Commission May Have Erred Saying North Sketched Diagram
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Tower commission now is unsure of who drew a diagram, attributed to Lt. Col. Oliver North, that appears to show a flow of money and weapons in his private Contra aid network, a spokesman says.
The report of the commission, named by President Reagan to investigate the Iran-Contra matter, says North sketched the diagram.
But now the commission isn’t so sure, said spokesman Herb Hetu on Monday.
″We don’t know that it’s a mistake. We don’t know who did it in retrospect,″ he said.
The diagram is included in an appendix to the commission report released last week.
It was sketched onto the bottom of a typed note from North’s secretary thanking Texas businessman Phil Mabry for his help in seeking support for Reagan’s pro-Contra policies.
Congressional sources said Mabry himself is considered by many to have drawn the diagram because it matches his handwriting and its sketched on the note that he showed around Capitol Hill last year. Mabry has not returned messages left by a reporter over the past five days.
The diagram links North’s name to those of businessman Bob Owen, under whose name is written the word ″weapons,″ and conservative activist Andy Messing, whose name is over the word ″funds.″
Other arrows go to the name Linda Guell, of the conservative foundation Western Goals, and to the words ″Causa″ and ″Col. Pak.″
Col. Bo Hi Pak heads Causa, an international foundation funded by members of The Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.
Messing, director of the National Defense Council Foundation, on Monday blasted the Tower report as sloppy for not bothering to check with him about the diagram, which he said falsely linked him to weapons transactions and North’s private aid operation.
He said his foundation has independently provided 110 tons of food and medicine in Central America, seven tons of it to the Contras fighting to overthrow the Nicaraguan government, but never any weapons.
″I’ve told hundreds of reporters that I do nothing but food and medicine″ assistance, he said. ″I never took any funds from North.″
Messing said Mabry told a reporter that Mabry drew the diagram, and that North’s wife and North’s secretary, Fawn Hall, have told Messing that North was not the author.
The sketch depicts an ″erroneous theory″ by Mabry, Messing said.
A Tower commission staff member had assumed North drew the diagram, but now the conclusion is in doubt, said Hetu, adding however, ″It didn’t materially affect our report.″
The report, focusing mainly on the U.S. arms sales to Iran, did not elaborate on what the sketch might mean.
Causa executive vice president Thomas Ward said he did not know the meaning. He said his group had no contact with North, Messing, or Owen, although Guell did attend a Causa conference in 1985.
The group runs educational projects promoting democratic principles and has provided some non-military supplies to Central American refugees, he said.
Guell, who now works for Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., has not returned a reporter’s calls.
Owen, who cited his Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination in refusing to testify before congressional committees on the Iran-Contra matter, could not be reached for comment.