A BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missile
North's mugshot, after his arrest
McFarlane in 1987
President Reagan (center) receives the Tower Commission Report in the White House Cabinet Room; John Tower is at left and Edmund Muskie is at right, 1987.
McFarlane in 1994
McFarlane in 2011

McFarlane was a central figure in the Iran–Contra affair, an operation in which the Reagan Administration funneled weapons to Iran and diverted the profits to illegally fund right-wing rebels in Nicaragua.

- Robert McFarlane

On 17 June 1985, National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane wrote a National Security Decision Directive which called for the United States of America to begin a rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

- Iran–Contra affair
A BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missile

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John Poindexter

Retired United States naval officer and Department of Defense official.

Retired United States naval officer and Department of Defense official.

He was convicted in April 1990 of multiple felonies as a result of his actions in the Iran–Contra affair, but his convictions were reversed on appeal in 1991.

His fellow graduates included astronaut Bruce McCandless II (who graduated second) and Senator John McCain; previous National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane was a contemporary, graduating the following year.

Presidency of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan's tenure as the 40th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 1981, and ended on January 20, 1989.

Ronald Reagan's tenure as the 40th president of the United States began with his first inauguration on January 20, 1981, and ended on January 20, 1989.

Ronald Reagan with a cowboy hat at Rancho Del Cielo.
The 1980 electoral college vote
President-elect Ronald Reagan with outgoing President Jimmy Carter and outgoing Vice President Walter Mondale on January 20, 1981
The Cabinet of President Reagan in 1981
Reagan appointed William Rehnquist to the office of Chief Justice in 1986; he served until his death in 2005
Outlining his plan for Tax Reduction Legislation from the Oval Office in a televised address, July 1981
First Lady Nancy Reagan at a Just Say No rally at the White House
Graph demonstrating increases in U.S. incarceration rate
As the first U.S. president invited to speak before the British Parliament (June 8, 1982), Reagan predicted Marxism would end up on the "ash heap of history"
Meeting with leaders of the Afghan Mujahideen in the Oval Office, 1983
Reagan meets with Prime Minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica in the Oval Office about ongoing events in Grenada
Emperor Hirohito of Japan, Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy in 1983
Gorbachev and Reagan sign the INF Treaty at the White House, 1987
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (here walking with President Reagan at Camp David in 1986) granted the U.S. use of British airbases to launch the Libya attack
President Reagan meeting with South African anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu in 1984
World map highlighting countries visited by Ronald Reagan while president
President Reagan in February 1985
Reagan defeated Democrat Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election.
Republican George H. W. Bush defeated Democrat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election.
Graph of Reagan's approval ratings in Gallup polls

Specifically, the Reagan administration engaged in covert arms sales to Iran to fund Contra rebels in Nicaragua that were fighting to overthrow their nation's socialist government; the resulting scandal led to the conviction or resignation of several administration officials.

Secretary of Defense Weinberger and Secretary of State Shultz both opposed the arrangement, so it was handled by National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and McFarlane's successor, John Poindexter.