(Getting the stories straight - what they didn't know and when they didn't know it)
The echo from Ronald Reagan's first inaugural address had hardly decayed when word starting leaking around about covert activities and the CIA's renewed "fooling around" with foreign governments as a result of the Reagan Administrations stepped up efforts to destabilize (the nice word for overthrowing) various governments deemed unfriendly towards the U.S.
And Central America along with our clandestine interests came up for particular scrutiny in early 1982 when this Nightline broadcast first aired (February 18). Ted Koppel hosted a panel which consisted of Ray Cline, E. Howard Hunt, Senator Joe Biden and former Senator Frank Church. The subject was just how involved in all this were we?
From the White House Press Conference earlier that day:
Question (Press conference): “Have you approved of covert activities to de-stabilize the present government of Nicaragua?”
Pres. Reagan: “Here again, this is something upon which . ..national security interests I just . . I will not comment.
Question: “Do you approve the (muffled) policy is, as far as having American covert operations to de-stabilize any existing government without specific reference to Nicaragua?”
Reagan: “There again I’m going to say this is like discussing the options. And – no comment.”
Funny how it eventually went from "no comment" to "I don't recall". It begs the question of just how aware (or unaware) Reagan was with the goings on in his own White House. If he was truly aware, he would probably top Nixon in the honors of deceit. If he was truly unaware, that would give credence to the notion that Reagan was, indeed our first figurehead President.