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

Comic Books: (These are large pdf files, they may take a while to load.)

  1.        Brought to Light
  2.        The Secret Team

The Contra-Drug Connection: A Christic Institute Special Report

Contragate: A Moral Challenge to People of Faith

25 Years of the Secret Team Page 1, Page 2, Page 3

Iran Contra Affidavit Full Resolution

Iran Contra Affidavit Reduced File Size

Why the Right campaigned to shut down the Christic Institute: In their own words


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




  1. Charles Hanna
    February 2, 2016

    I am interested in your Institute’s work.
    I am a Christian and have worked in the energy industry (Mobil Oil Corporation and Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation). As well as served in the United States Army as a Parachute Infantry Man, as well as a Special Forces Soldier and Military Intelligence Analyst. My military work also includes Domestic Black Operations with the DEA.
    During the 1980s I was attached to the IDF in Israel and the Salvador Paratroopers in El Salvador.
    I have watched Mr. Dan Sheehan’s lectures on youtube and have learned what I was actually doing with my time in the past as apposed to what I thought I was doing with my time. I’ve experienced a new world view.

    • admin
      February 11, 2016

      Thank you for your interest Charles. An overview of our current work can be found at, and this site will continue to build as we digitize more archive materials.

  2. Scott Barnes
    May 15, 2017

    Iran/Contra was one of the many Clandestine Operations under the guise of (S.A.D.) Special Activities Division under the command and control of the CIA’s NCS.

    From the Phoenix Program, Secret Teams, NCS and more there were many illegal and horrible things that happened inclucing the mystery death of my associate Jerry ” Hog” Daniels, whom was found dead shortly after our mission into Laos, Operation Grand Eagle.

    Mr. Sheehan and his great staff have done great things to expose the evils of our secretive government

    September 4, 2017

    Some in the Safari Club, notably Alexandre de Marenches of the French spy agency SDECE, became involved with Casey, Bush, Shackley, and others in a 1980 plot to prevent the reelection of Jimmy Carter, by negotiating with the Iranians to delay the hostages’ return.

    Miles Copeland claimed that a “CIA within a CIA” inspired the 1980 plot ; he shared the view that Carter “represented a grave threat to the nation”.

    Copeland, together with his client Adnan Khashogi whom he advised, went on with Shackley to help launch the 1984-85 Iranian arls deals as well.

    (Nancy Howell Lee,Bertram Gross,Peter Dale Scott)

  4. Alfred Milligan
    June 26, 2018

    I’m doing research on an American mercenary named John McClure, aka Doctor John. Who was in Costa Rica in late 1983 and early 1984.
    Martha Honey in her book “Hostile Acts”, in the notes mentions an interview between John McClure and Christic Institute investigator Richard McGough.
    Is it possible to get a copy of the interview?

    • admin
      July 25, 2018

      Hi Alfred, sorry it took a little while to respond, we don’t check the messages on this page regularly. I have forwarded your comment to our archivist, we will figure out what we have on John McClure. Thank you for your interest! We will be in touch.

      • Alfred Milligan
        December 4, 2018

        Has your organization decided if they can furnish me any information on John McClure as I requested?

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