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MATT WUERKER One section of the Newsweek article is devoted to the scrutiny of several promoters of the arms-for-no-hostages theory. While the magazine raises legitimate questions about the credibility of these “super sources,” as they are referred to in the article, their detractors \(ie. members of the Reagan-Bush campaign accused of participating in the alleged elecsal deference. This disparity is most clearly evident in the discussion of Richard Brenneke, an Oregon businessman who claims to have participated in the October Surprise negotiations. In 1988, Brenneke appeared in Denver at the trial of his “close friend,” Heinrich Rupp, a pilot and gold dealer convicted of bank fraud. In closed-door testimony before Judge James R. Carrigan, Brenneke stated that both he and Rupp had worked for the Central Intelligence Agency on a contract basis for 18 years starting in 1967 and that Rupp was being framed to discredit his knowledge of operations carried out on the agency’s behalf. One of these operations, Brenneke testified, was a midnight flight to Paris in October 1980, transporting then Reagan-Bush campaign director William Casey to a series of meetings with representatives of the Ayatollah Khomeini to discuss the fate of the hostages. Brenneke also stated that he had participated in the last of three meetings in Paris, working out details of the cash and weapons transactions. Also present at that meeting, Brenneke said, were Casey, who went on to become CIA director under .Reagan, and Donald Gregg, then CIA liaison to Carter’s NSC. Gregg later became Vice President George Bush’s National Security Advisor and is currently the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. A third member of the American delegation in attendance at the Paris meetings, Brenneke said in his sworn statement, was then vicepresidential hopeful George Bush. A month after his Denver testimony, however, Brenneke wrote a letter to Judge Carrigan amending his statement and explaining that he had no first-hand knowledge of Bush being in Paris but had been told by Rupp that Bush had been spotted on the tarmac at the airport. Brenneke’s statements created a stir and eight months later, in May 1989, he was indicted by the Justice Department on five counts of making “false statements” to a federal judge. During the trial, in April 1990, the government pulled out all the stops in aneffort to disprove Brenneke’s claims. A CIA records specialist testified that he could find no file, indicating Brenneke had worked for agency; two of Casey’s former secretaries stated that he had not been out of the country during the period in question; and a pair of Secret Service agents said they had been guarding Bush at the time of the alleged meetings. The defense countered with witnesses and evidence suggesting that CIA contract agents were often listed in “soft files” that “existed only in a clandestine part of the agency and were not shared with personnel because the [agent’s] situation was so sensitive,” and that sufficient leeway existed in Bush’s and Casey’s schedules that they could have traveled to Europe and back before they were missed. One of the government’s key witnesses was Donald Gregg, who was flown in from South Korea to testify. Gregg told the court he was not in Paris at the time the alleged meetings took place but had been vacationing with his family at a beach in New Jersey. To corroborate his testimony, Gregg presented pictures of himself, his wife and their daughter standing on a sunny beach during what he said was the weekend in question. Gregg’s assertions were challenged, however, by defense witness Robert Lynott, a veteran meteorologist for the National Weather Service. After comparing the photographs with reports from a nearby weather station, Lynott concluded that, “These pictures were not taken on those days.” In the end, the government failed to convince the jury and Brenneke was acquited on all five counts. “We were convinced that, yes, there was a meeting, and he [Brenneke] was there and the other people listed in the indictment were there,” said jury foreman Mark Kristoff at the conclusion of the trial. “There was never a guilty vote…. It was 100 percent.” Nevertheless, the Newsweek article implies that the defense team somehow hoodwinked jurors into believing in their client’s innocence the suggestion being that if the jury was too stupid to find Brenneke guilty, Newsweek would do it for them. “The government’s case was sloppy,” Newsweek wrote, “and Brenneke’s lawyers played on the jury’s doubts so skillfully that Brenneke was acquitted.” Newsweek’s willingness to second-guess the jury’s verdict stands in marked contrast to its handling of Gregg’s testimony. In fact, the magazine never mentions that testimony contradicting Gregg’s was introduced. This is all the more telling for the fact that in contrast to the government’s diligence in bringing Brenneke to trial, there has never been so much as an investigation into the discrepancies between the testimony of Gregg and Lynott. None of this is to suggest that Brenneke’s credibility is somehow unimpeachable. In fact, since his trial, serious questions have been raised about Brenneke’s story. In October, the reported that Brenneke’s personal records, turned over to a collaborator in an aborted book project, indicate he was nowhere near Paris at the time of the alleged meetings. Instead, the Voice reports that according to his own desk calendar and credit card receipts, Brenneke was staying at a hotel in Seattle, Wash., before returning to his home in Portland. Brenneke’s lawyer told Newsweek the Voice story was false. When not casting doubts on the accusers, See Media page 15 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13