Texas Politician Says He Went on a Secret Trip to the Middle East to Destroy Carter’s Re-Election

As the United States focuses on the legacy of former President Jimmy Carter, new information from a prominent Texas politician could alter the narrative around the Iran hostage crisis, one of the defining moments of his presidency. The New York Times reports that former Texas lieutenant governor Ben Barnes claims a high-ranking member of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign took him on a private diplomatic tour of the Middle East in an attempt to harm Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign by convincing Iran not to release 52 American hostages until after the election. “This event needs to be recorded in history. I think it’s so significant, and knowing that President Carter’s term is coming to a close has made me think about it more and more,” said Barnes, 85. After holding the hostages for 444 days during a crisis that wrecked Carter’s administration, Iran ultimately freed them on January 20, 1981, minutes after Reagan’s inauguration. Congressional investigations into coordination between the Reagan campaign and Iran did not discover evidence of wrongdoing at the time, but Barnes’ narrative has the potential to shed light on the infamous “October surprise” episode.