Marine lieutenant colonel assigned to the National Security Council staff beginning in 1981 until he was fired on November 25, 1986, was the White House official most directly involved in secretly aiding the contras, selling arms to Iran, and diverting Iran arms sales proceeds to the contras.
North, who was deputy director of political-military affairs, reported many of his activities to his superiors, National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane and later John M. Poindexter. He claimed to have taken much of his direction from Central Intelligence Agency Director William Casey.
North was indicted in March 1988 on 16 Iran/contra charges, along with Poindexter, retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim in a 23-count indictment. After the cases were severed and the central conspiracy charges were dropped due to classified-information problems, North stood trial beginning in February 1989 on 12 counts. On May 4, 1989, he was found guilty of three counts, including aiding and abetting obstruction of Congress, shredding and altering official documents, and accepting an illegal gratuity from Secord. North's convictions were vacated on July 20, 1990, after the appeals court found that witnesses in his trial might have been impermissibly affected by his immunized congressional testimony.more » « less