Ronen Bergman is one of Israel's leading investigative journalists. The senior security and intelligence correspondent and analyst for Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and an anchor on a leading Israeli television news program, he is the author of three bestselling books published in Israel. He was awarded a PhD by Cambridge University for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad.
Question: Did George Bush Sr. lie about his involvement in the Iran-Contra Scandal?Ronen Bergman: When he was running for presidency, after the whole scheme was revealed, the main question asked, whether when he was vice president to president [Ronald] Reagan, did he know or didn’t know about the Iran-Contra affair?
And he said he didn’t know anything and he was not involved and, of course, because if he knew something then he was involved in something, of the obstruction of a very strict order from Congress, something that would prevent him from running for presidency.
Inside this debate was one question about one meeting that took or didn’t take place in October of 1986 in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem between him and a person called Amiram Nir, the counter terrorism adviser to [Israeli] Prime Minister [Shimon] Peres, that was sent to his hotel to brief him about the Iran-Contra by Oliver North, the American coordinator of the whole scheme.
Vice President Bush said I wasn’t present in such a meeting and it didn’t take place, and I was not aware. And during his campaign, that guy, Amiram Nir, got killed in a mysterious accident in Mexico.
Now, he had all the secret files and recordings of the Iran-Contra affair in one big file codenamed, “The Hungarian Octagon.” From the day he was killed, someone was trying to break in houses and offices of people around him looking for that file. The last episode, the last break in, happened as late as 2003. Someone is still looking for the documents. Though someone did keep a copy and gave me the copy of “The Hungarian Octagon” file, and the summary of it is in the book, in “The Secret War with Iran,” with the transcript of the meeting that President Bush claims that did not take place, where Amiram Nir briefs him about all the details, in a very deep sense, of the Iran-Contra affair.
So, back to your question, Amiram Nir gave him everything. President Bush knew everything about the Iran-Contra affair and his denials were false.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008