North Knew He Was Bound by Law--Singlaub

From Associated Press

A retired general testified at Oliver L. North’s trial today that he and the former Marine lieutenant colonel decided in 1985 “to assume the worst"--that North’s actions were covered by a law forbidding official U.S. aid to the Nicaraguan resistance.

Earlier in the day, however, a prosecution witness, Robert W. Owen, testified that he made many trips between Washington and Central America for North, carrying instructions from the presidential aide for how the guerrilla war was to be fought, and carrying maps and money.

Owen said North told him he acted with the knowledge and approval of superiors. The courier testified at one point that North said he had then-President Ronald Reagan’s approval, but he said later that testimony was wrong, that North never got more specific than “superiors.”

General Not Restricted


Retired Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, an ardent anti-communist who directed spy activities in three wars, said he and North agreed their actions should be governed by the assumption that North was covered by the congressional Boland Amendment, meaning Singlaub would work with the Contras and North would merely be kept informed.

The retired general helped raise millions of dollars for the Contras--some from foreign countries.

Singlaub was the fourth witness in the trial which resumed despite serious, still-unresolved, national security issues that halted testimony for nearly two days.

Defense lawyer Brendan V. Sullivan Jr. has renewed a motion to declare that a federal law designed to protect state secrets from being divulged in the courtroom is unconstitutional as applied to the North case.