October Surprise: The First Stolen Election
Parallel Secret Negotiations
Most of us remember Operation Desert One, a hostage rescue attempt by our military early in 1980 that ended up dead in the desert, got eight Americans killed and resulted as a major embarrassment for Carter. During negotiations after that, Iran was demanding of the Carter people that we exchange $150 million in American military equipment that theyd already ordered and paid for, before the Shah was overthrown and Ayatollah Khomeini took power. Carter said he wouldnt deal with arms merchants, but otherwise thought this seemed fair enough. Meantime, the Reagan campaign was busy monitoring Carters every move on this.
As early as March 1980, William Caseythen managing Reagans election campaign and later named his CIA directorapproached two Iranian wheeler-dealers in Washington. The Hashemi brothers, Jamshid and Cyrus, were asked if theyd set up a meeting with some representatives of the government. The thing was, Cyrus Hashemi, whod done some work for the CIA, was also an important intermediary for the Carter White House in the talks. Anyway, what was basically a bidding war proceeded from there. Casey went to Spain in July and worked out arrangements to get arms to the Iranians from several locations in Europe, by way of Israel, once the hostages were freed. The equipment was worth billions and involved arms dealers, not to mention $40 million in bribes going to various individuals. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
Abol Bani-Sadr, president of Iran at the time, later wrote about the secret deal in two books. One of Khomeinis nephews was supposed to present Iran with a proposal from Carter, but he instead returned home with one from the Reagan camp. Bani-Sadr was told that if he didnt accept it, the Republicans would make the same offer to his radical rivals. Lastly, he told me my refusal of their offer would result in my elimination. Bani-Sadr said he first resisted and tried to get the hostages released right awaythere had already been an official agreement with Carter done in Algeriabut, not surprisingly, Ayatollah Khomeini was working both sides of the street.