Peter Baker of the New York Times wrote a tabloidish piece over the weekend based on a single, politically compromised “source” recalling events from more than four decades ago.
Ben Barnes, the former lieutenant governor of Texas, claims to possess knowledge of a conspiracy by the Ronald Reagan campaign to keep the hostages in Iran until after the 1980 election. Problems abound.
Ben Barnes, a Democrat and Jimmy Carter supporter, never acted as a representative of the Reagan campaign by carrying any sort of message to the Iranians. He does not even allege a meeting between Reagan people and the Iranians. Instead, he claims that John Connally, the gentleman sitting in John Kennedy’s car in the ill-fated Dallas motorcade and a Reagan opponent for the Republican nomination in 1980, told some Arabs of the campaign’s desire, who, Barnes believes, then told some Iranians.
Why would a partisan keep this secret for 43 years?
Baker admits, “Confirming Mr. Barnes’s account is problematic after so much time. Mr. Connally, Mr. Casey and other central figures have long since died and Mr. Barnes has no diaries or memos to corroborate his account. But he has no obvious reason to make up the story and indeed expressed trepidation at going public because of the reaction of fellow Democrats.”
No obvious reason, huh? Of course, the Iranians did not release the hostages the day after the election. They released them upon Reagan’s inauguration.
“Suppose an octogenarian Republican from Arkansas comes forward tomorrow to provide a personal account of Bill Clinton’s involvement in drug trafficking in the 1980s, a notion long promoted in certain GOP circles,” Daniel McCarthy wonders in the New York Post. “No corroboration, just his word for it. In all the worlds of the widest cinematic multiverse imaginable, is there any in which the Times would publish such a piece?”
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