Donald Regan on Homeland Security
That was why Gorbachev wanted to negotiate--and that is why, in my opinion, Pres. Reagan was holding the trump card.
As a matter of practical politics, Gorbachev could not stay in power without at least the acquiescence of the Red Army, and he knew that reducing expenditures for conventional weapons was not the way to keep the Red Army happy. The President had three limited objectives:
[One official recommended] the President should forthwith appoint a bipartisan commission to look into the situation, establish the facts, and make recommendations. [Perhaps] an independent counsel might have to be appointed.
The CIA director itemized the possible consequences of the scandal--a cutoff of funds to the Contras, the unopposed Sandinistas poisoning the rest of Central America with their revolution, outrage in the Middle East over the Israeli role in the affair, the predictable wrath of the Iranians when they discovered that they had been overcharged for their missiles.
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Former Clinton Administration: