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Commissioned on November 26, 1986 by American President Ronald Reagan, the Tower Commission was in response to the Iran Contra scandal. Taking effect on December 1, Reagan appointed Senator John Tower, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.

The commission uncovered that Reagan did not have anything to do with the scandal, but was nonetheless criticized for not knowing about the actions of those under him. More correctly, the commission couldn't prove Reagan had anything to do with the scandal....an important distinction. (Tower Commission report)


Oliver North, John Poindexter, Caspar Weinberger, and others were implicated.

A major result of the Tower Commission was the consensus that Reagan should have listened to his National Security Advisor more, thereby placing more power in the hands of that chair. The National Security Advisor was to be seen as an "honest broker" and not someone who would use his position to further his political agenda.

Summarised, the main findings showed :-

The CIA CREATED the Contra terrorist organisation in an attempt to overthrow the legally elected Sandista government. Weapons, training and funding were provided, with civilian targets included in the Contras terrorist campaign. (Tower Commission report)


Using the Contras as a front, and against international law, and US law, weapons were sold, using Israel as intermediaries, to Iran, during the brutal Iran/Iraq war. Note, the US were also supplying weapons to Iraq, including ingredients for Nerve Gas, Mustard Gas and other Chemical weapons. (Tower Commission report)


In addition, the Contras were used to push drugs into the United States, specifically targetting the black african communities. (Tower Commission report)

Further reading

See Chapter 5, "The Politics of Scandal: The Tower Commission and Iran-Contra," in Kenneth Kitts, *Presidential Commissions and National Security (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2006). The Great War for Civilisation, The Conquest of the Middle East; Robert Fisk

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