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July 24, 1987 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-07-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

Poindexter Testifies
At Iran Hearings

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36

FRIDAY, JULY 24, 1987 .

Washington (JTA) —
President Reagan read Ter-
rorism: How the West Can
Win, the book edited by
Binyamin Netanyahu, the
Israel Ambassador to the
United Nations, while flying
to and from the Economic
Summit in Tokyo in May,
1986. Rear Adm. John Poin-
dexter, the President's former
National Security Advisor,
said last week during his
testimony before the Senate-
House committees investigat-
ing the Iran-Contra Affair.
Poindexter brought this up
when he was asked whether
he had ever come close to tell-
ing Reagan about the diver-
sion of profits from the sale of
arms to Iran to the Contras.
The former head of the Na-
tional Security Council said
that he had approved the
diversion when it was sug-
gested to him by Lt. Col.
Oliver North in January,1986.
"I thought it was a good
idea" and "consistent" with
the President's policy to sup-
port the Contras, Poindexter
said. He said he made a "deli-
berate decision" not to tell the
President about the diversion
to protect Reagan from any
political embarrassment.
"I decided that the buck
stops here, that I have the
authority to do this," he said.
However, he noted, "If the
President had asked me I
very likely would have told
him about it. But he didn't."
Poindexter said he con-
sidered telling Reagan when
on the return flight from
Ibkyo, Reagan asked him if
there was anything "unilater-
ally" the President could do
about supporting the Con-
tras, despite the Congres-
sional ban on providing funds
to the anti-Sandinista group.
The President was concerned
that Congress had not yet ap-
proved the $100 million the
Administration requested for
the Contras, which was ap-
propriated later in the year.
Poindexter said that until
he spoke about the diversion
of funds for the Contra with
Attorney General Edwin
'Meese III in November, 1986,
he believed that only Lt. Col.
Oliver North and he were the
only members of the govern-
ment who knew about it.
North has testified that he
discussed the diversion with
the late William Casey, then
director of the Central In-
telligence Agency. After the
diversion was disclosed by
Meese, Poindexter was was
allowed to resign from the
NSC and North was fired.
In other developments, for

those who had predicted that
the Congressional investiga-
tion into the Iran-Contra
affair would show Israeli com-
plicity in the diversion of
funds from the sale of arms to
Iran to the Contras, the six
days of testimony by North
must have been a disap-
pointment.
But North did not take
Israel completely off the hook
as he described two incidents
in Israel's involvement in the
affair. The first was that
Amiram Nir, the counter-
terrorism advisor to the
Israeli Prime Minister, pro-
posed to North that profits
from the arms sale be used to
pay for the United States
resupply of Israel with the
503 TOW anti-tank missiles
that Israel sold Iran in 1985
and for "supporting other
activities."
The second incident de-
scribed by North took place
at a meeting in Europe in
January 1986, between
North, Nir and Manucher
Ghorbanifar, the Iranian
arms dealer, whom Israel and
then the U.S. had used as the
middleman for the sale of
arms to Iran.
During a meeting, North
said Ghorbanifar took him in-
to the bathroom and pro-
posed the diversion of the
arms profits for the Contras.
North said then-CIA direc-
tor Casey told him that the
CIA believed Ghorbanifar
was an Israeli intelligence
agent. North said he believed
at the time that Ghorbanifar
made the proposal "with the
full knowledge and acquie-
sence of the Israeli in-
telligence service services, if
not the Israeli government."
However, North also testi-
fied that as the NSC official
responsible for the U.S. ef-
forts against terrorism, he
had expressed reluctance at
the meeting in Europe to sup-
plying Iran with arms, and
Ghorbanifar had pulled him
aside to make several sugges-
tions aimed at changing his
mind.

San Francisco
Jews To Picket
Pope's Visit

San Francisco (JTA) — Bay
Area Jewish groups began
making plans last Monday to
greet Pope John Paul II's
visit to San Francisco in
September 17 with an array
of protests — everything from
teach-ins to public demon-
strations.

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