Timing Tiff: Immunity now - or later?

Immunity now -- or later?

Since the Iran-contra scandal was exposed last November, it has been clear that two men are crucial to unraveling the tangled scheme: former National Security Adviser Admiral John Poindexter and his deputy, Lieut. Colonel Oliver North. But the two have stubbornly refused to discuss their roles in the weapons sales to Iran and the secret funding of the Nicaraguan contras, invoking their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Last week the arrangements for forcing the silent partners to talk led to a clash between the Senate Select Committee and Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh.

The lawmakers and the prosecutor agree on how to...