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Secord Calls Iran-Contra Hearings a Circus With AM-US-Iran-Contra Rdp Bjt

May 28, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Richard V. Secord, renewing his attack on the congressional Iran-Contra hearings, called the proceedings a ″circus″ Thursday in a column in The Wall Street Journal.

″What good came of Watergate? What good will come of the Iran-Contra hearings?″ Secord asked in the column.

He complained that the hearings ″project a cartoon version of democracy to the world.″

The column was the latest in a series of verbal salvos fired by Secord, a retired Air Force major general who was at the heart of the Iran-Contra affair.

After he appeared as the first witness at the nationally televised hearings that began May 5, Secord was interviewed on ABC’s ″Nightline,″ where he criticized what he called the lawmakers’ theatrics.

Before the hearings, he had refused to talk to reporters for months.

During his week of testimony, Secord indicated he was motivated solely by patriotism in helping the Nicaraguan Contras. He said he helped set up a private air wing to aid the rebels because he wanted them to gain their freedom from Sandinista oppression.

Since his appearance, however, some lawmakers have grown increasingly skeptical about Secord and his associates, suggesting they planned to make a financial killing on deals in which U.S. weapons were sold to Iran, with some of the proceeds diverted to the Contras.

″Patriots?″ Rep. Jack Brooks, D-Texas, said Thursday. ″I think it’s a lot more honest to call them thieving scoundrels. Patriots for a fee.″

In the column Thursday, Secord attacked Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., for ″plain dishonesty″ because of Rudman’s contention that Secord and his associates maintained possession of airplanes bought for the Contras.

The planes, Secord said, were turned over to the Contras as soon as they were bought.

Rudman disputed that view Thursday, saying evidence proves Secord’s enterprise owned the planes.

″But I kind of get a little bit bewildered when people come up here and testify that they were just doing this for great patriotic reasons when the records are absolutely contrary,″ Rudman said.

Secord, for his part, criticized politicians for lusting after the limelight, and said that exposing confidential information during the hearings undermines U.S. foreign policy.

Moreover, he said loose-lipped officials have set a bad example for subordinates who see nothing wrong with talking about national security. Secord spoke of ″garden-variety leakers who daily pander to the press.″

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