WASHINGTON — Former National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane, who tried to kill himself three months ago, told a questioner today at the Iran- contra hearings that he was "not a fragile flower" and to "shoot your best shot" in interrogating him.
McFarlane opened the afternoon session of the hearings by interrupting House select committee counsel John Nields, who was apologizing for having to return his questioning to an unpleasant subject.
"Listen, Mr. Nields, you're being terribly kind," McFarlane said. "And during the break I had the misfortune to turn on the television, whereupon a young woman was describing that I was a fragile flower that had to be catered to.
"That's nonsense. Shoot your best shot."
McFarlane, who took an overdose of Valium on Feb. 9 in apparent despondency over the unfolding Iran-contra affair, has been treated with anti-depressant medication since then.
Members of the House-Senate panels investigating the secret sale of U.S. arms to the Iranians and the diversion of profits to the Nicaraguan contras had said they intended to go easy on McFarlane because of his personal problems.