LONDON — Former U.S. National Security Council assistant Oliver L. North has told Terry Waite that the United States used the British church emissary to gain information about American hostages held in Beirut during the 1980s.
The admission was made as the two men met for the first time since Waite's 1991 release from nearly five years in captivity in Beirut and is to be broadcast in a British television documentary this week.
Waite, 54, has always denied being a U.S. pawn. He was negotiating with the pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury but was kidnaped during a mission to Beirut in 1987, shortly after meeting North in Washington.
North confirmed to Waite during their meeting in front of the cameras that the U.S. government had used the Anglican envoy.
"You are the only person who was ever able to go in and meet face to face with those people. . . . All we had otherwise were undated letters of uncertain origin, an occasional photograph and video tapes," North was quoted as saying.