I hesitate to question such an authority on criminal intent and pardons as Nixon; however, his suggestion of "unintentional" crimes in the Iran-Contra affair boggles the mind. I think Nixon would like to sidetrack us with this matter of "intent."
Was it the intention of Poindexter and North to commit a crime? Did they set out deliberately to do wrong? Well, we do know that they deliberately altered and destroyed government documents and lied to, or withheld evidence from Congress.
Would Nixon have us believe that senior military officers don't know right from wrong as regards classified government documents? That a Navy admiral was not aware of the consequences of destroying a presidential finding? That a Marine Corps officer was not aware of the illegality of surreptitiously removing records?
There is little doubt that they thought they were acting in the President's best interest when they set out to alter, destroy and remove government records. Their intention was not to break the law, but to remove evidence of wrongdoing or unlawful activity within the White House. These acts were deliberate, not unintentional, and they broke the law.
Reagan may pardon them, but not on the grounds of having committed "unintentional" crimes.