>> When Sick first wrote about the release of the hostages in his book, he explained that there were several reasons they were freed in January 1981: Iranian enmity for Carter, the complications of unfreeing Iranian assets, the disorganization of the Iranian regime, and the protracted nature of U.S.-Iranian negotiations. But in his oped piece, Sick wrote that in preparation for a new book on Iran, October Surprise (to be published this month), he interviewed `hundreds of people' who told him about a secret Reagan-Bush hostage deal in 1980. What finally persuaded him was `the absence of contradictions on the key elements of the story' provided by his sources. Sick became convinced that William Casey, then Reagan's campaign manager, had met secretly in Madrid in the summer of 1980 with Iranian intermediaries to negotiate a secret deal, and that Casey and other officials met in Paris in October 1980, after which Iran broke off negotiations with the Carter administration. Sick also wrote that three of his sources saw then Vice President George Bush in Paris as well, but that `in the absence of further information, I have not made up my mind about this allegation.'
>> The conspiracy theory began to catch on in April 1987. On the front page of the Miami Herald, Alfonso Chardy reported on a secret meeting in early October 1980 with Richard Allen and Laurence Silberman, then foreign policy advisers to Reagan, and Robert McFarlane, then an aide to Senator John Tower on the Senate Armed Services Committee. <<