Lt. Col. Oliver L. North leaked one of the stories he said last week was leaked by Congress, Newsweek magazine reported yesterday.
In his testimony before the congressional Iran-contra committees, North acknowledged intentionally misleading Congress about U.S. arms sales to Iran and diversion of profits to aid the Nicaraguan rebels.
He justified this deception by citing what he claimed were two leaks by members of Congress of sensitive information -- in one case, involving the U.S. attack on Libya; in another, involving interception of an airliner carrying terrorists believed to have hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro.
The congressional leaks of the Libya attack have been strongly rebutted by legislators.
And in its July 27 issue, Newsweek reported that North himself, not legislators, leaked details of the capture of the Achille Lauro terrorists -- to Newsweek.
At the hearings, North charged that "a number of members of Congress" divulged details of the daring U.S. interception of an Egyptian airliner carrying the suspected terrorists who hijacked the Achille Lauro, killing an American tourist. The disclosure, North said, "very seriously compromised our intelligence activities."
Newsweek said, "The colonel did not mention that details of the interception, first published in a Newsweek cover story, were leaked by none other than North himself."