Mr. POINDEXTER: Our objective here all along was to withhold information. There
is no question about that. And that was my intent all along. I had
talked to Colonel North after talking to Chairman Hamilton and
asking if he could meet with the committee, and he said that he
could, and he could handle it. There had been a lot of false allegations in the press.
I expected Colonel North to be very careful in answering the specific questions. I thought he could knock down a lot of the issues by
being truthful. By reading the summary in this note, I didn't
attach any great significance to it because I knew that the questions and answers would be very carefully crafted.
I did not have any indication at this point that Colonel North
had made a false statement. I expected him to withhold information. In fact, I am still not sure to this day, if you looked at the
questions and the answers that he gave, whether you would conclude that there were false statements.
Mr. LIMAN: Did you think that the most effective way of knocking down false allegations about Colonel North's activities was bywithholding information, the words you just used?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Yes. I thought that was an effective way of
Mr. LIMAN: Now let's move on.
There were three arms transactions that actually took place pursuant to the January 17 Finding: the thousand TOWs in February,
the HAWK parts which were paid for in May, and then the 500
TOWs that were shipped to the second channel in October; correct?
Mr. POINDEXTER: That is correct.
Mr. LIMAN: All right.
And each of these transactions was approved by you?
Mr. POINDEXTER: That is correct, and the President.
Mr. LIMAN: And by the President?
Were there briefing notes or memoranda that you received from
Colonel North on each of these transactions?
Mr. POINDEXTER: There were lots of notes and PROF notes from
Colonel North. I can't recall all of them, but I would think that
most of them were covered by either hard copy written memos or
notes or PROF notes.
Mr. LIMAN: Well, was it Colonel North's practice to prepare a
briefing memorandum to you when you had to get the President's
approval for a transaction such as the arms transactions we are
Mr. POINDEXTER: That was his normal practice.
Mr. LIMAN: And how would you brief the President? Orally or by
giving him a copy of the memorandum?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Usually orally. I would use the paper that Colonel North prepared as talking points and if it was very detailed
and I thought that the President might be interested in it, I would
sometimes read it, but more often, I would summarize it.
Mr. LIMAN: Now, Colonel North said that in each of these memoranda that related to the arms transfers, he described how the residuals would be used for the support of the Contras.
Do you recall that, sir?
Mr. POINDEXTER: I recall his testimony. I do not recall the
Mr. LIMAN: We do not have—I will say this as a fact—we do not
have a single one of the memoranda for those transactions except
the draft memos that he prepared in April for a transaction that
didn't happen and was then restructured in May. And, therefore, I
haven't been able to show you any of those memos.
Do you, sir, know what happened, personally know what happened to those memos?
Mr. POINDEXTER: I do not. You do have some exhibits, though,
that address next steps. They don't address diversion.
Mr. LIMAN: They don't?
Mr. POINDEXTER: I think you have at least one that has a specific
note on it from me that I briefed the President and he has approved.
Mr. LIMAN: But those were next step memos on the initiative?
Mr. POINDEXTER: That is correct. They didn't say anything about
Mr. LIMAN: No. But they also—we do not have any of the memos
that describe as did that draft April memo, the transaction that
was about to take place and that the President and you approved.
Those memos are gone. Colonel North said they have all been
I was asking you if you had any personal knowledge on that fact?
Mr. POINDEXTER: I do not.
Mr. LIMAN: Now, did you believe that all of what is—what Colonel North called the residuals, called the profits, were going to be
used for the Contras?
Mr. POINDEXTER: That was my understanding.
Mr. LIMAN: And did you ever ask Colonel North how much
money these sales were generating for the Contras?
Mr. POINDEXTER: No. I never did.
Mr. LIMAN: Did he ever tell you?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Not that I can recall.
Mr. LIMAN: Was there a reason why you didn't ask him how
much money we are getting for the Contras out of these sales?
Mr. POINDEXTER: Your question was, did I ask him?
Mr. LIMAN: My question was, why didn't you, given your interest
in the financing of the Contras, which you expressed and you have
explained why you were interested in it? Why didn't you ask Colonel North, "How much are we getting out of these sales for the
Mr. POINDEXTER: I don't recall, frankly, ever thinking about that.
I knew that the arms sales were going through. I had a rough idea
of the amount of money involved from the early discussion in February. I knew that a portion of that would go, but with all of the
other issues that I was involved with during the year, I simply
didn't get into that detail of micromanagement of the project that
Colonel North was working on. I told you that was not my style.