Bill Small: Most of his year in 1987 had been overshadowed by another issue. The issue was the Iran-Contra Scandal, and it dogged Mr. Reagan’s steps for nearly the entire year.
"Correspondent Pye Chamberlain has the story …
Pye Chamberlain: "'At first, some almost innocuous transfers of weapons were made to Iran as symbols of reasonableness by the Reagan Administration when it seemed that the Ayatollah was losing it. It would behoove America to be on the right side of the new guys. A sticky step at a time, America started delivering serious quantities of arms under the illusion that one more shipment would produce the release of American hostages.
"'But the President saw the hostages more vividly than the policy, and he let it continue. He said he never knew that Oliver North and Bill Casey were using the profits to finance the Contras. When the long investigation of the affair was over, his most partisan defender, Henry Hyde of Illinois, noted that nobody ever disproved that …
Henry Hyde: '"It just kills the majority to have to admit there was no smoking gun, although they're still looking under every chair and every couch and in every closet they can find."'
Pye Chamberlain: "'But the Democrats and three of the Republicans said the arms' deliveries themselves and the lack of control of events were the President’s fault.
"'Chairman Daniel Inouye of Hawaii …
Chairman Daniel Inouye: "'"We believe that the President is responsible, because the Constitution specifically requires him to, and I quote, "take care that the laws be faithfully executed."'"
Pye Chamberlain: "'Congress is afraid something like this will happen again, but Congress is not sure what to do about it.
"'This is Pye Chamberlain.'"