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Amid Notes, a Fruit Salad of Codes

November 19, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Joshua and Samuel agreed to let Albert proceed, but they wanted to be sure that the Banana and the Oranges were not going to talk about it.

Huh?

It was not the most earth-shaking revelation of the Iran-Contra affair, but buried in the massive congressional report released Wednesday was a striking glimpse of the participants' taste for exotic code names and other trappings of cloak-and-dagger operations.

White House aide Oliver L. North wanted to inform Amiram Nir, an Israeli counterterrorism expert, that the United States was ready to allow Israel to sell U.S.-made weapons to Iran secretly and would replenish Israeli stocks.

This is how he put it: "Joshua (President Reagan) had approved proceeding as we had hoped." And Joshua and "Samuel" (Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger) were also willing to replenish Israel's stocks, but that certain conditions applied to "Albert" (the operation).

"Joshua also wants both your govt and ours to stay with no comment if operation is disclosed. . . . If these conditions are acceptable to the Banana (Israel) th(e)n Oranges (the United States) are ready to proceed."

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