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Reagan's Former National Security Advisor and Iran-Contra Criminal John Poindexter Oversees Pentagon's Massive Surveillance Project

StoryNovember 21, 2002
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Pentagon officials defended the selection yesterday of John Poindexter to head the Total Information Surveillance program.

The Pentagon’s Peter Aldridge said, "John Poindexter has a passion for this project. He’s a Ph.D. in physics. He has an enthusiasm for the project. He came to us with the project after September the 11th and volunteered it to DARPA… You want an enthusiastic leader. Once the tool is developed and — John will not be involved. But it’s his enthusiasm and his volunteering of this idea which is why we developed and started to fund it."

But Poindexter has a notorious past. He illegally orchestrated secret arms sales to Iran to support the Nicaraguans Contra rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Nicaragua. He was convicted of five felonies for lying to Congress and for destroying governmental records. The convictions were later overturned on a technicality. He resigned from government in 1986. He quietly returned earlier this year.

Guest:

  • Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a public-interest documentation center in Washington, and co-author of "The Iran-Contra Scandal: A Declassified History."

Tape:

  • Pete Aldridge, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, recorded at a Pentagon press briefing on Nov. 20, 2002.

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