Admiral John Marlan Poindexter
'National Security Advisor'

Lineage: Marlan Glen, Huette , George Patton , Christian , Samuel Wiley , Bond Veale , Thomas , Thomas , George , George


John Marlan Poindexter - born in Washington, Ind. on August 12th, 1936 - a vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, succeeded Robert C. McFarlane as President Ronald Reagan's national security adviser in December 1985. He held that post until November 1986, when he resigned following disclosures of his role in the Iran-Contra Affair. In July 1987, testifying before U.S. House and Senate committees investigating the scandal, Admiral Poindexter declared that he had authorized the diversion of funds to the contras but that he had deliberately not informed President Reagan of his action.

Poindexter attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating first in his class of 1958; he had the further distinction of being the brigade commander of his class. In 1964 he earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the California Institute of Technology, where he studied under Nobel laureate Rudolph Mossbauer. During his career in the Navy, he commanded the guided missile cruiser England and a squadron of destroyers. He saw duty in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and South Pacific. From 1971 to 1978, Admiral Poindexter made his mark as an aide to the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations. For the next three years he served as the deputy chief of naval education and training, moving on to the National Security Council (NSC) in 1981.
Prior to being named national security adviser, he served as the deputy to McFarlane, heading the NSC's "crisis pre-planning group." In that capacity, he played a central role in the administration's handling of the "Achille Lauro" hijacking in October 1985 and other terrorist incidents. Following the resignation of McFarlane, Poindexter became national security adviser on December 4, 1985. In this post he played a key role in the covert sale of U.S. armaments to the government of Iran, the negotiations for release of Americans held hostage by terrorists, and the diversion of funds from the arms sales to support the contra guerrillas in Nicaragua. Following public revelation of these events, President Reagan accepted Poindexter's resignation on November 25, 1986.

In later testimony before the joint Congressional committee investigating the situation, Poindexter declared in July of 1987 that he had never told Reagan about the diversion of funds to the contras, wishing to "provide some future deniability," presumably to protect the president from any possible negative consequences of the arms scandal. Poindexter officially resigned from the Navy on September 29th, 1987. On March 8th, 1990, Poindexter was brought to trial in Washington, D.C., on five criminal charges, including conspiracy, obstruction of Congress, and making false statements to Congress. On April 7th, Poindexter was found guilty on all five charges, and he was sentenced, on June 11th , to six months in prison. Poindexter appealed the conviction, and on November 15th, 1991, a federal appeals court panel reversed the conviction.

Articles in 'The Christian Science Monitor' and 'The New York Times'

Written Interview By Spencer Reiss for the May 2004 Magazine 'Wired'

Bright Planet Board of Directors

Dr. John M. Poindexter, now a private consultant, most recently served as Director of the Information Awareness Office (IAO) at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). IAO developed and demonstrated information technologies and systems to counter asymmetric threats by achieving total information awareness useful for preemption, national security warning and national security decision-making. In addition he initiated research on privacy protection. As Director, Dr. Poindexter established the new office, managed the technical and financial aspects of the Office’s ongoing projects and worked to identify revolutionary new projects within the Office’s mission. He now serves on the Board of Directors of Saffron Technology, an innovative computer software company which produces associative memory applications.

Prior to coming to DARPA, Dr. Poindexter served as Senior Vice President for SYNTEK Technologies, a small, high-technology firm, where he worked with DARPA on Project Genoa. He also served on the Board of Directors for Saffron Technology, Inc. and Digital Commerce Corp. In 1990, he co-founded TP Systems, Inc and then served as the firm’s chief designer and programmer until 1996. From 1993 to 1996, Dr. Poindexter was a consultant with Elkins Group, where he was Chairman of the Maritime Advisory Committee and a member of the Board of Directors. Prior to that, he served as Senior Scientist with Presearch, Inc.

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