These points emerged in connection with Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North's testimony and his role in the Iran-contra affair.
ON THE SECRET GOVERNMENT The late William J. Casey, then director of the CIA, planned to use profits from secret U.S. arms sales to Iran to create and perpetuate a "stand-alone, self-financing" secret agency capable of conducting covert operations around the world. North said the organization was to have grown out of the private operation North used for the Iran and contra operations.
Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate panel, called the concept a "very serious" matter, "the creation and the maintenance of a secret government without our government." Senate counsel Arthur L. Liman described it as a "CIA outside of the CIA."
ON REAGAN'S MEMORY President Reagan has "no recollection" of signing a presidential finding in late November 1985 that authorized a trade of arms for hostages with Iran, as North testified this week, according to a senior administration official who said Reagan had been asked about it. The president later signed another finding that characterized the Iran initiative in terms of reaching out to moderate elements in Iran. If Reagan had signed the earlier finding, a signed copy of which has not been found but whose existence has been the subject of testimony, it would undercut his assertions that he was not trading arms for hostages.
OUTSIDE THE CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS A federal judge directed North to comply with a grand jury subpoena for a handwriting sample and ruled that the Justice Department appointment of independent counsel Lawrence E. Walsh is valid. North's attorneys are expected to appeal the decision.
LEGAL DEFENSE FUNDS GROW An estimated $130,000 has been donated to help North pay his legal bills; he has received thousands of telegrams supporting him, and telephones at government and media offices have been ringing with callers commenting on the hearings and, mostly favorably, on North himself.
TUNING IN TO THE HEARINGS Americans from North's hometown to passengers on an airliner tune in to the hearings, and every one of them has a strong opinion of the newest daytime television star.