March 21, 2023


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Reagan Allies Sabotage Carter as Delayed Release of American Hostages: Witness – Rolling Stone

Ben Barnes, a former politician from Texas, claims to have witnessed a plot to sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 re-election by delaying the release of American hostages in Iran. His astonishing acceptance has been reported before New York times on saturday.

The Iran hostage crisis blighted Carter’s presidency and his re-election campaign, and with the hostages still not released on Election Day 1980, the incumbent lost infamously to Ronald Reagan. In the more than four decades since then, many have argued that he would have fared far better had he secured the release of 52 Americans who were being held.

But Barnes said times That his mentor, former Texas governor John B. Connally Jr., is determined not to let that happen – and helped prevent the hostages from being released. That summer, Barnes says, Connally brought him to several Middle Eastern capitals to convince concerned regional leaders to tell Iran they would get a better deal from Republican nominee Ronald Reagan if they held hostages until after the election. That’s exactly what happened.

After they returned home from their trip, Barnes said, Connally briefed Reagan’s campaign chairman, William J. Casey, who later became Director of the CIA. (Barnes’ account includes no indication that Reagan knew anything about their trip.)

Known as the “October Surprise,” many suspected that someone close to the Reagan camp was working against Carter’s efforts to free the hostages until after the election, but congressional investigations have not confirmed these theories, and Connally has not been the subject of those inquiries. Connally sought the Republican nomination, which Reagan eventually won. Barnes said that his help in thwarting the Carter campaign helped him make the case for him becoming Secretary of State or Defense in a new administration.

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Barnes — who served as Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and Lieutenant Governor, and who also helped George W. Bush enlist in the Texas Air National Guard — said he wanted to set things right, given that Carter is in hospice care. He said, “History needs to know what happened.” “I think it’s very important and I think knowing that the end is near made President Carter put it on my mind more and more. I just feel like we have to get it out of the way somehow.”

While many of the players who were able to corroborate Barnes’ account are dead—including Connally and Casey—Barnes named four people he had confided in about the meetings. All four – Mark K. Updegrove, President, LBJ Foundation; Tom Johnson, former assistant to Lyndon Johnson (no relation) who later became magazine publisher Los Angeles Times And the president of CNN. Larry Temple, former assistant to Mr. Connally and Lyndon Johnson; and HW Brands, University of Texas Historian – Confirmed with times that Barnes has shared his story with them.

“As far as I know, Ben never lied to me,” said Tom Johnson. Other evidence supports his account as well, including Brandes writing three paragraphs on Barnes’ account in a 2015 biography of Reagan, though it has received little attention, and records at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum showing Connally took a flight from Houston on July 18 1980 to visit Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel and returned on August 11 – Barnes was included in the list to join him.

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Barnes said times He was sure that the motive behind the trip was to get the message to Iran to take hostages until after the elections. “I would go to my grave thinking that was the purpose of the trip,” Barnes said. “It wasn’t freelance because Casey was very interested in hearing once we got back to the States.” He added that Mr. Casey wanted to know if they were “going to take the hostages”.

Barnes could not confirm whether the messages to regional leaders were actually delivered to Iran or whether they had any influence. And Iran held the hostages until after the elections. They were released shortly after noon on January 20, 1981, in the opening minutes of Reagan’s presidency.


John B. disagreed. Connally III, eldest son of the former governor, with what Barnes said times that he remembers his father making the Middle East trip, but is unaware of any messages to Iran and that he accompanied his father to a meeting with Reagan to discuss the visit.

“There was no mention in any meeting I was in of any message being sent to the Iranians,” Connally said. “He doesn’t look like my dad.” He added, “I can’t challenge Ben’s memory of that, but it doesn’t agree with my memory of the trip.”