Mr. HATCH: Let me just say this to you—and, Mr. Chairman, I will finish
with these remarks. I have been a little tough on our committee,
but I do respect these people up here, and I have terrific respect for
every Member of this panel and for the attorneys and those.
But I also have a great deal of respect for you. It isn't easy to sit
there 5 days and go through what you have gone through and
admit what you have had to admit, express some of the mistakes
that have been made.
Let me just say this—based upon what I have seen and heard in
these hearings, there are mistakes here. To the extent that this
was purely an arms transfer for hostages, I have to disagree with
that, if that's all it was, but I think your answers have shown that
I don't think the NSC should ever operate covert operations. I
just don't think they should.
And frankly, I don't think that we should have had a diversion
of funds here, even though I have to confess I kind of think it is a
neat idea, too, to take moneys from the Ayatollah and send them
over to the Freedom Fighters in Nicaragua. What a nice use of
those funds, except that you have to be—I don't think it was right.
I think it points out the difficulties, it points out the difficulties
that the private—it's still a neat idea. I have got to admit that. I
don't care who laughs. I think you were right—at least well motivated in your desires to help them, because we weren't helping
them like we should up here. We weren't supporting this policy in
our own hemisphere.
Fourthly, I think these hearings point up the difficulties with
privatization of our foreign policy. I'm not saying you should never
do it, but they point up the difficulties of privatization.
And last but not least—and let me end with this—I think these
hearings should not let the Congress escape. By gosh, I think if
there's anything that ought to come out of these hearings, it ought
to be that we beat our breasts and act very sanctimonious and act
like we just would never have made any of these mistakes when
we've never had really the responsibility of, day to day, carrying
Now, mistakes were made here. I think good people can acknowledge that, and we can all agree whether we supported the policies
or didn't. Mistakes have been made. But, by gosh, we don't have to
beat our country into submission, or people like you, just because
mistakes have been made.
I want you to know that it is hard for us to believe it up here,
but Congress makes mistakes too. And it's been making mistakes
for most of this Iran-Contra and most of the Contra affair that we
have had going on in this hemisphere.
Now whether you believe in supporting the Contras or not, we
ought to come up with a consistent policy of support or non-support
in the Congress so everybody knows that America stands in a
matter of integrity for certain things.
Now, I'll just be honest with you. Based on what I have heard
thus far, with your admission of mistakes, with your admission
that some of the things you did you feel were wrong in retrospect—
and it's always easier to do these things in retrospect—I don't want
you prosecuted. I don't. I don't think many people in America do.
And I think there's going to be one lot of hell raised if you are.
That doesn't mean they won't. It doesn't mean that sticklers in the
law won't pursue the last pound of flesh, but I'll tell you, I don't
want you prosecuted.
Now, there may be something in the remaining part of this testimony or these hearings that might change my attitude, but as of
right now, I don't want that to happen. And I don't think many
people who've watched this, whether they believe in what you did
or didn't, want that to happen.
I just want to personally tell you I think you've conducted yourself very well here. I want to tell you I appreciate having the benefit of your testimony.