Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North complained last September to then-national security adviser John M. Poindexter that it was "increasingly difficult to do my job" because he was denied White House car privileges, his secretary had not been promoted and he could not obtain staff badges for two subordinates.
Vice Adm. Poindexter, according to declassified documents released last week, declined to forward North's requests to Donald T. Regan, the White House chief of staff at the time, writing a note to an aide to "tell him (North) to quit bitching."
"Ollie should understand" the situation involving staff badges, which allow access to various offices of the executive branch, Poindexter wrote on a note rejecting North's request. "Passes are not a badge of honor -- only convenience."
As for promoting North secretary Fawn Hall, Poindexter said: "I believe our promotion policies are fair."
Poindexter, who was then North's boss on the National Secutity Council staff, appeared sympathetic to North's transportation difficulties. But he refused North's written request to send a memo "directly to the chief of staff without sending it through normal channels."
North outlined his problems in a 1 1/2-page memo to Poindexter on Sept. 17, 1986.
"I have never whined before and do not mean to do so now," North said, "but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do my job." North said Poindexter's predecessor, Robert C. McFarlane, had approved use of the White House car pool "based on the frequent need for me to travel quickly, on short notice, often transporting highly sensitive material."
"I certainly did not consider it to be a 'perk,' " North said in the memo, but "a means by which I have been able to get my job done."
North cited two incidents in which he said his inability to use a pool car cost him hours in time and made him a half-hour late for a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
"Last Friday, while ... Rabin's aide waited," North said, "I was advised by the White House dispatcher that my name had been removed from the access list for White House cars. Eventually, after calling the president's military aide, a car was made available -- and I was a half-hour late for the short-notice meeting with Rabin at 2130 (9:30 p.m.).
"Yesterday, to save both time and money, I opted to go to (a conference) in Miami via military aircraft. When I arrived at the White House at (4 a.m.), I tried to get a car and could not. A taxi took nearly 40 minutes to get there and was delayed 15 minutes at the Andrews AFB gate. I almost missed the flight.
"Last night, on return," North said, "I had to wait 2 hours for a taxi to pick me up and bring me back to the White House. On both trips, I was, of necessity, carrying significant amounts of classified material."
In his letter, North said that the draft memo for Poindexter to send to Regan only addressed North's transportation problems. He asked for a meeting with Poindexter to talk about the other matters. "I am concerned that a very good team is about to become less productive than it should be for you and the president," North wrote.