WASHINGTON — Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter's fuzzy memory struck 184 times during his five days of questioning at the Iran- contra hearings.
A review of Poindexter's testimony by United Press International shows that the former national security adviser answered frequently along the lines of "I can't recall" and "I don't remember" when pressed by congressional questioners on points both large and small in relation to President Reagan's worst crisis. Poindexter testified under a limited grant of immunity.
By contrast, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who testified Monday without immunity or the assistance of an attorney, seldom said he could not recall details of the Iran affair.
The 50-year-old rear admiral, whose Navy fitness reports praised "spectacular mental capacity" and even a "photographic memory," explained himself by saying that, before he assumed his White House post in December, 1985, he had "never been hit with so many issues in such a short period of time."
Poindexter's 184 memory lapses exceeded those of H. R. Haldeman, President Richard M. Nixon's chief of staff, whose memory failed him on about 150 occasions in his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee 14 years ago.