Transcribe your podcast

November 3rd, 1986, the Lebanese magazine al Shara'a printed an exposé reporting that U.S. President Ronald Reagan had established a covert arrangement to secretly sell weapons to Iran.


In exchange, Iran allegedly released several American hostages being held in Lebanon a week and a half after the article dropped.


Reagan appeared on national television and strongly denied it, saying we did not repeat, did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages, nor will we.


But something didn't quite add up. At a press conference later that month, Attorney General Edwin Meese revealed that the U.S. actually did have an arms deal with Iran.


Not only that, but high ranking administration officials had illegally diverted the profits to support the contras and anti-communist militia in Nicaragua.


All told, Attorney General Meese explained the arrangement had funneled millions of dollars without any congressional approval or oversight.


Following Morsi's disclosure, a series of investigations ensued and continued into the following year, eventually, President Reagan accepted full responsibility for the deal with Iran, but he alleged that he was completely uninvolved in the diversion of funds to the Contras.


However, the facts never quite matched up with his explanations. And as it turned out, this so-called Iran Contra affair was just the tip of a corrupt iceberg. Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a podcast original every Monday and Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth. I'm Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg. And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious.


Don't get us wrong. Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not.


You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other cast originals for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts to stream conspiracy theories for free on Spotify. Just open the app and type conspiracy theories in the search bar. This is our first episode on the Iran Contra affair, a political scandal that U.S. President Ronald Reagan supposedly carried out in the 1980s. The story goes that Reagan and his administration secretly facilitated an arms exchange with Iran. Then they redirected the profits to help the right wing contras in Nicaragua.


Today, we're covering the official story of the Iran Contra affair will chronicle how the weapons trade began. And we'll discuss how the Reagan administration spun the facts to disguise their criminal activities.


Next time, we'll examine three conspiracies related to the affair. We'll explore whether Reagan's party collaborated to shield him from the fallout. We'll scrutinize Vice President Bush's role in the affair, investigating whether he was a key player and will unravel how the profits made from the contra funds may have fueled the crack epidemic in the 1980s.


We have all that and more coming up. Stay with us. At the beginning of Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1981, the Cold War had been simmering for nearly four decades, the capitalist United States and communist Soviet Union didn't antagonise each other directly because they knew an all out battle between the nuclear superpowers would be disastrous.


Instead, they fought so-called proxy wars. They'd interfere in developing nations economies, each hoping to tip the global balance between communism and capitalism in their favor. In particular, Reagan focused on Nicaragua, where tensions simmered between the right wing contra rebels and the socialist Cuban back Sandinista government in keeping with his pro capitalist ideology. Reagan championed the Contras.


According to him, the Contras were, quote, the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.


In reality, the rebels weren't particularly ethical, although their tactics rarely made the press in the United States, they were later accused of human rights violations. They attacked civilians and displaced thousands of indigenous people, and they regularly tortured or killed prisoners of war.


But so far as the Reagan administration was concerned, that was all a fair price to pay, they'd work with terrorists if that's what it took to keep communism in check.


To that end, around 1980, the U.S. government hosted numerous contras in training camps in Florida. Their Cuban exiles and American military officials trained the rebels for the coming revolution.


The camps were an important first step, but Reagan wanted to do more. On December 1st, 1981, he authorized 19 million dollars worth of secret military assistance to the Contras.


The Neutrality Act already made it illegal for the United States to interfere in a foreign war. But Reagan emphasized that this aid wouldn't tip the scales. It would merely prevent left leaning agitators from acquiring weapons.


But he couldn't get support from the legislative branch while Reagan was a Republican. Democrats controlled the Senate and House during the first term, and they were reluctant to sidestep the Neutrality Act or get too involved in the Nicaraguan conflict rather than reach across the aisle.


Reagan and his advisers preferred to make decisions behind closed doors. Unfortunately for Reagan, the secrecy didn't go over well with Congress, which feared that Reagan was misusing his power in 1982.


A Democratic representative named Edward Boland drafted the Boland amendment. It prohibited the Department of Defense, the CIA and other government agencies from using federal funds to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.


The amendment passed unanimously 411 to zero.


Reagan had no choice but to sign it into law, but it didn't stop him and his team from finding and exploiting loopholes.


The director of Central Intelligence, William J. Casey, assured the White House that they could still support the Contras without breaching the amendment, since the legislation didn't cover the National Security Council. Casey explained that they could oversee the contra funding without getting reprimanded.


As the name implies, the National Security Council is supposed to advise the president on matters related to national security. Although foreign relations fall under their purview, the agency isn't supposed to intervene in other countries politics. But they were willing to bend the rules to get a leg up in the Cold War.


Under the supervision of national security adviser Robert Karl Bud McFarlane, Reagan authorized the CIA to conduct a mining operation in Nicaragua. Then from January until March 1984, the CIA exploded mines in Nicaraguan harbors they hope did damage and scare off Soviet ships.


The Wall Street Journal uncovered the mining operations in April. The discovery stoked outrage on both sides of the political spectrum. Several Democrats called for a prosecutor to determine if Reagan had broken the law.


Nicaragua also filed a suit against the United States. It went to trial before the World Court, a United Nations operated court system. It was the first time a Third World country ever brought a case against a developed nation and Nicaragua won. The World Court ruled that the U.S. had to immediately cease mining operations in Nicaragua.


Reagan's State Department responded that they'd adhere to the World Court's ruling in two years. After all, what was the U.N. going to do to stop them?


It was clear that the president and his allies wouldn't back down easily to keep them in check, Congress crafted a more comprehensive and restricted version of the Boland amendment in the spring of 1984. This new proposal made it nearly impossible for Reagan, the Department of Defense or the CIA to support the Contras.


But Reagan wouldn't accept no for an answer. He told National Security Adviser McFarlane to assist in funding the Contras anyways, regardless of the consequences.


The problem? Without Congressional approval, the National Security Council needed some way to raise funds. Luckily, McFarlane found an opportunity in Iran.


And this is where things get tricky. In 1985, an Iranian backed terrorist group called Hezbollah captured several Americans and held them hostage in Lebanon.


Reagan was deeply concerned about the fate of the American captives. He stressed to his advisers, quote, I want you to do whatever you have to do to help these people keep body and soul.


That summer, the director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, David Kim, he met with McFarlane to discuss the hostage crisis. Kim, he mentioned that Iran was desperate for artillery in their war against a Soviet assisted Iraq so they might be willing to exchange prisoners for weapons.


Based on this tip, McFarlane proposed a measure known as the National Security Decision Directive, the order said that the U.S. could provide Iran with enough military aid to slow the spread of communism. In exchange, the Iranian government would pay the United States in released hostages and cash.


The directive polarised Reagan's cabinet. Two of its harshest critics were Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz. Even though Weinberger and Shultz were both Republicans and Reagan appointees, they preferred a less interventionist policy.


But Reagan didn't need them on board since, unlike ordinary legislation, the directive didn't need approval. So despite Weinberger's and Shultz's objections, Reagan gave the National Security Council the go ahead to initiate contact with Iran.


In the following months, the U.S. transferred hundreds of missiles to Israel that were then shipped to Iran.


In return, Hezbollah released one hostage that September as the rescue mission ramped up and more missiles were delivered, McFarlane began having second thoughts about the whole operation.


He may have had a crisis of conscience, but some reports suggest his unease stemmed from interpersonal conflicts. Publicly, McFarlane claimed that he got along with everyone in Reagan's administration. But several White House officials said there was major friction between McFarlane and other cabinet members.


Whatever the reason, a new official took over for McFarlane during the next weapons transfer. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was a Vietnam vet and the deputy director of the National Security Council. North was well qualified to run the illegal arms trade, but he encountered an obstacle almost immediately. In November 1985, North chartered a CIA aircraft to carry a bundle of missiles to Iran, but when the weapons arrived, Iran deemed them substandard. Hezbollah refused to release any more hostages, but North was undeterred.


He seized the leftover funds from the missile transaction and transferred them to the Contras. The diversion had begun. It's hard to say how much authority North actually had to make the transfer, remember, Reagan had told McFarlane to fund the Contras however he could. It's unclear how the message made its way to Colonel North. Officially, Reagan never told them to divert the profits, nor did he know that North was moving the money.


But that's a little hard to believe, especially given the fact that the president of the United States also sits as the chair of the National Security Council. I'm not sure I buy that this entire conspiracy played out unnoticed right under Reagan's nose.


Maybe he was distracted. While North oversaw weapons deals and fund diversions, Reagan had to fill a vacant seat.


In any case, on December 2nd, 1985, McFarlane resigned. Vice Admiral John Poindexter succeeded him as Reagan's national security adviser with n help.


Poindexter also began diverting millions of the profits from the arms exchange to the Contras.


But the conspirators couldn't keep this up forever. Critics like Weinberger and Shultz still condemned Reagan's intervention, or at least the parts of it they knew about. The Iranian weapons exchange and the funds diversion were totally secret.


And once the public learned what was going on, the so-called Iran-Contra affair would become a full blown scandal. Next, one news story brings the Iran Contra affair to light pa Caster's We're entering the spookiest season of the year. And while I can't wait for candy corn to hit the grocery store shelves, I'm also looking forward to more frightful parts of fall, starting with Podcast Network's newest original series called Haunted Places Ghost Stories. Starting October 1st, we're bringing you the scariest, most Hair-Raising ghost stories ever imagined.


Every Thursday on Haunted Places, Ghost Stories, Alistaire, Murden Semmens, a new spine tingling tale of Wraith's phantoms and chilling apparitions. These stories come from all over the world, including Japan, India, the UK and even ancient Rome. Don't miss stone-Cold classics like The Kitbag by Algernon Blackwood, a sinister account of a condemned murderer's final wish and the lengths he'd go to fulfill it. And The Misere, a Spanish tale of a wandering musician who hears a terrifyingly beautiful song in a burned out monastery and is doomed to capture its notes until he dies.


You can find and follow haunted places, ghost stories free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And don't forget, October is our favorite month and one of our busiest. So make sure to search Parks Network in the Spotify search bar to see all of our new shows.


Now back to the story in the 1980s, U.S. President Ronald Reagan secretly arranged to sell weapons to Iran. In exchange, they paid cash and released several American hostages who had been held captive in Lebanon.


The deputy director of the National Security Council, Oliver North, diverted profits from the exchange to support the capitalist contras. To this end, North collaborated with a Central Intelligence Agency. However, he and the CIA weren't the only ones helping the Nicaraguan rebel group.


According to a report from the Associated Press, drug traffickers in Nicaragua funneled money to the Contras in 1984 and 1985. In exchange, the rebels helped transport cocaine across borders. In 1985, they made enough from Coke sales to buy 250000 dollars in weapons and a helicopter, the equivalent of roughly six hundred thousand dollars today.


Later, the Reagan administration confirmed that they knew about the drug money, although the cocaine dealers and the U.S. officials weren't officially allies. Their connection through the Contras made them uneasy accomplices. This is especially ironic given Reagan's role in the so-called war on drugs in the United States.


And it's hard to believe that the U.S. operations were completely independent from the Contras cocaine trade. After all, the CIA has a long history of dealing drugs in order to destabilize foreign governments.


During World War Two, the CIA's predecessors conspired with the Italian mafia to destabilize Benito Mussolini's government in 1943. They also supposedly facilitated trade with China in an effort to flood Italy with heroin.


Not only did the alliance help the United States infiltrate Italian politics, it also proved to be massively profitable. By 1947, when the CIA was formally established, they were dealing heroin in France. Afterward, they helped the Yakuza come to power in Japan thanks to the meth trade. In addition, the CIA were major players in the global opium industry. To be clear, these events have all been confirmed, they're not conspiracy theories, which means the United States had a history of dubious political intervention facilitated by drug dealing even before they got involved with the Contras.


Most of this had gone on in secret with ordinary American citizens none the wiser. But the events of 1986 would change everything.


The trouble started in May when Oliver North traveled to Tehran to negotiate the release of more American hostages, even though he'd resigned the previous year.


Former national security adviser Robert Karl Bud McFarlane accompanied North in an unofficial capacity.


But after four days of meetings with Iranian leaders, no hostages were freed. The Iranians complained that they'd been overcharged in the past. Now they were worried that the Americans would dupe them again. Their suspicions were, of course, justified, even though they failed to free any more hostages. North and his colleagues had a cash down payment from the Iranians on their way back to Washington. North reportedly told McFarlane that they wouldn't refund the money, they'd funnel it to the Contras.


Somehow, North's dishonesty didn't completely sour the relationship. Later that year, the United States convinced the Iranians to pay four million dollars for the missile parts from May. That's over nine point five million dollars today for the same weaponry they'd previously deemed substandard.


Hezbollah release two more American captives that year, and as promised, the U.S. government reciprocated with even more weapons.


Soon, however, the Reagan administration found themselves on thin ice. In October 1986, the communist Sandinista government shot down a seeing 123 supply plane over northern Nicaragua.


They captured the lone survivor, an American pilot named Eugene Hasenfus, at a press conference in Managua a week later, Hasenfus confessed that the CIA had hired him to load and deliver weapons to the Contras.


Later, he refuted his statement, claiming that he was unsure if the other men on the plane were affiliated with any government agency.


But it was too late to backtrack. The secret was out and everyone started investigating Hassan FISAs claims.


The Nicaraguan government identified the two men who died in the crash as American CIA agents, Reagan and his administration immediately denied the CIA's involvement, but the evidence was stacking up against them.


One short month after Hasenfus, the pilot, gave his statement on Shara'a published an exposé that revealed the Reagan administration's entire year long deception, or at least the Iranian part of it, al Shara'a had no idea that profits from the Iranian arms trade were being funneled to contra rebels in Nicaragua.


President Reagan failed to illuminate them on the Nicaraguan connection. In fact, he initially denied that an arms exchange had even taken place. In a televised speech, Reagan claimed that the U.S. did not negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, but his denial didn't convince everyone in light of the growing scandal.


Attorney General Edwin Meese launched an investigation into the U.S. Iran arms hostage deal.


Meese was an odd choice to lead such a probe. He was President Reagan's right hand man, hardly an impartial third party, and his bias soon reared its ugly head.


During his research, Meese found a memo North had penned detailing the fund's diversion to the Contras Miss work from Friday night to Monday morning with a team of Department of Justice lawyers not to investigate the memo or build a case against the White House, but to present a narrative that vindicated Reagan and his team.


He called the president and suggested he coordinate his story with his advisers so that no one would be, quote, blindsided by us not knowing something that might be going on. Once the president had enough time to prepare, Meese met with Reagan, Bush and the chief of staff, Donald Regan, no relation. They agreed that Meese should break the news about the fund's diversions so he could put the proper spin on the story.


So on November 25th, 1986, the president called a press conference there, meals delivered the news to an incredulous, gobsmacked group of reporters, telling them that 10 to 30 million dollars from the Iran arms exchange had aided the Contras. That's about 23 to 70 million dollars today.


Most significantly misnamed the three key players he thought were responsible for the scheme. North Poindexter and McFarlane. To hear Meese tell it, President Reagan was totally innocent.


Meese reassured the journalists that Reagan had been completely unaware of the diversion until Meese had alerted him about it.


He also maintained that the CIA was completely uninvolved with the transfer of funds. Instead, he insisted that North Poindexter and McFarlane had acted alone.


Soon after his announcement, the National Security Council fired North. Poindexter immediately resigned. As for Macfarlane, he hadn't been officially involved with the agency since 1985, so there was nothing to be done.


But otherwise things were happening fast.


The day after the press conference, Reagan created a task force to investigate the National Security Council. He appointed Texas Senator John Tower to head the force, which became known as the Tower Commission.


Like MI6 probe, the Tower Commission was also rife with conflicts of interest. Reagan hand-picked Tower to look into the scandal he was allegedly responsible for.


Luckily, the Tower Commission wasn't the only group investigating the Iran Contra affair, a court appointed deputy attorney general, Lawrence Walsh, as an independent prosecutor to help with the inquest.


Walsh was the opposite of Tower in almost every way. He had a reputation as an honest and persistent attorney. He'd overseen several criminal proceedings against the New York City mob, and he had political experience negotiating on President Nixon's behalf in Vietnam.


The judiciary placed a lot of stock in Walsh's stellar reputation. They likely hoped it would stop people from thinking that his conservative ties posed a conflict of interest. Walsh proved them correct. He hired a staff of researchers and instructed them to spare no expense in gathering evidence against Reagan and his team.


But even his vigilance wasn't enough. Congress formed yet another separate committee a month later in January 1987, according to one participant. The committee decided early on not to pursue the president directly. Reagan's term was about to end, and it didn't seem like a good use of resources to indict an official with one foot out the door. More importantly, Congress wanted to avoid another Watergate crisis. So Reagan managed to escape the majority of the scrutiny, but the other conspirators weren't so lucky.


Former national security adviser Bud McFarlane found himself in a deep pool of despair.


Three hours before he was supposed to testify in front of the Tower Commission, McFarlane took an overdose of Valium. Someone at his house found him and called an ambulance. Paramedics rushed McFarlane to the hospital. Luckily, doctors were able to stabilize him.


And once again, the spin began. McFarland's attorney argued that this was not a suicide attempt.


He suggested that his client had simply taken too much of the tranquilizer in order to alleviate three days of back spasms and headaches.


Whatever the cause for his overdose, the Tower Commission examined McFarlane while he was still hospitalized. To the panel's surprise, he came completely clean. McFarlane admitted that Reagan had authorized a shipment of weapons to Iran in August 1985. He continued explaining that North then took a portion of those profits to support the Contras.


You'd think the confession would break the case wide open, but it was hard for the Tower Commission to take McFarland's testimony at face value because they couldn't verify his account.


Chief of Staff Donald Regan contradicted his testimony. He asserted the president had not only opposed the August 1985 shipment, but that neither he nor Ronald Reagan knew anything about the diversion of funds. The president wasn't the only official.


The investigators couldn't pin down. Vice President George H.W. Bush was also cryptic about his role in the scandal. He denied that he knew anything about the fun diversion to the Contras. Later, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee that, quote, Mistakes were made.


Public opinion polls suggested that people didn't believe Bush was innocent. A year later, CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that one third of Republicans believed the vice president was hiding something about the Iran Contra affair. In response, Bush adamantly denied his involvement.


But no matter what excuses the administration came up with, the pressure escalated to a breaking point. On February 26, 1987, the Tower Commission released their findings.


It was a comprehensive document that spanned over 300 pages. The report criticized President Reagan's lack of oversight and aloof managerial style, but it didn't say he was directly involved. The rest of his staff bore the brunt of the blame.


Weirdly, the report also condemned Cabinet members, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz. It said they failed to halt the diversion of profits from the Iran arms exchange.


Remember, they'd opposed the international intervention from the beginning, but the report suggested they weren't emphatic enough about their objections.


Seemingly, the Tower Commission report was more about spin than it was about uncovering the truth. Even after extensive investigation and questioning, it looked like Reagan was about to get away with everything.


But two other probes were still running, and soon the White House officials would have to defend themselves in the court of law. Coming up, the Iran-Contra trials begin now back to the story.


On February 26, 1987, the Tower Commission released their official report and U.S. President Ronald Reagan seemed untouchable. He'd apparently gotten away with an illegal arms trade and funds diversion. But even though the investigators didn't blame him for the Iran-Contra affair, Reagan had been found guilty in the court of public opinion.


His presidency was slowly drawing to a close and the bad publicity would likely follow him forever. He looked grim and stumbled several times on delivering a brief public statement on the day of the report's release.


Still, Reagan reaffirmed his complete innocence. In a letter to the Tower Commission, the president reiterated that he had no personal notes on the Iran-Contra matters. In fact, he said he couldn't recall anything whatsoever about whether he'd approved an arms sale around August 1985.


It seems unlikely Reagan would forget something as important as an illegal weapons trade. And the American public weren't buying his excuses. The New York Times CBS poll showed that Reagan's approval rating had plummeted to 42 percent, the lowest in more than four years.


With his popularity flagging, Reagan needed to own up to his mistakes. He gave his first televised direct address regarding the Tower Commission on March 4th, 1987.


Reagan said, The reason I haven't spoken to you before now is this you deserve the truth. And as frustrating as the waiting has been, I felt it was improper to come to you with sketchy reports or possibly even erroneous statements, which would then have to be corrected, creating even more doubt and confusion.


The president went on to confess his part in the scandal, sort of.


President Reagan acknowledged that he'd appointed officials like Donald Regan, Oliver North and Bud McFarlane, and because they were his representatives, he had to take responsibility for their actions. But he still maintain that he never knew anything about the arms trade. So, yes, he was responsible, but not culpable from there.


His speech got even weirder. Reagan acknowledged that the Tower Commission had implicated him in the Iranian deal and he didn't exactly deny it. But he said I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that's true, whatever that means.


The entire speech felt like Reagan was trying to have it both ways. It was like he wanted the benefits of confessing without going so far as to actually confess.


His statement elicited a mixed reaction, but it was enough to salvage the president's reputation, according to a CBS poll the day after Reagan's address. His approval rating bumped up nine points.


His slow ascent continued when Reagan installed two new members to his cabinet. These new appointments replace Director of Central Intelligence William Casey and Chief of Staff Donald Regan, symbolizing Reagan's commitment to move past the Iran-Contra affair.


But Congress wasn't so willing to put the past behind them. Remember, two investigations were still ongoing.


From May until August 1987, Congress hosted a series of hearings interrogating the key players in the affair.


These proceedings were televised everywhere. It was as big a spectacle as it was a glimpse into the purported corruption within Reagan's administration. The trial's most incendiary moment came in July when Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North testified, dressed in his green Marine uniform, North took the stand and addressed the crowd, poised and stoic.


He said he believed the United States had a moral obligation to provide aid to the Contras. He confessed not only his knowledge about the contra funds, but also his collusion with his former colleagues, Casey and McFarlane North claim that Casey knew from the beginning about the funds diversion.


He added that McFarlan had asked him to alter official records to help cover up their crimes.


North was just one of several witnesses who helped build the case against the Reagan administration. On November 18th, 1987, Congress released a report based on the summer hearings. They declared that Reagan bore ultimate responsibility for the scandal.


Finally, justice had caught up to the president. But by then, Reagan was preparing to leave office and Vice President George H.W. Bush was gearing up to succeed him. In spite of the chaos of the Iran Contra affair, Bush managed to run a successful campaign. He won the presidency in 1988 in a landslide victory against Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis.


And from the Oval Office, it seemed like Bush continued to participate in the cover up, or at the very least, he did everything in his power to mitigate the damage from the congressional findings.


11 members of Reagan's administration had been convicted. Many, including Poindexter, were vacated on appeals in 1991.


During Bush's tenure in the White House North face the most severe punishment out of everyone involved in the affair. He was sentenced to a three year prison term, two years probation, 150000 dollars in fines and 100 hours of community service. But like his former colleagues, n conviction was vacated and his case was dismissed in 1991.


In June 1992, Secretary of Defense Weinberger was indicted on two counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Bush pardoned him before he even got to trial to justify the clemency.


Bush called Congress' investigation a, quote, criminalization of policy differences.


In other words, he refused to acknowledge that alleged corruption, illegal international interference and black market arms trades merited criminal charges. According to Bush, the Iran-Contra affair and the subsequent probes were just garden variety party politics.


But Bush's leniency didn't win him any popular support. He lost his bid for re-election.


Toward the end of his term, he decided to make one final push to take control of the investigation. On Christmas Eve 1992, Bush pardoned five key players of the Iran-Contra affair, including Bud McFarlane.


Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was still overseeing the Iran-Contra investigation at the time. He could have pushed back against the Bush pardons. In fact, he said that the exonerations undermine the idea that no man is above the law. Ultimately, however, he decided not to pursue any more convictions. The Iran-Contra affair was over.


Of course, something as enigmatic and tumultuous as this scandal is never really over. Next time, we'll explore some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the Iran Contra affair, like conspiracy theory number one, Reagan was never charged or convicted due to the tribalism of the Republican Party conspiracy theory.


Number two, Vice President Bush knew the whole time about the funds diversion. He granted pardons to protect his conspirators and to ensure no one would ever implicate him.


And conspiracy theory number three. The CIA's operation in Nicaragua facilitated a drug trade and led to the crack epidemic in the United States with an official story so obscured by lies and cover ups, the truth about the Iran Contra affair is hard to unravel.


Join us next time as we search for answers. Thanks for tuning in to conspiracy theories, we'll be back Wednesday with a new episode on conspiracy theories about the Iran Contra affair. You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other precast originals for free on Spotify.


Not only does Spotify already have all of your favorite music, but now Spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite cast originals, like conspiracy theories for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream conspiracy theories on Spotify.


Just open the app and type conspiracy theories in the search bar.


Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story, and the official story isn't always the truth. Conspiracy theories was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studio's original executive producers include Max and Ron Cutler, Sound Design by Brian Ghaleb with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Travis Clark. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Sam Rosenberg with writing assistance by Ali Whicker and stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy.


Don't forget to follow haunted places, ghost stories for the spookiest thrillers ever imagined, collected from all around the world and all throughout time. Murden brings a new story to life every Thursday, follow haunted places, ghost stories free on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.