Mr. NIELDS: And it didn't take a genius to figure out that that
Swiss bank account might very well lead to the source of funding
for the private network that was dropping arms in Nicaragua?
Mr. ABRAMS: Not if it was a separate and new account which is
what I thought, sir.
Mr. NIELDS: Now, you thought
Mr. ABRAMS: As I have previously stated.
Mr. NIELDS: I take it what you are saying is you thought it was a
new account set up for the Contras?
Mr. ABRAMS: By the Contras. It was a Contra account.
Mr. NIELDS: It was a Contra account. And indeed, you had solicited the contribution for the Contras?
Mr. ABRAMS: For and to, yes.
Mr. NIELDS: And to the Contras? It was your understanding that
Brunei was giving the money to the Contras?
Mr. ABRAMS: Yes. We didn't want it to go through the U.S. Government.
Mr. NIELDS: Not through the U.S. Government.
So you solicited a $10 million contribution from the Government
of Brunei that was to be given to the Contras and they promised to
give it and then they told you it was on its way?
Mr. ABRAMS: And then they didn't give it.
Mr. NIELDS: My question to you is, did you ever tell the Contras?
Mr. ABRAMS: As I have testified, I think as long ago as the Tower
Commission, it was sorely tempting because they would come and
they would say we are in debt, we cannot buy food. I really wanted
to say I am going to take care of you. I am—I have something cooking
which is going to solve this problem, but I didn't and, of course,
as time wore on it was less and less tempting because it was clear
something was wrong.
Mr. NIELDS: The answer to my question, I take it, is you never
told the Contras?
Mr. ABRAMS: Oh, no, Jesus—as I testified to the Tower Commission
this is something which we did not, I did not testify to the
Congress of the United States in closed session. Do you think I
would just idly have chattered about it to Nicaraguan resistance
Mr. NIELDS: You were sorely tempted to tell the Contras
Mr. ABRAMS: To cheer them up—you betcha.
Mr. NIELDS: But you never told them?
Mr. ABRAMS: Never did. Correct.
Mr. NIELDS: And there came a time when the money was missing?
Mr. ABRAMS: Well, we thought of it more or less as missing by I
guess the end of October, I guess.
Mr. NIELDS: You thought it might even have been embezzled or
Mr. ABRAMS: By around the end of October. I couldn't figure out
what had happened and the idea it had been stolen is something
that did occur to me.
Mr. NIELDS: And it was supposed to go into a Contra bank account?
Mr. ABRAMS: Correct.
Mr. NIELDS: UNO's bank account?
Mr. ABRAMS: I think that is a fair way to put it.
Mr. NIELDS: And you never even asked UNO whether they got
the money, isn't that true?
Mr. ABRAMS: I asked Colonel North.
Mr. NIELDS: Did you ever ask UNO?
Mr. ABRAMS: I did not. I did not know who to ask.
Mr. NIELDS: There is $10 million of missing money that you say
was supposed to go into a bank account owned by the Contras and
you never asked them if they got the money?
Mr. ABRAMS: I repeatedly asked Colonel North, whom I trusted
Mr. NIELDS: The only person you asked was Colonel North?
Mr. ABRAMS: And the Government of Brunei.
Mr. NIELDS: Because it was Colonel North's Swiss bank account.
You knew that, didn't you sir?
Mr. ABRAMS: You can state that 45 times, it wouldn't be any
truer than it was the first time, which is not at all. It is false. I knew
about that account what I knew about the account which had
been established by UNO with the assistance of the Task Force
Chief. That is, that it was an account that I thought to be an account of the United Nicaraguan Opposition. I did not ask the Task
Force Chief for the name of the individual to whom he had passed
the message to open that account. I did not ask him that. Nor did I
ask a similar question of Colonel North. And when the time came
to find out what happened to the money, I asked Colonel North
and we asked the Government of Brunei.