Mr. NIELDS: I think I was asking you, you had a meeting with
the Attorney General on the 23d of November?
Mr. NORTH: That is correct.
Mr. NIELDS: And you were aware, were you not, sometime during
the day on Friday, November 21st, that the Attorney General's
people were going to come in and look at documents over the weekend?
Mr. NORTH: That is correct.
Mr. NIELDS: And you shredded documents before they got there?
Mr. NORTH: I would prefer to say that I shredded documents that
day like I did on all other days, but perhaps with increased intensity; that's correct.
Mr. NIELDS: So that the people you were keeping these documents from, the ones that you shredded, were representatives of
the Attorney General of the United States?
Mr. NORTH: Well they worked for him.
Mr. NIELDS: And it was those people from whom you were keeping these documents?
Mr. NORTH: No. Because, as I have already testified, counsel, I
believed—when I was apprised by Admiral Poindexter that the Attorney General, in his role as Mr. Meese, not that the Attorney
General is going to come by and do a full-fledged investigation—the
word "investigation" wasn't used—that Mr. Meese had been asked
to do a factfinding inquiry and would be sending people over to
I assured Admiral Poindexter, incorrectly, it turns out, that all
of the documents that pertained to the residual funds being used to
support the Nicaraguan Resistance had already been destroyed.
I then went back to my office and I lined up on my desk, or on
my table in my office, about the size of this table, a whole set of
binders, all by subject and by date, unlike the documents that I've
now received to prepare for testimony, and each one of those were
laid out on the table. I had already gone through those days before,
removing documents like this and others.
Mr. NIELDS: This is referring—excuse me. This is referring to exhibit 1?
Mr. NORTH: That's correct. And I laid them out on the table.
Later on in the day, I was going through my safe—I knew as
early as mid October that my tenure at the NSC was coming to a
close. I had had lengthy discussions about this with Director Casey.
I had talked to Admiral Poindexter about it. I believe I had even
talked to Mr. McFarlane about it.
And I stood there beside my safe and I was pulling out things out
of the safe and looking at them, and occasionally I would drop one
in the shredder which is right next to my safe. As I recall, my secretary then walked over to me and said, "Why are you doing this?
You know, you could be doing work on the chronology or doing
work on something else. Let me help." Or words to that effect.
She then asked me, "What about the phone call logs, and things
that are yours personally?" And I said, "They probably ought to
go." And it is my recollection that most of this stack of a foot and a
half, or however it's been described in earlier testimony, consisted
of phone logs, things that I had been told during my tenure at the
NSC staff were mine and mine alone, plus the PROF notes that I
considered to be mine and mine alone, deeply personal communications between me and my colleagues and, in some cases, my superiors. And I asked her to put those in the shredder because those I
considered to be mine. Not that they specifically related to this activity, but simply that they were not going to go anywhere and
they ought to go in the shredder.
And so what has been created is this sensational, you know, horrible, final, last-minute, last-ditch shredding—and it wasn't that at
Mr. NIELDS: You had already done that shredding?
Mr. NORTH: I thought I had gotten it all. That is correct, Mr.
Mr. NIELDS: And the fact that you shredded a whole stack of documents on the afternoon of Friday, November 21st, right after you
had heard the Attorney General s people were coming to look at
documents in the morning, is a pure coincidence, it had nothing to
do with the fact that the Attorney General's people were coming in
over the weekend to look at documents? Is that your testimony?
Mr. NORTH: The documents that they were going to look at were
already laid out on the table in my office. I am sure that there are
colleagues of mine who worked in that office who can testify to
Mr. NIELDS: Is it your testimony—is it your testimony that the
documents that you shredded right after you found out that the Attorney General's people were coming in over the weekend to look
at documents had nothing to do with the fact that his people were
coming in to look at documents?
Mr. NORTH: No. I'm not saying that.
Mr. NIELDS: So you shredded some documents because the Attorney General's people were coming in over the weekend?
Mr. NORTH: I do not preclude that as part of what was shredded.
I do not preclude that as being a possibility, not at all.