Hyde’s spot at the nexus of information made him one of President Reagan’s mostimportant defenders.
One of the Illinois Republican’s principal contributions to the contra-cocaine cover-upwas his championing of a bogus 1987 investigative report largely clearing the contras ofdrug-trafficking suspicion.
The 900-word memo, drafted by Iran-contra committee staff member Robert A.Bermingham, claimed that a thorough investigation into the drug-trafficking charges hadfound no evidence that the contra leadership was implicated in narco-trafficking.Bermingham submitted the memo to Iran-contra committee chairman, Rep. LeeHamilton, on July 23, 1987.
"During the course of our investigation, the role of U.S. government officials whosupported the contras and the private resupply effort, as well as the role of privateindividuals in resupply, were exhaustively examined," Bermingham wrote.
"Hundreds of persons, including U.S. government employees, contra leaders,representatives of foreign governments, U.S. and foreign law enforcement officials,military personnel, private pilots and crews involved in actual operations werequestioned and their files and records examined. …
“There was no information developed indicating any U.S. government agency ororganization condoned drug trafficking by the contras or anyone else.”
More broadly, Bermingham disparaged the contra-cocaine allegations as self-servingclaims coming from disreputable individuals.
"During the course of our investigation, we examined files of State, DOD, NSC, CIA,DEA, Justice, Customs and FBI, especially those reportedly involving newspaperallegations of contra drug trafficking,” he said. “We have discovered that almost all ofthese allegations originate from persons indicted or convicted of drug smuggling."
Bermingham also reported that "contra leaders have been interviewed and their bankrecords examined. They denied any connection with or knowledge of drug trafficking.Examination of contra financial records, private enterprise business records, andincome tax returns of several individuals failed to find any indication of drug trafficking."
Bermingham then concluded, "additional investigation of these allegations isunwarranted in view of the negative results to date."
While Bermingham's description of his investigation sounded impressive, the memooffered virtually no documentation from -- or even identification of -- the "hundreds" ofwitnesses supposedly questioned.