Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up
W W Norton & Company Incorporated
, 1997 - History
- 544 pages
In this historic, first-person account, the independent counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation exposes the extraordinary duplicity of the highest officials of Ronald Reagan's administration and the paralyzing effects of the cover-up that Judge Lawrence Walsh and his associates unraveled. Iran-Contra was far more than a rogue operation conceived and executed by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North with the backing of National Security Advisor John Poindexter, as the Reagan administration claimed. It was instead a conspiracy that drew in the chief actors of that administration: President Reagan, Vice President George Bush, Director of Central Intelligence William Casey, Secretary of State George Shultz, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, and Attorney General Edwin Meese, among others. With the president's support, the United States attempted to trade arms for hostages held by Iranian terrorists, then retained part of the proceeds from these undercover sales in Swiss bank accounts, where the secret money funded the guerrilla activities of the Nicaraguan Contras, a counter-revolutionary group that Congress had specifically forbidden the administration to support. An experienced and steely prosecutor, Judge Walsh built a powerful team of young lawyers to pursue the truth of the Iran-Contra affair through painstaking interrogations and reviews of hundreds of thousands of documents. His team confronted daunting barriers: some of the key players were given grants of immunity by Congress's own (and sometimes hindering) investigation, government agencies twisted claims of national security in order to hide the true nature of their activities, administration officials told outright lies in sworn testimony, and Republican leaders attempted to drown the investigation in a massive flow of often irrelevant material. In Firewall, Judge Walsh discloses the strategies that led to the felony convictions of North and Poindexter, and the blow to their investigation when these convictions were overturned on appeal. Persevering, Judge Walsh and his associates successfully prosecuted six more officials, including former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, and obtained an indictment of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, all of whom were eventually pardoned by President Bush in the waning days of his presidency. Firewall draws on testimony and evidence that place ultimate responsibility for the Iran-Contra scandal and its cover-up where it belongs - at the top of two administrations. It leaves no lingering doubts that the "honorable men" who pretended to be out of the loop were actually caught in a web of deception for which they had only themselves to blame.