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Old Conspiracy Theories Never Die, Part I

In 1991, former Ford and Carter administration National Security Council aide Gary Sick wrote a book entitled The October Surprise, which theorized that Reagan had conspired earlier with Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime to undercut the release of the U.S. Embassy hostages in Tehran until Carter left office. The left seized upon the charge, there were congressional investigations, and Sick’s charge was found to be baseless. Through it all, Sick had neglected also to disclose that he had received a significant sum after peddling his book for movie rights.

Fast forward two-decades. The Atlantic published an interview with former President Jimmy Carter conducted by New America Foundation fellow Brian Till. Here’s one of Till’s questions:

Gary Sick, your national security advisor for the Middle East, and a number of others have written convincingly that Reagan’s campaign staff were conspiring against you to keep the hostages held for fear you’d win reelection if they were released. Do you believe that? Does that resonate with you?

Carter, to his credit, waved off the question. But perhaps Till or his editors might want to explain what they find so convincing in Sick’s conspiracy given how fact-checkers dismissed Sick’s writing and bipartisan Congressional committees deemed it fantasy.



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