The Poindexter memorandum is a three-page document that John M. Poindexter, the president’s national security affairs adviser, sent to President Reagan. The memorandum was adopted at a White House meeting on 14 August 1986.

As a consequence of the plan outlined in this memo, American news media reported as fact much of the false information generated by this plan. For instance, these articles stated that Libya was backing terrorism activities again.

 Soon after the meeting, administration officials told reporters that the United States had new intelligence indicating that Gadhafi was again stepping up his terrorist plans, following a four-month lull after the April 14 American bombing raid against Libya. [1]

It was blatant disinformation. The memo states: “Current intelligence community assessment is that Gadhafi is temporarily quiescent in his support of terrorism.”

The secret plan also called for “foreign media placements” by the CIA. [1]

Now, let us take a look at the Libyan section of the “Pattern of Global Terrorism 1986”.

Libya resumed terrorist activity in July. At least nine nationals from Togo and Benin were arrested in July for participation in a plot to attack the US Embassy and a market in Lome. They reportedly confessed to having received a pistol, grenades, and explosive devices from the LPB (Libyan people’s Bureau) in Cotonou, Benin. The suspects alleged that official Libyan facilities in Burkina and Ghana were also involved in the plot. [2]

Considering the assessment made by the US Intelligence community in August, I think that it is safe to say that “the Libyan plot to bomb the US Embassy” in Lome was a piece of disinformation. I wish I could see the “explosive devices” the plotters had allegedly received from the LPB.


[1] Gadhafi Target of Secret U.S. Deception Plan

Bob Woodward, Washington Post 2 October 1986

[2] Pattern of Global Terrorism 1986

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