Robert Parry of Consortium News is reporting that in 1992 the Russians turned over to the White House a secret report confirming that senior US officials and Reagan campaign staff met with Iranian officials in Europe during the summer of 1980.  The meetings, since known as the October Surprise, were designed to delay the release of the American Embassy hostages in Iran until after the US elections, depriving President Jimmy Carter of a success that might have kept him in office.

I know for a fact that Henry Waxman’s committee on government ethics has hard evidence that the meetings did take place and that they were orchestrated by Reagan’s campaign manager Bill Casey.  They were set up with the connivance of at least two CIA Chiefs of Station in Europe, in Rome and Paris.  Parry is now reporting that current US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also involved, according to the intelligence allegedly provided by the Russians.  Gates was, at the time, a senior official in Carter’s National Security Council.  If Gates was truly part of the meetings and was not reporting his activity to the White House, one might suggest that he was part of a conspiracy engaged in regime change, to use the currently popular expression.  Parry suggests that Gates was rewarded after the election and that his career took off, eventually resulting in his being named Director of Central Intelligence. 

I am more concerned that Obama is appointing only hawks to his cabinet than I am by any allegations about Gates, though the tale told by Parry is disturbing to say the least.  Meeting clandestinely with the officials of a foreign country to come to an arrangement intended to influence the results of an election in the United States goes well beyond ordinary political shenanigans and makes Richard Nixon’s sins seem almost trivial.