On the eve of President Clinton’s lawyers’ presentation of his defense before the House Judiciary Committee, the indefatigable White House media operation circulated to other media outlets a discovery by The Los Angeles Times that the committee’s chairman, Henry Hyde, seemed to have a double standard about lying by public men. In a piece titled “Hyde’s View On Lying Is Back Haunting Him,” the paper noted that, during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987, Hyde had excused the false testimony of Oliver North by quoting Jefferson: “A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger are of higher obligation… . On great occasions, every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict line of law when the public preservation requires...

 

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