at odds over this and related issues affecting Central America, with the latter seeking to limit the former's zeal for more strenuous military and economic involvement.
In November, 1986, Congress undertook to investigate when it came to believe that the administration was trafficking arms to Iran to bring about release of American hostages and that the proceeds had been diverted to the Nicaraguan contras for military assistance at a time when Congress had legislated to bar such aid to these resistance forces. Select Investigation Committees were eventually chosen from each house. These Committees merged their efforts, sharing information during some 40 days of public hearings, supplemented by closed executive sessions in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra Affair.
Public hearings commenced May 5, 1987. The activities of North and his associates became the focus of the Committee hearings.
Previously, on December 1, 1986, the President appointed a Special Review Board (the "Tower Commission") to conduct an investigation of the same disclosures and on December 4, 1986, Attorney General Meese requested appointment of an Independent Counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 592(c)(2) to investigate the possible criminal conduct of Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, a White House aide, and others unnamed. Lawrence E. Walsh, a former federal judge, was appointed Independent Counsel and given broad authority to investigate by Order of the Division for the Purpose of Appointing Independent Counsels of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 19, 1986.
A grand jury was then empaneled to assist his investigation on January 28, 1987, and proceedings commenced.
After May 1, 1987, as the two inquiries went forward simultaneously there was a growing fire storm of publicity that brought practically every aspect of defendants' affairs into sharp focus. The moving defendants were vigorously attacked and vigorously defended in the midst of ardent political debate that accompanied the unravelling public disclosure by congressional committees.
Congress purported to pursue its legitimate legislative interest in the Iran-contra affair but did so in such a persistent manner that it sought, among other things, to fix individual responsibility for conduct it considered unauthorized by law. When Hakim, North and Poindexter, a former Admiral, individually refused to testify before Congress and claimed possible incrimination by asserting their Fifth Amendment rights, they were each, in turn, granted use immunity pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 6001 et seq. Their subsequent testimony in each instance was compelled.
The use immunity orders Congress sought and obtained were dated as follows: n4
Hakim - April 10, 1987
Poindexter - May 1, 1987
North - June 3, 1987
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