721Jan 1969 to Aug 1974 The Nixon years, 2nd ed. part 15
- Oct 24, 2013
The next day, burglar G. Gordon Liddy tells White House aides Frederick LaRue and Robert Mardian that he and his fellow burglars will need money for bail, legal expenses, and family support. Mardian says that the request is blackmail and should not be paid. It will eventually be revealed that Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt is at the center of a scheme to blackmail the White House for around $1 million in “hush money”.
President Nixon demands that CIA director Richard Helms resign immediately. He knows that Nixon intends to pin some of the blame for the Watergate conspiracy on the agency, and so refuses to resign. Nixon will fire Helms in February 1973.
At this point Walters and Helms became accessories after the fact for failing to report a conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Later that day, the finance chairman of the Nixon re-election campaign, Maurice Stans, gives Kalmbach $75,000 for the burglars. Over the next months, money will continue to be raised and disbursed to the burglars in what may be part of a blackmail scheme orchestrated by one of them, E. Howard Hunt.
Nixon brings up the problem of Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, who has what Nixon calls a “sensitive position” in the Watergate investigation—Hunt knows enough to blow the lid off the entire conspiracy, and has threatened to reveal it if he is not paid. Nixon says that it should be a simple thing to grant Hunt executive clemency. “We’ll build that son of a bitch up like nobody’s business. We’ll have Buckley write a column and say that he should have clemency.” In other words, conservative columnist William F. Buckley will write about how patriotic Hunt has been in service to the CIA.
In his Watergate grand jury testimony, White House counsel John Dean will say that President Nixon approved executive clemency for Hunt in December 1972.
James McCord, will later claim that Dorothy W. Hunt said that her husband has information that would “blow the White House out of the water.” She was, Colson later admits, “upset at the interruption of payments from Nixon’s associates to Watergate defendants.” Former Attorney General John Mitchell, the head of Nixon’s re-election organization, arranged to have Frederick LaRue pay the Hunts $250,000 to keep their mouths shut. The day of she was killed in an airplane crash, Dorothy Hunt had arranged to meet with CBS journalist Michelle Clark, perhaps to discuss the Watergate investigation. Michelle Clark, Dorothy Hunt, and Illinois congressman George Collins are aboard the plane, United Airlines Flight 533, when it crashes into a Chicago neighborhood. All three die. Initial reports indicated that the plane had some sort of engine trouble when it descended from the clouds during a landing approach to Midway Airport. I have documented a number of mysterious deaths on take offs or landings of airplanes in my chapter entitled, “Mysterious Deaths” of my book.
Dorothy Hunt is reported to be carrying $10,000 in cash as a partial payoff for the burglars. This cash was in $100 bill with the inscription, "Good Luck FS". I immediately suspected that FS could stand for Howard's Watergate co-conspirator and fellow CIA affiliate, Frank Sturgis, and began searching for other crash-material ascribed to Mrs. Hunt from the ill-fated flight. (February 28, 1973)
Dorothy W. Hunt was also an employee for the CIA in the late 1940s, stationed in Shanghai, China,
One day after the crash, the Whitehouse head of Nixon's "plumber's" outfit--Egil Krogh, Jr.-- was made undersecretary of transportation, a position that put him in a direct position to oversee the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Agency which are both authorized by law to investigate airline crashes. Krogh would later be convicted of complicity in the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's Psychiatrist's office along with Hunt, Liddy and a small cast of CIA-trained and retained Cuban black-bag specialists.
On December 19th--eleven days after the crash--Nixon appointed ex-CIA officer, Alexander Butterfield, as head of the FAA. Butterfield was the Whitehouse official who supervised Nixon's secret taping system and who exposed the existence of the infamous tapes that ultimately would force Nixon to resign.
From June to August 1972, Dean had minimal contact with President Nixon; it wasn't until September 15, 1972, that Nixon called Dean into the Oval Office to offer congratulations on Dean's skillful handling of the Watergate cover-up.
In October 1972, former President, Lyndon Johnson was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "We've been running a damn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean."
After the Nixon election victory in November 1972, which Watergate defendant put the most pressure on John Dean to receive "hush money"?
Nixon ordered CIA’s Deputy Director Vernon Walters through John Dean, to tell the FBI that its investigation of Watergate might harm secret CIA operations in Mexico.
Louis Patrick Gray III was appointed acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by Nixon after Hoover’s death on May 2, 1972. John Dean and Gray met secretly on several occasions to exchange information and documents. Gray kept Dean apprised of the FBI's progress in the Watergate burglary case. In 1973, Gray's Senate was appointed head of the FBI.
In 1969, Gray had returned to the federal government and worked under the Nixon administration in several different positions. In 1970, President Nixon appointed him as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division in the Department of Justice.
In early 1973, Hunt pressured John Dean to come up with cash- and quickly.
Former New York policeman and Nixon campaign operative Anthony Ulasewicz, acknowledged that he delivered a quarter-million dollars in hush money to the Watergate burglars. Ulasewicz worked as a private investigator for the Nixon White House between 1969 and 1972. In his testimony at the Senate Watergate hearings, he acknowledged that he delivered $219,000 to G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.
Throughout the month of April 1973, Dean had broken ranks with the White House; he had started to confess to federal prosecutors about Watergate and states that Liddy and Hunt were involved in the burglary of Eslburgs psychiatrist’s office two years prior.
On April 30, 1973, President Nixon made a television speech in which he announced the resignation of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and John Dean.
In June 1973, John Dean testified for a week in front of a U.S. Senate committee. Under questioning by Senators, Dean revealed that President Nixon had ordered certain "enemies" of the administration be put on special lists for "future consideration." These enemies included social activists, movie stars, politicians, musicians and others who were openly opposed to Nixon.
W. Mark Felt says that the Justice Department’s indictments against the seven Watergate burglars (see September 15, 1972) was as narrow as Department officials could make it. The FBI failed to contact the people whose phone numbers were listed in the address books of the burglars. He says evidence of political espionage or illegal campaign finances not directly related to the burglary was not considered and that the investigation, as narrow as it was, was plagued by witness perjury and evasions.
Later it was learned that far less than half of the names in the books were made by FBI agents in the Miami field office. FBI Director Gray also refused to countenance interviews of the remaining subjects in the address book while the trial of the seven burglars was underway.
When the court releases the names of upcoming witnesses to be called to testify, Washington Post reporter, Bob Woodward calls them. He asks one witness, who knows burglar E. Howard Hunt very well, what he will testify to. He says he will tell the court that, according to Hunt, White House aide John Ehrlichman was in charge of the Plumbers. But Hunt would have rather dealt with another White House aide, Charles Colson, “because Colson understood that such [secret intelligence gathering operations against political opponents] are necessary.” Ehrlichman was reluctant to implement some of Hunt’s schemes, the witness says, but Colson pushed them through. Also he says, former Nixon campaign chief, John Mitchell received typed logs and reports of the wiretaps on the Democrats, the witness says. This undisclosed witness said the Assistant US Attorney prosecuting the case, Earl Silbert, would not ask important questions of the Plumbers. During the trail, this witness was not ask what he know about who in the White House was tasking /directing Hunt’s activities. This meant the Attorney General’s office was trying to cover up the level of CIA involvement in the burglary.
Felt says bluntly that Nixon campaign chairman John Mitchell was involved, and, “Only the President and Mitchell know” how deep Mitchell’s involvement really is. Felt adds that Nixon aide John Ehrlichman ordered Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt to leave town (see June 18, 1972. Felt says. The “November Group” handles campaign advertising. Another group handles political espionage and sabotage for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. A third “primary group” did the same for the campaign primaries (this group not only worked to sabotage Democrats, but Republican primary opponents of Nixon’s as well). And a fourth, the “Howard Hunt group,” is also known as the “Plumbers,” Everything—surveillance operations, illegal campaign finances, campaign “dirty tricks”—is interconnected, Felt says.
Hunt’s group reports directly to Charles Colson, Nixon’s special counsel. One set of operations by Hunt’s group involved planting items in the press; Felt believes Colson and Hunt leaked stories of former Democratic vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton’s drunk driving record to reporters. “Total manipulation—that was their goal, with everyone eating at one time or another out of their hands. Even the press.” The Post is specifically being targeted, Felt warns; the White House plans to use the courts to make Woodward and Bernstein divulge their sources.
Felt replies: “Okay. This is very serious. You can safely say that 50 people worked for the White House and presidential election the Committee to Re-elect the President to play games and spy and sabotage and gather intelligence.
Woodward lists the many examples that he and Bernstein have been able to unearth: surveillance, following people, press leaks, fake letters, campaign sabotage, investigations of campaign workers’ private lives, theft, campaign provocateurs. Felt nods. “It’s all in the [FBI] files. Justice and the Bureau know about it, even though it wasn’t followed up.”
FBI agent William Mark Felt Sr. had worked in the FBI’s Major Case Desk, of the Espionage Section of the Domestic Intelligence Division, tracking down spies and saboteurs during World War II. Felt later oversaw some of the Bureau's earliest investigations into organized crime with the Mob's operations in the casinos of Reno and Las Vegas and Kansas. In November 1964, he became assistant director of the Bureau, as chief inspector of the Bureau and head of the Inspection Division. This division oversaw compliance with Bureau regulations and conducted internal investigations.
On July 1, 1971, Felt was promoted by J. Edgar Hoover to Deputy Associate Director, assisting Associate Director Clyde Tolson. Hoover's right-hand man for decades, Tolson was in failing health and no longer able to attend to his duties. Richard Gid Powers wrote that Hoover installed Felt to rein in William Sullivan's domestic spying operations, as Sullivan had been engaged in secret unofficial work for the White House.
Hoover died in his sleep and was found on the morning of May 2, 1972. Nixon appointed L. Patrick Gray as acting FBI director and then Tolson submitted his resignation. Felt took Tolson's post as Associate Director, the number-two job in the bureau.
Felt was critical at how often Gray was away from FBI Headquarters. His frequent absences led to the nickname "Three-Day Gray." These absences, combined with Gray's hospitalization and recuperation from November 20, 1972 to January 2, 1973, meant that Felt was effectively in charge for much of his final year at the Bureau. Felt retired from the Bureau on June 22, 1973, ending a thirty-one year career.
In his book, The Bureau, Ronald Kessler said, "Felt managed to please Hoover by being tactful with him and tough on agents." Curt Gentry called Felt "the director's latest fair-haired boy," but who had "no inherent power" in his new post, the real number three being John P. Mohr.
On July 5, 1974, the Justice Department’s Office of Planning and Evaluation submits a report on the role and actions of the FBI in the Watergate investigations. This report stated, “There can be no question that the actions of former Attorneys General John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst served to thwart and/or impede the Bureau’s investigative effort. The report noted that the FBI failed to interview key members of CREEP. The report acknowledges that many CREEP employees undoubtedly lied to FBI investigators, “most notably John Mitchell, Jeb Magruder, Bart Porter, Sally Harmony, and Maurice Stans.” Porter and Magruder in particular “lied most convincingly.” Another CREEP employee, Robert Reisner (Magruder’s assistant), was not interviewed because Reisner successfully hid from FBI investigators. The FBI believes it was Reisner who cleaned out the “Operation Gemstone” files from Magruder’s office.
Numerous other financial and other files were also destroyed after being requested by the FBI, most notably Alfred Baldwin’s surveillance tapes and logs from the Democratic offices in the Watergate. Many of these files were destroyed by Liddy.
The FBI report also noted an indefensible delay in searching and securing Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt’s desk in the White House, putting the contents of that desk at risk of being removed, Failure to interview key individuals with knowledge of the suspicious monies found in the burglars’ bank accounts. Failing to secure and execute search warrants for the burglars’ homes, automobiles, and offices. The assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, Earl Silbert, did not believe there was probable cause to search burglar James McCord’s home or office until after July 10, 1972, when Baldwin told the FBI that he had taken surveillance equipment to McCord’s home. And the FBI did not search the Democratic National Committee headquarters for surveillance listening device.
The FBI decided not to bother investigating Donald Segretti violating federal laws, and the Justice Department failed to task the FBI to do so, even after press reports named him as part of a massive, White House-directed attempt to subvert the elections process. The report also says that politics were a concern: by opening a large, extensive investigation into the Nixon campaign’s “dirty tricks,” that investigation might have impacted the upcoming presidential elections.
The report notes that New York Times reporter John Crewdson seemed to have unwarranted access to FBI documents and files.
The report notes that during the Senate Watergate Committee hearings, Republican co-chairman Howard Baker (R-TN) tried repeatedly to assert that the CIA was behind the burglary. The report notes that there is still no explanation for the discussions regarding the CIA paying the burglars or the CIA’s involvement with Hunt before the burglary—loaning him cameras, providing him with materials for a disguise, and helping Hunt get film from the first burglary developed. According to the report, Gray stopped the FBI from pursuing these leads.
On May 9, 1974, Barbara Jordan (D-TX), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, makes an eloquent speech reminding her colleagues of the constitutional basis for impeaching a president. Jordan says The evidence against President Nixon is enough to show that he did know that money from his re-election campaign funded the Watergate burglaries), and he did know of campaign official E. Howard Hunt’s participation in the burglary of a psychiatrist’s office to find damaging information against a political enemy, as well as Hunt’s participation in the Dita Beard/ITT affair, and “Hunt’s fabrication of cables designed to discredit the Kennedy administration.” May 9, 1974).
A memo was leaked to reporter Jack Anderson and he wrote an article on Feb. 29, 1972 stating that he had the memo and it was written by Dita Beard. She was a lobbyist that worked for ITT in DC. The memo indicates International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation made a $400,000 contribution to the Republican party and in return the Justice Department had dropped antitrust suits against the ITT.
ITT was buying influence and other documents do verify Nixon was instrumental in assuring a positive outcome for ITT. ITT shredded documents and Dita Beard left DC shortly after the memo was exposed. She had acknowledged the authenticity of her memo to multiple people. On March 2, 1972, she fled to Denver. Dita at some point was admitted to the hospital in Denver with a heart ailment. The tactics changed. The White House sent E Howard Hunt to meet with Dita. He was in the disguise that the CIA had issued him. Dita now had a lawyer paid for by ITT. A select group of Senators travelled to Denver to question her in her hospital room. The bottom line of her testimony was that she claimed part of the memo had been forged. There was plenty of I don't remember and denials. She made a miraculous recovery and was out of the hospital in a couple of days. John McCone, former DCI of the CIA was on the ITT board.
The FBI gave the Beard memo to ITT which is astounding to give them opportunity to try and discredit it. They should have been asking the questions and finding out what this corporation was doing, not give them a way out.
It's not the least bit surprising that ITT denied any connection or wrongdoing. The Allende government in Chile wanted to nationalize the telephone holdings of ITT. This was the telecommunications division where George worked. His job again was the director of the budget for the US Defense Department. Efforts to undermine the election of Allende began in the early 1960's. ITT funneled money into that effort giving the CIA cover as if they weren't involved.
The Chief of the Justice Department anti-trust division, Richard McClaren was transferred out of the DOJ and had an unusual appointment to a judgeship where one wasn't needed. Cover up mentality in the part of Nixon's White House and cover up mentality on the part of ITT. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,903331,00.html#ixzz1eh43FOG3
Why they may have burglarize DNC Watergate HQ.
One man who knew a lot about the relationship between call-girls and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was a former FBI agent and private-eye named Lou Russell.
In the evenings, Russell hung out with call-girls at the Columbia Plaza Apartments, barely a block from the Watergate. And according to Fensterwald and two of his employees, Russell told them he was tape-recording telephone conversations between the prostitutes and their clients at the DNC. The women didn’t mind, and the taping was a source of amusement to Russell, who seems to have regaled anyone who’d listen with anecdotes about the calls.[Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA (Random House, 1984), p. 118.]
We know today what the Senate Watergate Committee did not, and that was that Detective Shoffler wrested Watergate burglar Eugenio Martinez on arresting him. According to Shoffler, Martinez attempted to get rid of a key he had. The FBI decided to find out what this key was used to lock up and agents went from office to office after the arrests, trying the key on every desk until they found the one that it fit. It unlocked, Maxie Wells’s desk a DNC secretary . When Shoffler took the key from Martinez, the burglars had photographic equipment was clamped to the top of that same desk.
According to J. Anthony Lukas a New York Times reporter, secretaries at the DNC used a telephone in the office of Wells’s boss, Executive Director of Democratic States' Chairman, R. Spencer Oliver, Jr., to make private calls. They did this because Oliver’s office was often empty and his telephone was thought to be among the most private in the Democrats’ headquarters. [J. Anthony Lukas, Nightmare, Viking (1976), p. 201.]
“They would say, ‘We can talk; I’m on Spencer Oliver’s phone,’” Lukas wrote. Quoting Alfred Baldwin, who eavesdropped on these conversations at the direction of James McCord, Lukas reported that “Some of the conversations were ‘explicitly intimate.’” Baldwin was even more specific in a deposition that he later gave. According to Baldwin, many of the telephone conversations involved dinner arrangements with “sex to follow.” Baldwin testified, he said that “eight out of ten” people would have thought the calls involved prostitution.”
Anthony Lukas reported, “So spicy were some of the conversations on the phone that they have given rise to unconfirmed reports that the telephone was being used for some sort of call-girl service catering to congressmen and other prominent Washingtonians.”
The same rumors were overheard by others, including the DNC’s Robert Strauss. In a 1996 deposition, Strauss testified that he recalled stories about “some of the state chairmen (who) would come into (Oliver’s) office and use the phone to make dates…” Strauss added that “in connection with the use of the telephones, some of the calls…could have been embarrassing to some of the people who made them.”
The DNC’s Treasurer was even more specific in an interview with a journalist , James Rosen. As Rosen has testified, Strauss told him that “Democrats in from out of town for a night would want to be entertained… ‘It wasn’t any organized thing, ‘but I could have made the call, that lady could have made the call’—the reference was to Maxie Wells—’and these people were willing to pay for sex.’ Those were his exact words.”[Testimony of Rosen in the first Wells v. Liddy trial.]
In an interview with Gordon Liddy’s attorneys, DNC secretary Barbara K. Rhoden acknowledged that she, too, overheard such rumors. Asked if Rhoden had said “it was likely that Spencer Oliver and Maxie Wells were running a call-girl operation,” Rhoden replied: “I might have said that…”
Nixon biographer Anthony Summers quotes a longtime Nixon aide who said that Nick Ruwe, then Deputy Chief of the Office of Protocol, “was always using those call girls at the place next to the DNC.”[The Office of Protocol makes arrangements for White House social events, and for the visits of foreign dignitaries to the nation's capital.] Ron Walker, Nixon’s top advance man, was a second source. According to Walker, he knew of the brothel next to the DNC because “I had colleagues that used call girl rings.”[Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power (Viking, 2000), p. 422.]
In April, 1972 the seamy side of Washington was rocked when FBI agents raided the office and home of the Phil Bailley, a Washington defense attorney whose clientele included prostitutes. Coded address-books, photographs and sexual paraphernalia were seized, and what began as a simple violation of the Mann Act, became a grand jury investigation with ramifications throughout the capital. On June 9th, Bailley was indicted on 22 felony counts, including charges of blackmail, racketeering, procuring and pandering. That same afternoon, the Washington Star published a front-page story, headlined “Capitol Hill Call-Girl Ring.”
Within an hour of its publication of a Washington Post of this, Asst. U.S. Atty. John Rudy received a telephone call from the President’s counsel John Dean, ordering him to the White House. “He wanted me to bring ‘all’ the evidence but, mostly, what I brought were Bailley’s address books,” Rudy recalled. “Dean said he wanted to check the names of the people involved, to see if any of them worked for the President.”[Hougan, pp. 172-3.]
It was, after all, a presidential election year, and the names in Bailley’s address-books included the secretaries and wives of some of Washington’s most prominent men—as well as the names of the johns they serviced.
Bailley said he was having an affair with a call-girl at the Columbia Plaza Apartments, a woman who used the alias “Cathy Dieter.” Dieter’s real name was Heidi Rikan. She prevailed upon him to establish a liaison arrangement with the DNC. A hard-partying young Dem who knew a number of workers at the DNC, Bailley said that one of his acquaintances was a secretary in Spencer Oliver’s office. “With the her help, he said, ”the liaison arrangement was established. Here’s how it worked”
According to Bailley, if a visitor to the DNC wanted companionship for the evening, the secretary would show him a photograph or photographs that she kept in her desk. If the man was interested he’d be sent into Spencer Oliver’s office to await a telephone call. When the phone rang for the first time, he was not to answer it. A minute later, it would ring again and, on this occasion, he was to answer it. The caller would be the woman (or one of the women) whose picture the visitor had just seen. Knowing that the woman was a call-girl, the visitor would make whatever arrangements he pleased.
Misuse of the IRS
President Richard Nixon was aware that the IRS had audited him in 1961 and 1962 and presumed those audits were politically motivated by the Kennedy White House. When, early in his Administration, Nixon learned that his friends and political allies John Wayne and Rev. Billy Graham had endured recent audits by his own IRS, Nixon boiled over. He ordered White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman, "Get the word out, down to the IRS that I want them to conduct field audits on those who are our opponents." Perhaps recalling the Kennedy era audits, Nixon ordered that its investigator begin with my Uncle's, John F. Kennedy's, former campaign manager and White House aide, then Democratic Committee Chairman, Lawrence O'Brien.
Nixon's minions had the IRS set up a special internal arm "the Activist Organization Committee" in July of 1969 to audit an "enemies list" provided by Nixon. My uncle Senator Ted Kennedy was at the top of that list along with a small army of well-known journalists. The IRS later renamed its political audit squad "Special Services" or "SS" to keep its mission secret. The SS targeted over 1,000 liberal groups for audits and 4,000 individuals. The SS staff managed their files in a soundproof cell in the IRS basement.
On September 27, 1970, Nixon ordered Haldeman to get the IRS to investigate my Uncle Ted who was then the presumed frontrunner in the 1972 presidential contest, sharing the field with Edmond Muskie and Hubert Humphrey who Nixon also ordered audited.
Nixon personally put White House dirty trickster Tom Charles Huston, former president of the Young Americans for Freedom, in charge of setting up the new IRS "anti-radical squad" to make sure that the laggards in IRS's bureaucracy didn't drop the ball. Huston prepared a 43-page blueprint for Nixon outlining a government agency campaign targeting Nixon's enemies. Uncle Teddy was still at the top. The scheme included tapping phones without warrants, infiltrating organizations that had been critical of the President and, purging IRS agents who refused to tow the Republican line. Huston told the President, "we won't be in control of the government and in a position of effective leverage until such time or we have complete and total control of the top three slots" at the IRS. Nixon also enthusiastically authorized a series of "black bag jobs" including breaking into offices, homes and liberal think tanks like the Ford Foundation and the Brookings Institute which Nixon believed was home to many former Kennedy Administration officials.
As a disclaimer, Huston cautioned that the "use of this technique is clearly illegal; it amounts to burglary. It is also highly risky and could result in great embarrassment if exposed. However, it is also the most fruitful tool and can produce the kind of intelligence which cannot be obtained in any other fashion."
Haldeman ordered Huston to draft a formal decision memo outlining the illegal plan as a mandate to the heads of the intelligence and tax collecting agencies. Nixon ordered Haldeman and Huston to order the IRS, the FBI and the CIA to proceed with the plan.
In May 1971, Nixon used an IRS investigation of Alabama Governor George Wallace's brother, Gerald Wallace, to pressure Gov. Wallace to run for President on the Democratic ticket as a spoiler rather than on a third party ticket as he planned. The blackmail scheme succeeded and most of Wallace's white male supporters fled to the Republicans after the Democrats nominated civil rights activist George McGovern. Nixon's tactic of having Wallace run as a Democrat was an indispensable element of the White House's "southern strategy".