Monday, July 11, 2005

New Pentagon Employee Latest Hire With Ties To Iran-Contra

Robert Earl has been hired as chief of staff to Gordon England, acting deputy secretary of Defense.

Ah, but who is Robert Earl? Why, he's the latest Bush Administration appointee with ties to the Iran-Contra scandal.

In 1987, Robert L. Earl told a grand jury that he had destroyed and stolen national security documents while working for Lt. Col. Oliver L. North during the Iran-Contra scandal.

A report to Congress by independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh stated: "Earl attempted to conceal evidence regarding the arms sales to Iran and the diversion of profits. ... He destroyed [National Security Council] documents, assisted North in the destruction of documents … and made false statements to the FBI." Earl was granted immunity for his testimony in the Reagan administration's most damaging scandal and was never prosecuted.

Just the kind of guy you want getting a coveted job in the Pentagon, right? In his new role, Earl has clearance to review the kinds of classified documents he once destroyed.

***

England, who is being reviewed by the Senate to remove the "acting" from his title, has drawn criticism from government ethics watchdogs for the hiring of Earl.

As England goes through his Senate confirmation process, his hiring of Earl has drawn criticism from government ethics watchdogs. But congressional sources said it was unlikely to affect support for England.

On Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon, the few who were aware of Earl's past expressed little concern about his fitness for his current job. And the vice chairman of the congressional committee that investigated the Iran-Contra deal, retired Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-NH), said he did not expect Earl's past to cause England much trouble in winning confirmation.

"If they've led exemplary lives since then, I think in this country we tend to allow them to make one mistake," Rudman told the Los Angeles Times.

***

According to a story in the July 10 Times, Earl is the latest figure from the Iran-Contra scandal to play a role in the Bush administration.

Others include Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress about the illegal funding of the Nicaraguan Contras during the Reagan administration. He now serves on Bush's National Security Council as head of the Mideast bureau. Meanwhile, Retired Adm. John M. Poindexter, who as national security advisor under Reagan also was implicated in the scandal, has periodically served as a consultant to the Pentagon.

The Iran-Contra case involved the U.S. supplying arms to Iran as part of a complicated deal to fund anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Congress had forbidden direct U.S. aid to the Contras.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for enlightening us. Maybe a posting on this blog is a baby step towards reeducating the populace to stop appointments of criminals to run our government.
People's memories are so short. The reason: the intensity and criminality of the Iran-Contra scandal did not surface until several years after the Regan Administration left office, allowing the media to downplay the story.
And Regan, of course, went to his death bed as one of our most beloved presidents.

9:00 AM  

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