Waite’s Family Hopeful of Release Despite New Book on North
LONDON (AP) _ Terry Waite’s family expressed optimism Sunday that the church envoy will be freed by his Lebanese captors despite a book claiming Oliver North planned to use him in a death plot against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Libya reacted to the report by saying it revealed the ″real ugly face″ of the Reagan administration and it accused the United States of official terrorism.
David Waite, brother of the Anglican Church envoy, called the allegations in the book ″mischievous.″
But he added: ″We are very optimistic about the eventual outcome of Terry’s situation. The big question is the timing of it.
″We are probably now in the most positive era we have ever been in, as far as this situation is concerned. ... We just have to wait and pray, as we have been doing all along, that we will eventually see a good outcome.″
The book, ″Best Laid Plans, The Inside Story of America’s War Against Terrorism,″ was written by David Martin, Pentagon correspondent for CBS, and John Walcott, national security correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
An excerpt printed in U.S. News & World Report alleged that North, a former U.S. National Security Council aide, planned to ask Terry Waite to go to Tripoli to meet Gadhafi in 1986 to seek help in freeing hostages in Lebanon.
The article alleged that Waite’s visit would be timed to ensure that Gadhafi was in his compound when the Americans launched their bombing raid on the Libyan capital April 15, 1986. According to the book, the idea was to increase the chances of Gadhafi being killed in the raid.
Libya’s official Jana news agency, in a dispatch monitored in London, said, ″The plot revealed today and the ones before it which included American official terrorism and subversion represent the style of smugglers and heads of gangsters.″
It added: ″Every day the U.S. administration reveals its real ugly face showing that America has become the official center of the administration of terrorism and subversive plots, assassination and aggression against other peoples in a manner never seen before in contemporary political history.″
The Reagan administration ordered the bombings of Tripoli and Benghazi after accusing Gadhafi of supporting international terrorism.
David Waite said: ″I think it is mischievous of people to put things like this (the alleged North plot) into books just to add a bit of spice to them.
″They are talking about a person (Terry Waite) who is not in a position at the moment to defend himself,″ he added.
Waite said his brother always ″made it very clear he was not in any way associated with anything underhand or sinister.
″He was and still is a humanitarian working for the Archbishop of Canterbury as an envoy on properly humanitarian grounds.″
Gadhafi was apparently unharmed in the bombing, although there were rumors that the attack left him confused and disoriented. Libyan officials reported that his 15-month old adopted daughter was killed and two young sons were wounded.
Terry Waite disappeared in Beirut in January 1987 while on a mission to help win the release of foreign hostages in Lebanon.
Seventeen other foreigners, including nine Americans, are being held captive by Islamic extremists in Lebanon. The hostage held longest is Terry Anderson, 40, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press. He was abducted March 16, 1985.
North, a former Marine lieutenant colonel, has retired from the military and is awaiting trial on charges stemming from the diversion of profits to the Nicaraguan rebels from U.S. arms sales to Iran. He was fired from his NSC job in November 1986, when the diversion became public.