Mr. LIMAN: And you then testified that you were given a task of keeping the body and soul of the Contras together, correct?

Mr. NORTH: That's correct.

Mr. LIMAN: Whose words are "the body and soul"?

Mr. NORTH: As they were relayed to me, they were the words of the President.

Mr. LIMAN: And did you understand those words to mean to keep them together in the field as a fighting force until Congress turned money back on?

Mr. NORTH: And more. To keep them together as a viable political opposition, to keep them alive in the field, to bridge the time between the time when we would have no money and the time when the Congress would vote again, to keep the effort alive, because the President committed publicly to go back, in his words, again and again and again to support the Nicaraguan Resistance. And I not only did that, but I went down and talked, as you now know from my notebooks, with the heads of state of Central American and other countries, with the political leadership of those other countries, in an effort to do just exactly that.

Mr. LIMAN: Now, did the job—

Mr. NORTH: And I also believe, sir, that that action, direction to me as a member of the President's staff, was just as legal as that proscription taking away funding.

Mr. LIMAN: And did you understand that that direction was emanating from the President of the United States himself?

Mr. NORTH: I did.

Mr. LIMAN: And did I read your expression correctly when you winced yesterday when someone read from the Tower Report that the President said that he didn't know that the NSC staff was helping the Contras?

Mr. NORTH: I don't know what you read in my wince. It may have been that my back hurt.