The Marine's Private Army

Former spooks and oddball operatives made up North's band

As Oliver North rushed about hatching schemes to free American hostages and $ topple Marxist regimes, the hyperkinetic lieutenant colonel increasingly came to depend on the help of a network of private companies founded and staffed by former military and intelligence agency officers. "As his power started to grow," says Neil Livingstone, a colleague of North's and an expert on counterterrorism, "North's biggest problem was where to get people and staff of his own." Turning away from regular Government channels, North reached into the shadowy world of former spooks and oddball operatives who were pressed into service as the cause demanded.

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