North, Oliver Laurence

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

North, Oliver Laurence

Oliver Laurence North, 1943–, American military officer, b. San Antonio, Tex. Raised in Philmont, N.Y., he entered the U.S. Marines, graduated from Annapolis (1968), served in the Vietnam War, and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. In 1981 he was assigned to the National Security Council, and in 1983 he became the liaison to the Nicaraguan contras. In Nov., 1986, North emerged as the central figure in the Iran-contra affair. He was fired by President Reagan later that month. Under a grant of immunity he testified before Congress in July, 1987. He was convicted (1989) on criminal charges arising from the affair, but his conviction was later reversed on the grounds that immunized testimony had been used at his trial. In 1994, North was the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Virginia, but he lost the election. Since 1995 he has hosted radio and television programs. North has written Mission Compromised (2002), a semiautobiographical novel of Washington intrigue.

See his autobiography, Under Fire (1991).

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