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Former President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, Robert C. McFarlane, died at 84 in Lansing, Michigan.
McFarlane was a decorated Marine before he became the national security adviser for Reagan. Then, he became involved in the Iran-Contra Affair and attempted suicide in the 1980s, according to The New York Times.
The former Marine lives in Washington, but he was visiting family in Michigan when he passed away. Bill Greener, a family friend, said McFarlane’s death was due to an unspecified previous lung condition.
In 1988, McFarlane pleaded guilty to charges of withholding information from Congress during the Iran-Contra Affair. The Reagan administration sold weapons in secret to Iran in order to free Western hostages in Lebanon.
Money from these sales was sent to Nicaragua to aid the contra rebels attempting to overthrow the Sandinistas. This was the Marxist regime that was in control of Nicaragua. Both of these actions were illegal as Congress had an arms embargo against Iran and prohibited the aid of the contras by America.
McFarlane was just one of the many who were charged in the affair and run out of the White House with the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the aftermath, he took full responsibility for his part in the Iran-Contra Affair.
The fallout left McFarlane guilt-ridden and he attempted suicide in February 1987 in his home. At the time his wife was upstairs grading high school English papers. He overdosed on Valium and then climbed into bed next to his wife. She was unable to wake him the next morning and he was rushed to the hospital to be revived. After this event, he spent several weeks under psychiatric care at Bethesda Naval Hospital. In an interview, he explained, “it was the honorable thing to do.”
Written by Jeanette Vietti
The New York Times: Robert C. McFarlane, Top Reagan Aide in Iran-Contra Affair, Dies at 84; by Neil A. Lewis