Iraqgate 'Fall Guy' Goes to Prison
Edward Johnson, a mid-level Teledyne Industries salesman, started
his federal 3 1/2-year prison term on Jan. 4, even as his lawyers
continue to insist he was an Iraqgate fall guy. Johnson was
convicted in Miami last April of violating the Arms Export
Control Act by shipping explosive zirconium pellets to Chile.
There, the pellets were made into cluster bombs for the
Iraqi air force.
Federal prosecutors won Johnson's conviction after excluding
testimony by former Reagan national security aide Howard Teicher,
who was asserting that CIA Director William J. Casey secretly
authorized the cluster bomb shipments. After Iraq invaded Kuwait
in 1990, senior U.S. officials, including President Bush, denied
that any secret Iraqi arms program existed.
Armed with these denials, federal prosecutors convinced a judge
to block Teicher's testimony. Without evidence of high-level
authorization, Johnson, who earned only a modest living as a
salesman and attended trial in a Sears off-the-rack suit, was
found guilty. He was ordered to start his prison sentence while
his appeals proceed.
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