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FRONTLINE; Election Held Hostage, The


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Election Held Hostage, The
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Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

On January 20, 1981, just as Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th president of the US, Iran finally released the 52 American hostages it had held for 444 days. FRONTLINE investigates startling new evidence about how both the Carter and Reagan camps may have tried to forge secret deals for those hostages during the 1980 presidential campaign. The 1990 federal perjury trail of Richard Brenneke brought out claims that he had attended a meeting with Reagan's campaign manager William Casey at which the Iranians were promised arms in exchange for the delayed release of the hostages. Further investigations also revealed other witnesses to Casey negotiations; details on the Israeli military shipments to Iran; Carter's failed attempts at CIA covert activities against Iran; American arms deals with Iran after Reagan's inauguration.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Election Held Hostage, The,” 04/16/1991, GBH Archives, accessed March 25, 2023,
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Election Held Hostage, The.” 04/16/1991. GBH Archives. Web. March 25, 2023. <>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Election Held Hostage, The. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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