Former President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, Robert McFarlane, has died at the age of 84 following a scandal involving Iran’s opposition.
McFarlane died Thursday in Lansing, Michigan, visiting family when he died, The New York Times reported.
Robert “Bud” McFarlane, national security adviser to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, walks through the lobby of Trump Tower on December 5, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other senior positions for the new administration.
He admitted to withholding information from Congress during an investigation into the Iran opposition scandal in 1988, when the Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of Western hostages. The money from the arms sales was then secretly channelled to Nicaraguan opposition rebels trying to overthrow the Marxist government.
Robert McFarland served as President Reagan’s National Security Advisor from October 1983 to December 1985. He stepped in after Congress passed the Boland Amendment, which banned aid to the opposition, prompting Reagan to demand that he “keep the rebels physically and mentally alive.” McFarlane hired NSC staff member Oliver North for the job, though he later claimed telling North not to raise money for opponents violated the law.
In 1985, reports of North’s fundraising and opposition to the support network were published in the media, prompting Congress to question McFarland. He admitted being responsible for North’s actions as his supervisor, but claimed a lack of knowledge about the activities. Subsequent evidence suggests that this is not the case.
In fact, NSC general counsel Paul Thompson highlighted six memos North wrote to McFarland in which his actions most blatantly contradicted McFarland’s testimony. McFarland advised North to revise those memos, he simply told independent lawyers to make them more accurate. But North’s changes apparently overshadowed his anti-aid efforts.