WASHINGTON — An FBI fingerprint expert testified Thursday that CIA spymaster Clair E. George's prints are on a draft of a statement to Congress that George has denied ordering revised.
George is charged with directing subordinates to remove details on Oliver L. North's secret military supply network for the Nicaraguan Contras from a statement George gave to a Senate committee on Oct. 10, 1986.
At the time, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wanted to know if there was any CIA connection to a military supply plane that had been shot down over Nicaragua five days earlier.
Former CIA official Alan D. Fiers testified last week that George ordered him to remove from the statement a description of how congressionally authorized humanitarian aid to the Contras evolved into North's secret network.
Fiers said George told him he did not want to be the first one who "puts the spotlight on the White House" connection with the Contra aid.
On Thursday, prosecutors introduced two copies of the draft statement that were retrieved from George's safe at the CIA.
The drafts described how the humanitarian aid was flown from a Salvadoran base also used for the private military aid effort. On one of the documents, that sentence was crossed out.
FBI fingerprint expert Ed Corley testified that he identified George's fingerprints on both documents. However, he acknowledged under cross-examination by defense lawyer Richard A. Hibey that he could not say when the fingerprints appeared on the pages.
When George appeared before a federal grand jury on April 5, 1991, he was asked if he ordered the deletion of that sentence.
"I cannot believe that I did," George said. Asked if he knew who did, he said: "I do not recall getting to this kind of detail in preparing this statement."
George, the former head of all CIA overseas spy operations, is charged with covering up his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair.