Oliver "Ollie" North (born October 7, 1943) is a retired marine lieutenant colonel who was the official in the Ronald Reagan White House who coordinated the "arms for hostages" policy of selling weapons to Iran during its war with Iraq and diverting the proceeds to the American allies, the Nicaraguan Contras. Because of the Boland Amendment, official Treasury funds could not be used to help the Contras, so the roundabout procedure was devised by the CIA. The resulting controversy came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
North was set up as the fall guy for the operation, but his charismatic performance in nationally televised hearings made him the hero to conservatives.
After a long lead-in during the Congressional inquiries, Oliver North was called to testify before Congress in July 1987. North became a popular fixture in American culture based upon his handling of the Congressional inquiry, and his ability to make the committee that was questioning him seem smug and overblown in the eyes of the American people. A special prosecutor indicted North on sixteen counts of felony—for concealing information from Congress. He was convicted of three, but those three were overturned when the appeals court decided North had not received a fair trial.
North ran for the Senate in 1994 in Virginia, but was defeated by the Democratic incumbent in a tight race.
Today North is a political commentator on Fox News and host of War Stories, a Fox News show which documents famous battles. In 2003, North was an embedded reporter with the United States military in their initial entering of Iraq.