President Reagan's refusal to testify at North's trial is noteworthy for his lack of forthrightness. He claims he does not want to set a precedent for other Presidents (Part I, April 1). Where have we heard that before? President Nixon unsuccessfully hid behind his claim of "executive privilege" in refusing to release the damaging Watergate tapes.
For his part, Reagan urged full disclosure of his Administration's activities in the Iran-Contra debacle. Ostensibly, this is why he called for the congressional hearings and supported the Tower Commission investigation into his conduct. But his actions belie his pledge to the American public "to clear the air." His reluctance to testify is especially ironic considering he defiantly proclaimed North to be "a national hero," when the first details of the illegal transfer of funds to the Contras leaked out.