Excerpts of testimony by Fawn Hall, secretary to former National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, in response to Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.):

q)You testified that, during the day on Nov. 21, when you were working on altering the documents, and later when you were shredding some . . . or assisting Col. North in doing so that you became increasingly uneasy . . . .

a)I don't know that I became "increasingly uneasy," sir. I think I testified that I was uneasy when Col. North asked me to alter the documents. And, I think you could say that I became increasingly busy.

q). . . Why were you uneasy?

a). . . Initially . . . when he asked me . . . because . . . they were completed actions . . . and, to change the content of a memorandum {already} approved was something that I was uneasy . . . . It passed because . . . I believed {Col. North} to be an honest, fair and a good person and with good motives . . . .

The following is in response to Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio):

q). . . On Nov. 21, Col. North asked you to make certain alterations on certain documents. At the time that . . . he began doing some shredding, I do not recall that he asked you to assist him . . . is that correct?

a). . . . I believe . . . that he began pulling documents, and I joined him. I don't recall that he specifically said, "Come over and help," or, "Do this, or do that" . . . .

q)And did you surmise that this was a way of trying to cover up something in conjunction with the Iran initiative or the contra initiative?

a)I don't use the word "cover-up." I would use the word "protect."

The following is in response to Senate select committee Vice Chairman Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.):

q). . . I think the only thing I'm trying to establish is that Mr. {Thomas} Green {North's attorney} knew when you got into his car that you had documents on your person, is that true?

a). . . Yes . . . .

q)And you handed those documents to Col. North or Mr. Green?

a). . . To Col. North.

q)And Mr. Green was aware of that transfer of those documents.

a)Yes . . . .

q). . . So Mr. Green certainly realized that there was something that was being concealed, that was being taken out of the White House.

a)Yes . . . .

q)Congressman Stokes . . . called it "a cover-up," you corrected him and said, " . . . I looked at it as protecting" . . . . Who were you protecting it from?

a)I was protecting the initiative.

q)From whom?

a)From everyone, because I felt that I knew that we were trying to get back the hostages, and I also knew that we were dealing with moderates and, if this whole thing was exposed, there could be . . . lives . . . lost . . . .

The following is in response to Sen. William S. Cohen (R-Maine):

a)I'd like to comment on your comment regarding Col. North and his grant of immunity. I think that Col. North is, first, a U.S. citizen and he has the same rights that you yourself do.

q). . . If he would not engage in any wrongdoing, Miss Hall, then we wouldn't have to be involved with the question of immunity at all. That's a matter of . . .

a)We have our separate opinions, sir.

The following is in response to Rep. Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.)

q) . . . Did you not know that alteration of existing documents in a major, fundamental way was a violation of the responsibility of those who possess those documents?

a)I agree . . . {and} I felt uneasy, but . . . I believed in Col. North, and there was a very solid and very valid reason that he must have been doing this. And sometimes you have to go above the written law, I believe . . . . I believed in Col. North. Maybe that's not correct, it's not a fair thing to say. I felt uneasy to begin with, and I agree with your assessment basically.

q). . . Finally, under any circumstances, the removal of classified documents from the offices to which they were assigned . . . and from the building was a gross violation of the security of those documents which . . . would {justify} the severest discipline, isn't that true?

a)I agree . . . and I honestly, sir, did not know the severity of what I was doing at the time. I wish I could redo it.

The following is in response to Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.):q) . . . If you felt that strongly about the policy, it seems to me

that your answers yesterday may have some conflict with that feeling. You stated yesterday that you typed but did not read the substance of what you were typing, even very important memorandums. Is that correct?


q). . . If you didn't read the papers and you didn't discuss it and you didn't read what you'd typed, there must be some reason you developed . . . such a strong feeling on the substance of the policy.

a) . . . After working four years, 12 hours a day, five days a week, I wouldn't consider someone too bright if they didn't pick up something after doing all that . . . .

q)Did you have a great deal of faith in Col. North personally? Did you like him and admire him?


q)Did that have something to do with your support of the contras, the fact that you had such a strong . . .

a)No, sir. Me and Col. North, I think, probably disagreed on some items. I wasn't solely a fanatic about Col. North. I believe and admire him, and I am a grownup, an adult and . . . I can form my own opinions and morals.

q)Did you ever tell him that anything he was doing was legally questionable?

a)I'm not a lawyer. I don't know what's legal and what's not legal, sir.

q)Did you ever tell him that anything was either right or wrong, that you felt was getting into an area of grayness or anything that was uncertain?

a)No, sir.

q)Never had any doubts about right or wrong in what you were doing? . . . . Looking back on it, do you?

a)I think it was wrong of me to remove documents from Suite 302.

q)Do you think it was wrong of him to ask you to do so?

a)He didn't ask me to do so.

q)Do you think it was wrong for him to ask you to shred documents?

a)I, my feeling, someone said "the unauthorized shredding of documents." When was it unauthorized? I don't know that it was unauthorized.

q)So, you think everything you did . . .

a)The office was secured on Nov. 25. The shredding took place on Nov. 21, sir.

q)The only thing you have any remorse about at all, then, is removing those documents?

a)Sir, I wished a lot of things could have been done differently. I wish that Congress had voted money for the contras so this wouldn't have had to happen.

q). . . You wouldn't have had to shred the documents if Congress had gone on and done its job and voted aid?

a)I believe that, uh, uh . . . I have no comment.

q). . . Has anyone else in the executive branch of government given you any instructions about what you should testify to or any suggestions or helpful hints?

a)Absolutely not.

Closing statement by House select committee Chairman Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.):

. . . These committees have heard some of the most extraordinary testimony ever given to the United States Congress . . . . A few things that stand out in my mind:

An elaborate private network was set up to carry out the foreign policy . . . . Private citizens, many with divided loyalties and profit motives, sold arms and negotiated for the release of American hostages . . . were given top-secret codes and encryption devices and had access to Swiss bank accounts used for United States covert actions and operations. The president was involved in private and third-country fund-raising for the contras. Wealthy private contributors were courted at the White House, solicited in coordination with government officials and given what they were told was secret information. American policy became dependent on the contributions of private individuals and third countries.

The president approved the payment of . . . {funds} to terrorists to secure the release of hostages. Senior officials did not know and chose not to know important facts about policy.

A national security adviser and an assistant secretary of state withheld information and did not tell the Congress the truth concerning U.S. involvement in the contra supply operation and the solicitation of funds from third countries.

When official involvement with the contras was prohibited, officials of the National Security Council raised money, helped procure arms and set up a private network to ship arms to the contras. A United States ambassador negotiated an agreement with Costa Rica for a secret airstrip, and a CIA agent facilitated supply flights.

An official designated by the secretary of state as a "loose cannon" {North} carried out highly sensitive negotiations to obtain the release of American hostages. He gave the approval of the White House to a plan to depose {Iraqi President} Saddam Hussein and to go to war with the Soviet Union in defense of Iran.

This same official participated with others in an effort to rewrite chronologies, altered critical documents and organized a shredding party to destroy those documents.

And money from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran was diverted to the contras and for the use of several private individuals. Money raised for the contras was used to finance a {Drug Enforcement Administration} operation to seek release of hostages. Contra funds were also provided to Col. North, perhaps even . . . for personal use.

What these committees have heard is a depressing story . . . of not telling the truth to the Congress and to the American people . . . about remarkable confusion in the processes of government. Those involved, whether public officials or private citizen, had no doubt they were acting on the authority of the president . . . .

At the outset, {Senate select committee} Chairman {Daniel K.} Inouye {D-Hawaii} appropriately asked, "How could this have happened here?" The question now is, "How can we prevent it from happening again?" For me, these events raise several questions and concerns.

First. Our government cannot function cloaked in secrecy. It cannot function unless officials tell the truth. The Constitution only works when the two branches of government trust one another and cooperate. Policy failed here because the processes of government failed . . . .

Second. Privatization of foreign policy is a prescription for confusion and failure . . . . Use of private parties to carry out the high purposes of government make us the subject of puzzlement and ridicule.

Third. Accountability, including personal responsibility, has been absent . . . . Who supervised Col. North? Who was responsible for U.S. funds earned from the sale of U.S. arms? Who asked whether actions taken were lawful?

Accountability requires supervision and acceptance of responsibility up the chain of command . . . rigorous oversight by the Congress and a full exercise of the process of checks and balances . . . above all, the operation of the normal processes of govern- ment . . . .