In conclusion, it can be said that Christopher Andrew’s picture of the Iran Contra scandal is broader in scope and in the number of primary references incorporated into the text (including intelligence reports). His version is similar to the commonly understood facts about the scandal, namely that “the Iran-Contra affair was a National Security Council and White House driven ad Hoc operation run by Oliver North with the assistance of the CIA” (Walsh, 1997). This interpretation is what is commonly seen in American history text books and also endorsed by intellectuals from both sides of the political divide. Tim Weiner’s interpretation of the scandal, on the other hand, goes out of the way, at times even beyond the allowed boundaries of academic scholarship, to nail down the CIA and its leadership group as the main culprits. What is also evident in Weiner’s text are several instances of contradictory statements that detriment his position. For example, first he claims that the Central Intelligence Agency is incompetent and too disorganized to undertake successful clandestine operations of the sort that the Iran Contra affair belongs to. Later in the text he undermines the weight of this statement by saying that it is the CIA that is primarily responsible for the unethical commercial transactions that were made through the course of the scandal. The contradiction lies in the fact that if the CIA is so utterly incapable of carrying off operations of this magnitude and significance as initially suggested by him, then how could it have pulled off successfully without any support from the executive branch of the government. He also adds that the Reagan Administration was unable to reign in the rampant and unyielding intelligence agency. Surely, it should not have been so difficult to keep in check a disorganized and inept government agency that was the CIA. In light of this implausible explanation of Tim Weiner, it has to be inferred that Christopher Andrew’s text carries more merit as a result of being more factual, logical and comprehensiveness of research. Added to this is the very scope of the two books. Andrew’s book spans the entire length of American democracy since the days of George Washington and it deals with Secret Intelligence in general not restricting itself to the operations of the CIA. Weiner’s work on the other hand is exclusively concerned with the history of the CIA and to that extent narrower in scope, time-span and scholarship perused for researching the subject.
Andrew, Christopher M. “For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush”
Weiner, Tim, “A Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA”. New York, NY: Doubleday. 2007.
“Iran Contra Affair”, The Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia Online, retrieved from http://encarta.msn.com/index/concise/0vol2C/05555000.asp on 21st November, 2008.
Kornbluh, Peter and Byrne, Malcolm,. The Iran Contra Scandal: The Declassified History, retrieved from http://www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/nsa/publications/DOC_readers/icread/icread.htmloon 21st November, 2008
Chomsky Noam, What Uncle Sam Really Wants, published by Odonian Press in 1992
Walsh, L. E., Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-Up, published by WW Norton & Co, 1997