EDWIN MEESE (7) - Profile
Much of Attorney General Edwin Meese’s two days at the hearings centered on what he uncovered—and what he failed to investigate—in his four-day internal investigation that led to the departure of National Security Council chair Adm. John Poindexter and NSC aide Lt. Col. Oliver North. Meese testified about his interview process, which some committee members criticized as deficient. He stated that Poindexter told him he had “enough hints” from North to know what he was doing. He said that nobody asked him to opine on the legality of NSC covert operations, but “generally,” they would need congressional approval. Sens. Warren Rudman (R-NH), George Mitchell (D-ME), and Sam Nunn (R-GA) each criticized Meese for the carelessness of his internal investigation. Sen. Rudman, the Senate committee’s leading Republican, told Meese that loyal subordinates such as North and Poindexter should have been asked to tell Reagan their interpretation of the truth. Sen. Mitchell engaged in contentious discussions with the attorney general about why he did not take notes at certain meetings in that period and why he failed to secure documents earlier. When Sen. Nunn asked Meese why he did not corroborate North’s account with Poindexter, he said he aimed to “get a coherent story” on Iran, but he just wanted to get “the essential facts” on the Diversion.