Top Iran-Contra Figure Oliver North and The Americans


Fans of the spy-drama The Americans know that currently, one of their plotlines involve the US government’s covert efforts to aid contra rebels in Nicaragua. The show-runners and the writers of the show wanted someone to consult with regarding the scandal, and that’s where Oliver North comes in.

See, Mr. North, a former Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, National Security aide, and a center figure on the Iran-contra scandal is connected with the Fox network, FX’s mother network. North is a Fox News personality and the host of its War Stories program. When The Americans wanted a reliable source, Fox suggested Mr. North and he has been involved in the writing of a show and was given a story credit.

The April 23 episode where Philip and Elizabeth Jennings infiltrated a contra training camp was brimming with realism thanks to detailed and colorful information from Mr. North.

However “close watchers” of history have disapproved of North’s involvement with the TV show. They are saying that a man with such notoriety should never benefit from his involvement with the scandal. His sudden resurfacing has caused a minor controversy and risked opening political wounds that have not healed after three decades.

Although Mr. North basically doesn’t care of what his detractors say, he knows that he has made his bed and that he is willing to lie in it.

“Look, I’m a right-wing goon — everybody knows it, right?” North said during an interview from the New York Times.

When North participates in these kinds of projects he expects that “there’s going to be some people who just don’t like Ollie North.”

The “close watchers” of history are appalled by North’s continued attempts to wash his hands in his role in the contra scandal.

Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic said Mr. North’s involvement in The Americans was “basically a bad joke.”

“Everything that happens in history in this country eventually winds up as entertainment,” Mr. Wieseltier said.

According to Mr. Wieseltier by capitalizing on the scandal scandal, Mr. North is utilizing the latest incarnation of “a very American story” in which “you become notorious, and your notoriety makes you famous, and fame is the American version of glory,” Mr. Wieseltier said.

“Given his insistence upon his purity of heart and soul,” Mr. Wieseltier added, “there’s something a little tacky about his exploiting it.”

Mr. North was very direct to the show runners of The Americans by saying “Don’t hurt your ratings just to bring me in. And they said, ‘It will probably bring in people that haven’t watched before.’ ”

“We came with our preconceptions,” Mr. Fields said. “I speak for myself: It’s been very enlightening to get to know the man behind the image.”

Oliver North was convicted in 1989 of crimes for his participation in Iran-contra. He was convicted of destroying evidence and abetting the obstruction of congress. These convictions were later suspended and all charges were dismissed. Mr. North then received limited immunity for testifying before congress.

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