“The shipment of arms to Iran through Israel didn’t begin in 1985, when the congressional inquiry and the special prosecutor pick up the story. It began almost immediately after the fall of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. By 1982, it was public knowledge that Israel was providing a large part of the arms for Iran – you could read it on the front page of the New York Times”. (Walsh, 1997)
Andrew and Weiner texts also differ in their evaluation of Reagan’s role in this embarrassing episode in American foreign policy history. While Andrew’s text displays a more ambivalent position on Reagan’s role and his tacit approval of the diversion, Weiner is more critical in his evaluation of the President. According to him, when Manucher Ghorbanifar, the Iranian intermediary for the CIA, sent this message to William Casey, “Hezbollah held the hostages. Iran held sway over Hezbollah. An arms deal with Iran could free the Americans” (Weiner, 464), though much of the internal maneuvering was done by the CIA, they required the President’s signature to “authorize them to carry the arms for hostages operation through” (Weiner, 467). Even though Reagan’s approval in the form of his signature appears no more than a formality, the ultimate responsibility for the diversion of funds to the Contras lies with the President. The following passage from a secondary source concurs with Weiner’s view point much more than that of Andrew’s:
“In this connection, it is worth noting that Poindexter, although he refused to implicate Reagan by testifying that he had told him about the diversion, declared that if he had informed the president he was sure Reagan would have approved. Reagan’s success in avoiding a harsher political penalty was due to a great extent to Poindexter’s testimony (which left many observers deeply skeptical about its plausibility). But it was also due in large part to a tactic developed mainly by Attorney General Edwin Meese, which was to keep congressional and public attention tightly focused on the diversion. By spotlighting that single episode, which they felt sure Reagan could credibly deny, his aides managed to minimize public scrutiny of the president’s other questionable actions, some of which even he understood might be illegal” (Kornbluh & Byrne, 2008).
There is an allusion made by Andrew with respect to the historical significance of the Iran Contra affair and the CIA’s role in it. According to Andrew, the generally accepted notion of Iran Contra arising as an ad hoc operation run by the NSC implies that the oversight of the legislative branch of government and the effective power held by the CIA have both come full circle since the end of the Second World War, when the United States ascended into the position of a superpower. The only reason “NSC ended up the running the operations is due to the fact that the CIA was too tightly monitored by Congress. Iran-Contra represents how much power the CIA has really lost since its establishment” (Kornbluh & Byrne, 2008).