U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Sporkin, who was the CIA's general counsel, made these points in testimony yesterday.
ON WOOING IRANIAN MODERATES
No official he dealt with ever spoke of Iranian "moderates" as he was beginning to write the "finding" that the White House used both as the legal basis for clandestine arms sales to Iran and as a means of keeping the dealings secret from Congress.
The finding said the sole purpose of the covert arms sale was to help secure the release of the American hostages. It provided presidential approval for two already-completed arms sales and for subsequent sales. It also directed William J. Casey, then director of central intelligence, not to inform Congress.
After the hostages were released, Congress was to have been told, Sporkin said.
ON ARMS-SALE PROFITS
He was unaware the arms sales generated millions of dollars in profits.
ON 'OPERATION STAUNCH'
He was unfazed by the fact that, while the United States was urging allies not to sell arms to Iran, he was drafting the "finding" permitting the U.S. arms sales.
ON SECORD'S INVOLVEMENT
He expressed concern in January 1986 to John M. Poindexter, then national security adviser, about the fact that retired Air Force major general Richard V. Secord was involved in the arms-sales operation. Poindexter said he would look into the matter, Sporkin testified, but Secord remained involved.
On Jan. 20, 1986, Sporkin met in the White House with two CIA officials, Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North and Secord. "I don't believe I would've attended the meeting if I had known that Mr. Secord would have been there," Sporkin testified. He was two weeks from taking his post on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and, ". . . I didn't think I wanted to be involved in a matter involving agents and operations not affiliated with the agency."
ON HIS DAY ON THE HILL
"This has been the toughest bar exam I've ever had," Sporkin told the committees, which are made up almost entirely of lawyers and former judges.