Oliver North Biography

Government Official (1943–)
Oliver North, former deputy-director of the National Security Council, was implicated in the Iran-Contra affair and forced to resign. He was convicted of three charges, which were overturned in 1990.

Who Is Oliver North?

Oliver North was born on October 7, 1943, in San Antonio, Texas. He trained at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. During the Vietnam War, he led a marine platoon and won a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. In 1981 President Reagan appointed him deputy-director of the National Security Council. He was later implicated in the Iran-Contra affair and convicted, but by 1990, he was cleared of all charges. In 2018 North was chosen to become the new president of the N.R.A.

Oliver North Photo

Oliver North

President of the N.R.A.

In May 2018 North was selected as the new president of the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.), replacing Pete Brownell.

"Oliver North is, hands down, the absolute best choice to lead our N.R.A. Board, to fully engage with our members, and to unflinchingly stand and fight for the great freedoms he has defended his entire life," N.R.A. CEO Wayne LaPierre stated.

Co-president Kris Brown of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence vehemently disapproved of North's selection, stating that: "Oliver North's very name is synonymous with corruption and disgrace." 

Parents & Career in Armed Forces

Former U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was born in San Antonio, Texas on October 7, 1943 to parents Oliver Clay North, an Army major, and Ann Theresa Clancy. He trained at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, and during the Vietnam War led a counter-insurgency marines platoon, winning a Silver Star and Purple Heart. Appointed a deputy-director of the National Security Council by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, he played a key role in a series of controversial military and security actions.

Iran-Contra Scandal and Aftermath

Implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal, involving the supply of arms to Iran in exchange for U.S. hostages and the operation of a secret slush fund to aid the Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua, North was forced to resign in 1986. Found guilty on three of 12 charges arising from the affair, he was given a three-year suspended jail sentence, ordered to do community service and fined $150,000. In 1990 the three convictions were overturned, and all charges were dropped in 1991 by a Federal judge. North later headed a political action group, V-PAC, and gave radio broadcasts. In 1991 he published the memoir Under Fire: An American Story. Additional books include American Heroes: In The Fight Against Radical Islam (2008), American Heroes in Special Operations (2010), Heroes Proved (2012), and American Heroes: On the Homefront (2013).

In 1994 North ran unsuccessfully for a Virginia seat in the Senate on the Republican ticket. He has gone on to serve as an on-air personality for Fox News, helming the program War Stories, which premiered in 2001 and ended in 2016. North has also co-authored several novels, including 2014's thriller Counterfeit Lies, and served as an episode consultant for the FX TV drama The Americans, among other projects. 

Personal Life

North married his wife Betsy in 1967, and together, they have four children. 

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