Speaker: Peter Wallison
Date: October 28, 2003
Peter Wallison gives a comprehensive look at the role and organization of the White House Counsel's Office during the Reagan years, and the central role it played in personnel selection, judicial appointments, and, most importantly, the Iran-Contra affair. Wallison begins with his entry into political life and his rise from a page in the House of Representatives to his service as a special assistant, and later counsel, to Nelson Rockefeller. He discusses his accomplishments as General Counsel of the Treasury Department for the first Reagan term, and his work with Secretary Donald Regan, whom Wallison describes as a nice man with an undeservedly negative reputation. Wallison examines his appointment as White House Counsel in March 1986 and the structure and responsibilities of that office during the Reagan administration. A large portion of the interview is devoted to the Iran-Contra affair, which Wallison recollects in remarkable detail, covering the evolution of the misguided operation, its effect on the White House and President Reagan, the congressional and independent counsel investigations, and his departure from the White House in March 1987.