From the transcripts from the Iran-Contra Hearings in 1987. Dialog between Congressman Jack Brooks, Oliver North’s attorney, Brendan Sullivan, and Senator Daniel Inouye, the Democratic Chair of the joint Senate-House Committee:
Brooks: Colonel North, in your work at the NSC were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?
Sullivan [agitated]: Mr. Chairman?
Inouye [sternly]: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch upon that?
Brooks: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was an area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.
Inouye [more sternly]: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I’m certain arrangements can be made for an executive session.
This dialog concerns Rex 84 (Readiness Exercise 1984), a detailed plan, developed by Oliver North, deputy director for political-military affairs of the NSC, Louis Giuffrida, head of FEMA, and vice president George H.W. Bush to declare martial law, suspend the United States Constitution, put military commanders in charge of state and local governments, and detain large numbers of citizens deemed threats to national security. All that would be required for this to be enacted is for the US president to declare a “State of Domestic National Emergency.” Listed among activities that could trigger such an emergency is widespread opposition to a US military invasion abroad.
North co-authored the report with John Brinkerhoff, deputy director of FEMA’s national preparedness program. The plan is based on a Army War College template published in 1970 by FEMA chief Louis Giuffrida. The original plan proposed detaining 21 million “American Negroes” in the event that there was a “black militant uprising.”
You can watch the exchange here: