WASHINGTON (AP) — Former White House national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, a top aide to President Ronald Reagan who pleaded guilty to charges for his role in an illegal arms deal for hostages known as the Iran-Contra affair, died. He was 84 years old.
McFarlane, who lived in Washington, died Thursday of complications from a previous lung condition at a Michigan hospital, where he was visiting family, according to a family statement.
McFarlane, a former Marine Lt. Col. and Vietnam veteran, resigned from his White House post in December 1985. He was then commissioned by the administration as part of a secret – and illegal – plan aimed at selling arms to Iran in exchange for the freedom of Western hostages in the Middle East and passing the proceeds on to contra rebels in Nicaragua for their fight against the Marxist Sandinista government.
He played a major role in the affair, leading the secret delegation to Tehran, then an American adversary, to open contacts with supposedly moderate Iranians suspected of influencing American hostage kidnappers. He brought with him a cake and a Bible signed by Reagan.
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