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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Robert MacFarlane, former national security adviser to Reagan, dies at 84

Former White House national security adviser Robert MacFarlane – who pleaded guilty to his role in the Iran-Contra affair – died Thursday at a Michigan hospital. He was 84 years old.

MacFarlane died from complications of a previous illness, his family said in a statement.

The family said in a statement to the Associated Press, “As his family, we would like to share our deep sorrow at the loss of our beloved husband, father and grandfather and note the profound impact they have had on our lives.”

“Although recognized as a strategic political thinker, we remember him for his warmth, his wisdom, his deep faith in God and his commitment to serving others.”

McFarlane, a former Marine lieutenant colonel who served in Vietnam, resigned from his White House position in 1985, before the Reagan administration asked him to exchange Iran’s weapons for Western hostages in the Middle East. Inspired to participate in a secret plan.

Proceeds from the exchange would be passed on to fight with the Contra rebels in Nicaragua against the Marxist Sandinista government.

MacFarlane led a secret delegation to Iran, armed with a Bible signed by Keck and Reagan, with the hope of making contact with those who could influence the release of American hostages.

Robert MacFarlane pleaded guilty to his role in the infamous Iran-Contra affair.
Bateman Archive

The plan became public after the Sandinistas shot down a cargo plane loaded with weapons arranged by the CIA in October 1986, revealing one of the biggest political scandals of the 20th century.

In February 1987, MacFarlane was taken to a Washington-area hospital after overdosing on Valium, a day before he was scheduled to testify before a presidential commission about his major role in the operation.

In March 1988, he pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors of having information from Congress, which he admitted, but claimed he acted in the best interest of the country.

Former National Security Adviser Robert MacFarlane takes the oath on December 8, 1986, on Capitol Hill before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington.
Robert MacFarlane previously served in the Nixon and Ford administrations.
Associated Press Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

“I actually hid information from Congress,” he told reporters at the time. “I firmly believe that, my actions were motivated by my belief in the interest of the foreign policy of the United States.”

He and five others linked to the scandal were later pardoned by President George HW Bush.

MacFarlane rose to positions as a lieutenant colonel in the Marines and in the Nixon and Ford administrations, where he served as the National Security Special Assistant to two presidents.

Robert C.  MacFarlane, left, is escorted by Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for national security adviser, right, as he departs Trump Tower, December 5, 2016 in New York.
Robert MacFarlane speaks to former President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn at Trump Tower on December 5, 2016.
Associated Press Photo/Andrew Harnick

He served with the Republican staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee during the Carter administration before returning to the executive branch after the election of Reagan, where he served in the State Department until moving to the White House in January 1982 as deputy to National Security Adviser William Clark. Worked as a counselor. He was appointed to the top national security post in 1983.

He is survived by a 63-year-old wife, two daughters and a son.

post with wires

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