Unprecedented? Clinton/Gore ’92 Seized On Law Enforcement Revelation4 Days Before ElectionBack history:In January 1989, Bush succeeded Reagan as President. It was in his capacity as President that Bush committed what will likely become his most memorable act in connection with Iran/contra. On December 24, 1992, twelve days before former Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger was to go to trial, Bush pardoned him.
In issuing pardons to Weinberger and five other Iran/contra defendants, President Bush charged that Independent Counsel’s prosecutions represented the “criminalization of policy differences.”President Bush also pardoned former National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane, former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, former CIA Central American Task Force Chief Alan D. Fiers, Jr., former CIA Deputy Director for Operations Clair E. George, and former CIA Counter-Terrorism Chief Duane R. Clarridge. The Weinberger pardon marked the first time a President ever pardoned someone in whose trial he might have been called as a witness, because the President was knowledgeable of factual events underlying the case.The criminal investigation of Bush was regrettably incomplete. Before Bush’s election as President, the investigation was primarily concerned with the operational conspiracy and the careful evaluation of the cases against former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter and Lt. Col. Oliver L. North of the National Security Council staff, prior to their indictment in March 1988.In 1991 and 1992, Independent Counsel uncovered important evidence in the form of withheld documents and contemporaneous notes that raised significant questions about the earlier accounts provided by high Administration officials. The personal diary of Vice President Bush was disclosed to Independent Counsel only in December 1992, despite early and repeated requests for such documents. This late disclosure prompted a special investigation into why the diary had not been produced previously, and the substance of the diary.