Reagan Calls For Committee Report With PM-US-Iran-Contra Rdp Bjt
WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Reagan urged the Senate Intelligence Committee today to send him a report on its probe into the Iran arms deal so he can release a declassified version and give the American people a detailed account of what happened.
Reagan said that until his former aides, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter and Lt. Col. Oliver North, disclose what they knew of the arms deal and skimming of profits for Nicaraguan rebels, no one will know the full story.
The president said a report to the committee, lacking their testimony, ″will not have all the answers.″
″But it will be the most complete statement available, and I call on the committee to release it so the American people can judge for themselves.″
Opening his remarks to a group of people in small business with a comment on the Iran scandal, Reagan said, ″I’m trying to find out, too″ what was done by his staff after he secretly approved the sale of weapons to Iran.
″Until Adm. Poindexter and Col. North make public disclosure of the facts, the American people will not know the full story of what happened in the Iran arms sales matter or the alleged diversion of funds to the Contras,″ Reagan said. ″However, that doesn’t mean that substantial portions of the facts as gathered thus far can not be made known.″
He urged the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has heard from other top administration officials in closed-door hearings, to make its report ″available to me for declassification as early as possible.″
Dave Holliday, a spokesman for the committee, said today that the panel’s staff ″is trying now to put together a report in response to the president’s request of last week.″
Reagan made a similar appeal last week and Sens. David Durenberger, R- Minn., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the panel’s chairman and vice-chairman, said the committee would try to prepare some type of formal report before the 100th Congress convenes Jan. 6.
Holliday noted that before any formal report is sent to the White House, it would have to be approved by a vote of the full committee, which is not scheduled to meet again before the current session of Congress formally ends early next year.
Durenberger and Leahy sent Reagan a letter last week, saying that they would try to put together a report before the end of the year.
Poindexter, who served as Reagan’s national security adviser, and North, who was a member of Poindexter’s staff assigned to a variety of covert missions, have refused to testify before the Senate panel or other congressional committees, invoking their Fifth Amendments rights to avoid self-incrimination.
They and former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, who did testify before the committee, are said to have been the only U.S. officials with knowledge of the diversion of funds. The diversion was disclosed by Attorney General Edwin Meese III who said he learned of the matter while preparing for testifying on the secret weapons sales.