In the immediate aftermath of Iran’s missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq — part of an escalating series of events, including the Trump administration’s drone strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani — Fox News host Sean Hannity invited on his show Oliver North, whom he described as “probably the single most knowledgeable person that I know in my life on all issues Iran.”
Well, that’s one way to describe him.
During the segment, North boldly said that if he was giving advice to President Donald Trump, he would suggest he take a few actions “in the next few hours or days — no more than days. ... Target not just the oil but target the launch sites that fired those 15 missiles today.”
He added, “Speak softly and use your big stick, Mr. President.”
As an aide on the White House National Security Council, North was one of the key players in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s in which the Reagan administration illegally sold anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles to Iran for two purposes: seeking to negotiate for the release of American hostages held by Iranian-backed militias in Lebanon; and to divert the profits to fund the Contras, right-wing militia groups fighting against a Marxist government in Nicaragua, for which funding had recently been banned by Congress. (Among other issues with the Contras, they were heavily involved in cocaine trafficking.) Reagan’s goal of trading the arms for hostages didn’t work, though: Once two out of the seven hostages were freed, the Iranian-backed militias just took two more hostages to replace them.
North was convicted on three felony charges — destroying government documents, accepting an illegal gratuity, and obstructing Congress — but it was overturned on appeal due to a legal technicality, and further prosecution was ultimately dropped.
North later ran for U.S. Senate in 1994, becoming the Republican nominee against incumbent Sen. Chuck Robb (D-VA). Though it was an infamously bad year for Democrats, and Robb had some personal scandals, North went down in a memorable defeat. Robb famously described him on the campaign trail as “a document-shredding, Constitution-trashing, commander-in-chief-bashing, Ayatollah-loving, arms-dealing, criminal-protecting, résumé-enhancing, Noriega-coddling, Swiss-banking, law-breaking, letter-faking, self-serving snake-oil salesman who can’t tell the difference between the truth and a lie.”
And now, Fox and Hannity are putting North on the air to directly give advice to their single most important viewer, the president of the United States.