Iran Contra

In 1986, the Christic Institute brought charges against 28 individuals involved in the Iran-Contra Affair (Avirgan v. Hull). Filed under the provisions of the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organizations Act (RICO), the case gave Christic broad investigative powers. Using these powers they were able to compel testimony and subpoena evidence that revealed the existence of a “secret team” within the United States intelligence community that had been engaged in a decades-long pattern of criminal activity in the conduct of covert operations. The Christic Institute’s suit and public education campaign created broad public awareness of the Iran-Contra Affair, eventually forcing the appointment of Special Counsel Lawrence Walsh. Ultimately, the suit failed to win any civil judgment against the defendants. President George H. W. Bush pardoned the principal conspirators and the case was dismissed by Federal Judge James Lawrence King. A Nixon appointee, King was later discovered to have been a Member of the Board of Directors of organized-crime accountant Meyer Lansky’s Miami National Bank as well as a legal consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency. The final blows came when Judge King ordered Christic to pay one million dollars of the defendant’s legal fees and the IRS stripped the Institute of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status after claiming the suit was politically-motivated.

Iran Contra Classes from Trajectory of Justice 2012 at UCSC

  1. Pre-filing Investigation
  2. Pre-Trial Discovery and Investigation
  3. The Appellate Process


  1.        Brought to Light
  2.        The Secret Team

The Christic Institute revealed:

1. Drug trafficking to finance the contra war against Nicaragua: with the knowledge of officials in the White House, Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, key figures in the covert Contra supply operation smuggled cocaine and other drugs from Colombia to the United States through contra-controlled bases in Central America.

2. A pattern of criminal activity in the conduct of covert operations: major figures implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal have a criminal history dating back to covert operations in Cuba, Southeast Asia and the Middle East that included drug trafficking, gun running, money laundering and political assassinations.

3. Existence of a lawless “secret government” fighting covert wars worldwide: elements of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council are operating outside the effective control of Congress and the American people, enlisting the services of narcotics traffickers and professional assassins, hiding behind dummy corporations and secret bank accounts, operating independent of democratic oversight and with impunity.

Quotes supporting the Christic Institute’s Court Declaration:

“The Christic Institute’s court declaration represents a year of relentless research into the activities of members of the United States’ invisible government that have gone far beyond the laws of God, governments, and society.  If there remains any justice, indictments and civil judgements will follow.”

John Stockwell
Former CIA Task Force Chief in Angola
Author of In Search of Enemies

“This is the definitive, well-footnoted summation of the Christic case, which first brought the Contragate scandal to the attention of the American people, which documents major wrong-doings carefully avoided by the Iran-contra select committees, and which may now offer us the best chance of bringing these wrong-doers to justice.”

Peter Dale Scott

Co-author of The Iran Contra Connection:
Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era
“The Christic Institute’s Contragate project has the potential of enlightening the American public – more than anything I’ve seen since the Pentagon Papers and the Church Committee investigation – on the hidden arms and instruments of our covert foreign policy over the last two generations.  I don’t know of a single effort in the country at this time more worthy of support than this project.”

Daniel Elsberg

“This Christic Institute’s lawyers and researchers have uncovered volumes of incriminating evidence… It is now clear that the real patriots are not the flag waving arms dealers who have profited from drug smuggling, but courageous citizens such as those at the Christic Institute, who have worked to expose the truth about our foreign policy.”

Coretta Scott King

“The Christic Institute is well known and respected on Capital Hill.  Lnog before Congress became energized about U.S. government misbehavior in Central America, the Christic Institute was investigating and revealing the true story.  All Americans should be grateful for the key work they are doing to support our Constitution and to insure the legitimacy of governmental behavior.”

Don Edwards
Member of Congress