Background Briefing: March 20, 2023
An Historian Who First Learned of the 1980 October Surprise Which Helped Elect Reagan and End Carter’s Presidency
We begin with the confirmation of a second act of treason by Republicans using backchannels to influence the results of presidential elections with the first when Kissinger and Anna Chennault got the South Vietnamese to scuttle peace talks arranged by LBJ to end the war in Vietnam in 1968 which helped elect Nixon and the second being the backchannel of former Texas Governor Connally to get the Iranians to hold onto the hostages to help elect Reagan and end Jimmy Carter’s presidency. We speak with an historian who originally broke the story of Ben Barnes and Governor Connally’s secret trip to the Middle East in 1980 which was the subject of a bombshell expose of the “October Surprise” on the front page of Sunday’s New York Times. Joining us is H. W. Brands, Professor and Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written more than a dozen biographies and histories, two of which, The First American and Traitor to His Class, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The General vs. the President, a New York Times bestseller, Our First Civil War, The Last Campaign, and Reagan: The Life in which he revealed for the first time what Ben Barnes had told him about the secret trip he made to the Middle East which Barnes has now gone public with in The New York Times because he wants to make amends to President Carter who is now in hospice care and should know before he dies how he was undermined by Republican chicanery if not treachery.
A Carter White House Insider on the Second Act of Treason by Republicans Which Deserves More Than an Apology to Jimmy Carter
Then we speak with someone who was at the center of the Iranian hostage crisis inside the Carter White House, Gary Sick who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan and was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. He is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute, and the author of All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter With Iran and October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan. We discuss how this extraordinarily important story has been buried for 43 years and only comes out after Reagan, his campaign manager William Casey and Governor Connally are all dead. However, what they did in manipulating a presidential election at the expense of American hostages held captive in Iran, flies in the face of the old adage that political partisanship ends at America’s shore and should result in more than an apology to Jimmy Carter.