Profiles » Robert Earl
Robert Earl Subordinate to Oliver North
Marine Lieutenant Colonel Robert Earl served on the National Security Council staff as a subordinate to Oliver North on activities including arms sales to Iran throughout 1986. Earl was directly involved in both the Iran and Contra matters; he knew of North's plan to divert profits from the arms sales to support the Contras and even helped North calculate marked-up prices of the arms sold to Iran.
Based on information North gave him on past arms sales to the Iranians, Earl determined that the average mark-up had been 370 percent. Accordingly, Walsh writes, “Earl applied a 3.7 multiplier to the cost of the equipment from the Department of Defense to calculate the price that the Iranians would have to pay for each item.” Earl admitted, after receiving immunity from Walsh, that he knew the profits would go to the Contras.
In addition, bolstering NSC secretary Fawn Hall’s recollection of North’s alteration and destruction of documents, Earl claimed that North asked him for his files on Iran upon learning of the Department of Justice’s fact-finding inquiry into the affairs in November 1986. He then watched North go through his own files, segregating the ones to be destroyed, and saw Hall shredding documents.
Walsh quickly provided Earl immunity, given his peripheral role in the Affairs and his ability to provide evidence for a number of charges against North. Not only could he discuss his boss’s destruction of documents, but he could also speak directly to the covert diversion of profits—money rightfully belonging to the United States—to the Contras.