WASHINGTON — By manipulating U.S. intelligence, CIA Director William J. Casey was responsible for creating an "emergency" in Honduras in the spring of 1986 out of a situation that his agency viewed as routine, the Iran-Contra committees reported Wednesday.
The emergency was declared at the White House on March 25 by then-spokesman Larry Speakes, who announced that the Administration was giving special military assistance to Honduras to help it deal with an incursion by troops of Nicaragua's Sandinista regime. Speakes said the raid was encouraged by a vote in Congress against aid to the Nicaraguan resistance.
"Within 48 hours of the House rejection of aid to the Nicaraguan resistance, Sandinista military units crossed into Honduras in a large scale effort to attack UNO and FDN (Contra) camps," Speakes said.
In truth, the committee said, the CIA had concluded that the Sandinista raid was no different from those that had occurred in 1985. But Casey ordered his subordinates to exaggerate its importance--in his words--"to alert the world that the Sandinistas were preparing and trying to knock the Contras out while we debated in the U.S."