The L’Enfant Plaza Hotel Mystery February 17, 2013
Special Report: To understand why U.S. foreign policy is floundering in the Middle East, one must go back to the pivotal 1980 election when President Carter’s hopes for a second term hinged on getting Iran to release 52 U.S. hostages and Republicans went behind his back, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Embedded in the historical question of whether Republicans sabotaged President Jimmy Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations before Election 1980 is a curious incident involving two of Ronald Reagan’s future National Security Advisors – Richard Allen and Robert McFarlane – who played key roles in arms shipments to Iran after Reagan won.
On Jan. 20, 1981, the Iranians released the 52 American hostages exactly as Reagan was being sworn in as President. Allen moved into the White House as Reagan’s first National Security Advisor. McFarlane was appointed Counselor to the Secretary of State, from which he pushed to let Israel sell arms to Iran, an issue that was referred to Allen at the National Security Council, according to recently disclosed documents from the National Archives.
The documents also reveal that McFarlane pressed to put himself in charge of future U.S. policy toward Iran and arranged a top-secret conduit for collaboration with the Israeli government on Iranian issues without the knowledge of other U.S. officials.
So, the curious incident in 1980 – a meeting with an Iranian emissary at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington about one month before the Nov. 4 election – suddenly deserves additional attention. The meeting also involved a third prominent Republican, Laurence Silberman, a neoconservative foreign policy expert who would later become an important judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. ....................(more)