Profiles » Robert Gates
Robert Gates Acting Director of Central Intelligence
From 1982 through the end of 1986, Robert Gates served as the CIA deputy director for intelligence, deputy director of central intelligence, and finally acting director of central intelligence. Although Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency's Central American Task Force Alan Fiers, Jr., recalled, based on past conversations, that Gates was aware of NSC staff member Oliver North’s private network to aid the Contras, Walsh was especially concerned with Gates’s knowledge of the diversion of funds from the arms sales with Iran to the Nicaraguan rebels.
Although Gates testified that he learned about a possible diversion from Charles Allen, a national intelligence officer, in October 1986, there is evidence that he actually knew of this possibility the previous summer. Richard Kerr, his deputy director for intelligence, told the CIA inspector general and a Senate committee that he took concerns about this diversion to Gates between May and September, to which Gates apparently replied, “God only knows what Ollie is up to.” However, Gates claimed that he did not remember this meeting when he testified. Walsh found this troubling, given the high-profile nature of Kerr’s concern, as well as the fact that Gates was on a list of people who should have learned of a disagreement over arms prices between dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and the U.S., but he did not feel he could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Gates had lied about his knowledge of the Diversion based on Kerr’s testimony alone (and there were no witnesses to their conversation).
In addition, even though Fiers and CIA official Clair George obstructed congressional inquiries after attending a meeting (at which Gates was present) about CIA responses to those inquiries, there is no evidence Gates participated in planning their obstruction. Similarly, while he helped prepare his boss William Casey’s false testimony, it was not clear he knew that this testimony was false.