Mr. LIMAN: Now, as I understand your testimony, you genuinely
believed that in approving the diversion, that it was consistent
with the policies of the President in terms of third country support.
You have already testified to that, and I would like to ask you
some questions about that.
Is it a fact that the administration had gone to Congress in 1985
and gotten permission from Congress to solicit third-country support?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Yes. We worked with Members of Congress to
get that provision.
Mr. LIMAN: And is it a fact that that provision for obtaining
third-country support was limited to humanitarian aid?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Since leaving the White House and going back
over this material, that is correct. I can't say that during the discussions that I can recall in the White House there was great distinction made between humanitarian aid or any other kind of aid
at that particular time. There was with respect to the 27 million. I
simply don't recall great distinctions being made.
Mr. LIMAN: Are you saying that when Congress worked out the
legislation with the administration that authorized solicitation for
humanitarian aid, the administration interpreted that as meaning
it could solicit the lethal aid?
Mr. POINDEXTER: No. I am not saying that at all. I am just giving
you my recollection at the time.
Mr. LIMAN: And you also understood that that bill provided that
it was only the State Department that could do the solicitation. Do
you recall that, sir?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Yes, I recall that.
Mr. LIMAN: Now, was the money that you were getting from the
Ayatollah, or Secord, however you viewed it, was that money to be
limited to being disbursed for humanitarian aid?
Mr. POINDEXTER: In no way. You see, the distinction here is
that—and this is contrary to what you have heard before from
other witnesses, but I never believed, and I don't believe today,
that the Boland Amendment ever applied to the National Security
Council staff or the President's personal staff. But the problem was
that the Boland Amendment did apply to the State Department, it
did apply to CIA, and it did apply to the Defense Department.
We had been running this operation on our own for a long period
of time because there was no other alternative in order to keep the
Contras alive. And we wanted help, we wanted also a more public
recognition of the fact that the United States was supporting the
Contras in some way.
I, frankly, I personally still wanted that to be done, the public
support to be done in such a way that we could slowly turn back to
a covert program run by the CIA, but it was important to me and
to others that we get the State Department back into the game.