Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Great Why? Of Watergate

Christopher Hitchens, in a piece called 'Watergate Revisited: The Greek Connection,' printed the May 31, 1986 issue of The Nation, and reprinted in Hitchens's compendium, Prepared For the Worst:

Why not, just for once, take Gordon Liddy's word for it. He said that the purpose of the break-in was "to find out what O'Brien had of a derogatory nature about us, not for us to get something on him or the Democrats."

I know there are other hypotheses about the motive for the break-in. The most plausible, advanced by Michael Drosnin in Citizen Hughes, is that Nixon wanted to know what the Democrats knew about Howard Hughes and his payoffs. But Hughes was also paying off the Democrats, and there is no evidence that they ever planned to make a campaign issue out of him.

To summarize the reasons why Nixon, Mitchell, and Kissinger went into orbit at the very mention of [Tom] Pappas's name:

Pappas, exploiting CIA connections, was the bagman for an illegal and shameful transfusion of campaign money in 1968.

The congressional investigation of this deed was edging closer to the truth in early 1972.

That investigation was opposed at every step, by means legal and illegal, by Nixon and Mitchell. The American Ambassador to Greece, a friend of Pappas and a man who knew the guilty 1968 secret, took a hand in this wrecking operation.

All of the burglars had CIA connections, which may explain how they knew what to look for and why they kept silent.

Pappas provided the only money we know about to John Mitchell for the burglars' hush money.

All three subsequent House and Senate probes into the Pappas connection were sidetracked by men with either CIA loyalties or connections to Tom Pappas, or both.

[Note: The context of Hitchens's Liddy quote was before Liddy began to push the preposterous theory that John Dean was solely responsible for Watergate.]

Planning a Gestapo

One last quote from John Dean's Blind Ambition:

[Walter Minnick] and [Egil "Bud"] Krogh had run the government's anti-narcotics campaign from the White House, once [John] Ehrlichman has wrested control from [John] Mitchell.

The only time I'd met Minnick before was at an odd meeting a few months earlier when Krogh had called me in and treated me to a mysterious denial that the White House narcotics office had been involved in the assassination of drug traffickers in Latin America. I had puzzled over what this bit of theater meant. No such story had appeared in print, and none ever did. But the episode piqued my curiosity about the drug program. Krogh has described to me how, when he was bored with his desk work, he had carried bars of gold bullion through Asia's "Golden Triangle" in CIA planes and bargained with drug chieftains. There were rumors of bombing poppy fields, and once Bud had asked my office to resolve a dispute among the Pentagon, the State Department and the Bureau of Narcotics over the legality of kidnapping drug traffickers abroad. If the goal was worthy, the means were secondary, the thinking went, and there was a firm conviction that agencies outside the White House could not be trusted.

Gordon Liddy had received his White House indoctrination in this very drug program, and he had read the signs clearly. Years later I would learn that the remarkable intelligence force he had described in Mitchell's office was only a part of his dream to build a clandestine police force for the White House. He and Hunt had recruited hundreds of operatives -- most had had CIA training -- and had promised them service after the election.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Liddy the True Believer, the Super Stormtrooper, the Mafioso

John Dean's account of the fallout in the Administration directly after the Watergate burglars were arrested is, well, an arresting read. Almost immediately, everyone is paranoid and the circular firing squad gathers in formation. Now some of the culprits were hardcore crooks, some just went along for the ride even when they knew better, and then there was one who was totally selfless -- or rather was so conceited in his self-conscious "good soldier" act, because don't you know the true fascist must be prepared to fall on his sword for the Fuhrer -- that he offered to have everyone in the firing squad train their guns on him. (It's almost irrelevant that it really was Liddy's fault the burglars were caught, the fuck up.) A few excerpts from Blind Ambition:

... Jeb Magruder was calling. He needed to speak with me urgently.

"What's going on, Jeb?"

"We've got a real problem, John. I think we can handle it, but, well, it's a hell of a problem. Mitchell told me to get hold of you. Get your help. We've issued a statement. Mitchell issued it in California yesterday. He's still out there. Did you read the paper this morning? Basically the thing is going to be a tough PR problem. But I think we can handle it." Jeb's sentences came at me in a rapid staccato. He was on a thin edge between bravado and loss of control. His voice jumped up in pitch every now and again as if he had swallowed a gulp of helium. He was flailing, I thought -- throwing Mitchell's name around, looking for my help. Then he hit me.

"Listen, John, this all that dumb fucking Liddy's fault. He blew it. The stupid bastard. He should have never used McCord. He never told us he was using McCord. It was stupid. This mess is all his fault..."


"...I think you should talk to Liddy, John." He was still going. "I can't talk to him, because he hates my guts. But he'll talk to you. And you can find out what else went wrong. And what else we've got to worry about. Okay?"


"I've gotta go, Jeb. I'll get back to you. I'll find out what I can."

"Thanks, John. Listen, Liddy's over at 1701 [the Committee headquarters, 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue]. You can get him there."

"Yeah. Okay."

I clicked Magruder off the line... I punched in on the [interoffice phone line]. It was Ehrlichman.


"I presume you are aware of the little incident that transpired the other night?" Ehrlichman asked me.

"Yeah, I'm afraid I am."

"Well, here's what I'd like you to do. The Secret Service called me on Sunday morning about the arrests, and had some intriguing details. One of the Cubans had a check in his possession made out by Howard Hunt. That made me think of Mr. Colson. So I called Chuck over the weekend to ask about Hunt's well-being, and Chuck sounded like he hardly knew the man. Said he hadn't seen him in months. Said he couldn't imagine how a thing like this could have occurred. Now, I'm not totally satisfied our Mr. Colson is telling all. Why don't you have a little chat with him and find out what you can, and find out what happened with his friendship with Hunt?"

"I'll try, John, but Chuck isn't likely to tell me anything he won't tell you."


I sat back. Suddenly I felt calmer. I had a report to make, top priority, one stop away from the President. Somehow the assignment drove my anxiety into temporary retreat. I decided I would call Colson first, then Kleindienst, saving Liddy for last...

...I...dialed Colson on the I.O. before anyone else could call.

"Chuck, I just talked to Ehrlichman, and he asked me to look into this incident at the DNC. Howard Hunt's name keeps coming up, and I wanted to ask --"

"For Christ's sake! I talked to Ehrlichman about it over the weekend," Chuck shouted angrily. He spat out words like a machine gun, giving off so much energy I imagined him running sprints around his office. "I told him I had no idea where Hunt was, or what he was doing!" I haven't seen Hunt in months! He's off my payroll. He has been. I can't believe Hunt's involved in that Watergate thing, anyway. That's the craziest goddam thing I ever heard! I can't believe any of it --"

"Well, Chuck," I interrupted as firmly but mildly as I could, "what's the story on Hunt's relationship to you?"

"I hired him as a consultant for Ehrlichman," he said, stressing the name.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, those guys were all out in California, and they wanted me to bring somebody in to work on the Pentagon Papers. So I sent Hunt over to Ehrlichman. Hell, he wasn't even at the top of my list!"

"Chuck, you sent Hunt out to interview Dita Beard a few months ago, didn't you? We worked on that."

"Yeah, yeah," he said, "and he wasn't even around here then. I had to go find him. That's the last time I remember seeing him. Look, I'm going through my files right now to get all the information. I'll put it all together for you, and I'll let you know what's happening. But I don't know what the hell Hunt's doing. This doesn't make any sense to me."

"Okay, Chuck. Let me know."

"Oh, and, John, I'd like to have a talk with you and Ehrlichman." His tone shifted He became almost subdued. "I've got some things I'd like to go over with both of you about Hunt. I think we ought to have a meeting later."


Now it was time for Liddy, from whom I had learned to expect horrendous surprises. I braced myself and called. He was not in, so I left word. As soon as I hung up, I kicked myself mentally: Real smart, Dean, Liddy's all mixed up in this and you're leaving word for him to call you. How will you explain the call? Wait a minute, I thought. I'm not supposed to know anything about Liddy and this break-in. This can be explained as a perfectly innocent call -- legal work, campaign finance laws. I steadied myself, but the fears had already set in.

I summoned Fielding into my office and told him to go to the White House personnel office and pull Howard Hunt's employment records. I would need some hard facts if I ended up refereeing a dispute about when, and if, Hunt had worked for Colson. Fred did not question the assignment. He could feel emergency in the air. There might as well have been air raid sirens going off. He sprang to his duty like a military officer in battle. No questions asked. Lives at stake.

Jane buzzed. It was Liddy.

"Gordon," I said, "I'd like to meet with you."

"I'll be right over," he replied instantly, words clicking. I detected relief. "Have me cleared." He signed off in a hurry.

I buzzed Jane and told her to clear Liddy past the guards downstairs... Just as I was heading for the water fountain, I saw Liddy coming toward me.

"Gordon, I think we ought to take a little walk."

He nodded. He knew exactly what was going on, and he could read on my face that this was a very sensitive meeting. We walked briskly and wordlessly out the nearest exit.

"Let's walk down this way," I said, turning south on Seventeenth Street. We walked toward the Ellipse, with the EOB and the White House on our left, the FDIC building across the street on our right.

This was not the crisp Gordon Liddy I had dealt with before. His heavy beard was no longer shaven to the nubs. The black-and-gray stubble was long enough to glisten in the sun. His usual snappy three-piece suit had given way to a rumpled cord summer suit, the kind I associated with fraternity parties at the University of Virginia. He looks almost disheveled, I thought, he seems flustered, no longer the commanding presence. I noticed lines etched in his forehead.

I began with what I thought were calming remarks. "Gordon, I think I have to...I think you can understand why it's important for me, for the White House, to know exactly what's happened. I've spoken with Jeb, and Jeb has told me --"

He interrupted. "This whole goddam thing is because Magruder pushed me. I didn't want to go in there. But it was Magruder who kept pushing. He kept insisting we go back in there --"


"Yes. We made an entry before and placed a transmitter and photographed some documents. But the transmitter was not producing right. I think it was because of the range. The equipment we used was only effective up to an air distance of about five hundred yards. Our pickup was within range, but we got interference from the support girders running up the building. They're steel, and they can deflect a weak signal if they are placed so the transmission passes through their magnetic field. Anyway, it's defective, and the batteries might be weak. So we went in to find out what was the matter. The other thing is Magruder liked the documents we got from the first entry and wanted more of them..."

Liddy was gushing now. We stopped on the corner across the street from the Corcoran Art Gallery. I turned away from the traffic, facing the Ellipse. It was nearly lunchtime. I knew that the buildings would soon emit hundreds of familiar faces, and I didn't want to be seen with Gordon Liddy. I edged over to a park bench and stood there, my back to the sidewalks. Liddy followed me like an awkward dance partner learning a new step. I felt very conspicuous.

"...And, John, I know using McCord was a serious mistake. I accept full responsibility for it. It's my fault, and I don't want to put off responsibility on anybody else. But I do want you to know why I did it. And that's because Magruder cut my budget so much and was pushing me so hard I had to use McCord. I didn't have time to do anything else. Jim's a professional, and I trusted him. He was the only guy I could turn to."

"I understand, Gordon." I had heard enough. "But what about Hunt?"

"Well, Howard Hunt. He was the guy who got me the Cubans."

"You mean the ones who were arrested?"

"That's right. He knew those guys, and he got them for me."

"I see. Well, how about the people in the White House? Is anybody in any way connected with this? I've got to know that, Gordon."

"I don't think so. The only person who might have known about it is Gordon Strachan."

I turned away from Liddy for a moment to absorb Strachan's name. This was the worst blow since Magruder's call. I felt queasy. I really didn't want to know more, because I had to assume that if Strachan knew, Haldeman knew. And if Haldeman knew, the President knew. It made sickening sense. Now I understood why Strachan had called earlier.

Liddy interrupted the silence. "John, I'm worried about the men who were arrested. We've got to get them out of jail. They need bonds and lawyers. We can't let them sit there in the D.C. jail. It's a hellhole."

"Well, look, Gordon," I said, fishing for a clear thought. I wanted to end the conversation. "I can't do anything about that. And I think you can understand why I can't do anything about that."

He stopped for an instant, his eyes narrowing in thought. "Well, that's right. I can understand."

I saw more and more people on the street out of the corner of my eye. "Ah, Gordon, I think I'd better be heading back to my office now, and, ah, I -- I really think this is the last conversation we'll ever have until this whole thing is resolved." I was now more flustered than Liddy, who seemed to feel better after unburdoning himself.

"I understand that perfectly, John," he said, straightening himself up. "I'll walk on the other side of the street. That's probably best. But before I go over there, I want you to know one thing, John. This is my fault. I'm prepared to accept responsibility for it. And if somebody wants to shoot me..." My head shot around. His eyes were fixed and hard, his face full of emotion, his words coming out in bursts. "...on a street corner, I'm prepared to have that done. You just let me know when and where, and I'll be there. He ended with a gesture of finality.

"Well, ah Gordon," I said tightly, flashing back to his burned hand and to Mafia movies, struggling for the strength to calm him again, "I don't think we're really there!"

"Oh, no, no," he said, holding up his hands to hush me. "Look, John, I'm not going to talk about what's gone on. None of these men will talk, you can be assured of that. They're all soldiers. But we know what we're dealing with."

"Okay," I said softly.

We turned and headed back up the street. I was looking at my shoes.

From Another Point of View II

Continuing from John Dean's Blind Ambition:

"We will have a second operational arm," [Liddy] continued, "that could be of even greater preventative use. These teams are experienced in surgical relocation activities. In a word, General, they can kidnap a hostile leader with maximum secrecy and a minimal use of force. If, for example, a prominent radical comes to our San Diego convention to marshal his army of demonstrators, these teams can drug him and take him across the border into Mexico until the convention is over. He would never see the face of a single one of our operatives."

Mitchell stopped rocking. "What the hell good is that going to do?" he asked with some irritation. It was his first interruption.

"Well, sir, by removing their leadership we'd throw them into confusion at a critical moment and lessen their effectiveness against us."

"Maybe," Mitchell mumbled. For a moment no one spoke. There was electricity in the room. Magruder looked at Mitchell's desk, refusing to glance at Liddy. So these were the people Liddy had burned his hand for, I thought. I waited for Mitchell to say something more, but I doubted he would.

Liddy broke the silence. "Would you like me to proceed, General, with another facet of the plan?" His voice betrayed his first sign of nervousness.

"Please," said Mitchell.

Gordon removed the top chart. Now we were into the political-intelligence component. Its code name, as I recall, was Operation Ruby. Gordon said he would incorporate his existing program of "live penetrations" -- currently only a chauffeur-messenger inside Muskie headquarters, code name, Sedan Chair -- into a larger network. Such infiltrations would depend, of course, on the target selected, whether it was Larry O'Brien, Senator Henry M. Jackson, Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Senator Muskie or anyone else with an office and a staff. He had anticipated that the Democratic convention in Miami might be a target and had made preliminary studies of the hotels and the convention hall. "As you probably know," said Liddy, "most of the sensitive positions in these hotels are held by Cubans. They are the telephone operators, desk clerks, janitors, maids and union officials there. I have already made extensive contacts in the Cuban community, and I can assure you we can provide a steady flow of information from the hotels.

"Most of that information will be routine, however, and of limited value," he continued. "But this operation contains a completely separate unit that will upgrade our intelligence. I have secured an option to lease a pleasure craft that is docked on the canal directly in front of the Fontainebleau Hotel. It is more than sixty feet long, with several staterooms, and expensively decorated in a Chinese motif. It can also be wired for both sight and sound in complete secrecy. Now, my preliminary soundings convince me that many of the prominent Democratic officials, including senators and representatives, are vulnerable to weakness of the flesh, which seems to overcome them at conventions. We can, without much trouble, compromise these officials through the charms of some ladies I have arranged to have living on the boat. This will enable us to extract the kind of information we want. The operation will blend into the general scene of Miami Beach, and the boat can also serve as the storage headquarters for all our communications equipment -- "

"It won't work, Gordon," I interrupted. This was the Sandwedge "headquarters" nonsense pumped up to Hollywood proportions. It was outright extortion, and it was absurd as well. "How in the world is some whore going to compromise these guys at the convention? They're not that dumb."

Gordon shot an irritated look at me to underscore the fact that he was addressing Mitchell. But he was ready with his answer. "John, these are the finest call girls in the country," he said. "I can tell you from firsthand experience -- " This broke the tension, as everyone laughed except Liddy, who waited impatiently. "They are not dumb broads, but girls who can be trained and programmed. I have spoken with the madam in Baltimore, and we have been assured their services at the convention."

I'm going to break in here to note how fatal the laugh was to Liddy's having any chance to put a spell on John Mitchell. It was also probably fatal to Magruder's and Dean's relationships with Liddy; Gordo could never forgive such a slight. Laughter takes some of the sting out of fascist clowns like Liddy -- they may still kill you, but their malice has no power beyond that sole physical fact. It's difficult to be intimidated by someone you're laughing at, and Gordon Liddy's first-worst recourse in dealing with anyone was to intimidate them (hence his tricks with fire). Wasn't it Dorothy Parker who said that first mistake made in dealing with Hitler was that nobody thought to laugh at him?

As Liddy went on, I caught Mitchell's eye and shrugged my shoulders. He winked and puffed several times on his pipe, and the corners of his mouth turned up into a hint of a smile. It relieved me to see signs that he was not taking the theatrics seriously.

The chart changed again. Operation Crystal. Liddy began telling us that the best intelligence could, of course, be obtained by electronic surveillance. He had consulted experts -- "one of the world's leading experts" -- and solved the problem of finding untraceable equipment. Then he launched into an extremely technical description of microwave telephone communications, speaking of relay stations, routing frequencies and the difficulties of intercepting noncabled signals. His point became clear when he said there was equipment capable of intercepting all communications between an opposing candidate's airplane and the ground. The intercepting equipment was required to be near the airplane, but not within sight, of course. So Liddy proposed hiring a "chase plane" to follow Democratic campaign planes and make transcriptions of all airborne communications. It would be expensive, he said, but he stressed how much of a candidate's time is spent in the air, and how large a volume of sensitive communications went over the air microwaves. Then came the heart of Operation Crystal -- wiretaps. Liddy told us he could intercept any conversation we wanted, if he were given the target.

On he went to another chart, Operation Sapphire, which detailed plans to sabotage the campaigns of our opponents. They ranged from harassment and false demonstrations to far more ambitious schemes. "I have managed to obtain a copy of the architectural design of the Miami Beach Convention Center," he said, "and it includes a detailed diagram of the ducts and electrical switches for the air-conditioning system. It is possible, I believe, to shut down the air-conditioning system alone in an untraceable, nonrepairable fashion at an opportune moment. Imagine all those Democratic delegates sitting there sweating in one hundred degree heat in that hall on national television." He passed on through plans to have his own hippies harass the Democrats, and then flipped up the final chart.

"This diagram shows how all these independent components fit together into one apparatus," he said. "The organization is cellular. Personnel can be moved about at will from one operation to another without risking security, because the men will not need to know anyone but their immediate superiors. They have been trained to work that way. All the cells will be removed and insulated from the Committee. Untraceable. The operatives are all experienced and will not themselves be identified. But even if an error is committed at the operational level, it is still untraceable." Liddy pointed to the operations along the perimeter of the chart, and to the lines connecting them all with one central figure. "These components are designed to function together with only one central control. Here. I have assigned code names to the components after individual gems, and I have called the overall apparatus Gemstone."

Liddy paused. "This type of operation is expensive, of course," he said, driving toward his conclusion. "But I have carefully checked and rechecked the budget to make sure there's no fat in it. All of this can be done for a million dollars."

He took his seat. The show was over. We all waited for Mitchell to react. I knew he was offended by the wilder parts of the act, but I also knew he would not say so to Liddy's face. He disliked confronting people directly. It was a trait I had noticed in myself and felt was a weakness. Mitchell usually had other people express his blunt feelings; it was Kleindienst who had dressed me down about Huston's memo. I waited for an oblique response.

"Well, Gordon, that's all very intriguing, but not quite what I had in mind," he said mildly, looking at the last chart. "Frankly, I'm more concerned about demonstrators and police cooperation than some of the things you've mentioned."

"I understand, General," Liddy answered.

"And we can't spend that kind of money, either. I suggest you go back to your drawing board and see what you can do."

"Yes, sir," said Liddy.

As Jeb helped him hastily disassemble his charts and easel and carry them out, I went over to Mitchell's desk. "Unreal, and a little frightening," I said in a low voice.

Mitchell grinned. "I'd say that's a fair statement."

Liddy, obviously disappointed, asked Jeb and me for our assessment of the meeting. Jeb told him the whole thing was too expensive and would have to be toned way down. I hoped Mitchell would never reconsider the plan, but did not tell Liddy so. I did not know exactly what Mitchell wanted, although I was certain he would reject the carnival tricks and the muggings. In a way, I felt sorry for Liddy. All the tickler's pressure for massive campaign intelligence was now falling on his shoulders, but everyone was reluctant to give him the guidance he clearly needed. Including me. I did not feel he was my responsibility, and, for that matter, I wanted to stay as far away as possible.

"Gordon, you ought to destroy those charts right away," I said finally, which somehow eased my conscience. "I really think you ought to focus on demonstrations. That's our real problem area."

I accepted Jeb's offer of a ride back to the White House in his chauffeur-driven Committee car. No one spoke on the way.

A week later, on February 4, Jeb called and left word that there would be another meeting in Mitchell's office, at four that afternoon. Liddy had revised his plans. I was encouraged by the speed with which he had moved; I hoped it meant that Mitchell had sent a dousing message through Magruder. I wanted to skip the meeting. I didn't want to know what Gordon Liddy was doing, so I let the time for leaving slip past. Then I had second thoughts. If everything turned out as I hoped, I would look foolish for not going. Also, if Liddy stuck to his plans I could be held responsible for not informing the White House. It was still my job to know about intelligence. Reluctantly, I decided to go.

When I arrived the meeting had started. Everybody was hunched over copies of a revised budget that Liddy had prepared. I sat down and listened. They were discussing figures and making cuts. I heard no mention of the expensive and exotic items like the chase plane or the Chinese pleasure yacht, but there was talk of "targets" and "surveillance." I was surprised, and it came to me that Mitchell was perfectly capable of approving a scaled-down version of the Liddy plan. In retrospect, I am grateful to Liddy. If he had brought in a modest, straightforward wiretapping plan, Mitchell might have approved it on the spot and I would not have crossed him. I would have been in the middle of a criminal conspiracy.

As it was, I was worried about the direction of the conference. I studied Mitchell's face for his mood; he did not look happy. He was involved in the conversation, but he was wincing a lot. If he had looked pleased, I would not have seized an opening to protect both him and myself.

"Excuse me for saying this." I cleared my throat. "I don't think this kind of conversation should go on in the Attorney General's office."

All talk immediately ceased. I was surprised that I had the courage to speak out at all and gratified that no one had ignored me. Magruder looked as if he'd been stopped by a policeman, Liddy looked perplexed, and even Mitchell seemed surprised. His blank expression changed to one of deep thought, and then he began nodding his head. I was relieved. My old boss felt he had been protected by a good staff man, I figured. The meeting broke up almost wordlessly, and we all left quickly, like doctors vacating the operating room after a fatal mistake.

From Another Point of View

Now for Gordon Liddy's presentation of his GEMSTONE scheme for John Mitchell. I've previously posted Liddy's version; now I'm posting John Dean's (from Blind Ambition):

"By the way, John," Liddy added, "I've been analyzing all these intelligence requirements for the campaign, and it's a big operation. What kind of budget do you think I should have? It's expensive to do it right."

"I don't have a clue what it costs, Gordon. But I know Haldeman wants the best. He's always bitching about intelligence." Thinking of [Jack] Caulfield's Sandwedge budget, I tossed out a figure idly. "Maybe half a million bucks, Gordon. Maybe more if you can justify it." Liddy, I soon realized, didn't take anything idly, and he returned to his calculations.

Soon afterward, he was back in my office complaining about the White House bureaucracy, which was threatening to take away his White House identification pass, and did. As he spoke, I noticed a bulky white bandage wrapped around his fist.

"What happened to your hand, Gordon?"

He shrugged. "Oh, nothing really."

"It looks serious."

"Well some might feel that way, but I don't. It was necessary, you see, that I prove my strength to the men I'm thinking of recruiting to assist me at the convention."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, in my business, John, it's important that those I work with understand I'm a man of strength. Macho, as they say. So to prove myself to them I held my hand over a candle until the flesh burned, which I did without flinching. I wanted them to know that I could stand any amount of physical pain."

"My God, Gordon!" I didn't really know what to say, so I told him I hoped his hand healed quickly, which he also shrugged off. After he left my office I called Bud Krogh and told him the story Liddy had just told me. "What's with this guy, Bud?"

Bud did not seem surprised. "Liddy's a romantic," he said. Then he offered some advice: "Gordon needs guidance. Somebody should keep an eye on him."

I was annoyed. "Bud," I said, "this guy is a strange bird. Why didn't you tell me this before? I can't watch him." It began to dawn on me that Bud might have touted Liddy to me to unload him from his own staff. It's an old trick, sell the bad apple elsewhere; I had done it myself. But this could be serious. "Listen, Bud," I said, "I think you should call Magruder and tell him to keep an eye on Liddy. He'd listen to you because you've worked with the guy." Bud agreed, and called Magruder too.

Jeb had heard the candle story. "Weird guy," he said.

On January 26, Jeb called with an invitation to sit in on a meeting the next morning at the Attorney General's office. Liddy was going to present his plans for campaign intelligence. I knew Magruder wanted me there for more than courtesy. I was still in the collecting point at the White House for demonstration intelligence. I had recommended Liddy for the job, and Magruder wanted an intelligence man from the White House at the meeting for protection. I was both curious and apprehensive. I knew this meeting was the culmination of a long series of demands coming down through the tickler. Campaign intelligence was important, and Liddy was our professional. But I had seen enough hardball at the White House to be worried, and Liddy's hand-burning incident stuck in my mind. The counsel's job, I thought, is to recommend caution before the fact and to work miracles afterward.

When I arrived at Mitchell's office, Liddy was arranging commercially prepared charts -- multicolor, three feet by four feet -- on an easel. He finished soon after I walked in, and everyone took a seat after greetings were exchanged. Mitchell sat behind his Bureau of Prisons and began his normal slow and unconscious rocking motion. the rest of us faced him in a semicircle, sitting in faded red leather chairs whose straight backs and narrow wooden armrests seemed designed to keep visitors in a state near attention, and we were. I sat on Mitchell's right. Magruder faced him directly, sitting in the center. And Liddy was on Mitchell's left, by his easel.

Jeb started the meeting, obviously nervous. "Mr. Mitchell," he said, "Gordon has prepared a presentation for you on what he believes is necessary for campaign intelligence, and handling demonstrations at the convention and in the campaign." Then he turned to Liddy, who was looking for a place to put his pipe. "Why don't you go ahead, Gordon?" Then a quick glance back at Mitchell. "If you're ready, Mr. Mitchell." Mitchell nodded his assent.

This was the first time I had ever seen Mitchell and Magruder together, and it was obvious Jeb did not have the easy rapport I had with him. Part of his discomfort grew out of political reality. Haldeman, not Mitchell, had hired Magruder to be Mitchell's deputy and run the day-to-day operations of the campaign. Mitchell, his influence waning, could do nothing about it. Jeb was Haldeman's man, or, more accurately, Larry Higby's man, since Haldeman never proclaimed a very high estimation of Magruder. Higby had put Jeb where he was, and Jeb had to walk on eggs. About the only thing Mitchell and Magruder had in common was an antipathy for Chuck Colson. Initially Jeb had been so frightened of Mitchell that he had dealt with him through me for weeks after joining the Re-election Committee. Finally I had told him that he must develop his own relationship with Mitchell, but I could see that Jeb was still uncomfortable.

Gordon Liddy, on the other hand, went to the easel and began his speech with authority. He seemed to enjoy the stage, and his speech was remarkably free of the normal conversational "uhs" and nervous pauses. He began with a brisk description of his own qualifications for handling the job and followed with a recitation of the names of specialists he had consulted, with appropriate security precautions, in the course of constructing his plan. I wondered how he could possibly have done all this at a time he was swamped in legal work.

Liddy explained that he had divided his program into components, which he would discuss individually before showing how it all fit together. This ended the preview. "If you have any questions, General, please interrupt and I'll address them," he told Mitchell with gallant deference, and then turned to his first chart.

The first component dealt with Mitchell's biggest worry, convention demonstrations. It had its own code name, Operation Diamond. Liddy told how he would set up intelligence liaison with the FBI, the Secret Service, and the CIA. Also, he would gather his own information by infiltrating antiwar groups with paid informants. All the incoming information would be professionally analyzed to determine which groups and which leaders posed the greatest potential for disruption.

"Now General," he went on, "this operation will be equipped with its own operational arm. It is my judgment that the local police and federal security forces will be of limited value. They all have their own fish to fry and their own political allegiances. They are not trustworthy, and in most cases they will not act until the situation is already out of hand. We need greater loyalty than they possess, and we need preventative action to break up demonstrations before they reach the television cameras. I can arrange for the services of highly trained demonstration squads, men who have worked successfully as street-fighting teams at the CIA. These men are extremely well disciplined, and they will have a history of engaging in such activities that will serve us well. They will appear spontaneous and ideologically motivated. These men carry their own cover and will not be traceable to us."

[Continued in next post.]

No Contrition

John McCain said to David Letterman in a pathetic excuse sort of way, that Gordon Liddy had done his time.

Well, he did some of it; part of his sentence was commuted by Jimmy Carter. But Gordon Liddy is not sorry for what he did. In fact, in the 1991 postscript to Will, he explicitly states he'd do it all over again, then yet again peddles the crackpot conspiracy theory that John Dean was actually behind the whole Watergate scheme:

Let's get one thing straight right now: I'd do it all again (the entry into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist for national security reasons, and the political intelligence operation to advance the cause of the re-election of a president whom I was serving) without hesitation in the same circumstances that I believed obtained the first time around -- general disintegration of the social order -- and with the same authority I believed I then possessed, i.e., when asked to do so by the president's closest confidant and highest-level (cabinet member) advisor.

In other words, he'd be a criminal and thug and potential murderer and state-employed terrorist all over again for the sake of 'maintaining social order' and re-electing his Fuhrer, Richard Nixon, if John Mitchell or another cabinet officer, or H.R. Haldeman or another close advisor, gave the order.

Poor Gordon Looses His Nazi

From Will:

The Hindenburg disaster on 7 May 1937 was the catalyst for a major and unhappy change in my early childhood. For some time there had been tension in our household stemming from my father's anti-Nazi views and Teresa's adulation of Adolf Hitler. She was an excellent cook and maid and, for a long time, her skills preserved her job despite my father's discomfort over her Nazi sympathies. It was bad enough that he would come home on warm days to the voice of Josef Goebbels booming sonorously from the Emerson; worse when he found our address was on the German Embassy mailing list for Nazi propaganda. The Hinderburg, however, was the last straw.

The problem was that Teresa did not accept the official crash explanation that static electricity ignited hydrogen being vented as part of the landing procedure. She was certain the Hindenburg had been sabotaged by the United States. And she said so -- not only to my parents and me but to tradesmen and even our guests. Superb cook or not, my father had had enough of her. Teresa, he said, would be happier in the home of German nationals. To me, her loss was a shock. Our first maid had been Scottish, but I was so young I didn't remember her. Teresa had been with us, so far as my memory was concerned, all my life.

My father tried to explain to his seven-year-old son that the Nazis were evil. They persecuted Jews. That made no sense to me at all. Dr. Rosenberg was a Jew. Burton Silver, a playmate, was a Jew. Why should anyone want to "persecute" them? What was "persecution" anyway? The explanation that it was like the way the Romans treated the early Christians seemed a bit remote. Nobody claimed Jews were being eaten by lions in Germany. I was troubled and perplexed. My father was always right, yet I had never heard Hitler speak one way or another about Jews on the radio, nor had Teresa mentioned them to me. Jews were just someone with a different religion, like Protestants; they worshiped God incorrectly and on the wrong day, were unbaptized and so couldn't go to Heaven, only to limbo with all the unbaptized babies, but no one I knew got excited about it. Indeed, I felt rather sorry for Burton Silver, eventually having no one to play with out in limbo but all those screaming little babies.

After Teresa, we had, in rapid sequence, several disastrously incompetent American maids, and then, for reasons that I suspect had as much to do with my education as with our need for domestic help, my father hired Sophie. Sophie was German -- she was also a Jew.

My recollection of Sophie is of a beautiful young woman having a haunted look. She was a refugee from Nazi Germany, still dazed by her rejection by her homeland. I was no more kindly disposed toward Sophie than I was toward her several predecessors, all of whom I considered usurpers of Teresa's position, and reacted by refusing to eat from a spoon Sophie had touched.

When I came home from elementary school with the news that the nuns had explained the recent influx of Jewish refugees by pointing out that the Jews were doomed to wander the face of the earth homeless because they had been responsible for the death of Christ, calling for his crucifixion and saying to Pilate that "His blood be upon us and upon our children," I commented that that didn't seem very fair to me. People like Burton Silver weren't even born then. My father agreed with a snapped "Ridiculous!" and, typically, turned to the law to emphasize the point.

"If I rob a bank," asked my father, "should you go to jail?" He went on to point out that the proposition was called in the law a "bill of attainder" and was condemned specifically in the United States Constitution.

The Wingnut Inferiority Complex, In RE: Gordon Liddy

Alfred Adler's theory of the inferiority complex does a lot to explain rightwing psychosis -- indeed, it does a lot to explain, in general, the tyrannic mindset, the mental germ of fascism.

The convert is always more pious than one born into the faith. The impostor always strains to show more "realness" than the genuine article. Churchill, the self-admitted coward in the Boer War, always pushed the jingo button when he reached a more mature age. Theodore Roosevelt, perhaps the best American example aside Liddy, was an asthmatic weakling of a child, then grew up to be a geopolitical menace and, indeed, bully (incidentally one of his favorite words).

The model works with a religious context -- or ideological, or nationalist. As for the first, some of the most devout people are those who were first converted by the sword. As for the second, note how many former leftists went on to become the most batshit sort of wingnuts, often, as Connor Cruise O'Brien observed before he himself walked the same path, willing to make sacrifices for and commitments to the counter-revolution that they never would have made for the revolution. With regard to the last, it's worth noting that three of history's greatest tyrants achieved power in nations in which they were not native: Stalin the Georgian in Soviet Russia, Napoleon the (Italian) Corsican in France, Hitler the Austrian in Germany. And the same dynamic works with petty fascists as well: many of the most rabidly racist and murderous Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories are not originally Israeli but rather Benny from Brooklyn type Americans.

Gordon Liddy was a puny, spoiled kid, like Theodore Roosevelt. From Will, his relation of how he first found the strength to overcome; where Francis Dollarhyde in Red Dragon had the eponymous spirit in William Blake's watercolor to help him in his "becoming," Gordon Liddy found a rather similar spirit to help guide him, emanating from his family's shortwave radio and from the mouth of his family's servant:

My mother and father saw to it that the Great Depression did not inconvenience their children. I received the finest Lionel electric train for Christmas and, when a very expensive tricycle given me for my fifth birthday was stolen in three days, it was replaced immediately. Even in the depths of the Depression, we had a maid. Her name was Teresa. She was a German national. I loved her.

Teresa's country had been, she said, in deep trouble. Now, however, a wonderful man had risen from the people and was solving all their problems. Weak after having been betrayed and then defeated in war, Germany was strong and proud again. Great roads were being built and, unlike in the United States, everyone in Germany now had a job.

My mother had won an Emerson shortwave radio in a raffle at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, and Teresa and I would listen to programs broadcast from her native land, the volume swelling and receding in cycles.

In those days one frequently heard broadcasts by President Roosevelt. He had a rich, reassuring voice with a calming and encouraging effect. Often I heard commentators repeat one of his best-known sayings: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Obsessed as I was by fear, the phrase worked on me.

Listening to Germany touched me differently. First there was the music. I have always been particularly sensitive to music; to this day I must make a conscious effort not to permit it to affect my mood. My memory for it is like a tape recorder; I can play back in my head at will, fully orchestrated, anything I have heard. Indeed, from time to time my mood will throw an involuntary switch in my mind and, unbidden, an appropriate piece will fill me with its sound. The music that poured through the Emerson from Germany was martial and stirring. I lost myself in its strains; it made me feel a strength inside I had never known before.

From playmates who were German, I learned some of the language. One day Teresa was excited. He was going to be on the radio. Just wait til I hear him speak! Eagerly, I joined her at the Emerson. First the music, the now familiar strains of a song that started, "Die Fahne hoch..." -- "Raise the banner..." It was a rousing, powerful anthem, the Horst Wessel song.

We could tell when he was about to speak. The crowd could hardly contain itself. They hailed him in huge, swelling ovations that carried me along. "Sieg!" someone would shout, and what seemed like all the people in the world would answer with a roar, "Heil!" For he was their leader, Der Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler.

Hitler's voice started out calmly, in low, dispassionate tones, but as he spoke of what his people would accomplish, his voice rose in pitch and tempo. Once united, the German people could do anything, surmount any obstacle, rout any enemy, achieve fulfillment. He would lead them; there would be one people, one nation, one leader. Here was the very antithesis of fear -- sheer animal confidence and power of will. He sent an electric current through my body and, as the massive audience thundered its absolute support and determination, the hair on the back of my neck rose and I realized suddenly that I had stopped breathing.

When I spoke of this man to my father, he became angry. Adolf Hitler, he said was an evil man who would once again set loose upon the world all the destruction of war. It was just a matter of time. I was to stop listening to him.

The lure of forbidden fruit was too strong; I continued to listen, though less frequently. Teresa had said that Adolf Hitler had raised her country from the dead, freed it from its enemies, made it the strongest nation in the world and delivered it from fear. Delivered it from fear!

For the first time in my life I felt hope. Life need not be a constant secret agony of fear and shame. If an entire nation could be changed, lifted out of weakness to extraordinary strength, certainly so could one person.


I knew what I had to do, and I dreaded it. To change myself from a puny, fearful boy to a strong, fearless man, I would have to face my fears, one by one, and overcome them. From listening to the priests at Sunday Mass, I knew that would take willpower. Even Adolf Hitler agreed. He and his people would triumph through the power of their superior will. But I knew from the priests the price would be terrible. God gave us free will, but to strengthen that will to meet the temptations of life required denial, "mortification," suffering.

Suffering. That was the key. Whatever the consequences of what I was to do, I must accept and endure them -- outlast suffering to achieve my goals. Wasn't that the message of my mother's stories? Of President Roosevelt? My fears were so many and so gripping that overcoming them, one by one, would build incredible willpower! The world opened up to me. I could become anything I wanted to be! The thought took my breath away.

Teresa had told me of the Germans' suffering before their rebirth; my mother had told me how the strength and bravery of the American Indian warriors was born of the suffering of torture. In the Book of Knowledge I had read of the Spartan boy who refused to cry out while a fox concealed beneath his clothing ate the boy's insides -- and thus the boy had died a true Spartan. Hadn't Glenn Cunningham suffered as he stretched the scar tissue of his burned legs to run faster? Hadn't my grandfather suffered to return to play football with only one eye? Had not Jesus suffered the agony of hanging nailed to a cross for three hours before He could triumph over death?

Gordo's Letter From Prison

I'm skipping ahead in the story because I'm pressed for time, but by now Liddy -- thanks to Judge Sirica, whom he predictably detests -- is confined to maximum security prison in Danbury, Connecticut. He relates his opinions of his fellow prisoners (the blacks he doesn't much care for, with the exception for Black Muslims whom he rather respects). Then he reprints a letter (brackets are Liddy's):

My situation and mood were expressed in a letter to Peter Maroulis on 8 February 1973:

Dear Pete:

All well here. Am in same size cell, maximum security etc. and not permitted to mix with the general prison population as I have not yet been sentenced. Conditions are, however, an improvement over my prior accommodations.

I know you must be engulfed in the accumulation of regular business now that the trial is over, but if you could manage a visit it would be helpful as, in spite of the assurances that our apprehensions are groundless, there are matters I am reluctant to trust to the questionable integrity of the mails.

The persons one meets in prison can be fascinating. My current chess partner is son of the wartime SS Gestapo Commander of Brussels. We get on famously. He knows more songs than I do, and shower time sounds like the invasion of Poland.

The typewriter is permitted to be used for legal correspondence only, so please explain the absence of letters to Frances and my parents. [Despite reams of samples of my handwriting given the FBI under court order, they had been unable to make a single identification because I employed one of my alternate styles. In case of retrial, I didn't want to give them any more.]You might pass on my mailing address to them when you get the chance, along with my love and reassurances as to my wellbeing.

I trust that by now you have heard from Ireland. [A code reference to the color green, signifying cash. I was concerned that Peter be paid. He was, at about that time, handed a paper bag by an unidentified caller. It contained $20,000 in hundred-dollar bills towards his fee.]


Next Liddy decided to out-butch the rest of the psychopaths in prison:

Although I felt no depression coming on, it made sense to be careful. I decided to tune up my will so as to be ready for anything. The first thing I did was limit my food intake to six hundred calories per day. This induced sharp hunger. Because it stayed with me day and night, the discipline was excellent and worth the severe weight loss. To keep up my strength I increased the number of pushups I did daily from one to two hundred (in sets of one hundred) added jumping jacks, jogging along the exterior of the cells, and sit-ups. My mood remained steady. I was getting along with all the other prisoners. Things were going very well, too well, I decided. I needed more stress to bring my will to maximum power. I turned to my old reliable method of ordeal by fire. This test would have to exceed all others in destruction of tissue and time of severe pain.

I selected a particularly strong-willed black bank robber named "Tex" with whom to engage in a battle of wills. Ready with a box of wooden matches, I got him into a discussion of the subject and pressed him to the point where he expressed disbelief and challenged me. Because I had been warned never again to indulge in that practice near or on finger joints and my palm was already burned out, I had to go back to where I started years before: my forearm. The scars there were light.

"Strike a match," I said to Tex, and locked my eyes into his. He struck it and held it out, not knowing what to do next. I put the unburned outside of my left forearm directly over the flame. As the fire burned through my flesh and melted it back into a blackened depression, a look of horror came over Tex; but he stayed with it. The match burned down and scorched his fingers before he dropped it. I grinned at him as he looked at the burn unbelievingly, then looked ill, got up, and left.

The pain was not as severe now because all the nerves in the roughly oval 1 1/2" X 2" area had been destroyed. There was just a deep ache in the center with the severe burning sensation confined to the less destroyed circumference. The wound needed attention and would have to be reported to get it. I summoned a guard, showed it to him, and told him that a box of matches had been set off under my arm as I played chess with a smoker who was careless. I declined, of course, to identify the non-existent smoker. The burn was recorded and treated in the prison hospital. It was so deep I had endangered the tendons that operate the wrist. Finally satisfied that my will remained invincible, I was ready.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Long before Ann Coulter expressed the wish that al-Qaeda had flown jet airplanes into the New York Times building, Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt actually planned, themselves, on murdering an American journalist, Jack Anderson. Why? I've previously posted excepts of an interview in which Liddy disingenuously explained his motives while candidly explaining his methods; now I'll excerpt the relevant passages from Will. However, since I believe that it too is less than truthful as to Liddy's and Hunt's true motives, I'll try to fill in the blanks.

First, context. Liddy's presentation of his grand scheme "GEMSTONE" (see previous post) has just been laughed out of John Mitchell's office; the Attorney General told Liddy to come up with something more realistic. So Liddy broods. He also notices how some parts of his GEMSTONE scheme -- or something very much like them -- have been or are being put into action.

Something comes up with one of Bob Haldeman's operatives, a guy hired through Dwight Chapin. This kid is playing some dirty tricks on the Democrats and Liddy is not amused to hear about it. For one thing, he's in charge of the dirty tricks, goddamnit. For another, he regards this young man's actions as nothing but "glorified Halloween pranks," the kind of chickenfeed trickery that would accomplish little but possibly put the hated Democrats on alert status, which would in turn endanger Liddy's more drastic (by which I mean, illegal, insane, and potentially murderous) schemes. The young man is Donald "Ratfucking" Segretti. Liddy and Hunt fly to Miami to meet him; Liddy ecstatically relates how he tells Segretti to cut it out or else Howie might kill him. Segretti, scared shitless, agrees.

Then Liddy sees a chance to restart his grand scheme. The inspiration, as it so often did, came from Howard Hunt:

When Howard Hunt was told by Robert Bennett, his employer, that Hank Greenspun, a Las Vegas newspaper publisher, was believed to have documents in his office safe that would "blow Muskie out of the water" and I passed that information on to Magruder, the reaction was swift. Hunt and I were authorized to check on the feasibility of cracking the safe and retrieving the documents.

Vegas. Dirty politics. Money. In the early 70s, the next link in the chain would be either the mob, or Howard Hughes. In this case, it's Hughes, with whom, by the way, Nixon went back a long way.

...Hunt and I decided that in the absence of a go-ahead on the creation and funding of GEMSTONE, we ought to make an alliance of convenience with Howard Hughes, known to be an enemy of Greenspun. Hunt had excellent connection with Hughes Tool and the Summa Corporations through his employer, Robert Bennett, whose Mullen Company represented Hughes and who was embroiled in the campaign to prove the purported authorized biography of Hughes by Clifford Irving to be a fraud. According to Hunt, Greenspun probably had documents in his safe that Hughes would like to retrieve. By prearrangement, Hunt and I flew to Los Angeles and stayed in a suite obtained for us by Hughes at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It is in the old section, very 1940-ish and huge, appropriate to anyone doing business with Howard Hughes. Each of us had his own bedroom, bathroom, dressing room, and we shared a spacious living room.

Right. What Liddy doesn't mention, but had to know, is that Hunt and Robert Maheu, Hughes's majordomo until he was sacked in 1970, were both involved in the CIA-mafia attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro.

There we conferred with Bob Winte, a Hughes security man. I suggested that we mount a joint operation. I believed Hughes would go along with it because Winte had already obtained for us the floor-plan of Greenspun's office, with the position of the safe marked clearly. It was a safe I believed easy to crack and I proposed that Hunt and I do so with a Cuban team while Hughes provided transportation and cover for us in Las Vegas. Key to the plan was a Hughes jet transport to be on standby in the desert. We would crack the safe and take everything in it without examination, head straight to the waiting jet, and fly to a Hughes-controlled Caribbean destination of his choice. There we would examine our findings jointly with Hughes' representatives and divide the materials on the basis of our separate interests. Winte said he would seek approval and seemed to think the matter a mere formality. When, a short time later, Hunt told me that Hughes had declined on the basis of the cost of the jet, I didn't believe it and concluded that the real reason was that Hughes figured there was something in the Greenspun safe that he didn't want us to see. From Hughes's point of view, we represented the government.

Although Howard Hughes was in his own way a bumbling fuck-up, I think even he knew better than to get into such shenanigans as Hunt and Liddy's. But on the other hand, Liddy's not entirely wrong here in RE: Hughes's paranoia. At the time, Hughes was desperately trying to bribe Richard Nixon -- and any other politician who might be helpful, including Ronald Reagan's friend, Senator Paul Laxalt -- into discontinuing nuclear weapons tests in Nevada. Just as Hughes had his reasons for bribing politicians of both parties, he had reason to be afraid of any particular politician possessing too much dirt on him.

Liddy goes on to list other schemes and dirty tricks of various Nixon administration officials in progress at the time. The tone here is a mix of amazed pride and bitter resentment: the former inspired by the fact that so many of Liddy's comrades had the same creative (if often wacky) sort of ruthlessness as he, the latter because of the mere fact that other Nixon cronies had their own (black) operations in action meant that he wasn't really in charge like he thought he'd be. Poor Gordon feels a little neglected.

...Magruder sent me to see Hugh Sloan, treasurer of the finance committee. Sloan gave me an envelope with about a thousand dollars in it, and on Magruder's instructions I gave it to Howard Hunt. What it was for was none of my business so I didn't ask, but I learned later it was to finance Hunt's trip to the bedside of Dita Beard where, using our CIA-provided physical disguise, he interviewed her for Colson about the authenticity of her controversial memorandum concerning the ITT contribution to the convention.

I just love the affected passivity -- indeed, the innocence and ignorance -- of this passage. Actually, Hunt went to Dita Beard's bedside in hope that she would retract or disavow the memorandum, for it exposed Nixonian corruption at its most basic level. The business conglomerate ITT, already with close ties to the Nixon administration (both had, shall we say, a mutual interest in destroying Salvador Allende), decided to take advantage of the president's not-so-secret desire to make San Diego the site of the 1972 Republican National Convention. It offered the RNC $400,000 dollars to make it happen. Quid pro quo, ITT's price for its largesse was that the Nixon administration force the Justice Department to stop blocking ITT's acquisition of... Hartford Insurance, I think it was, on anti-trust grounds. Things looked bad but Nixon had plausible deniability until Beard's memo became public, hence Colson's interest in making the memo go away by getting Beard to deny its authenticity -- er, I'm sorry, [air quotations] "question her about its authenticity" [air quotation].

Incidentally, Hunt's disguise provided by the CIA? Well, it wasn't James Bond stuff: it consisted of a red wig and a voice modulator. Not exactly a Zartan caliber disguise. More like, part Carrot Top and part Dennis Leary. But then I've told you repeatedly that Hunt and Liddy were and are fascist clowns.

Now for where this whole post is going. Guess who broke the story of Beard's memorandum? Jack Anderson, the reporter who also broke the story of Howard Hughes's six-figure "loan" to Donald Nixon, brother of Richard (and Anthony Summers persuades me that Dick Nixon himself actually received most of the loan money). And sure enough, just a few paragraphs later, here's Liddy (after some snotty yet hopeful remarks about the "wimp" Jeb Magruder, who supposedly wanted a few of Liddy's GEMSTONE hookers for his own pleasure, which in turn might -- Liddy hoped -- mean that the SAPPHIRE aspect of GEMSTONE might yet be greenlighted):

On a brisk February day shortly thereafter, Howard Hunt and I had lunch with a man he introduced to me as Dr. Edward Gunn, a physician retired from the CIA and an expert on "the unorthodox application of medical and chemical knowledge." I took "retired" to be in quotes since that is standard technique and Hunt introduced me under my operational alias, "George Leonard."...

The purpose of the luncheon, Hunt explained to me previously, was to take advantage of the expertise of Dr. Gunn in preparing, for the approval of Hunt's "principal," a plan to stop columnist Jack Anderson. Even with each other, Hunt and I often, when discussing the most sensitive of matters, used the term my principal rather than identify our superiors. I, at least, had several. Hunt, to my knowledge, had only one: Chuck Colson.

Anderson, Hunt reported, had now gone too far. As the direct result of an Anderson story, a top U.S. intelligence source abroad had been so compromised that, if not already dead, he would be in a matter of days. That was too much. Something had to be done.

The conversation at lunch was in the hypothetical terms usually employed in such circumstances. We did not mention Anderson's name explicitly. Hunt urged the use of LSD on the steering wheel of the "target's" automobile to cause him to hallucinate at a public function and thus be discredited. Dr. Gunn shot down that idea on the ground that CIA experience with the drug had demonstrated the unpredictability of individual reaction.

I took the position that, in a hypothetical case in which the target had been the direct cause of the identification and execution of one of our agents abroad, halfway measures were not appropriate. How many of our people should we let him kill before we stop him, I asked rhetorically, still not using Anderson's name. I urged as the logical and just solution that the target be killed. Quickly.

My suggestion was received with immediate acceptance, almost relief, as if they were just waiting for someone else to say for them what was really on their minds. There followed a lengthy discussion of the ways and means to accomplish the task best. Hunt, still enamored of the LSD approach, asked Dr. Gunn whether a massive dose might not cause such disruption of motor function that the driver would lose control of it and crash. Dr. Gunn repeated his earlier negative advice on the use of LSD. Besides, though LSD can be absorbed through the skin, our hypothetical target might be wearing gloves against the winter cold, or be chauffeur-driven. The use of LSD was, finally, dismissed.

Hunt's suggestion called to Dr. Gunn's mind a technique used successfully abroad. It involved catching the target's moving automobile in a turn or sharp curve and hitting it with another car on the outside rear quarter. According to Dr. Gunn, if the angle of the blow and the relative speed of the two vehicle were correct, the target vehicle would flip over, crash, and, usually, burn. By this time I was sure Gunn had guessed the identity of the hypothetical target, since he asked whether he was local and suggested, if he was, that we use the method he had just described at Chevy Chase Circle, a route Anderson did travel. Chevy Chase Circle, he pointed out, is notorious as the scene of fatal auto accidents and its configuration ideal for use of the technique.

I argued that Dr. Gunn's method would require the services of an expert to ensure success, and one might not be available to us. Dr. Gunn looked surprised, as if it had not occurred to him that we would not have available all the resources of the CIA.

Other methods were discussed and discarded. "Aspirin Roulette," for example: the placing of a poisoned replica of the appropriate brand of headache tablet into the bottle usually found in the target's medicine cabinet. That method was rejected because it would gratuitously endanger innocent members of his family and might take months before it worked.

I came up with the suggestion we finally agreed upon as the one to be recommended. It was a lethal adaptation of a technique long in use by the FBI during surreptitious entries. When an embassy safe, for example, is to be penetrated so that crypto material for use by NSA, everyone who might have access to the office is followed while the penetration is in progress. It is not begun unless a wiretap or other positive means has been established that the embassy personnel will be away for a sufficient period. Should someone return unexpectedly, however, he would never get into the embassy door. He would be assaulted, his wallet and watch removed, and, while he was unconscious as the latest victim of the outrageously high rate of street crime in Washington (which is not within the jurisdiction of, and therefore not the fault of, the FBI), the entry team would make good its escape.

I'll just break in here to note how interesting it is that Liddy, a law and order guy who came to Washington full of typically rightwing impatience with bureaucratic laxity (and excuses for that laxity), has just gleefully recommended perpetration of street crime, and neatly shifted the blame for it on a rival government entity, the Capitol Police. Thus the would-be murderer is also a bureaucratic weasel of the shiftiest sort.

I submitted that the target should just become a fatal victim of the notorious Washington street-crime rate. No one argued against that recommendation and, at Hunt's suggestion, I gave Dr. Gunn a hundred-dollar bill, from Committee to Re-elect the President intelligence funds, as a fee for his services. I took this to be to protect Dr. Gunn's image as "retired."

Afterward Hunt and I discussed the recommendation further. It was decided to include the suggestion that the assassination of Jack Anderson be carried out by Cubans already recruited for the intelligence arm of the Committee to Re-elect the President.

"Suppose," said Hunt, "my principal doesn't think it wise to entrust so sensitive a matter to them?"

I am asked frequently whether I believe in "blind obedience" to orders from legitimate authority, the code that permitted many Germans to carry out genocide. I do not. While there is a presumption of regularity that must obtain in any orders from legitimate superiors without which no government could function, I believe in individual responsibility, free will, and the rule of reason. There is a point beyond which I will not go, and that is anything my conscience tells me is malum in se (evil in and of itself) or my judgment tells me is irrational. I have no problem with doing something that is malum prohibitum (wrong only because of the existence of a law prohibiting it).

An example of malum in se would be the sexual assault of a child. In every society such a thing would be recognized as wrong. It would require no act of the legislature forbidding it to inform people that it was wrong." An example of malum prohibitum, on the other hand, would be the statute prohibiting driving through a stop sign without coming to a complete halt. Absent such a law, to do so would be a morally indifferent act.

Common sense tells us that minor problems require and justify but minor responses, and only extreme problems require and justify extreme solutions. In the case of killing it is well to remember that the Ten Commandments, translated correctly from the original Aramaic [sic -- I think he means Hebrew; Aramaic would be correct for some of the New Testament], do not contain the injunction "Thou shalt not kill." It reads, "Thou shalt not do murder." Quite another thing. There are circumstances that not only justify killing but require it (when one is charged with the safekeeping of a child, for example, and the only way to prevent its death from another's attack is to kill that other person). These are all situations that require informed and responsible judgments.

There are other ethical doctrines that may be applied. In World War II some bomber pilots were concerned when they knew that, for example, the ball bearing factory that was their target was across the street from an orphanage and their bombing altitude meant that it was very likely the orphanage would also be hit. In such a situation the principle of double effect comes into play; the unintended secondary effect of the destruction of the orphanage is permissible. The classical example is that of the driver of a loaded schoolbus [sic] going down the one-lane mountain road with a sheer thousand-foot drop one either side rounding a turn to see a three-year-old girl on a tricycle in the middle of the road. He is going too fast to stop. The choices are go off the road and take thirty-five children and himself to certain death to spare the three-year-old, or run over the three-year-old and save the thirty-five. I'd run over the three-year-old. I also fail to see any distinction between killing an enemy soldier in a time of declared war and killing an enemy espionage agent in a "cold" war, or even killing certain U.S. citizens. For example, were I back in my ODESSA position and were given the instruction from an appropriate officer of the government, I would kill Philip Agee if it were demonstrated (as it has often been argued) that his revelations have led directly to the death of at least one of his fellow CIA officers, that he intended to continue the revelations, and that they would lead to more deaths. Notice that this would not be retributive but preventative. It is the same rationale by which I was willing to obey an order to kill Jack Anderson. But I would do so only after satisfying myself that it was: a)an order from legitimate authority; b)a question of malum prohibitum; and c)a rational response to the problem.

I thought about the damage Anderson was doing to our country's ability to conduct foreign policy. Most of all, I thought of that U.S. agent abroad, dead or about to die after what I was sure would be interrogation by torture. If Hunt's principal was worried, I had the answer.

"Tell him," I said, "if necessary, I'll do it."

Christ, the lies and sophistry here are just incredible. But that's typical Liddy, true to his character. What's jarring, what's out of character, is that he is for the first and only time I know of, using Nazis in a negative analogy. As far as I'm concerned, this tells me -- even if I didn't know anything else about his argument -- that it is based in bad faith.

Actually, the plot to murder Jack Anderson was nothing but "retributive:" in this passage as well as in the passage from the Playboy interview, the link in Liddy's mind from Anderson's politically damaging (to the Nixon administration) scoops to the need for his assassination is apparent. It's only when Liddy defensively feels the need to rationalize his atrocious willingness -- even cheerfulness - to murder that he comes up with the "national security" excuses.

And I just love how Liddy counts on the reader's naivete of CIA lingo, hoping that the reader doesn't catch Gordo's very deliberate conflation of agent and contact. One is an American citizen in the pay of the American government, acting -- or supposed to be acting -- in his country's interests; the other, usually a foreign national and often a citizen of a belligerent country, is a source of information to the former, and this is exactly the type that was 'outed' by Anderson. As such, Anderson was doing exactly what... many CIA agents, in fact, do: burn sources. Come on, anyone who's watched Spy Game knows how this works. Anyway, another giveway to the bad faith in the "national security" rationale is the sudden ambiguity of it. Notice how Liddy, just a minute before being so detailed in his examples (sharing the school bus parable with obvious relish), suddenly falls back on Anderson's damage to the ability of the Nixon Administration to make foreign policy. See? Any dissenter could be guilty of that; the elasticity of the rule can stretch to the size of Limbaugh's waistband, allowing a great many of Liddy's (and Nixon's, which is the real point) political enemies to qualify for liquidation at the hands of Liddyan thugs.

Regardless, the psychological point here is that Liddy is truly a fascist ready to kill on command. There's a reason why he's often asked "whether [he] believe[s] in 'blind obedience' to orders:" because it's obvious that he does, and it's normal for rational people to be curious about the ultimate servility of fascist people who are otherwise so paradoxically aggressive and... well, willful.

Gordon Liddy's Grand Presentation

Now employed by CREEP and having concocted a huge plan to destroy the Democrats in '72, Gordon Liddy finds himself in a limo with Jeb Magruder (whom he doesn't like) on his way to present his grand scheme so fiendish in its intricacies to an audience of John Dean and John Mitchell. From Will:

As we were riding, Magruder asked about my hand again and, to shut him up, I abandoned the matchbook story and told him the truth, that I had burned it intentionally in a recruiting effort. As I had been doing things like that for years and was used to it, I failed to realize the effect such a thing would have on someone like Magruder. He was shaken, and that made me even more contemptuous of him.

We met John Mitchell in his small, inner office behind the great ceremonial one so familiar to the public from the days of Bobby Kennedy. At my request there was an easel set up. I greeted the Attorney General and, as Magruder seated himself in front of the desk with Dean, I set up my charts in the order I wanted to display them.

The plan was given the overall name of GEMSTONE, and although most components bore the names of a precious or semiprecious stone, some were named for minerals. I explained that the proposed service was what had been requested by John Dean and that it had full offensive as well as defensive capability. Then I got down to specifics. I started with operation DIAMOND.

DIAMOND was our counterdemonstration plan. At the time, we still expected the convention to be held in San Diego. I repeated my objections to the site, then pointed out that the best technique for dealing with a mob had been worked out years before by the famed Texas Rangers. They were so few that law enforcement types still tell the story of the town that telegraphed Ranger headquarters for help in suppressing a riot and were startled to see a solitary Ranger ride into town. "There's only one of you?!" they cried, and the Ranger replied quietly, "There's only one riot, ain't there?"

The Texas Ranger technique was to linger on the fringes of the disturbance, watching until they could identify the leaders, then work their way through the crowd to leaders and beat the hell out of them until, leaderless, the rioters became easy to disperse.

I pointed out that we would be dealing with skilled and determined urban guerillas who had been distributing manuals for violent guerilla tactics against the convention, including homemade bombs; that the Sports Arena area would be impossible to hold against a well-led mob attack; and that I proposed to emulate the Texas Rangers by identifying the leaders through intelligence before the attack got under way, kidnap them, drug them, and hold them in Mexico until after the convention was over, then release them unharmed and still wondering what happened. Leaderless, the attack would be further disrupted by fake assembly orders and messages, and if it ever did get off the ground it would be much easier to repel. The sudden disappearances, which I labeled on the chart in the original German, Nacht und Nebel ("Night and Fog"), would strike fear into the hearts of the leftist guerillas. The chart labeled the team slated to carry out the night and fog plan as a "Special Action Group" and, when John Mitchell asked "What's that?" and expressed doubt that it could perform as I explained, I grew impatient. I was getting no support from Dean and Magruder. Both were sitting there, watching Mitchell intently, trying to gauge his reactions. I expected that from Magruder, but not from Dean. This was, after all, what he had asked me for, and I looked for an indication from him to Mitchell that this was what they were getting.

With Magruder and Dean out to lunch, I felt obliged to impress Mitchell with my seriousness of purpose, that my people were the kind and I was the kind who could and would do whatever was necessary to deal with organized mass violence. Both Magruder and Dean were too young to know what I was talking about, but I knew that Mitchell, a naval officer in World War II, would get the message if I translated the English "Special Action Group" into German. Given the history involved, it was a gross exaggeration, but it made my point. "An Einsatzgruppe, General," I said, inadvertently using a hard g for the word General and turning it, too, into German. "These men include professional killers who have accounted between them for twenty-two dead so far, including two hanged from a beam in a garage."

Mitchell gazed at me steadily, took another puff on his pipe, removed it from his mouth and said, "And where did you find men like that?"

"I understand they're members of organized crime."

"And how much will their services cost?"

I pointed to the figure on the chart. It was substantial. "Like top professionals everywhere, sir," I said, "they won't come cheap."

"Well," said Mitchell dryly as he brought his pipe back up to his mouth, "let's not contribute any more than we have to to the coffers of organized crime."

I didn't know Mitchell well enough to be able to tell whether he was being sarcastic or just objecting to the amount I had budgeted. I looked to Dean and Magruder for a clue. I found none. They just sat there, staring at Mitchell, like two rabbits in front of a cobra. Mitchell said no more, so I went on to the other operations.

RUBY concerned the infiltration of spies into the camp of Democratic contenders, then the successful candidate himself. COAL was the program to furnish money clandestinely to Shirley Chisholm of New York to finance her as a contender and force Democratic candidates to fight off a black woman, bound to generate ill-feeling among the black community and, we hoped, cause them difficulty with women. Once again Mitchell interrupted me. "You can forget about that. Nelson Rockefeller's already taking care of that nicely."

For each operation I explained what would be done in detail. EMERALD outlined the use of a chase plane to eavesdrop on the Democratic candidate's aircraft and buses when his entourage used radio telephones...

QUARTZ detailed emulation of the technique used by the Soviet Union for microwave interception of telephone traffic, and I explained in detail the way it was done by the Soviet Embassy.

For use in gathering information at the Democratic National Convention at Miami Beach, [Howard] Hunt and I had an option to lease a large houseboat moored within line of sight of the Fontainebleau. This would enable it to be used as a communications center for CRYSTAL -- electronic surveillance. It was an opulent barge, with a lush bedroom mirror over the big king-sized bed. We'd get our money's worth from the houseboat. It would double as headquarters for SAPPHIRE because it was from there that our prostitutes were to operate. They were not to operate as hookers but as spoiled, rich, beautiful women who were only too susceptible to men who could brag convincingly of the importance of what they were doing at the convention. The bedroom would be wired for sound, but I disagreed with Hunt's suggestion that movie cameras be used. That wouldn't be necessary to get the information, might cost us the women recruited who might object to being filmed in flagrante, and, as I pointed out to Howard, there wasn't room to install them overhead anyway. Mitchell listened to that impassively, as did Dean. Magruder, however, wore a look of eager interest.

I presented a plan for four black-bag jobs, OPALs I through IV. They were clandestine entries at which microphone surveillances could be placed, as well as TOPAZ: photographs taken of any documents available, including those under lock. As targets I proposed the headquarters of Senator Edmund Muskie's campaign on K Street, N.W.; that of Senator George McGovern on Capital Hill; one for the Democratic National Convention at any hotel, because we had access to just about anything we wanted through all the Cuban help employed in the Miami Beach hotels. One entry would be held in reserve for any target of opportunity Mitchell wished to designate as we went along. I looked at him questioningly, but he just kept sucking on his pipe, suggesting none.

Next I presented plans for GARNET: counterdemonstrations by groups that would attract media attention and be perceived by most Americans to be repulsive as they advocated the candidacy of Democratic candidates of our selection. The groups would also carry out disruptive tactics at fund-raising dinners and other affairs.

The largest disruption operation, however, was reserved for the Democratic National Convention itself. We had paid well to acquire the entire blueprints for the convention hall and all its support machinery. The plan I outlined, TURQUOISE, called for a commando team of Cubans -- veterans of raids into Castro Cuba -- to slip at night from apartments rented across the street to the rear of the hall, where the air-conditioning units were, and sabotage them by destroying the compressors and introducing a destructive grit into the bearings of the blowers. Even John Mitchell smiled as I asked them to imagine those Democrats, already hot under the collar from so much internecine fighting over the nomination, when, in the 100-degree Miami summer weather, all the air-conditioning went out, damaged beyond quick repair, and the temperature inside the hall reached 110 or more degrees.

I closed the presentation with a summary of the many different offensive and defensive intelligence-collection and disruption operations the plan made available, and with a final two charts. One, BRICK, summed up GEMSTONE cost breakdowns by units (RUBY, COAL, DIAMOND, etc.) and the total of nearly one million dollars. The last was the flowchart, which looked roughly like a ski jump with a rise at the other end, running from day of approval, with the high outflow for equipment purchase, the valley of preconvention operations, and the rise as they increased in intensity at the time of the Democratic convention.

When I had finished, Dean and Magruder remained silent. John Mitchell made much of filling and relighting his pipe and then said, "Gordon, a million dollars is a hell of a lot of money, much more than we had in mind. I'd like you to go back and come up with something more realistic."

...I was disappointed... As I restacked the charts, John Mitchell continued, "And Gordon?"

"Yes, sir?"

"Burn those charts; do it personally."

"Yes, sir."


It's Springtime for Liddy and Gordon is feeling a particularly psychopathic euphoria. From Will:

I was so confident of the ability of the [dirty tricks] group recruited that when I happened to meet Bud Krogh on the steps of the Old Executive Office Building, I thought of a proposal I'd made months before. I'd asserted that key foreign drug-smuggling operatives, who were well known should be recognized as killers of American children and subject to being killed themselves. By us. State had been horrified at the idea of such direct action as assassination and the suggestion had gone nowhere, but Bud had not seemed to object in principle. He had been traveling abroad quite a bit and had an appreciation of the difficulties involved in combating the drug barons with mere diplomacy. I was also very grateful to him for all he had done to advance me in the administration. I patted him on the back and said, "Bud, if you want anyone killed, just let me know." He smiled and said, "I will." I reacted to his smile by saying, "I'm serious."

"I know you are," said Krogh, his smile gone. "I'll let you know."

Gordo Declares War

Ok, so I'm now to the midpoint of Gordon Liddy's Will. Liddy is by now working for CREEP, he and Howard Hunt have cooked up all kinds of dirty tricks to use on THE ENEMY, so all that's left (now that he's had CIA help in making his paper diagrams look professional) is to run them by John Mitchell and the whole Hee Haw gang. He relates his sense of purpose on the eve of his proposal to the bigwigs:

I'd been working day and night because the legal work that was supposed to be nominal, just enough to serve as convincing cover [Liddy's title was General Counsel; actually he was in charge of dirty tricks], had turned out to be substantial; but my sense of purpose as I realized the opportunity I'd been handed pumped me so full of adrenaline I never felt tired.

I knew exactly what had to be done and why, and I was under no illusion about its legality. Although spies in the enemy camp and electronic surveillance were nothing new in American presidential politics, we were going to go far beyond that.

I think I'll stop here to note that this nicely obliterates the self-pitying claims made by Nixon and his apologists that Tricky Dick had done nothing not done before by others (FDR, JFK, LBJ being the usual names dropped), so why was everyone picking on poor old Richard Nixon...? Liddy's admission proves there was no double standard. Nixon's crimes were treated as singular because they were singular (and they remained so until nearly equaled by Reagan and then of course dwarfed by Bush II).

As far as I was concerned, anything went if it were merely malum prohibitum (about which more later). There was a law of physics that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; I was ready to break that one, too, in reaction to the radical left and the whole drug-besotted 1960s "movement" that was attacking my country from within.

In other words, the reactionary is vowing a reaction of greater magnitude than the action inspiring him. So much for Liddy's -- previously, and so many others' since -- claim that they were merely fighting fire with fire. Their aim, shared by many a sociopath, was overkill.

The experience of the last ten years left no doubt in my mind that the United States was at war internally as well as externally. In August 1970 the Army Math Center of the University of Wisconsin was added to the list of bombings. A father of two had died in the blast and three others were injured. Two years before Daniel Moynihan had warned of the "onset of urban terror" -- a bit late, I thought, in view of the thousands of bombings, burnings, riots, and lootings of the '60s, to say nothing of the murders of police just because they were the police, the killing of judges, and the general disintegration of the social order.

Moreover the antiwar movement threatened to prove the vehicle for these radical elements to gain enough acceptance to achieve political power (six years later it was Senator George McGovern's son-in-law who was to get the bail of one of the Math Center bombers reduced so he could be freed). The events of the 1960s offended me gravely. To permit the thought, spirit, life-style, and ideas of the '60s movement to achieve power and become the official way of life of the United States was a thought as offensive to me as was the thought of surrender to a career Japanese soldier in 1945. It was unthinkable, an unspeakable betrayal.

I remembered the rioting, burning cities, the bombings and killings, and the attempts to close down the nation's capital by mob violence; the American actress in the capital of our enemy broadcasting appeals to our combat troops to commit treason; the cooperation and approval of great newspapers in the theft and compromise of masses of classified documents. I remembered the crew-served automatic weapons in the halls of the Department of Justice, and I knew that what had happened to Richard Nixon in 1960 and to Lyndon Johnson in 1968 could not be permitted to happen again. With an ice-cold, deliberate certainty I knew exactly what I was going to be doing in 1972 and it was damn well about time: we were going to throw the Battle Override [switch].

Racial Preferences and Dirty Tricks

What a case study Gordon Liddy is. I've already documented some aspects of his Naziphilia, but the totality of it astounds me. He has Nazi-inspired or -reinforced reasons for doing all sorts of things; he's even got a personal Nuremburg Law for sexual attraction. I've read an interview which I can't at the moment access where Liddy explains what kind of woman he wanted when he decided it was time to get married. He's only attracted to the Anglo-Saxon type, and insists that any potential mate be of similar "stock". So that's how Liddy picked his wife, now let's see how it influenced him as matchmaker. Also, while we're at it, let's note how he scouted for thugs to plant inside antiwar demonstrations (one of the dirty tricks Liddy and Hunt concocted was to hire hoodlums to beat-up leftists):

Hunt enlisted the aid of Bernard Barker and we traveled to Miami to interview men for our counterdemonstrator and antiriot squad, along with several prostitute candidates for use at the Democratic convention. The men were exactly what I was looking for: tough, experienced, and loyal. When I got through talking to them, some with the aid of interpretation, the leader spoke to Barker in Spanish. He looked at me and held out both hands with his fingers spread and curved like talons. Nodding his head at me he said something to Barker that included "El Halcon." Barker laughed. Afterward I asked Barker what the man had said. "He called you a falcon," said Barker, making the same clutching gesture, "the bird other birds fear." It became my code name.

Thus the Cuban criminals and sociopaths recognized one of their own kind.

Howard Hunt and I interviewed about a dozen men. Afterward Howard told me that between them they had killed twenty-two men, including two hanged from a beam in a garage. Our experience with the prostitutes was not good. Hunt and Barker kept recruiting dark-haired and -complexioned Cuban women. They were very good-looking, but their English left something to be desired. I was not sure they'd be suitable for the purposes I intended: posing as idly rich young women so impressed by men of power they would let themselves be picked up at parties and bars by Democratic staffers who, in the course of boasting of their own importance, would disclose valuable information. Hunt took the position that what the seduced men had to say would be tape-recorded anyway. I wanted to be able to call upon the memories of the women for what was said at locations other than those we had bugged. I was also affected by my own bias. Because I would be more attracted to Northern Europeans, I assumed fair women would be more successful and rejected those selected. Finally, having despaired of seeing other than the dark and sultry type from the Cubans, I retained, sight unseen except for professional photographs, two stunning Anglo-Saxon women recruited by Barker's associate Frank Sturgis.

Gordon Liddy Knows How To Impress Teh Ladiez

By now I've reached the point in Will where Liddy has begun to work for CREEP. Jeb Magruder has already told everyone involved that Gordon Liddy is to be in charge of 'dirty tricks.' Howard Hunt, as usual, is right there with Liddy scheming, dreaming, planning these dirty tricks. One such dirty trick they agreed to develop was to plant attractive females at Democratic events, with the hope that these females would seduce important Democrats then extract information from them. Hunt and Liddy live high on the hog on CREEP's dime, touring the country in style, recruiting operatives:

During one of our trips to California Hunt attempted to recruit one woman suggested by [Morton] Jackson, and I a woman suggested by Hunt's candidate. The woman I was working on, Sherry Stevens, was ideal as a plant. She was flashily good-looking, young, had secretarial skills and experience, and appeared able to attract men sexually if she wished, possibly even the candidate [at that time, unless I am mistaken, feared by the Republicans to likely be Ted Kennedy]. At dinner Miss Stevens seemed reluctant, balking at the risks involved, and when I told her that her identity would be revealed to no one and she could just walk away anytime if she feared exposure, she pointed out that I would know her identity. I told her that no one could force me to disclose anything I chose not to reveal. She didn't believe me and as I was casting about for some way to convince her when I noticed she smoked. I told her to light her cigarette lighter and hold it out. She did and I locked my gaze upon her eyes and placed my hand, palm down, over the flame. Presently the flesh turned black and when she smelled the scent of burning meat, Sherry Stevens broke from my gaze and pulled the lighter away from my hand. She seemed frightened badly so I took pains to calm her, wrapping an ice cube against the burn with my napkin and returning to my dinner. Pale, Miss Stevens said she was sure I would never betray her, but excused herself as a candidate, invoking a just remembered plan to marry a Swiss airplane pilot in September of 1972. When I told her I'd be glad to have her services through August, at a very generous rate of pay, she refused and, expressing concern for my hand, asked to be taken home.

At her apartment Miss Stevens gave me more ice cubes for the burn and appeared even more fearful, saying she hoped "you won't go down in flames" if she didn't offer to sleep with me. I told her that if I became offended every time someone didn't offer to go to bed with me, I'd end up being offended by an awful lot of people. "My God," I said, waving the napkined hand, "is that what you thought this was all about? Weren't you listening to what I was saying?"

"Well, I wasn't sure."

"Be sure. I want you for the job. No strings attached."

She promised to think it over. Back at the hotel I learned that Hunt had done better, getting a preliminary commitment. When I didn't do my customary hundred pushups the next morning, Hunt asked why. I showed him my hand and explained how it came to be that way. "That way" was, by now, a huge blackened, water-filled blister covering my palm and rendering my left hand virtually useless. I located a nearby physician in the phone book and had him lance the blister, treat the burn, and bandage it, then Hunt and I returned to Washington to make our plans in more detail.

Back at [CREEP] I explained the burn to the idly curious as the result of an accident in which an entire pack of matches went off in my hand....