The Iran-Contra Affair.
How to recover the complete documentary record, the thousands of "secret" materials ranging from corporate ledgers to the most highly-classified memoranda of the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency? How to grasp the still-elusive whole--fine points of plans and operations on four continents, as well as broad issues of foreign policy, Executive authority, and the Constitutional process?
The National Security Archive, a non-profit research institute and library in Washington, D.C., has for several years been diligently locating, obtaining declassification of, organizing, and indexing high-level documents on Iran-Contra and many other contemporary U.S. foreign-policy subjects.
Through systematic document searching, sophisticated use of the Freedom of Information Act, cultivation of an extensive network of government, media, and academic contacts, and computer-based cataloging, the Archive has developed an unmatchable collection of primary materials--comprehensive in scope, pioneering in organization.
Now, through a cooperative publishing program with Chadwyck-Healey, this resource, once available only to Washington insiders, becomes available in fully-indexed form to researchers everywhere.
The Iran-Contra Affair: The Making of a Scandal: 1983-1988 reproduces on microfiche over 20,000 pages of rarely-seen documentation from the government as well as the private sector.
Many of these acquisitions are derived from the official bodiesinvestigating the Iran-Contra Affair, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Tower Commission, the joint select Congressional committees, and the Independent Counsel. In addition, the Archive has moved well beyond official investigative documentation through hundreds of its own Freedom of Information Act requests, and through materials provided by scholars, journalists, and even players in the scandal.
The result is a uniquely integrated, thorough history of the policies, operations, and investigations that constituted the Affair, from the autumn of 1983 when Congress first put limits on official U.S. assistance to the Contras, to the criminal indictments of Oliver North, John Poindexter, Richard Secord, and Albert Hakim in spring, 1988.
It would take an individual researcher years of work, along with an overwhelming financial commitment, to accumulate the resources offered in this collection. Here is the first one-stop retrieval for information on events and players, government and non-government, American, Nicaraguan, Iranian, Israeli, and many other nationalities.
Materials from the White House and National Security Council, lie at the core of the collection. But important segments also come from many other government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I., Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Treasury, and Transportation, General Accounting Office, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Congress, and U.S. District courts.
Moreover, the collection contains a wealth of documentation from groups that formed the private sector arm of these covert operations, such as the National Endowment for the Preservation of Liberty, International Business Communications, and others.
In-depth, document-level indexing gives researchers a quality of access that is rare for any published manuscript collection, government or non-government. Important transactions within each document are indexed individually. Prepared by the National Security Archive staff, the hard-bound index to names, organizations, and subjects--designed by indexing specialist David Bearman--is a major historical contribution in itself.
Also provided are:
Glossaries of key individuals and organizations
Chronological document bibliography
Bibliography of relevant secondary sources
No previously-published account of the Iran-Contra Affair gives researchers such consistent access to the innermost councils of executive authority.
Among the remarkable documents here, for example, are minutes of Restricted Inter-Agency Group and National Security Planning Group meetings, top-secret Presidential covert action Findings, and multiple drafts of National Security Decision Directives, which highlight the internal bureaucratic processes in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. Many of the documents included represent whole categories of government materials that have never been declassified before.
The collection's documentary richness and balance of perspectives offer researchers fresh insights on:
This is a sampling of the more than 4000 documents included in The Iran-Contra Affair :The Making of a Scandal 1983-1988:
Materials were identified, obtained, assembled, and indexed by the National Security Archive, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit research institute and library.
Documents are arranged in a general chronological order. Each document bears a unique accession number, to which all indexing is keyed.
Volume II contains an events chronology, glossaries of names and organizations, a chronological document bibliography, and a bibliography of secondary sources.
Date of Publication:
Praise for The Iran-Contra Affair, 1983-1988
"The National Security Archive represents an idea so obvious--once you think of it--that it instantly makes the transition from
novelty to necessity The desirability
of collecting in one location all the declassified documentation on US. foreign policy is so compelling
that we are certain to ask ourselves very soon how we managed to get along without it. (Document collections and
indices such as this Iran-Contra collection) will
make accessible to researchers everywhere a vast body of information that previously could be obtained and
used only by a few skilled and dedicated researchers. All of us who have a professional interest in contemporary
security and foreign policy issues can only rejoice at the appearance of this new institutional resource. "
Adjunct Professor of Middle East Politics
Iran Specialist, National Security Council,
Ford, Carter, and Reagan Administrations
Return to National Security Archive Microfiche Sets.