Claim: During the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, Oliver North warned Congress that Osama bin Laden was "the most evil person alive" and that "an assassin team [should] be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth."
Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2001]
I was at a UNC lecture the other day where they played a video of Oliver North during the Iran-Contra deals during the Reagan administration. I was only 14 back then but was surprised by this particular clip. There was Olie in front of God and Country getting the third degree. But what he said stunned me. He was being drilled by some senator I didn't recognize who asked him:
'Did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?'
Oliver replied, 'Yes I did sir.'
The senator continued, trying to get a laugh out of the audience, 'Isn't this just a little excessive?'
'No sir,' continued Oliver.
'No. And why not?'
'Because the life of my family and I were threatened.'
'Threatened? By who.'
'By a terrorist, sir.'
'Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you that much?'
'His name is Osama bin Laden.'
At this point the senator tried to repeat the name, but couldn't pronounce it, which most people back then probably couldn't. A couple of people laughed at the attempt. Then the senator continued.
'Why are you so afraid of this man?'
'Because sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of.'
'And what do you recommend we do about him?'
'If it were me I would recommend an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.'
The senator disagreed with this approach and that was all they showed of the clip.
It's scary when you think
Origins: For most of us who watched the televised Joint Hearings Before the Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition and the House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran (better known as the "Iran-Contra hearings," held by Congress to determine whether the Reagan administration had secretly and illegally sold arms to Iran in order to secure the release of American hostages,
Although North had been granted limited immunity for his testimony, he was later convicted of criminal charges related to Iran-Contra activities (a conviction that was eventually overturned on the grounds that witnesses had been influenced by his immunized testimony). One of the charges against North was that he had received a $16,000 home security system paid for out of the proceeds of the Iran-Contra affair and had forged documents to cover his receipt of an illegal gratuity. North admitted that he knew the security system was a "gift" but maintained he never inquired about who had paid for it or how it was financed, and he was insistent that he needed the security system because the government had failed to provide adequate protection against international terrorists for him and his family.
The terrorist North mentioned in his testimony was not Osama bin Laden, however. To the extent that bin Laden was known to the western world in 1987, it was not as a "terrorist" but as one of the U.S.-backed "freedom fighters" participating in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden's hatred of the U.S. and conversion to "terrorist" status is not believed to have come about until the Gulf War of
Oliver North did not testify about or mention the name Osama bin Laden during the Iran-Contra hearings. He claimed that threats against his life had been made by terrorist
"Abu Nidal, the radical Palestinian guerrilla leader, linked to last Friday's attacks in Rome and
When you look at his whole career, Abu Nidal makes the infamous terrorist Carlos [the Jackal] look like a Boy Scout.
Abu Nidal himself, quoted in Der Spiegel, "Between America and us, there exists a war to the death. In the coming months and years, Americans will be thinking about us."
"For sheer viciousness, Abu Nidal has few rivals in the underworld of terrorism." Newseek.
Our own State Department, and we have copies of these that we can make available for insertion in the record, but the State Department summary on Abu Nidal, not exactly an overstatement, notes that his followers, who number an estimated 500, have killed as many as
Abu Nidal does not deny these things. We also have an exhibit that we can provide for you that shows what Abu Nidal did in the Christmas Massacres. One of the people killed in the Christmas Massacre — and I do not wish to overdramatize this — but the Abu Nidal terrorists in Rome who blasted the 11-year-old American Natasha Simpson to her knees, deliberately zeroed in and fired an extra burst at her head just in case.
I want you to know that I'd be more than
NOVEMBER 28, 2001
OVER THE COURSE OF THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, I HAVE RECEIVED SEVERAL THOUSAND
A COPY OF ONE OF THOSE
I DON'T KNOW WHO SAW WHAT VIDEO "AT UNC." (OR ANYWHERE ELSE) BUT, FOR THE RECORD, HERE'S WHAT I DO KNOW:
1. IT WAS THE COMMITTEE COUNSEL, JOHN NIELDS, NOT A SENATOR WHO WAS DOING THE QUESTIONING.
2. THE SECURITY SYSTEM, INSTALLED AT MY HOME, JUST BEFORE I MADE A VERY SECRET TRIP TO TEHRAN, COST, ACCORDING TO THE COMMITTEE, $16K, NOT $60K.
3. THE TERRORIST WHO THREATENED TO KILL ME IN 1986, JUST BEFORE THAT SECRET TRIP TO TEHRAN, WAS NOT USAMA BIN LADEN, IT WAS ABU NIDAL (WHO WORKS FOR THE LIBYANS — NOT THE TALIBAN AND NOT IN AFGHANISTAN).
4. I NEVER SAID I WAS AFRAID OF ANYBODY. I DID SAY THAT I WOULD BE GLAD TO MEET ABU NIDAL ON EQUAL TERMS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD BUT THAT I WAS UNWILLING TO HAVE HIM OR HIS OPERATIVES MEET MY WIFE AND CHILDREN ON HIS TERMS.
5. I DID SAY THAT THE TERRORISTS INTERCEPTED BY THE FBI ON THE WAY TO MY HOUSE IN
6. AND I DID SAY THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAD MOVED MY FAMILY OUT OF OUR HOME TO A MILITARY BASE (CAMP LEJEUNE, NC) UNTIL THEY COULD DISPATCH MORE THAN
7. AND, FYI: THOSE FEDERAL AGENTS REMAINED AT OUR HOME UNTIL I RETIRED FROM THE MARINES AND WAS NO LONGER A "GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL." BY THEN, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT HAD SPENT MORE THAN $2M PROTECTING THE NORTH FAMILY. THE TERRORISTS SENT TO KILL US WERE NEVER
OLIVER L. NORTH
| Testimony of Oliver L. North
Fisk, Robert. "Anti-Soviet Warrior Puts His Army on the Road to Peace." The [London] Independent. 6 December 1993 (p. 10). Fritz, Sara and Karen Tumulty. "North's Attempt at Cover-Up Is Told." Los Angeles Times. 24 June 1987 (p. A1). Fritz, Sara. "Took Gift to Save Family, North Says." Los Angeles Times. 9 July 1987 (p. A1). Ibrahim, Youssef. "Saudi Stripped of Citizenship for Funding Fundamentalists." The [London] Guardian. 11 April 1994 (p. 8). North, Oliver. "Tackling Terrorism." TownHall.com. 9 June 2000. North, Oliver L. Under Fire: An American Story. New York: HarperCollins, 1992 (pp. 341-344). Pincus, Walter. "North Says He and His Superiors Lied About Contra Aid." The Washington Post. 9 July 1987 (p. A1).