Mr. BOREN: You were asked to stop using the banks of operation, you were asked to temporarily suspend the airlift operations, I believe you told us.

Mr. SECORD: Yes. There were messages on that.

Mr. BOREN: From whom did those messages come? Did they come from Colonel North?

Mr. SECORD: I believe they originated with him but they came from his assistant.

Mr. BOREN: So they came from people from the National Security Council.

Mr. SECORD: Yes, sir.

Mr. BOREN: Colonel North or his assistant?

Mr. SECORD: Yes, sir.

Mr. BOREN: As I understand, you rejected that request and felt very strongly that it would be wrong for you to give up that base of operations at that time?

Mr. SECORD: That is correct.

Mr. BOREN: So you continued that?

Mr. SECORD: I thought that they were misinformed and the problem was solved.

Mr. BOREN: They were misinformed. So, in other words, again we have Mr. Richard Secord, private citizen, substituting his own personal judgment on the conduct of an operation for the aid of people that we were trying to help in this country, in fact, in coordination with the National Security Council, rejecting the request from the National Security Council because Mr. Richard Secord—private citizen, no appointment from the President—felt that was the wrong thing to do; is that correct?

Mr. SECORD: That is correct, and I think the results were the correct results.

Mr. BOREN: Mr. Secord, again I go back to this being the bicentennial year of the Constitution. Does it not disturb you as an American, setting aside your own great confidence in yourself, which has been clearly expressed to us—you obviously have more confidence than you have in the CIA in terms of you said you could not run their covert operations better than they, you have more confidence in your legal judgment than in the judgment of the Attorney General whom you have roundly condemned for making public the diversion of funds—you seem to have more confidence in yourself than you do in even the President's own staff because you drafted a speech to give to Colonel North for the President of the United States to read to explain this. You put confidence in yourself in terms of opening the new channels of communications.

Do you think that it is appropriate for private American citizens without any position of authority in this country and not accountable in any way to the Congress of the United States to be exercising the making of foreign policy decisions of this kind with funds generated from the sale of American taxpayers' property, the money generated from the sale of American taxpayers' property, to the Iranians?

Now, is it right for you, as a private individual, to use American taxpayers' money to make these kinds of decisions, even when the National Security Council, albeit a shockingly low level at the National Security Council, is telling you not to continue?

Mr. SECORD: I find it difficult to respond to that string of assertions.

Mr. BOREN: I can understand why you would find it difficult to respond, because concerning—have you ever read the Constitution of the United States, Mr. Secord?

Mr. SECORD: Yes, Senator Boren.

Mr. BOREN: Do you believe in it?

Mr. SECORD: Of course. I have sworn to uphold it and I have fought for it quite a few times.

Mr. BOREN: I understand you have fought for it. No one takes anything away from that. But does it not trouble you? Did you not wake up some mornings and think, how did I, as a private individual, start exercising all this responsibility to make foreign policy of the United States of America in lieu of the Congress, the Secretary of State, the President of the United States, members of the National Security Council? Did you not have even a moment of humility about your judgment in substituting yourself for the constitutional process of this country?

Mr. SECORD: I don't agree with what you are saying about what I did. I thought I was doing the right things at the time, but I can tell you I was troubled all along the way, troubled all along the way.

Mr. BOREN: You were troubled by it?

Mr. SECORD: Yes, sir.

Mr. BOREN: That reassures me. Now, you have a strategic grasp of what was going on in Central America because you were making those important decisions. How often have you been to Central America?

Mr. SECORD: I beg your pardon, sir?

Mr. BOREN: How often have you physically been to Central America?

Mr. SECORD: As I think I've testified, I never went to Central America except for one brief trip in April of last year.

Mr. BOREN: April of last year. And where in Central America did you go in April of last year?

Mr. SECORD: El Salvador.

Mr. BOREN: So you went to El Salvador. How long did you stay and what day was that in April? Do you recall?

Mr. SECORD: I don't have the date, but it is in April, and it was for less than one day.

Mr. BOREN: Less than one day. How long were you actually on the ground or flying over El Salvador? I understand you took a flight from one airstrip to another and then you came back to the original destination and flew out; is that correct?

Mr. SECORD: Yes, sir.

Mr. BOREN: So how long did all of that take?

Mr. SECORD: Again I'm guessing, but I would say six hours.

Mr. BOREN: Six hours. So you have been in Central America for six hours, Mr. Secord, and you, a private citizen, are substituting your judgment for that of the National Security Council, the Bureau of Central and Latin American Affairs of the State Department, people that have studied this for years, lived in the region. But it did worry you that you were doing that?

Mr. SECORD: I was not substituting my judgment for theirs. I was trying to run a very small operation to do what I thought was an important job.