hand over supplies in return for the hostages.

Once again, the Central Intelligence Agency leaked this information to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. This attempted deal was also passed to the media. On 11th October, the Washington Post reported rumors of a “secret deal that would see the hostages released in exchange for the American made military spare parts Iran needs to continue its fight against Iraq”.

A couple of days before the election Barry Goldwater was reported as saying that he had information that “two air force C-5 transports were being loaded with spare parts for Iran”. This was not true. However, this publicity had made it impossible for Carter to do a deal. Ronald Reagan on the other hand, had promised the Iranian government that he would arrange for them to get all the arms they needed in exchange for the hostages.

In the election Reagan easily defeated Jimmy Carter by 44 million votes to 35 million. The Republican Party also won control of the Senate for the first time in 26 years. According to Mansur Rafizadeh, the former U.S. station chief of SAVAK, the Iranian secret police, CIA agents had persuaded Khomeini not to release the American hostages until Reagan was sworn in. In fact, they were released twenty minutes after his inaugural address.

Reagan appointed William J. Casey as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this position he was able to arrange the delivery of arms to Iran. These were delivered via Israel. By the end of 1982 all Regan’s promises to Iran had been made. With the deal completed, Iran was free to resort to acts of terrorism against the United States. In 1983, Iranian-backed terrorists blew up 241 marines in the CIA Middle-East headquarters.

#6 John Simkin

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:20 AM

Lawrence E. Walsh, Iran-Contra: The Final Report (1993)

Chapter 16: Robert M. Gates

Robert M. Gates was the Central Intelligence Agency's deputy director for intelligence (DDI) from 1982 to 1986. He was confirmed as the CIA's deputy director of central intelligence (DDCI) in April of 1986 and became acting director of central intelligence in December of that same year. Owing to his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities. The evidence developed by Independent Counsel did not warrant indictment of Gates for his Iran/contra activities or his responses to official inquiries.

The Investigation

Gates was an early subject of Independent Counsel's investigation, but the investigation of Gates intensified in the spring of 1991 as part of a larger inquiry into the Iran/contra activities of CIA officials. This investigation received an additional impetus in May 1991, when President Bush nominated Gates to be director of central intelligence (DCI). The chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) requested in a letter to the Independent Counsel on May 15, 1991, any information that would ``significantly bear on the fitness'' of Gates for the CIA post.

Grand Jury secrecy rules hampered Independent Counsel's response. Nevertheless, in order to answer questions about Gates' prior testimony, Independent Counsel accelerated his investigation of Gates in the summer of 1991. This investigation was substantially completed by September 3, 1991, at which time Independent Counsel determined that Gates' Iran/contra activities and testimony did not warrant prosecution.1

1 Independent Counsel made this decision subject to developments that could have warranted reopening his inquiry, including testimony by Clair E. George, the CIA's former deputy director for operations. At the time Independent Counsel reached this decision, the possibility remained that George could have provided information warranting reconsideration of Gates's status in the investigation. George refused to cooperate with Independent Counsel and was indicted on September 19, 1991. George subpoenaed Gates to testify as a defense witness at George's first trial in the summer of 1992, but Gates was never called.

Gates and the Diversion

Gates consistently testified that he first heard on October 1, 1986, from the national intelligence officer who was closest to the Iran initiative, Charles E. Allen, that proceeds from the Iran arms sales may have been diverted to support the contras.2 Other evidence proves, however, that Gates received a report on the diversion during the summer of 1986 from DDI Richard Kerr. The issue was whether Independent Counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates was deliberately not telling the truth when he later claimed not to have remembered any reference to the diversion before meeting with Allen in October.

2 See, for example, Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 135 (``Q. Do you recall that in this time frame also you became initially -- well, let me not characterize it -- you became aware of what is now referred to as the diversion.[sic] A. Yes. I had a meeting with the NIO, the national intelligence officer, Charlie Allen, on the lst of October.''); Gates, SSCI Confirmation Hearing, 2/17-18/87, p. 13 (response to written interrogatory about his knowledge of the diversion).

Allen did not personally convey to Gates his concerns about the diversion until October 1, 1986.3 Allen testified, however, that he became worried during the summer of 1986 that the Iran initiative would be derailed by a pricing impasse that developed after former National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane failed in his attempt to secure release of the hostages during his trip to Tehran in May 1986. Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the NSC staff had inflated the price to the Iranians for HAWK missile spare parts that were to be delivered at the Tehran meeting by a multiple of 3.7. Manucher Ghorbanifar, who brokered the parts sale, added a 41% markup to North's price of $15 million. With another increase added by Ghorbanifar during the Tehran meeting, the Iranians were charged a total of $24.5 million for HAWK spare parts priced by the Defense Department at $3.6 million.4

3 Allen believed, however, that he sent a memorandum to Gates discussing, among other things, how much money North needed to pay Manucher Ghorbanifar from the Iran initiative. (Memorandum from Allen to the DCI, Subject: American Hostages, 11/10/86, ER 19739; Allen, Grand Jury, 1/4/88, pp. 19-21.) Independent Counsel was unable to corroborate Allen's testimony.

4 Allen, Grand Jury, 8/9/91, pp. 100-02.

In late June 1986, Mohsen Kangarlu, Ghorbanifar's channel to the Iranian government, informed the CIA through Agency annuitant George Cave that the Iranians had evidence that they were being drastically overcharged for HAWK missile spare parts. Kangarlu asked the Americans to lower the price. Led by North, the Americans first attempted to blame Ghorbanifar for the overcharges. When blaming Ghorbanifar failed to break the impasse in U.S.-Iran talks, North sought to convince the Iranians that the pricing was fair, and attempted to provide the Iranians with falsified pricing documents.5

5 Cave, Grand Jury, 8/30/91, pp. 94-99; Allen, Select Committees Deposition, 6/29/87, pp. 534-40.

A frightened and angry Ghorbanifar finally called Allen in late August 1986 to complain that the situation had become unbearable. He told Allen that he had borrowed $15 million to finance the HAWK parts transactions, and that he was now being pursued by his creditors for repayment. Ghorbanifar insisted that it was not his markup, but the U.S. Government's, that was responsible for the pricing impasse. Ghorbanifar then pleaded with Allen to do something to resolve the issue. Allen told Ghorbanifar that he would bring the matter to North's attention.6

6 Allen, Grand Jury, 8/9/91, pp. 110-13.

By this time, Allen had concluded that something was deeply wrong with the Iran initiative.7 Allen related his concerns to Cave, Duane R. Clarridge, a senior officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations, and North. North told Allen not to believe Ghorbanifar because he was a liar. Instead, North insisted that Allen stick to the story that gathering the HAWK spares was expensive and to not break ranks with other U.S. officials on the pricing cover story.8

7 Ibid., pp. 113-15:

I had begun to think along those lines, after the 15th of August 1986, when it was clear that with White House support, Major General Secord and Mr. Hakim had established a new link or a new channel into the government of Iran. It was clear that they were dealing with Hashem Rafsanjani, Ali Hashem Rafsanjani, who was a nephew, I believe, of the current President Rafsanjani.

It was clear to me that Mr. Hakim and Major General Secord were moving to take over the control of the operation; that they were moving to exclude Mr. Ghorbanifar -- that was very clear. I was very much aware that Mr. Hakim by that time and Mr. Secord were involved in other matters, relating to the contras in Central America.

It appeared to me that Mr. Ghorbanifar's call was sort of the final indicator that something was deeply awry -- that the problem was not Mr. Ghorbanifar; the problem was the operation being directed by U.S. officials. And I then came to the analytic judgement -- based on all these indications that money was being diverted from the profits from the sale of arms to Iran to the contras in Central America.

I did not have hard proof of this. In fact, I had no direct evidence in writing from anyone. It was simply aggregating a series of indicators into a conclusion. And at that point it was at that time or shortly thereafter, I recall walking out from the building to my car late in the evening and thinking very deeply about this -- thinking of the fact that two operations were probably being combined -- that the lives of the hostages were being actually endangered by such a reckless venture; [a]nd I raised the point with Mr. Cave at the office.

8 Ibid., p. 115.

Having received no satisfaction from North or Clarridge, Allen brought his concerns to Richard Kerr, who was DDI and Allen's immediate superior. Kerr's deputy, John Helgerson, joined their meeting. Allen testified:

I went through what was occurring. I brought Mr. Kerr up to date on the initiative. I met with him occasionally to brief him orally on the White House effort and the Agency support. He had asked to be kept informed when I had something useful to say, so I worked my way through the current problem -- the fact that after the failure of the McFarlane trip to Tehran, there had been a hiatus and efforts had been made to move this process along; but the Iranians had begun to complain very strongly about the price being charged.

Then I went through the rationale of why I believed that the United States was charging excessive costs to the Iranian government for the arms and that profits from the sale of the arms were being diverted to Central America.

I made it clear I did not have direct evidence, but that when you put the indicators together, it sounded as if two separate problems or projects were being mixed together. And I pointed out to him that it made no sense to me and in fact could endanger the hostages in Lebanon.

Allen believed he also told Kerr and Helgerson that retired U.S. Air Force Major General Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim were involved in both the Iran arms sales and the NSC's contra project. Allen related the markups alleged by Ghorbanifar, and described intelligence reports that indicated that the Iranians were upset by the high prices.9

9 Ibid., pp. 117-18.

Allen testified that this information made Kerr visibly upset. Kerr told Allen to ``stay on top of the issue'' and to ``keep him advised of any new developments.'' According to Allen, Kerr pulled him aside later that same day and expressed ``deep concern.'' Kerr believed that if Allen's story were true, the arms sales ultimately would be exposed.10

10 Ibid., pp. 118-19.

In various interviews, Kerr admitted Allen told him of his suspicions. Kerr also corroborated Allen that Helgerson was present at the meeting. Kerr's account of his reaction to Allen's information, however, differed from Allen's. Kerr said that, as a general matter, he did not find Allen credible -- that Allen was ``a person who started and put out his own fires'' -- and therefore he did not take his allegations as seriously as Allen said he did. Kerr had Helgerson there, he stated, to calm Allen down.11

11 Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, pp. 4-5; see also Helgerson, FBI 302, 9/5/91, pp. 4-5.

Still, Kerr admitted that he took Allen's concerns seriously enough to bring them to Gates, who was Kerr's immediate superior. Kerr acknowledged this meeting in two interviews with the CIA's inspector general, and in an interview with the Select Committees. Kerr stated that he did not remember when this meeting took place, dating it some time between May and September 1986.12 In an interview with the inspector general on December 4, 1986, Kerr stated that Gates's response was, ``God only knows what Ollie is up to.'' A memorandum for the record written by a CIA attorney reporting Kerr's interview with the Select Committees recites that Kerr testified that when he informed Gates of Allen's concerns, ``Gates responded that he was aware that rumors were circulating that profits were being made on the sales of arms to Iran and that money from the arms sales was being made available to the Contras.'' 13

12 Gates's calendar shows frequent meetings with Kerr in late August 1986, but this is inconclusive evidence of when the meeting occurred. Dating the meeting is made even harder by the close working and personal relationship between Kerr and Gates. According to Diane Edwards, Gates's secretary, Kerr was in regular contact with Gates and was among a handful of people who would see Gates without an appointment. (Edwards, FBI 302, 8/23/91, pp. 1-2.)

13 Working Notes, Kerr, CIA IG Interview, 12/4/86; Memorandum from Pearline to the Record, Subject: Interview of Dick Kerr, 9/10/87, OCA 87-3899. Pearline stood by his notes of Kerr's Select Committees' interview. (Pearline, FBI 302, 9/12/91, p. 5.) Helgerson told the OIC that Kerr informed him shortly after speaking with Gates of their conversation. (Helgerson, FBI 302, 9/5/91, p. 5.)

Kerr told Independent Counsel that he did not recall Gates referring to other rumors of a diversion at this meeting.14 The Select Committees' report of the interview did not contain the statement that Gates was aware of ``rumors'' of a diversion, but it did state that Gates told Kerr to ``keep him informed.'' Accordingly, the evidence was clear that Gates's statements concerning his initial awareness of the diversion were wrong: Kerr brought him the information from Allen over a month earlier than Gates admitted. This would have been material because it suggested that the CIA continued to support North's activities without informing North's superiors or investigating. By October, when Gates claimed he first remembered hearing of the diversion, Casey ordered an inquiry and later made a report to Poindexter; but, by then, the Hasenfus aircraft had been shot down and Casey and Gates were beginning to cover.

14 Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, p. 5. Kerr admitted that he and Gates had reviewed the incident several times since. (Ibid.)

Gates's defense was that he did not recall the Kerr meeting.15 To say the least, this was disquieting. He had been told by a very senior officer that two of President Reagan's personal priorities were in danger -- not something an ambitious deputy director of central intelligence would likely forget. Allen was acting as a whistle-blower in a difficult situation. His concern was for the safety of the hostages and the success of the efforts of the President. His information suggested serious malfeasance by Government officials involved in a clandestine and highly sensitive operation. Even though Gates may have believed Allen to be excessively concerned, could such an expression of concern be forgotten, particularly after it had been corroborated within a few weeks? Logically, Gates could ignore or forget the Allen report only if he already knew of the diversion and he knew that Casey and Poindexter knew of the diversion. Gates also was on the distribution list for highly reliable intelligence that should have informed him of the pricing dispute among Kangarlu, Ghorbanifar, and the U.S. Government, although it did not refer specifically to any diversion of funds. Gates claimed that he rarely reviewed the intelligence.16 North testified that he did not discuss the diversion with Gates or in Gates's presence. Gates also never met with Richard Secord, whom Gates was aware of only as a ``private benefactor'' (the CIA's term for non-Government donors to the contras) by July 1986.17

15 In testimony he gave before the Select Committees' report was issued, Gates made no reference to a meeting with Kerr. In two later Grand Jury appearances, however, Gates acknowledged the conflict between his recollection of events and Kerr's, but he insisted that he did not recall the meeting. (Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 22-23; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 140.)

16 Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 13-14 (found intelligence ``confusing,'' so he stopped reading it); Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 138 (intelligence showed ``a couple of Iranian arms dealers . . . lying to each other,'' so he stopped reading it).

17 North, North Trial Testimony, 4/12/89, pp. 7552-55; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 71-72, 87-88. Gates admitted that he and others were concerned about Secord's involvement in the Iran initiative because of Secord's prior contacts with unsavory individuals, but he did not link these concerns with the diversion. (Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 80-85; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, p. 13.)

Notwithstanding Independent Counsel's disbelief of Gates, Independent Counsel was not confident that Kerr's testimony, without the support of another witness to his conversation with Gates, would be enough to charge Gates with perjury or false statements for his testimony concerning the timing of his knowledge of the diversion.

Gates and North's Contra Activities

Gates maintained consistently that he was unaware that North had an operational role in supporting the contras. He testified that he believed that North's activities were limited to putting contra leaders in contact with wealthy American donors, and to giving the contras political advice.18 While sufficient circumstantial evidence exists to question the accuracy of these statements, it did not adequately establish that Gates knowingly was untruthful about his knowledge of North's activities.

18 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 59-60; Gates, Grand Jury, 2/10/88, pp. 74-75; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, p. 30; Gates, Grand Jury, 6/26/87, p. 36.

Gates first met North at meetings of the Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG) beginning in 1982, when Gates was deputy director of intelligence. Gates claimed that his contacts as DDI with North were almost exclusively in the CPPG context, apart from meetings on intelligence assignments. Other than these meetings, Gates said that he had little to do with North. He was nonetheless aware of allegations that North was involved on some level with contra support.19

19 Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 69-71; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 1. One disturbing evolution in Gates's description of his knowledge is the degree to which he relied on McFarlane's false assurances to Congress in 1985 that North was not involved in contra resupply. Before the Select Committees, Gates claimed that the CIA, as a whole, was aware of McFarlane's statements, and that the Agency relied on them:

I might add, you know, there's been a great deal of attention drawn to the letter that McFarlane sent to Mr. Hamilton avowing that whatever North was doing was legal and proper. The House Intelligence Committee were not the only ones who read that letter and were not the only ones who believed it. So there was a predisposition that while we didn't know or certainly from my standpoint, I think from the standpoint of others as well, that while we didn't know entirely what North was up to, the presumption was that it was proper because of that letter.

But when the Select Committees asked if he specifically was aware of McFarlane's representations at the time McFarlane made them, Gates was quick to deny that he was. (Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, pp. 32-33.) In his 1991 Grand Jury testimony, Gates reversed his position. (Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, p. 82.)

Notwithstanding his claims, Gates was aware of information that caused others to question the legality of North's activities. The most obvious source of concern should have been Allen's allegations, discussed above, about North's corruption of the Iran arms sales to support the contras. But other evidence -- available before October 1, 1986 -- should have alerted Gates to North's contra support role.

Gates became deputy director of central intelligence on April 18, 1986. As DDCI, Gates had at least two sources of information about North's activities: CIA personnel -- particularly Alan D. Fiers Jr. -- who had duties relating to Central America, and his regular contacts with National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter and others at the NSC.

The Cannistraro Question

In the spring and summer of 1986, Gates became involved in a debate over what role Vincent Cannistraro, a CIA officer detailed to the NSC, should play in the $100 million contra program that was expected to take effect in October 1986. There was concern that if Cannistraro replaced North, the CIA would be drawn into North's contra supply activities. Gates discussed Cannistraro's assignment with a number of CIA and NSC personnel, including Fiers, Clair E. George, and Poindexter. Gates met with Cannistraro himself in an attempt to resolve the situation. OIC's inquiry focused on whether Gates, in the course of these discussions, learned about North's role in contra operations.

By the time Gates became DDCI, Fiers was chief of the CIA's Central American Task Force (CATF). Fiers ran the CIA's support for the Nicaraguan contras and planned for the day when the CIA would again be allowed to provide lethal support to the insurgents. Fiers did not readily share information about his unit's operations in Nicaragua. This had led to complaints with the CIA's intelligence analysis directorate. 20

20 One of the protesters was Robert Vickers, the CIA's national intelligence officer for Latin America from July 1984 to November 1987. Vickers told Gates that Fiers was not keeping him informed about the contras. (Vickers, FBI 302, 4/28/87, p. 4; Kerr, FBI 302, 7/31/91, p. 6.) Vickers did not remember this meeting with Gates in his most recent interview. (Vickers, FBI 302, 5/15/91, p. 5.) Vickers also complained to Cannistraro about being cut out of the new interagency group on Nicaragua, and asked Cannistraro to assist him in getting into the group. Cannistraro brought up Vickers's concern with Gates in a meeting at Gates's office. Cannistraro told Gates that Vickers ``was very knowledgeable and was a real student of Central America,'' and he recommended that Vickers be included in meetings of the new interagency group. (Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 9.) A PROFs note from Cannistraro to Rodney McDaniel, Executive Secretary of the NSC, corroborates Cannistraro's efforts to get Vickers involved and Cannistraro's meeting with Gates. (PROFs Note from Cannistraro to McDaniel, 7/21/86, AKW 022235.)

According to both Fiers and Gates, Gates's role in the contra program increased significantly once he became DDCI. Fiers testified Gates became ``intricately involved'' in developing policy and coordinating interagency work on the contras. Fiers dealt with Gates on requests from the NSC and on structural discussions with other Executive Branch agencies about the contra program. Fiers kept Gates informed ``generally, on our state of planning and the nature of our operations.'' Fiers met with Gates regularly and weekly.21

21 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 44-45; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 12-14.

Fiers testified that he did not lay out to Gates his extensive knowledge about North's activities.22 From two events, however, Fiers concluded that Gates too was aware of North's operational role with the contras. The first incident involved Cannistraro, who had been Fiers's predecessor as chief of CATF.

22 Fiers's knowledge of North's contra-resupply activities is discussed more fully in the Fiers chapter.

Cannistraro, then detailed to the NSC, was nominally in charge of monitoring all U.S. covert-action programs. By June 1986, North's operational activities caused Cannistraro concern.23 In mid-1986, media reports repeated earlier assertions that North was linked to contra military aid. As an important House vote on renewed contra aid approached, on June 24, 1986, a resolution of inquiry was introduced in the House to inquire about North's activities. On June 25, after the House approved a $100 million military and humanitarian aid package, Representatives Lee Hamilton and Dante Fascell wrote the President for comment on the resolution of inquiry; that night, CBS News ran a program that expressly linked North to the private contra-aid network.

23 Cannistraro, FBI 302, 9/18/90, p. 2; Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 9.

On June 26, Cannistraro suggested in a computer note to Poindexter that the new contra-aid program should be a ``regularized C[overt] A[ction] program which would normally fall under my responsibility.'' Poindexter agreed in a computer note sent to NSC Executive Secretary Rodney McDaniel that same day:

Yes, I would like to regularize it. The Vince-Ollie relationship would be the same as between Vince and Howard [Teicher, another NSC staffer] on Afghanistan. Ollie will have mixed reactions. He has wanted CIA to get back on the management of the problem and we need to lower Ollie's visibility on the issue. Talk to him about it and I will follow up when I get back.24

24 Cannistraro, FBI 302, 9/18/90, p. 3; PROFs Note from Cannistraro to McDaniel, 6/26/86, AKW 019032; PROFs Note from Poindexter to McDaniel, 6/26/86, AKW 021436.

Fiers recalled Cannistraro's move to take the contra program away from North, as well as Poindexter's concerns about North's program. The question of who would run the anticipated contra-aid program was important to Fiers and the CIA. Fiers had been planning the CIA's program ``in earnest.'' According to Fiers, Gates was intimately involved in structuring the new program, both within the CIA and the Executive Branch as a whole. Gates admitted he was aware that Poindexter had been contemplating changes in who oversaw contra issues at the NSC.25

25 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 53-57; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, pp. 4-5; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 103-04.

In the midst of the struggle over who would run the contra-aid program, Cannistraro visited Gates at his office. Cannistraro told Independent Counsel that he came to express his desire to return to the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO).26 Gates promised to urge the directorate to take Cannistraro back. But soon Cannistraro's future became an item on the agenda for one of Gates' weekly meetings with Poindexter. On July 10, 1986, Paul Kinsinger, an aide to Gates, sent Gates a memorandum that stated:

26 Cannistraro claimed that he had long-standing differences with DO chief Clair George, which is why Cannistraro went to Gates. (Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 6; see also Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 4; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 83-84.)

Vince Cannistraro called to say that Poindexter wanted to discuss how we are going to coordinate the Nicaragua program. Attached is a short memo to you from the Director, you may recall, that lays out the Director's views.

Vince also said that Poindexter would want to know whether Ollie North should be involved. Peggy [Donnelly, a CIA officer assigned to the DCI-DDCI executive offices] checked with the DO and they say yes.27

27 Note for ADCI, Subject: Late Item for Poindexter Meeting, 7/10/86, ER 27199-206.

The DO officer mentioned in Kinsinger's memo was Fiers. Fiers recalled that he specifically talked about Cannistraro's duties with Gates. Fiers was concerned that having Cannistraro in the management of the new program would bring a CIA officer ``into the proximity of operations that I knew to go on, that were someplace we didn't want CIA officers to be.'' Fiers recalled voicing this concern not only to Gates, but to George and Casey as well.28

28 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 58-59.

Fiers made it clear in several meetings in Gates's office that he wanted North to stay involved in contra aid -- and have Cannistraro kept out. Fiers recalled telling Gates:

I just think I said, if Vince were to take over the Central American account, he can't be doing the same thing that Ollie is doing with the private sector people in lining up support for the resistance. That crosses over the Boland Amendment, and it's just someplace that we don't want to be. We've got to keep Vince away from that. And, I think those probably were my exact words, or very similar to that.

Fiers testified that Gates ``understood me. We all understood that to be the case, and we were going to have to keep Vince away from that.'' 29

29 Ibid., pp. 59-60.

On July 10, 1986, Gates raised the Cannistraro issue with Poindexter. Gates wrote after their meeting:

I followed up on Vince Cannistraro's assignment. Poindexter clearly wants to keep Vince indefinitely and while I told him that Clair did not have to have a final answer before the end of August, his reaction strongly suggested to me that he will keep Vince there. I also repeated our concern that should Vince take over the Central American account, that he should have nothing to do as a CIA employee with the private sector people Ollie North had been dealing with in support of the Contras.

Cannistraro remained at the NSC,30 and was not transferred.

30 Memorandum from Gates to the Record, Subject: Meeting with Adm. Poindexter, 7/11/86, ER 27195-97 (emphasis added); Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, pp. 4-5. See also Poindexter, Select Committees Deposition, 5/2/87, pp. 200-02 (giving his reasons for easing North out of the contra effort, and North's reluctance to leave).

Gates's explanation of these events was that he wanted to keep Cannistraro from becoming entangled with the contras for political reasons -- and not because he was concerned about North. Gates was concerned, he said, about Congress finding a CIA employee anywhere close to the situation. Gates claimed he had not considered the legality or nature of what North was doing on behalf of the contras: ``I had no concerns -- I had no reason to have concerns based on what was available to me about North's contacts with the private sector people, but I didn't think a CIA person should do it.'' 31

31 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 79-83, 85. The information that Gates claimed to have about North consisted of ``rumors'' from various Government officials that North had put contra leaders in touch with Secord and retired U.S. Army Major General John K. Singlaub. Gates testified that at the time he did not know that North had ``hands-on'' involvement with contra resupply. (Ibid., pp. 86-89.)

Gates acknowledged that he might have raised the Cannistraro issue with Fiers, but he did not recall it. He did not recall any conversations with Fiers and he claimed not to recall any recommendation from Fiers one way or the other.32

32 Ibid., pp. 110-11. Fiers said that a ``note-taker'' usually attended his meetings with Gates. This note-taker was Kinsinger. Fiers remembers telling Kinsinger -- whom Fiers did not remember by name -- occasionally not to write down things such as disparaging comments or other matters because of their sensitivity. Fiers also would ask Kinsinger to leave the room for matters that he wanted to discuss privately with Gates. (Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 45-46.) Kinsinger kept none of his notes for the period that he served as Gates's aide. (Kinsinger, FBI 302, 7/25/91, p. 8.)

Given the accusations swirling about North's support of the contra rebels, and the prospect of a formal Congressional inquiry into North's actions, Gates must have been concerned about the nature of his activities as a threat to the planned resumption of support to the CIA. It was, however, also politically wise to keep Cannistraro away from any activities that resembled North's. Independent Counsel did not believe that provable evidence of Gates's awareness of North's operational activities would sustain a prosecution for his denials to the Select Committees or to OIC.

Sale of Enterprise Assets

North attempted to sell aircraft and a vessel, the Erria, that were owned by the Enterprise to the CIA. The proposed sales were discussed in Gates's presence at meetings with Poindexter. Gates also spoke about the aircraft with Fiers, who discouraged their purchase. These discussions must have provided some additional knowledge about North's role in contra resupply.

The Erria had carried munitions to Central America for the contras.33 Poindexter, Gates and Casey discussed the Erria at one of their weekly meetings in May 1986. Memoranda prepared for that meeting associated North with the Erria. Cannistraro recalled that discussion of the ship at a Poindexter-Gates meeting suggested Gates knew the Erria was used in support of North's contra operation.34

33 North, North Trial Testimony, 4/7/89, pp. 6883-84. North approached several CIA officers with his proposal. North asked Cannistraro to convince the CIA to purchase the ship as a floating broadcast platform. Cannistraro found out that CIA officers had considered the matter and had declined North's offer because of the ship's association with Thomas Clines. (Cannistraro, Grand Jury, 6/15/87, pp. 53-65; see also Twetten, Select Committees Deposition, 4/22/87, pp. 181-82; Haskell, FBI 302, 7/6-7/7/87, p. 10.)

34 Memorandum from Cannistraro to Poindexter, Subject: Agenda for Your Weekly Meeting . . . , 5/14/86, AKW 045227-28; Memorandum, Item . . . Poindexter May Raise With The DCI at their 8 May Meeting, 5/8/86, ER 143-5 91-0041; Gates 1986 Appointment Book, 5/15/86; DCI Schedule, 5/15/86, ER 598; Kinsinger, FBI 302, 7/25/91, p. 9; Cannistraro, FBI 302, 7/24/91, p. 10. See also Poindexter, Select Committees Deposition, 5/2/87, pp. 221-22 (recounting discussions with the CIA about its purchasing the Erria).

At a later meeting, Gates and Poindexter discussed North's proposal that the CIA buy the Enterprise's aircraft. In a computer note to Poindexter dated July 24, 1986, North complained that the CIA was unwilling to purchase the Enterprise assets and urged Poindexter to ask Casey to reconsider. Poindexter responded that he did ``tell Gates that the private effort should be phased out. Please tell Casey about this. I agree with you.'' Poindexter later elaborated that he had told Gates that the Enterprise's assets were available for purchase, and that Gates said he would check on the matter.35

35 See PROFs Note from North to Poindexter, 7/24/86, AKW 021735; PROFs Note from Poindexter to North, 7/26/86, AKW 021732; Poindexter, Select Committees Testimony, 5/2/87, pp. 187-88, 228.

North's calendar and pocket cards show that North scheduled a meeting with Gates for July 29, 1986, three days later. Gates's calendar also shows a meeting with North on July 29.36 About this time, Gates approached Fiers and asked why the Central American Task Force would not purchase North's, or ``the private benefactor's,'' aircraft. According to Fiers, Gates accepted Fiers' explanation that the aircraft were in poor condition and unduly risky for the CIA. Fiers also ``vaguely'' recalled discussing ``phasing out the private Contra aid effort'' with Gates in July 1986. Both men agreed that the private effort was a political liability for the Agency. From their discussions, Fiers -- like Cannistraro -- concluded that Gates was aware that ``North was running a private supply operation.'' 37

36 North Schedule Card, 7/29/86, AKW 002640; Gates 1986 Appointment Book (Doc. No. 258). When asked about this meeting by SSCI in his second confirmation hearings. Gates could not recall the meeting. (SSCI Confirmation Nomination of Robert M. Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence, Sen. Exec. Rpt. No. 102-19, 102d Cong., 1st Sess., p. 80 (Oct. 24, 1991). 10/19/91, p. 85.)

37 Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/14/91, pp. 68-69; Fiers, FBI 302, 8/1/91, pp. 14, 16. See also Sen. Exec. Rpt. No. 102-19, p. 80.

Gates denied discussing phasing out the private resupply effort with Poindexter. Asked about Poindexter's message to North, Gates testified that he examined his records upon reading the message and could find no evidence that such a meeting with Poindexter occurred. Gates claimed, ``If Poindexter made a comment to me like that, it would have been in the context of once the authorized program is approved there would be no point in having any of these private benefactors any longer.'' Neither did Gates recall meeting with North about the Erria during this time.38

38 Gates, Grand Jury, 2/10/88, pp. 76-77.

The evidence established that Gates was exposed to information about North's connections to the private resupply operation that would have raised concern in the minds of most reasonable persons about the propriety of a Government officer having such an operational role. Fiers and Cannistraro believed that Gates was aware of North's operational role. The question was whether there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates deliberately lied in denying knowledge of North's operational activities. A case would have depended on the testimony of Poindexter. Fiers would not testify that he supplied Gates with the details of North's activities. In the end, Independent Counsel concluded that the question was too close to justify the commitment of resources. There were stronger, equally important cases to be tried.

Obstruction of the Hasenfus Inquiries


There was conclusive evidence that in October 1986, following the Hasenfus shootdown, Clair George and Alan Fiers obstructed two congressional inquiries.39 Gates attended meetings where the CIA's response to these inquiries was discussed. None of the evidence, however, links Gates to any specific act of obstruction.

39 See George and Fiers chapters.

The background for Congress's inquiries into the Hasenfus shootdown is discussed in the Fiers and George chapters. By October 9, 1986, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SCFR) had set a hearing on the shootdown for October 10, 1986, and the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) had set a hearing for October 14, 1986. Gates's main concern during this period was convincing Congress that the CIA had sponsored no resupply flights. He appeared before SSCI on October 8, 1986, and gave the committee brief biographies of the pilots on the downed plane. He responded to Senator Cohen when asked whether the plane was owned by a CIA proprietary:

No, sir. We didn't have anything to do with that. And while we know what is going in -- going on with the Contras, obviously as you indicate, by virtue of what we come up here and brief, I will tell you that I know from personal experience we have, I think, conscientiously tried to avoid knowing what is going on in terms of any of this private funding, and tried to stay away from it. Somebody will say something about Singlaub or something like, we will say I don't want to hear anything about it.40

40 Gates, SSCI Testimony, 10/8/86, p. 9.

To the extent that Gates spoke for others in the CIA, this was wrong. It was true that the Hasenfus plane was not owned by a CIA proprietary. But as set forth in the Fiers, George, and Fernandez chapters, several individual CIA officers had not stayed away from ``private-benefactor'' activities. There was no evidence, however, that Gates knew this as early as October 8, 1986, although he did know by then of the concern that North and Secord were diverting funds from the Iran arms sales to the contras.41

41 Gates was informed by Allen about the diversion, North, and Secord on October 1, 1986, and met with Allen and Casey about them on October 7.

The day after his SSCI testimony Gates double-checked his statements with a number of people. He met with Fiers and George at 10:10 a.m. on October 9 and was told ``that there had been no contact between -- that the Agency wasn't involved in the Hasenfus matter at all.'' Gates then had lunch with Casey and North. North had just returned from negotiations in Frankfurt with the ``Second Channel'' to the Iranian government. North briefed Gates and Casey on the progress of the negotiations. The discussion then turned to the contras. North testified at trial and before the Grand Jury that during this luncheon, Casey told him that North's Iran and contra operations were unraveling, and that he should begin to clean up both of them. North specifically recalled being told by Casey about allegations by Roy Furmark of a diversion; he did not recall telling Gates about the diversion or going into detail about the nature of his operations. North also did not recall whether Gates was there when Casey told North to clean up his operation.42

42 DDCI Appointments -- Thursday, 10/9/86, AKY 006296; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 176-77; Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/16/91, pp. 6-7; North, North Trial Testimony, 4/12/89, pp. 7552-57; North, Grand Jury, 3/8/91, pp. 30-32. Casey testified in December 1986 that the October 1986 luncheon included questions concerning a possible diversion. (Casey, HPSCI Testimony, 12/11/86, pp. 120-21; Casey, House Appropriations Subcommittee Testimony, 12/8/86, p. 102.)

In his testimony about the lunch, Gates stressed his attempt to get North to confirm that the CIA was not involved with the Hasenfus crash. Gates claimed that he was not invited to the lunch, and that he ``crashed the lunch'' because he wanted to speak with North. Gates said that Casey discussed the Furmark allegations with North and told him that the situation had to be straightened out. Gates remembered no instruction from Casey to North to start cleaning up operations, but did recall asking North directly whether any CIA personnel had been involved in the resupply network. Gates said that North told him that the CIA was ``absolutely clean.'' North made a ``cryptic comment'' about Swiss bank accounts, which Gates claimed not to have understood. Gates stated that he then left Casey's office for ten minutes, and returned to ask Casey alone about North's comment about Swiss accounts. Casey seemed not to have picked up on the comment, and Gates dropped it.43

43 Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 177-79; Gates, Grand Jury, 6/26/87, pp. 8-11; Gates, Select Committees Deposition, 7/31/87, pp. 23-29, 33-35; Gates, Grand Jury, 2/19/88, pp. 46-47; Gates, FBI 302, 5/15/87, p. 5. When confronted with Gates's account of the meeting, Casey did not dispute it. (Casey, HPSCI Testimony, 12/11/86, pp. 180-81.)

Gates changed his story in only one significant way between his early testimony and his final Grand Jury appearance: He expressly added that he left Casey and North alone together during lunch.

Gates wrote an exculpatory memo the next day. Gates wrote:

North confirmed to the DCI and to me that, based on his knowledge of the private funding efforts for the Contras, CIA is completely clean on the question of any contacts with those organizing the funding and the operations. He affirmed that a clear separation had been maintained between the private efforts and CIA assets and individuals, including proprietaries.

Gates recorded North's purportedly exculpatory statement uncritically, even though he was by then clearly aware of the possible diversion of U.S. funds through the ``private benefactors.'' Although, in testimony before SSCI, Gates admitted that his concerns about Allen's allegations were behind the questioning of North, he did not ask North whether a diversion had occurred. He was interested only in eliciting statements protective of his Agency.44

44 Memorandum from Gates to the Record, Subject: Lunch with Ollie North, 10/10/86, ER 24605; Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, p. 20.

After his lunch with North and his post-lunch discussion with Casey, Gates met again with Casey and George at 1:45 p.m. on ``Directorate Reporting.'' Casey then briefed congressional leaders about the downed aircraft. Casey and Gates then met with George, Fiers and the CIA's congressional affairs chief, David Gries. Gates, George and Gries stated that they did not recall what occurred at this meeting. Fiers recalled that the meeting concerned whether it would be Gates or George who testified on October 10 before SCFR. Fiers testified that he, Casey and George had decided earlier on October 9 that George was to testify. As Fiers recalled it, the later meeting was to give Gries the opportunity to argue in favor of Gates testifying. The content of the next day's briefing, except for the categorical denial made in the CIA's opening statement, was not discussed.45

45 George, Grand Jury, 4/5/91, pp. 72-73; Gates, Grand Jury, 5/1/91, pp. 197-98; Gries, FBI 302, 4/9/91, pp. 4-5; Fiers, Grand Jury, 8/16/91, pp. 19-20.

The early evening meeting of Casey, Gates, George, Fiers, and Gries ended Gates's involvement with the preparation of the CIA's testimony concerning the Hasenfus crash. The only other evidence relating to Gates during this period was a meeting that took place in Casey's office around the time of George and Fiers's briefing of HPSCI on October 14, 1986. During this meeting, Fiers told George and Casey that the Hasenfus inquiries would not end until someone took responsibility for the private resupply flights. Fiers recommended that Secord take responsibility. George turned to Casey and said, ``Bill, you know Secord has other problems,'' and the conversation ended soon after. Fiers had a vague recollection of Gates being present for part of the conversation, and then leaving the room. Fiers was uncertain if Gates heard his remarks about Secord.46

46 Ibid., pp. 40-43.

At most, the evidence showed that Gates was in and around meetings where the content of George and Fiers's testimony was discussed, and that he participated in two briefings that helped lull congressional investigators into believing that the CIA was not involved in facilitating private resupply flights. The evidence shows further that Gates was aware of at least general information suggesting involvement by North and Secord with the contras, and that Gates did not disclose this information -- or argue that it should be disclosed. For Gates, the CIA's task in October 1986 was to distance the CIA from the private operation, in part by locking North into statements that cleared the CIA of wrongdoing.47

47 Indeed, according to Allen, when Allen first discussed rumors of a diversion with Gates on October 1, 1986, Gates told Allen he ``didn't want to hear about Central America'' and ``I've supported Ollie in other activities . . . but he's gone too far.'' (Allen, Grand Jury, 1/4/88, pp. 31-33.) See also Gates, SSCI Testimony, 12/4/86, pp. 18-19 (confirming that he told Allen that he ``didn't want to hear anything about funding for the Contras'').

In the end, although Gates's actions suggested an officer who was more interested in shielding his institution from criticism and in shifting the blame to the NSC than in finding out the truth, there was insufficient evidence to charge Gates with a criminal endeavor to obstruct congressional investigations into the Hasenfus shootdown.

Gates and Casey's November 1986 Testimony

The events leading up to the preparation of false testimony by Director Casey in November 1986 -- preparations that Gates nominally oversaw -- are set forth in a separate chapter of this Report. There was insufficient evidence that Gates committed a crime as he participated in the preparation of Casey's testimony, or that he was aware of critical facts indicating that some of the statements by Casey and others were false.

Conclusion

Independent Counsel found insufficient evidence to warrant charging Robert Gates with a crime for his role in the Iran/contra affair. Like those of many other Iran/contra figures, the statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless, given the complex nature of the activities and Gates's apparent lack of direct participation, a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies.


#7 John Simkin

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 08:45 AM

You can get the full Walsh report from:

http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/

#8 John Simkin

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:35 AM

Another important extract from the Democracy Now interview:

http://www.democracy...6/11/09/1444242

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Bob Parry, I’d like to ask you - Mel Goodman mentioned Bob Gates as being part of the Iran-Contra class, but in this world of ahistorical journalism that we live in today, where very few people - Iran-Contra is practically ancient history to most of the - especially the young Americans in this country, could you give us a quick snapshot of what the Iran-Contra scandal was?

ROBERT PARRY: Well, in a synopsis, the Iran-Contra scandal was an effort by the Reagan administration to circumvent various restrictions on carrying out their foreign policy, both in the Middle East and also in Central America.

The Contra part related to the Nicaraguan Contras who were put in place to fight the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. And when Congress tried to cut off that support from the CIA, the Reagan administration went around Congress by having Oliver North of the National Security Council, in essence, sort of oversee this operation of getting weapons and money to the Contras. But it still involved many people in the CIA, even when they were denying they were involved. We now know, based on the investigations, that CIA Director William Casey, who was Bob Gates’s direct supervisor, was deeply involved, as were people lower down the chain, including some of the station chiefs in the field.

In the case of the Middle East, the Reagan administration was carrying out secret policies to arm basically both sides of the Iran-Iraq War. This started, we now know, back in the very early part of the 1980s. By 1981, there were shipments of weapons that had been approved by the Reagan administration that went through Israel to Iran, and that continued on through to the mid-1980s. And at times when the Iranians would get the upper hand in the war with Iraq, the United States would tilt back and start helping the Iraqis, the government of Saddam Hussein. So there were efforts to move weapons through third countries that would help Saddam Hussein in his fight. There was military intelligence that was provided to assist him and even advice on how to use his air force. So there was this whole secret policy that was operating behind the scenes, and the Reagan administration essentially was trying to go around Congress, keep the intelligence committees as much in the dark as possible, and Bob Gates was in the center of almost all of that.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And in terms of - I’d like to get back to Mel Goodman. After initially rejecting Gates for an appointment, the Senate then later confirmed him. In your estimation, what were the changes or what happened that the Senate changed its mind?

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, I think the Senate didn’t change its mind. The man who changed his mind was David Boren, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and his staff director, George Tenet, who, of course, went on to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency and is/was Mr. Slam Dunk for President George Bush in the Iraq war. Boren and Gates developed a very close relationship over the period of the late ’80s and early ’90s. And Gates gave the impression to Boren that Gates would be very careful in running the CIA, that he would pay a lot of attention to the director of the Senate Intelligence Committee and that he would come to the Intelligence Committee to vet covert operations and certain projects of the CIA.

And this is what Boren used to bring some of the Democrats who were opposed to Gates, such as Sam Nunn from Georgia, into line to vote for Bob Gates. But the majority of the Democratic members of the Senate were opposed to him. And if it weren’t for some of the antics of Senator Warren Rudman, who used charges of McCarthyism against the critics of Bob Gates, I think there would have been some Republicans, as well. But the White House did make it a loyalty test, and every Republican voted in favor of Bob Gates in 1991.

AMY GOODMAN: I remember well the Bob Gates hearings. My colleague, Julie Cohen, who was working at WBAI/Pacifica, now is over at NBC, was one who exposed how Gates had lied to Congress, that he had told the Senate Intelligence Committee that in November of 1986 he was preparing testimony for the CIA director, William Casey, about Iran-Contra, that he didn’t realize a presidential finding had been prepared a year before to authorize the CIA's role in an earlier shipment in 1985, arms shipment to Iran, leading to Casey deceiving Congress. Can you explain what that was all about?

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, there were a series of episodes in which Casey had to go to the Congress, because after two years of Bill Casey, the Senate Intelligence Committee really regretted that it had ever confirmed him in the first place. And he really angered the Republican leadership more than the Democratic leadership. And Barry Goldwater became an extremely important critic of Bill Casey.

Bill Casey relied, for all sorts of testimony and briefings and talks that he gave, on Bob Gates. Bob Gates wrote all of his major speeches. He wrote some of his Op-Ed articles, and he wrote all of his testimony. And, of course, there were backdated findings. There were denials of information that was widely known. Bob Gates was told by his deputy about sensitive intercepts involving how we were arming Iraq, how we were getting aid, some of it from the Israeli inventories, to Iran, how we were supplying the Contras with funds that were the profits of these arms sales to Iran. So, Bob Gates and Bill Casey worked extremely closely on all of these matters, and Casey really relied on Bob Gates.

And Bob Gates has always been really a political windsock in these matters in serving the interest of his masters. That’s the way he operated at the National Security Council, and that’s the way he operated at the CIA. And I remember in 1987, he was admonished severely by George Shultz, the Secretary of State at the time, and then in 1989 by James Baker, the Secretary of State at the time, because he was undercutting American policy in trying to serve the interest of the National Security at a time when American policy was changing.

So Bob Gates will serve a master, but I don’t think he’ll be a careful steward of the Pentagon and of the $460 billion defense budget. And the question is, has he now somehow obtained the maturity and integrity to run the Pentagon? I don’t think he has. And now, it’s up to the Senate Armed Forces Committee to make serious decisions about his ability to serve in this very sensitive position.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Bob Parry, in politics at every election time there's always talk of an “October surprise” that will affect an election. And obviously the phrase "October surprise" actually goes back to even before this Iran-Contra scandal: the election in 1980 between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Could you talk at all about - was Bob Gates, did he have any role and involvement in that first alleged October surprise?

ROBERT PARRY: Well, when we were doing the Iran-Contra investigations, one of the mysteries was when it really started, and we were able to trace it back initially to 1984, when there were these contacts between some Iranians and some Israelis and some former CIA people, which sort of led to the scandal that we knew at the time. But as we went back, we learned that there the shipments of weapons did not begin in 1985, as we had first thought, but really back in 1981. So we had to look at some of these issues of these allegations that were sort of longstanding from some people who had sort of been in the intelligence world that there had been earlier contacts, that during the 1980 campaign, when 52 Americans were being held hostage in Iran and Jimmy Carter was trying desperately to get them out, that the Republicans went behind his back, first to get information, but also then to make contacts with the Iranians directly.

And the evidence on this has built up over time. We now have a lot of documents. We have some records from that period. We have statements from former Iranian officials, including the former Iranian president, Banisadr, the former defense minister, the former foreign minister, all of whom saying that they had these dealings with the Republicans behind the scenes. So, as we went back through that, the evidence built up that there had been these earlier contacts and that Bob Gates was one of the people involved in them.

Gates, at the time, had been assigned to the National Security Council for Jimmy Carter and then had become the executive director - executive assistant to Stansfield Turner, the CIA director. So he was in a key spot. And he was also, though, developing these close ties to some of the Republicans who were about to come into power. So, as these investigations were sort of picked up on in the early 1990s, there was a real effort to sort of put it aside. There was not much stomach left for this investigation, which was headed at that point by Lee Hamilton, who had been the House Intelligence Committee chairman at one point. He kind of had missed the early part of Iran-Contra. He was then put on the Iran-Contra investigation and kind of bought into the cover-up and the cover stories that were used. And then he was made head of this task force on the so-called October Surprise case and behaved similarly. He didn’t really want to push it very far.

And one of the interesting things, which probably should be looked at now, is that after -- because the Gates hearings were in 1991. He denied pretty much everything, but there’s evidence that’s come out since then that he’s never really been confronted with, including a remarkable report that the Russian government prepared at Hamilton's request in January of 1993, in which the Russian government went back through their KGB files on what they knew about these contacts with Iran, and they reported to Lee Hamilton on January 11, 1993, that in fact these contacts with the Republicans had occurred, the Soviets at that point had intelligence on it, and that Bob Gates was one of the people involved in it. That report was never released by Hamilton. It was put in the unpublished files of this investigation, and I discovered it a couple years later. So you have that kind of evidence that’s important.

And on the Iraq side, you have a very important document that has not gotten much attention, which was an affidavit prepared by Howard Teicher, who had been an NSC official for Ronald Reagan, in which he describes Gates’s role in getting secret weapons to the Iraqis. This affidavit was filed in connection with a criminal case that was then underway in Florida in 1995. But these issues have never been really confronted to Gates. There were earlier allegations that he has denied. Some of the witnesses were dismissed. But now there’s more information that he’s never been presented with. And one of the points...

AMY GOODMAN: And, Bob, when you say “secret weapons to the Iraqis,” you're talking about during the Iranian-Iraq war?

ROBERT PARRY: Yes, back in the - starting about 1982, President Reagan became concerned that the Iranians, who were secretly getting help from the United States via Israel, had gained the upper hand in the war. And so, there was this effort, as the period went on, to give some more help to Saddam Hussein to keep that war sort of at a more even keel. And one of the guys involved, according to the Teicher affidavit and other witnesses, was Bob Gates. But he’s always denied involvement there. So both the facts of the history are important, as well as his honesty. Did he lie to Congress when he denied being involved in these matters?

AMY GOODMAN: Just on this issue, because it’s so key, I mean, the allegation that Gates personally approved the sale of cluster bombs to Saddam in the 1980s, before the war crimes that he was just convicted of.

ROBERT PARRY: Right. And some of these allegations also go to chemicals, the precursor chemicals that Saddam Hussein allegedly used in his chemical weapons that were deployed against the Iranians and other targets in Iraq. So, Gates was allegedly involved in all those kinds of - that’s the very secretive side of US foreign policy that Casey was overseeing, but Gates was sort of his man handling some of the details.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Mel Goodman, given some of this history, I wonder - and given what you have said about the history of Gates as having a record, as using intelligence, basically spinning intelligence to serve political ends, why would President Bush, facing now a Democratic senate, nominate a guy like Bob Gates to this post?

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, I think he needs someone like Bob Gates now, because the Bush administration is really circling the wagons. The policy in Iraq has failed miserably. This has been the most profligate decision that any American president has made with regard to national security and foreign policy. And Bob Gates is a very loyal and obedient servant to his master. In this case, his master will be George Bush. And I think what he needs Bob Gates for is to tone down some of the criticism in the Pentagon. I think Bob Gates is out there in the same way that General Hayden is out at the CIA, to calm down the critics, to calm down the contrarians, to stop some of the negative reporting that’s coming from Iraq from CIA station chiefs and CIA analysts. And I think what Bob Gates will do now is silence some of the military criticism of what’s going on in Iraq. I think you'll see an end to a lot of the public remarks of our active duty general officers, our flag officers who have been clearly critical of what’s happening in Iraq.

And let me just add one thing to what Bob said, because there’s an intelligence aspect that Bob Gates was responsible for in the 1980s that I am aware of. In order to have arms sales to Iran and secret deliveries from Israel to Iran, you had to change the intelligence analysis on Iran, and Bob Gates was part of that. He worked very closely, again, with Howard Teicher over at the National Security Council and Graham Fuller, his National Intelligence officer for the Middle East, to rewrite the intelligence record to say that Iran was no longer interested in terrorism, Iran was now looking to open up dialogue with the United States, that the Soviet Union was about to move into Iran. And this became the intelligence justification for Iran-Contra and why this operational policy had to be put into play.

There was no truth to any of these three charges, but Graham Fuller managed to get them into a National Intelligence Estimate, and Graham Fuller and Bob Gates regularly briefed the National Security Council on the so-called changes in Iranian policy that were made up out of whole cloth. And there was a record of Bob Gates creating intelligence out of whole cloth and urging Bill Casey to take even more provocative measures than the CIA and the Reagan administration was proposing toward Central America, particularly toward Nicaragua. Remember, the CIA was involved in the mining of the harbors in Corinto, which was clearly an act of war. And Bill Casey had never briefed this to the Senate Intelligence Committee. That’s what led to the extreme anger on the part of Barry Goldwater and why Casey had to be brought back to the Senate Intelligence Committee. And, of course, Gates prepared all of Casey’s testimony at this time.

AMY GOODMAN: And this was condemned by the World Court, the mining of the harbors of Nicaragua. And so, you have two major figures coming together now. You have Casey - rather, you have Bob Gates, who could become director of Central Intelligence Agency, and you have Daniel Ortega now, who has just been elected the president of Nicaragua.

MELVIN GOODMAN: Also part of this delicious irony, that on the same day that Ortega is announced as the president-elect, here’s Bob Gates, again, the Iran-Contra alumni, joining Elliott Abrams at the National Security Council. And remember, John Poindexter for a while had a key role in the Pentagon as part of this Iran-Contra class that George Bush seems to resort to.

AMY GOODMAN: And let me just correct that: of course, he’s been nominated to be head of the Pentagon, to be Defense Secretary. But one other thing I wanted to get to now, because you both have mentioned Lee Hamilton, who was a key figure then. And you’re saying that he very much was there to squelch true investigation of what was going on at the time, that he could be relied upon to do this. Well, now you have the Iraq Study Group that is headed by James Baker and, yes, Lee Hamilton, together with Bob Gates.

MELVIN GOODMAN: Well, I think the Iraq Study Group is also a political stratagem on the part of the Bush administration to try to give some chance at damage limitation to this Iraq policy. Lee Hamilton wasn’t very impressive in his 9/11 work as a co-commissioner. I think the study of the intelligence community, and particularly the CIA, was really softened. I think Lee Hamilton had something to do with this. He brought in people like Douglas MacEachin of the CIA. He was also a close colleague of Bob Gates, and he testified in favor of Bob Gates in 1991. And the first personnel appointment that Bob Gates made when he took over the CIA in 1991 was to make Doug MacEachin his Deputy Director for Intelligence. So, I don’t think Lee Hamilton is the zealous investigator that he once was and the kind of junkyard dog that he once was when he was on the Hill in the Congress.

So I think there is an attempt now to soften the debate on Iraq. Getting Rumsfeld out of the Pentagon helps in this direction. Bringing Gates in, and it’s sort of tabula rasa now at the Pentagon with regard to Iraq. And I think the Iraq Study Group - and if you look at the Iraq Study Group -- five Democrats, five Republicans - not a one has any experience whatsoever on the Middle East. There are no Arab experts, no Islamic experts on this group. And I think what Baker is trying to do is trying to limit the damage that Iraq has done to George Bush, the legacy of the Bush family, both Bush the elder and Bush the younger, and try to soften the debate in the American public and divert attention. And clearly, by removing Rumsfeld, Bush has already diverted a great deal of attention from the election loss and from this disaster that Iraq policy is.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Bob Parry, the investigations that you did in the ’80s at least led to congressional investigations into some of these issues. Given what happened now with this election, do you have any hope that the new congress will take a deeper look into some of these issues surrounding Bob Gates and the intelligence failures and spinning of the Bush administration?

ROBERT PARRY: Well, as a journalist, I always hope that information will come out somehow, but it does appear that the strategy that the Bush White House is following is to release - first of all, release this information the day after the election, in a sense give in to one of the chief Democratic demands - that is, the ouster of Rumsfeld - and then say that there must be quick action on Bob Gates's nomination. I think yesterday there was an announcement by the Armed Services Committee, the chairman and the ranking Democrat, that they would move expeditiously on the Gates nomination and push it through before the end of the year - that is, in the lame-duck session of the Congress, the Republican-controlled congress.

So there doesn’t seem to be much eagerness to sort of go back and sort of confront Bob Gates with the questions that Mel has raised about his involvement with the politicization of intelligence, which is a key issue obviously in Iraq war, and his involvement or lack thereof with secret arms deals with the Iranians and the Iraqis, two of the countries that the Defense Department is most interested in at this point. So, but whether those questions will even be asked is a question here, that apparently the idea is to sort of just sort of have the Democrats show their bipartisanship again by not asking tough questions of Bob Gates. And this is very similar to what happened in 1991, when Senator Boren backed away from the gates, from pressing on the Gates nomination for the CIA director.

And it goes back, really, to what Lee Hamilton was doing in the 1980s. I do have to disagree a bit with Mel in that I never found Hamilton to be a junkyard dog in his investigations. When we did our first stories about Oliver North in ’85 and ’86 at the Associated Press, they finally - those stories finally went to Lee Hamilton at the Intelligence Committee. He arranged a meeting with Oliver North, which involved Dick Cheney, who was on the Intelligence Committee at the time, and Henry Hyde and some other members, and they essentially asked Ollie if these stories were true, and he said they weren’t. And that was pretty much the end of the investigation at that point. And it was only because a plane was shot down, one of Ollie’s planes was shot down, in October of 1986 that the Nicaraguan side of the story started spilling out.

#9 David S. Brownlee

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:47 AM

"If Carter got the hostages out before the election, the public perception of the man might change and he might be elected for a second-term...."

#10 John Simkin

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:50 AM

You can find my web page on Robert Gates here:

http://www.spartacus...uk/MDgatesR.htm

Interestingly, Wikipedia, do not allow you to edit the page on Robert Gates. Therefore I have added it to the Wikipedia page on Richard Helms. It seems that he is not being protected by the CIA (my page on him is at number 2 at Google).

#11 David S. Brownlee

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 09:55 AM

Lotsa secrets to hide...and many skeletons in the closets...Go girl...kick their asses....nobody will phuck...with Nancy Pelosi.

Edited by David S. Brownlee, 10 November 2006 - 10:05 AM.


#12 Evan Marshall

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Posted 10 November 2006 - 05:23 PM

Lotsa secrets to hide...and many skeletons in the closets...Go girl...kick their asses....nobody will phuck...with Nancy Pelosi.


Nancy doesn't understand people like Porter Goss or John Negroponte-operator's of the 1st order. other folks I know-"The Katzenjammer Kids" operate in a whole different world than little Nancy and her friends-they may investigate but need to remember the old Hell's Angels Motto-"Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead."

"Most human truths are fiction to God"

#13 John Simkin

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 07:58 AM

I am very concerned about the disinformation being put out over the web about Robert Gates. If you do a search for Gates you will find a list of websites that provide a very flattering picture of this man.

Wikipedia comes first. Although it contains one significant piece of information about why his nomination to be director of the CIA in 1987 (I expect this to be removed soon) it gives him a very easy ride. It is highly significant that the page has been locked and can’t be edited (this is highly unusual).

Second is a biography by the Texas A&M University. This does not mention Iran-Contra Scandal or the rejected nomination in 1987. Nor does it mention the huge opposition to him obtaining the post in 1991.

Even Aljazeera seems to be relying on this disinformation in its profile of Robert Gates:

http://english.aljaz...931C1A24C40.htm

In 3rd place is the BBC site. This is a good example of how his career is portrayed (this was mirrored in the UK press yesterday).

Mr Gates' early career was dogged with controversy, particularly over the Iran-Contra issue, and his first nomination as CIA director was withdrawn by Ronald Reagan in 1987…

But the most controversial moment in his career was the 1982-86 period when he rose through the CIA's top echelons to become acting director.

As such, he was in a position to know about the so-called Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the illegal diversion of funds from the sale of arms to Iran to fund the Contras, who were fighting against the left-wing Sandinistas who had taken power in Nicaragua.

Mr Gates was investigated by the office of the independent counsel in 1991, but was never prosecuted for any offence.


The BBC does not refer to what Lawrence E. Walsh, the Independent Counsel who investigated the Iran-Contra case, actually said about Gates.

Walsh discovered that Gates repeatedly gave inaccurate information about what he knew about Iran-Contra. When other officials provided contradictory information Gates was forced to admit his mistakes. He claimed these mistakes was due to a failure to remember correctly what happened. Walsh admits in his report:

“Like those of many other Iran/contra figures, the statements of Gates often seemed scripted and less than candid. Nevertheless, given the complex nature of the activities and Gates's apparent lack of direct participation, a jury could find the evidence left a reasonable doubt that Gates either obstructed official inquiries or that his two demonstrably incorrect statements were deliberate lies.”

What the BBC report does not mention is that lying about what he knew about Iran-Contra was not the main reason Reagan had to withdraw Gates’ nomination. The main concern in Congress was the information that Gates was suspected of passing information from classified documents to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. In other words, Gates was suspected of treason. It is one of the great ironies of history that he has been appointed to solve the problems of the invasion of Iraq, when on a previous occasion, as a consequence of a secret arms deal, that Gates was passing secret information obtained by the CIA to Saddam Hussein.

Even when his nomination by Bush of Gates was accepted in 1991, he received 31 negative votes, more than all of the votes against all of the CIA directors in previous history.

In his memoirs Gates admits it was a great shock to him that three men who worked in the CIA with him testifying against him. He considered two of these men as personal friends. Melvin Goodman, recently explained his reasons for taking this action: "Bob Gates, over the period of the 1980s, as a deputy for Intelligence and then as a deputy to CIA director Bill Casey, was politicizing intelligence. He was spinning intelligence on all of the major issues of the day, on the Soviet Union, on Central America, on the Middle East, on Southwest Asia. And I thought this record, this charge, should be presented before the Senate Intelligence Committee."

As Goodman remarked when he heard the news about his 2006 nomination: "I think there is a rather delicious irony in the fact that here is a nation that went to war with politicized intelligence, and now it’s naming as a CIA director someone who was the most important practitioner of politicized intelligence in the history of the CIA. So, as Yogi Berra would have said, “This is deja-vu all over again.”

#14 Ashton Gray

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 08:46 AM

I am very concerned about the disinformation being put out over the web about Robert Gates. If you do a search for Gates you will find a list of websites that provide a very flattering picture of this man.

Wikipedia comes first. Although it contains one significant piece of information about why his nomination to be director of the CIA in 1987 (I expect this to be removed soon) it gives him a very easy ride. It is highly significant that the page has been locked and can’t be edited (this is highly unusual).


I don't think you've overstated the situation regarding Gates, or could.

The boy has been lurking at CIA for a very long time indeed, since 1966, spending eight years there in the conveniently impalpable role of "intelligence analyst." It appears (not entirely confirmed) that his starting in that job coincided, at least approximately, with a curious flight of E. Howard Hunt from Madrid, Spain to Washington, D.C. for a three-day stay, then back to Madrid. This during Hunt's still-mysterious year spent, purportedly, in Spain, having been "officially" severed from CIA just prior to his traveling there with his family in tow.

Gates was in this nebulous low-key "intelligence analyst" role in CIA for a very long time—through everything having to do with two of the CIA's most epic public frauds: the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

Then Gates curiously "left" CIA to become part of the National Security Council staff in 1974, the same year that CIA issued a joint contract—Office of Technical Services Contract, FAN 4125-4099; Office of Research and Development Contract, FAN 4162-8103; 1 February 1974 (CONFIDENTIAL)—which ramped up their top-secret "remote viewing" program that had been running secretly since 1 October 1972, the new contracts being issued "on the premise that the phenomena associated with remote viewing exist; the objective is to develop and utilize them."

(The 1972 inception of this program, and its inextricable and inexplicable "joined-at-the-hip" relationship to the CIA's Watergate hoax has been covered in some detail in the R. Spencer Oliver thread in the Watergate forum. As you have so carefully documented, Gates was in very high intelligence positions throughout almost the entire 25+ year life of that top-secret CIA-DIA program, positions in which he had to be privy to it.)

CIA's site says that Gates "returned" to CIA from the NSC staff "in late 1979," but gives no indication at all of what position he held at CIA upon his return. (Not naming any position is even more fuzzy than "intelligence analyst." Great work if you can get it.) So from "late 1979" until some time in 1981—when he becomes "Director, DCI/DDCI Executive Staff CIA," Gates is an unperson in CIA.

I believe that the Bush dynasty is circling the wagons. I believe that the cadre of loyalists who know a lot of very dirty secrets going back a very long time, and who have been willing to keep their mouths shut (or intimidated into keeping their mouths shut, or having their mouths shut for them) is shrinking at an alarming rate. I believe these are the days of miracle and wonder.

And don't cry, baby, don't cry.

Ashton

Edited by Ashton Gray, 11 November 2006 - 08:57 AM.


#15 Richard J. Smith

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 10:34 AM

[quote name='Richard Bittikofer' date='Nov 9 2006, 11:22 AM' post='80512']

I wonder what other imminent threats are just over the horizon.
[/quote] I would think that Hillary Clinton would be the next imminent threat over the horizon!
[/quote]


Now there's a fair and balanced remark. She has taken her lumps from the poorly informed and the right, but the election last week certainly showed what the majority thinks of the Bush policies(not to mention the scandals, including that of the religious right's two faced POS posterboy Ted Haggard). I'm a resident of upstate NY, and I contacted many senators 2 years ago regarding unemployment issues nationwide. Senator Clinton is the only one of either party that even responded. She has ALWAYS responded to issues in NY. When she first ran for the Senate, it seemed few NY citizens outside of NYC supported her publicly. And she won by a landslide, even in the more conservative upstate areas. What's that tell you? People were afraid to support her publicly because they thought it was fun to bash her as you did. But when people went to the polls privately, she got 65% of the vote. Get used to her. She'll make a great president.

RJS




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