Mr. NUNN: In your testimony on the opening day, you were asked by counsel
a question: "Was it the view of the Department of Defense that
Iran had a deteriorating position in the war with Iraq?"
Your answer: "No, quite the contrary, it wasn't my position or
anybody's opinion that I talked to."
Do you recall that?
Secretary WEINBERGER: Yes, sir.
Mr. NUNN: Now, on January 16, 1986, Admiral Poindexter sent
the President a cover sheet with the Finding and in that cover
sheet he cited the Israeli position that Iran's military position was
You remember going into that? That was a prelude to the question I just quoted.
Secretary WEINBERGER: Yes.
What is the number of that, Senator?
Mr. NUNN: I don't have that reference but I am not going to go
into great detail on that. I just wanted to allude to that.
Admiral Poindexter testified, without trying to quote his exact
words, but he testified that he had the opinion that the Israeli position was the correct position.
He also testified that Director Casey had that opinion. So Director Casey, according to Admiral Poindexter, and Admiral Poindexter, had an opinion that was exactly the opposite of your opinion.
Now, my understanding of every other agency in government is
that they shared your opinion. The intelligence community, the
State Department, the Interagency Task Force, as of January of
1986, every other agency shared your opinion.
My question to you is: Did you talk to Admiral Poindexter or to
Director Casey ever about this, and did you understand that you
both had such diametrically opposed views?
Secretary WEINBERGER: No, sir, I can't say that we did. To this
moment I cannot recall Admiral Poindexter or Mr. Casey stating
that as their own view, that that was the way that they felt, Iran
was in a deteriorating situation or might lose or anything of that
I don't see how anyone could have felt that way. They may have
been relating the Israeli intelligence view, but they also related the
strong Israeli desire to participate in one way or the other in some
of the activities that were—we are talking about here.
But I don't recall them ever stating in my hearing—and I obviously don't recall anybody else, because all of the briefings I had
every day, every morning, the summaries, the various orders of
battle, the correlation of forces, whatever you want to call them,
always showed that there was a very large Iranian basic advantage
not only because of their huge population base, but in every way
except in the air.
The Iraqis had clear air superiority, but the Iranians had and
have a degree of fanaticism and a willingness to use these children
and things of that kind that could give them a major, rather horrible ground advantage.
The situation was basically stalemated, but there wasn't the
slightest suggestion of any offensive activity by the Iraqis or anything of the kind that I ever came across that would indicate anything of that sort.
That is why I was so caustic, if you like, in that comment about
tHe proposed NSDD that came around in June of 1985.
Mr. NUNN: Well, I agree with you completely. Does it bother you
that here the President of the United States signs a Finding in
January of 1986 that is premised on information that is totally
wrong as far as the assessment of the United States goes?
Secretary WEINBERGER: Well, I didn't know about that Finding.
There are lots of things about that Finding that bothered me. That
certainly is one of them, yes.
Mr. NUNN: Do you believe there were any other policies like
that, not necessarily related to this, where the President was
making a decision based on Admiral Poindexter's advice which was
directly contrary to the opinion of the rest of the Government?
Secretary WEINBERGER: No, I don't. I don't know of any other
Finding that was made or has been made. Since Mr. Carlucci has
been there, there has been a very thorough review of all Findings,
past and present.
I am positive that there has been nothing of that kind. This is
usually a very careful process, Senator. You don't—Presidential
Finding is not lightly made, ordinarily.
Mr. NUNN: I agree. I agree. You say you don't recall the November 10, 1986 meeting where Don Regan's notes show that the President himself said that we want to have things even—this helps
Iran, which was weaker.
You don't recall that?
Secretary WEINBERGER: No, I don't. I was at that meeting. I
made notes of it. It does not appear in my set of notes. I don't have
any memory of that conversation or that subject being raised.
Mr. NUNN: If you had heard that, would you have voiced your
objection at that point?
Secretary WEINBERGER: Oh, yes. If anything was directly contrary to what you believed, I would certainly have taken the point
up. One is not shy about presenting views that seem to me would
be in opposition to what I thought was something that was clearly