Mr. BELNICK: Is it true, sir, that your position was that there
were certain things you did not want to know?
Mr. ABRAMS: I would say that there were, that I wanted to know
what my people were doing in detail. They were to report to me. I
was their supervisor. With respect to people in other agencies, as
long as I was sure they were not violating the law, that was what I
needed to know, and I didn't need to know the details beyond that.
Mr. BELNICK: That included Colonel North?
Mr. ABRAMS: Oh, sure.
Mr. BELNICK: Do you recall what it was that caused you to go to
Colonel North and ask him if what he was doing was legal?
Mr. ABRAMS: I assumed it was one of those press reports?
Mr. BELNICK: Do you recall whether the Secretary of State
shared your view that it was best for you not to ask or to know
what Colonel North was doing specifically?
Mr. ABRAMS: We had a conversation in—around Labor Day, 1985,
in which—my memory is that I said something to him like, "All
these accusations about Colonel North, you want me to try to find
out whether they are true and what he is up to, or do you want me
to sort of leave?"
And he said, "No, you have got to know."
The note that I have in my notebook says, "Monitor Ollie," and I
thought that I had, in fact, met that responsibility first by his assurances that he was not soliciting; second, by Mr. McFarlane's assurances to Congress; and third, by the fact that we worked together and it seemed to me we had these RIG meetings—it seemed to
me I had a good grasp on what he was doing.
Mr. BELNICK: You went to the Secretary of State, raised the subject of North's possible connection with fundraising for lethal aid
on that occasion, which, I believe was September 4, 1985, correct,
Mr. ABRAMS: I think that is right.
Mr. BELNICK: And the Secretary of State told you that we, the
State Department, don't want to be in the dark. Do you recall that?
Mr. ABRAMS: I don't recall the exact words, but that is certainly
the general sense of it.
Mr. BELNICK: Yes, sir. He told you that you were the overall
manager of the Central American picture, correct.
Mr. ABRAMS: Again, I don't remember the exact words.
Mr. BELNICK: But, in substance, that is what he
Mr. ABRAMS: I think so.
Mr. BELNICK: He told you, therefore, you ought to, as your own
note of the meeting records, you ought to monitor Ollie, correct?
Mr. ABRAMS: Correct.
Mr. BELNICK: Did you tell the Secretary of State at that meeting
that you didn't think you needed to monitor Ollie or that you believed you had already monitored him sufficiently by asking him
whether he was soliciting and hearing that he wasn't?
Mr. ABRAMS: No, because that wasn't true.
Mr. BELNICK: All right.
Mr. ABRAMS: Monitor Ollie is not an activity that you do one
morning. It is a
Mr. BELNICK: That is for sure.
Mr. ABRAMS: It is a behavior pattern.