To the astonishment of the gathered press corps, Ronald Reagan admitted that money earned from covert arms deals with the Islamic Republic of Iran had been used to provide weapons for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua who were essentially agents of Washington. The scandal set off many theories and speculations as to the motives, modus operandi and the legitimacy of such a transaction. .
At the outset, it has to be mentioned that Christopher Andrew’s version of the Iran Contra Affair is more extensively researched and documented in detail when compared to Tim Weiner’s. The two striking aspects of Andrew’s text are its portrayals of President Reagan as a weak and confused Commander-in-Chief and the implicating tone with which he describes the hand of National Security Council staffer, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver L. North, who according to Andrew “was working on a plan to divert profits from arms sales to Iran to the Contras,” (Andrew, 482). In the text, we find a whole array of allegations directed at Oliver North including perjury charges, manipulating with documentary evidence and his refusal to obey orders from higher authorities. While not absolving Reagan of his executive deviances in the affair, the reader gets the impression that North has been unfairly condemned by the author. Tim Weiner, on the other hand, centers his attention on the role of the CIA and its intelligence officers for the scandal. Weiner seems to suggest that the White House attempted, by applying political pressure, to attribute major responsibilities for the Iran Contra affair on the CIA (Weiner, 478). The Reagan Administration team also distanced itself from the CIA and its head Robert Casey, claiming that the agency had overstepped its authority. In essence, the Weiner account connects the CIA to the Iran Contra Affair, while the Christopher Andrew account seems to suggest that the CIA had an insignificant role to play.