October Surprise: The First Stolen Election
Stopping the October Surprise
A secret plan by the Carter administration for a second hostage rescue mission went operational in September. But it was leaked to Richard V. Allen, soon to be Reagans national security adviser. Shortly thereafter, the Reagan-Bush campaign launched a major publicity effort warning that President Carter might be planning an October surprise to obtain the release of the hostages prior to the election.
That fall, Cyrus Hashemi received a $3 million deposit arranged by a Houston lawyer who was associated with vice-presidential candidate Bush. Around that time came a meeting in Paris that involved Bush himselfalthough the U.S. government and most of the media would do their best to pretend it never happened. (Bush called it that ugly little word-of-mouth rumor.)
Playing their cards close to the vest, Irans leadership was saying it wanted either Reagan or Bush to personally put their John Hancock on a final agreement. On September 22, Iraq invaded Iran, which made Irans need for war equipment all the more urgent. A series of meetings ensued over five days at different hotels in Paris. Bush and Casey are said to have arrived at the Paris Hilton for a 90-minute discussion to cut the final deal on October 19. Secret Service spokesmen later claimed that Bush was in Washington that weekend, but their logs showed a missing 21 hours in his itinerary. Theres nothing from the time of a speech he gave on a Saturday night, until another speech that he arrived late for the next night, and other Secret Service documents show that he flew into National Airport at 7:35 p.m. on that Sunday. He left for Paris on a BAC-111 owned by one of the Saudi royal family, and returned on a fast SR-71 aircraft that the CIA loaned him.
At least five of the sources who say they were in Paris in connection with these meetings insist that George Bush was present for at least one of them. Three of the sources say that they saw him there. Ari Ben-Menashe, an ex-member of Mossad Israeli intelligence, said hed been part of an advance team working with the French in arranging the meetings.
CIA contract agent Richard Brenneke testified under oath that hed seen Bush, along with NSC official Donald Gregg, in the French capital that weekend. There was also an investigation overseen by Sergey V. Stepashin, who later became Russias prime minister. On January 11, 1993, he had a six-page report translated by the American Embassy in Moscow and forwarded to Congress. At the Paris meeting, the Russians independently learned, R[obert] Gates, at the time a staffer of the National Security Council in the administration of Jimmy Carter, and former CIA director George Bush also took part.
Right after the Paris meeting with Bush and Gates in attendance, Iran suddenly told the Carter administration it had no further interest in receiving military equipment. Then, over the next several days, Israel quietly shipped F-4 fighter-aircraft tires to the Iranians, in violation of the U.S. arms embargo, while Iran started dispersing the hostages to several different locations.
So, Carter lost the election and then came the timed release (like a good sleeping pill) on Reagans inauguration day. Banker Ernest Backes from Clearstream in Luxembourg later said hed been in charge of a transfer of $7 million from Chase Manhattan and Citibank on January 16, 1980, to help pay for the hostages liberation. According to Bani-Sadr of Iran: We have published documents which show that U.S. arms were shipped, via Israel, in March, about two months after Reagan became president.