In November, 1972, Bush’s “most influential patron,” Richard Nixon [fn 1], won re-election to the White House for a second term in a landslide victory over the McGovern-Shriver Democratic ticket. Nixon’s election victory had proceeded in spite of the arrest of five White House-linked burglars in the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate building in Washington early on June 17 of the same year. This was the beginning of the infamous Watergate scandal, which would overshadow and ultimately terminate Nixon’s second term in 1974. After the election, Bush received a telephone call informing him that Nixon wanted to talk to him at the Camp David retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland. Bush had been looking to Washington for the inevitable personnel changes that would be made in preparation for Nixon’s second term. Bush tells us that he was aware of Nixon’s plan to reorganize his cabinet around the idea of a “super cabinet” of top-level, inner cabinet ministers or “super secretaries” who would work closely with the White House while relegating the day-to-day functioning of their executive departments to sub-cabinet deputies. One of the big winners under this plan was scheduled to be George Shultz, the former Labor Secretary who was now, after the departure of Connally, supposed to become Super Secretary of the Treasury. Shultz was a Bechtel executive who went on to be Reagan’s second Secretary of State after Al Haig. Bush and Shultz were future members of the Bohemian Club of San Francisco and of the Bohemian Grove summer gathering. Shultz was a Princeton graduate who was reputed to have a tiger, the school’s symbol, tatooed on his rump. Bush says he received a call from Nixon’s top domestic aide, John Ehrlichman (along with Haldemann a partner in the “Chinese wall” around Nixon maintained by the White House palace guard). Ehrlichman told Bush that George Shultz wanted to see him before he went on to meet with Nixon at Camp David. As it turned out, Shultz wanted to offer Bush the post of undersecretary of the Treasury, which would amount to de facto administrative control over the department while Shultz concentrated on his projected super secretary policy functions. Bush says he thanked Shultz for his “flattering” offer, took it under consideration, and then pressed on to Camp David. [fn 2] At Camp David, Bush says that Nixon talked to him in the following terms: “George, I know that Shultz has talked to you about the Treasury job, and if that’s what you’d like, that’s fine with me. However, the job I really want you to do, the place I really need you, is over at the National Committee running things. This is an important time for the Republican Party, George. We have a chance to build a new coalition in the next four years, and you’re the one who can do it.” [ fn 3] But this was not the job that George really wanted. He wanted to be promoted, but he wanted to continue in the personal retinue of Henry Kissinger. “At first Bush tried to persuade the President to give him, instead, the number-two job at the State Department, as deputy to Secretary Henry Kissinger. Foreign affairs was his top priority, he said. Nixon was cool to this idea, and Bush capitulated.” [fn 4] According to Bush’s own account, he asked Nixon for some time to ponder the offer of the RNC chairmanship. Among those who Bush said he consulted on whether or not to accept was Rogers C.B. Morton, the former Congressman whom Nixon had made Secretary of Commerce. Morton suggested that if Bush wanted to accept, he insist that he continue as a member of the Nixon cabinet, where, it should be recalled, he had been sitting since he was named to the UN. Pennsylvania Senator Hugh Scott, one of the Republican Congressional leaders, also advised Bush to demand to continue on in the cabinet: “Insist on it,” Bush recalls him saying. Bush also consulted Barbara. The story goes that Bar had demanded that George pledge that the one job he would never take was the RNC post. But now he wanted to take precisely that post, which appeared to be a political graveyard, George explained his wimpish obedience to Nixon: “Boy, you can’t turn a President down.” [fn 5] Bush then told Ehrlichman that he would accept provided he could stay on in the cabinet. Nixon approved this condition, and the era of Chairman George had begun.
Of course, making the chairman of the Republican Party an ex- officio member of the president’s cabinet seems to imply something resembling a one-party state. But George was not deterred by such difficulties.
While he was at the UN, Bush had kept his eyes open for the next post on the way up his personal cursus honorum. In November of 1971 there was a boomlet for Bush among Texas Republican leaders who were looking for a candidate to run for governor. [fn 6] Nixon’s choice of Bush to head the RNC was announced on December 11, 1972. The outgoing RNC Chariman was Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, an asset of the grain cartel but, in that period, not totally devoid of human qualities. According to press reports, Nixon palace guard heavies like Haldeman and Charles W. Colson, later a central Watergate figure, were not happy with Dole because he would not take orders from the White House. Dole also tended to function as a conduit for grass roots complaints and resistance to White House directives from the GOP rank and file. In the context of the 1972 campaign, “White House” means specifically Clark MacGregor’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP), one of the collective protagonists of the Watergate scandal. [fn 7] Dole was considered remarkable for his “irreverence” for Nixon: “he joked about the Watergate issue, about the White House staff and about the management of the Republican convention with its `spontaneous demonstrations that will last precisely ten minutes.'” [ fn 8] Bush’s own account of how he got the RNC post ignores Dole, who was Bush’s most serious rival for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination. According to Dole’s version, he conferred with Nixon about the RNC post on November 28, and told the president that he would have to quit the RNC in 1973 in order to get ready to run for re-election in 1974. According to Dole, it was he who recommended Bush to Nixon. Dole even said that he had gone to New York to convince Bush to accept the post. Dole sought to remove any implication that he had been fired by Nixon, and contradicted “speculation that I went to the mountaintop to be pushed off,” for “that was not the case.” What was clear was that Nixon and retainers had chosen a replacement for Dole whom they expected to be more obedient to the commands of the White House palace guard. Bush assumed his new post in January, 1973, in the midst of the trial of the Watergate burglars. He sought at once to convey the image of a pragmatic technocrat on the lookout for Republican candidates who could win, rather than an ideologue. “There’s kind of a narrow line between standing for nothing and imposing one’s views,” Bush told the press. He stressed that the RNC would have a lot of money to spend for recruiting candidates, and that he would personally control this money. “The White House is simply not going to control the budget,” said Bush. “I believe in the importance of this job and I have confidence I can do it,” he added. “I couldn’t do it if I were some reluctant dragon being dragged away from a three-wine luncheon.” [fn 9] Bush appointed Tom Lias as his principal political assistant. Harry Dent, the former chief counsel to Nixon, was named the chief counsel to the GOP. Dent had been one of the ideologues of the party’s southern strategy. D.K. “Pat” Wilson became the party finance chairman, and Rep. William Steiger of Wisconsin became the leader of a special committee that was supposed to broaden the electoral base of the party. Steiger was immediately attacked by the right-wing Human Events magazine as “very much a part of the defeated liberal reform movement” in the party. [fn 10] Richard Thaxton was the RNC patronage director. John Lofton, the editor of the GOP weekly journal called Monday, was eased out, and went to join Howard Phillips in the task of liquidating the Office of Economic Opportunity. Janet J. Johnston of California became the RNC co- chair. Bush inaugurated his new post with a pledge that the Republican Party, from President Nixon on down, would do “everything we possibly can” to make sure that the GOP was not involved in political dirty tricks in the future. “I don’t think it is good for politics in this country and I am sure I am reflecting the President’s views on that as head of the party,” intoned Bush in an appearance on “Issues and Answers.” [fn 11] Whether or not Bush lived up to that pledge during his months at the RNC, and indeed during his later political career, will be sufficiently answered during the following pages. But now Chairman George, sitting in Nixon’s cabinet with such men as John Mitchell, his eyes fixed on Henry Kissinger as his lodestar, is about to set sail on the turbulent seas of the Watergate typhoon. Before we accompany him, we must briefly review the complex of events lumped together under the heading of “Watergate,” so that we may then situate Bush’s remarkable and bizarre behavior between January 1973 and August of 1974, when Nixon’s fall became the occasion for yet another Bush attempt to seize the vice presidency. By the beginning of the 1990’s, it has become something of a commonplace to refer to the complex of events surrounding the fall of Nixon as a coup d’etat. [fn 12] It was to be sure a coup d’etat, but one whose organizers and beneficiaries most commentators and historians are reluctant to name, much less to confront. Broadly speaking, Watergate was a coup d’etat which was instrumental in laying the basis for the specific new type of authoritarian-totalitarian regime which now rules the United States. The purpose of the coup was to rearrange the dominant institutions of the US government so as to enhance their ability to carry out policies agreeable to the increasingly urgent dictates of the British-dominated Morgan- Rockefeller-Mellon-Harriman financier faction. The immediate beneficiaries of the coup have been that class of bureaucratic, technocratic administrators who have held the highest public offices, exercising power in many cases almost without interruption, since the days of the Watergate scandal. It is obvious that George Bush himself is one of the most prominent of such beneficiaries. As the Roman playwright Seneca warns us, “Cui prodest scelus, is fecit”– the one who derives advantage from the crime is the one most likely to have committed it. The policies of the Wall Street investment banking interests named are those of usury and Malthusianism, stressing the decline of a productive industrial economy in favor of savage Third World looting and anti-population measures. The changes subsumed by Watergate included the abolition of government’s function as a means to distribute the rewards and benefits of economic progress among the principal constituency groups upon whose support the shifting political coalitions depended for their success. Henceforth, government would appear as the means by which the sacrifices and penalties of austerity and declining standards of living would be imposed on a passive and stupefied population. The constitutional office of the president was to be virtually destroyed, and the power of the usurious banking elites above and behind the presidency was to be radically enhanced.
The reason why the Watergate scandal escalated into the overthrow of Nixon has to do with the international monetary crisis of those years, and with Nixon’s inability to manage the collapse of the Bretton Woods system and the US dollar in a way satisfactory to the Anglo-American financial elite.
It was the leading Anglo-American financier factions who decided to dump Nixon, and availed themselves of the pre-existing Watergate affair in order to reach their goal. The financiers were able to implement their decision all the more easily thanks to the numerous operatives of the intelligence community who had been embedded within the Plumbers from the moment of their creation in response to an explicit demand coming from George Bush’s personal mentor, Henry Kissinger.
Watergate included the option of rapid steps in the direction of a dictatorship not so much of the military as of the intelligence community and the law enforcement agencies acting as executors of the will of the Wall Street circles indicated. The “Seven Days in May” overtone of Watergate, the more or less overt break with constitutional forms and rituals was never excluded. We must recall that the backdrop for Watergate had been provided first of all by the collapse of the international monetary system, as made official by Nixon’s austerity decrees imposing a wage and price freeze starting on the fateful day of August 15, 1971. What followed was an attempt to run the entire US economy under the top-down diktat of the Pay Board and the Price Commission. This economic state of emergency was then compounded by the artificial oil shortages orchestrated by the companies of the international oil cartel during late 1973 and 1974, all in the wake of Kissinger’s October 1973 Middle East War and the Arab oil boycott. In August, 1974, when Gerald Ford decided to make Nelson Rockefeller, and not George Bush, his vice-president designate, he was actively considering further executive orders to declare a new economic state of emergency. Such colossal economic dislocations had impelled the new Trilateral Commission and such theorists as Samuel Huntington to contemplate the inherent ungovernability of democracy and the necessity of beginning a transition towards forms that would prove more durable under conditions of aggravated econmomic breakdown. Ultimately, much to the disappointment of George Bush, whose timetable of boundless personal ambition and greed for power had once again surged ahead of what his peers of the ruling elite were prepared to accept, the perspectives for a more overtly dictatorial form of regime came to be embodied in the figure of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. Skeptics will point to the humiliating announcement, made by President Ford within the context of his 1975 “Halloween massacre” reshuffle of key posts, that Rockefeller would not be considered for the 1976 vice presidential nomination. But Rockefeller, thanks to the efforts of Sarah Jane Moore and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, each of whom attempted to assassinate Ford, had already come very close to the Oval Office on two separate occasions.
Ford himself was reputedly one of the most exalted Freemasons ever to occupy the presidency. Preponderant power during the last years of Nixon and during the Ford years was in any case exercised by Henry Kissinger, the de facto president, about whose pedigree and strategy something has been said above. The preserving of constitutional form and ritual as a hollow facade behind which to realize practices more and more dictatorial in their substance was a typical pragmatic adaptation made possible by the ability of the financiers to engineer the slow and gradual decline of the economy, avoiding upheavals of popular protest.
But in retrospect there can be no doubt that Watergate was a coup d’etat, a creeping and muffled cold coup in the institutions which has extended its consequences over almost two decades. The roots of the administrative fascism of the Reagan and Bush years are to be found in the institutional tremors and changed power relations set off by the banal farce of the Watergate break-in.
In the view of the dominant school of pro-regime journalism, the essence of the Watergate scandal lies in the illegal espionage and surveillance activity of the White House covert operations team, the so-called Plumbers, who are alleged to have been caught during an attempt to buglarize the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office building near the Potomac. The supposed goal of the break-in was to filch information and documents while planting bugs. According to the official legend of the Washington Post and Hollywood, Nixon and his retainers responded to the arrest of the buglars by compounding their original crime with obstruction of justice and all of the abuses of a coverup. Then the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, dedicated partizans of the truth, blew the story open with the help of Woodward’s mysterious source Deep Throat, setting into motion the investigation of the Senate committee under Sam Ervin, leading to impeachment proceedings by Rep. Peter Rodino’s House Judiciary Committee which ultimately forced Nixon to resign.
The received interpretation of the salient facts of the Watergate episode is a fantastic and grotesque distortion of historical truth. Even the kind of cursory examination of the facts in Watergate which we can permit ourselves within the context of a biography of Watergate figure George Bush will reveal that the actions which caused the fall of Nixon cannot be reduced to the simplistic account just summarized. There is, for example, the question of the infiltration of the White House staff and of the Plumbers themselves by members and assets of the intelligence community whose loyalty was not to Nixon, but to the Anglo-American financier elite. This includes the presence among the Plumbers of numerous assets of the Central Intelligence Agency, and specifically of the CIA bureaus traditionally linked to George Bush, such as the Office of Security- Security Research Staff and the Miami Station with its pool of Cuban operatives.
The Plumbers were created at the demand of Henry Kissinger, who told Nixon that something had to be done to stop leaks in the wake of the “Pentagon Papers” affair of 1971. But if the Plumbers were called into existence by Kissinger, they were funded through a mechanism set up by Kissinger clone George Bush. A salient fact about the White House Special Investigations Unit (or Plumbers) of 1971-72 is that the money used to finance it was provided by George Bush’s business partner and lifelong intimate friend, Bill Liedtke, the president of Pennzoil. Bill Liedtke was a regional finance chairman for the Nixon campaigns of 1968 and 1972, and he was one of the most successful, reportedly exceeding his quota by the largest margin among all his fellow regional chairmen. Liedtke says that he accepted this post as a personal favor to George Bush. In 1972, Bill Liedtke raised $700,000 in anonymous contributions, including what appears to have been a single contribution of $100,000 that was laundered through a bank account in Mexico. According to Harry Hurt, part of this money came from Bush’s bosom crony Robert Mosbacher, now Secretary of Commerce. According to one account, “two days before a new law was scheduled to begin making anonymous donations illegal, the $700,000 in cash, checks, and securities was loaded into a briefcase at Pennzoil headquarters and picked up by a company vice president, who boarded a Washington- bound Pennzoil jet and delivered the funds to the Committee to Re- elect the President at ten o’clock that night.” [fn 14]
These Mexican checks were turned over first to Maurice Stans of the CREEP, who transferred them in turn to Watergate burglar Gordon Liddy. Liddy passed them on to Bernard Barker, one of the Miami station Cubans arrested on the night of the final Watergate break- in. Barker was actually carrying some of the cash left over from these checks when he was apprehended. When Barker was arrested, his bank records were subpoenaed by the Dade County, Florida district attorney, Richard E. Gerstein, and were obtained by Gerstein’s chief investigator, Martin Dardis. As Dardis told Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, about $100,000 in four cashier’s checks had been issued in Mexico City by Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre, a prominent lawyer who handled Stans’ money-laundering operation there. [fn 15] Liedtke eventually appeared before three grand juries investigating the different aspects of the Watergate affair, but neither he nor Pennzoil was ever brought to trial for the CREEP contributions. But it is a matter of more than passing interest that the money for the Plumbers came from one of Bush’s intimates and at the request of Bush, a member of the Nixon Cabinet from February, 1971 on. How much did Bush himself know about the activities of the Plumbers, and when did he know it?
The U.S. House of Representatives Banking and Currency Committee, chaired by Texas Democrat Wright Patman, soon began a vigorous investigation of the money financing the break-in, large amounts of which were found as cash in the pockets of the burglars. Chairman Patman opened the following explosive leads: Patman confirmed that the largest amount of the funds going into Miami bank account of Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, a CIA operative since the Bay of Pigs invasion, was the $100,000 sent in by Texas CREEP chairman William Liedtke, longtime business partner of George Bush. The money was sent from Houston down to Mexico, where it was “laundered” to eliminate its accounting trail. It then came back to Barker’s account as four checks totalling $89,000 and $11,000 in cash. A smaller amount,an anonymous $25,000 contribution, was sent in by Minnesota CREEP officer Kenneth Dahlberg in the form of a cashier’s check.
Patman relentlessly pursued the true sources of this money, as the best route to the truth about who ran the break-in, and for what purpose. CREEP national chairman Maurice Stans later described the situation just after the burglars were arrested, made dangerous by “…Congressman Wright Patman and several of his political hatchet men working on the staff of the House Banking and Currency Committee. Without specific authorization by his committee, Patman announced that he was going to investigate the Watergate matter, using as his entry the banking transactions of the Dahlberg and Mexican checks. In the guise of covering that ground, he obviously intended to roam widely, and he almost did, but his own committee, despite its Democratic majority, eventually stopped him.” [fn 16]
These are the facts that Patman had established–before “his own committee…stopped him.”
The anonymous Minnesota $25,000 had in fact been provided to Dahlberg by Dwayne Andreas, chief executive of the Archer-Daniels- Midland grain trading company.
The Texas $100,000, sent by Liedtke, in fact came from Robert H. Allen, a mysterious nuclear weapons materials executive. Allen was chairman of Gulf Resources and Chemical Corporation in Houston. His company controlled half the world’s supply of lithium, an essential component of hydrogen bombs.
On April 3, 1972 (75 days before the Watergate arrests), $100,000 was transferred by telephone from a bank account of Gulf Resources and Chemical Corp. into a Mexico City account of an officially defunct subsidiary of Gulf Resources. Gulf Resources’ Mexican lawyer Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre withdrew it and sent back to Houston the package of four checks and cash, which Liedtke forwarded for the CIA burglars. [fn 17]
Robert H. Allen was Texas CREEP’s chief financial officer, while Bush partner William Liedtke was overall chairman. But what did Allen represent? In keeping with its strategic nuclear holdings, Allen’s Gulf Resources was a kind of committee of the main components of the London-New York oligarchy. Formed in the late 1960’s, Gulf Resources had taken over the New York-based Lithium Corporation of America. The president of this subsidiary was Gulf Resources executive vice president Harry D. Feltenstein, Jr. John Roger Menke, a director of both Gulf Resources and Lithium Corp., was also a consultant and director of the United Nuclear Corporation, and a diretor of the Hebrew Technical Institute. The ethnic background of the Lithium subsidiary is of interest due to Israel’s known preoccupation with developing a nuclear weapons arsenal. Another Gulf Resources and Lithium Corp. director was Minnesotan Samuel H. Rogers, who was also a director of Dwayne Andreas’s Archer-Daniels-Midland Corp. Andreas was a large financial backer of the “Zionist Lobby” through the Anti-Defamation League of B’Nai B’Rith.
Gulf Resources chairman Robert H. Allen received the “Torch of Liberty” award of the Anti-Defamation League in 1982. Allen was a white Anglo-Saxon conservative. No credible reason for this award was supplied to the press, and the ADL stated their satisfaction that Mr. Allen’s financing of the Watergate break-in was simply a mistake, now in the distant past.
From the beginning of Gulf Resources, there was always a representative on its board of New York’s Bear Stearns firm, whose partner Jerome Kohlberg, Jr., pioneered leveraged buyouts and merged with Bush’s Henry Kravis. The most prestigious board member of Allen’s Gulf Resources was George A. Butler, otherwise the chairman of Houston’s Post Oak Bank. Butler represented the ultra-secretive W. S. (“Auschwitz”) Farish III, confidant of George Bush and U.S. host of Queen Elizabeth. Farish was the founder and controlling owner of Butler’s Post Oak Bank, and was chairman of the bank’s executive committee as of 1988. [fn 18]
A decade after Watergate, it was revealed that the Hunt family had controlled about 15 per cent of Gulf Resources shares. This Texas oil family hired George Bush in 1977 to be the executive committee chairman of their family enterprise, the First International Bank in Houston. In the 1980s, Ray Hunt secured a massive oil contract with the ruler of North Yemen under the sponsorship of then-Vice President Bush. Ray Hunt continues in the 1991-92 presidential campaign as George Bush’s biggest Texas financial angel.
Here, in this one powerful Houston corporation, we see early indications of the alliance of George Bush with the “Zionist lobby”–an alliance which for political reasons the Bush camp wishes to keep covert. These, then, are the Anglo-American moguls whose money paid for the burglary of the Watergate Hotel. It was their money that Richard Nixon was talking about on the famous “smoking gun” tape which lost him the Presidency. (In 1983, British investor Alan Clore moved in for a hostile takeover of Gulf Resources and Chemical Corp. Senator John Tower, Republican from Texas, argued that the government should stop the takeover on grounds of “national security”, since the company controlled the materials for the world’s nuclear weapons. Certainly, the management of such an enterprise is closely supervised by the U.S. intelligence community. It is then obvious why a Congressional probe that led through Liedtke and Bush to the secret services had to be sabotaged.)
On Oct. 3, 1972, the House Banking and Currency Committee voted 20-15 against continuing chairman Wright Patman’s investigation. The vote prevented the issuance of 23 subpoenas for CREEP officials to come testify to Congress. The margin of protection to the moguls was provided by six Democratic members of the Committee who voted with the Republicans against chairman Patman. As CREEP chairman Maurice Stans put it, “There were…indirect approaches to Democratic [committee] members. An all-out campaign was conducted to see that the investigation was killed off, as it successfully was.” Certain elements of this infamous “campaign” are known. Banking Committee member Frank Brasco, a lieral Democratic Congressman from New York, voted to stop the probe. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller had arranged a meeting between Brasco and U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell. Brasco was a target of a Justice Department investigation for alleged fraud and bribery since 1970, and Mitchell successfully warned Brasco not to back Patman. Later, in 1974, Brasco was convicted of bribery.
Before Watergate, both John Mitchell and Henry Kissinger had FBI reports implicating California Congressman Richard Hanna in the receipt of illegal campaign contributions from the Korean Central Intelligence Agency. Hanna surprised Patman by voting against the investigation. Hanna was later (1978) convicted for his role in the Koreagate scandal in 1978. The secretary of Congressman William Chappell complained in 1969 that the Florida Democrat had forced her to kick back some of her salary. The Justice Department, holding this information, had declined to prosecute. Chappell, a member of the Banking Committee, voted to stop Patman’s investigation. Kentucky Democratic Congressman William Curlin, Jr., revealed in 1973 that “certain members of the committee were reminded of various past political indiscretions, or of relatives who might suffer as a result of [a] pro-subpoena vote.” The Justice Department worked overtime to smear Patman, including an attempt to link him to “Communist agents” in Greece. [fn 19]
The day before the Committee vote, the Justice Department released a letter to Patman claiming that any Congressional investigation would compromise the rights of the accused Watergate burglars before their trial.
House Republican leader Gerald Ford led the attack on Patman from within the Congress. Though he later stated his regrets for this vicious campaign, his eventual reward was the U.S. Presidency.
Cancelling the Patman probe meant that there would be no investigation of Watergate before the 1972 Presidential election. The Washington Post virtually ended reference to the Watergate affair, and spoke of Nixon’s opponent, George McGovern, as unqualified for the Presidency. The Republican Party was handed another four year Administration. Bush, Kissinger, Rockefeller and Ford were the gainers. But then Richard Nixon became the focus of all Establishment attacks for Watergate, while the money trail that Patman had pursued was forgotten. Wright Patman was forced out of his Committee chairmanship in 1974. On the day Nixon resigned the Presidency, Patman wrote to Peter Rodino, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asking him not to stop investigating Watergate. Though Patman died in 1976, his advice still holds good. ***
As the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told the journalist Andrew Tully in the days before June, 1972, “By God, he’s [Nixon’s] got some former CIA men working for him that I’d kick out of my office. Someday, that bunch will serve him up a fine mess.” [fn 20] The CIA men in question were among the Plumbers, a unit allegedly created in the first place to stanch the flow of leaks, including the Jack Anderson material about such episodes as the December, 1971 brush with nuclear war discussed above. Leading Plumbers included retired high officials of the CIA. Plumber and Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt had been a GS-15 CIA staff officer; he had played a role in the 1954 toppling of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, and later had been one of the planners in the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. After the failure of the Bay of Pigs, Hunt is thought to have been a part of the continuing CIA attempts to assassinate Castro, code-named Operation Mongoose, ongoing at the time of the Kennedy assassination. All of this puts him in the thick of the CIA Miami station. One of Hunt’s close personal friends was Howard Osborne, an official of the CIA Office of Security who was the immediate superior of James McCord. In the spring of 1971 Hunt went to Miami to recruit from among the Cubans the contingent of Watergate burglars, including Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, and the rest. This was two months before the publication of the Pentagon Papers, leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, provided Kissinger with the pretext he needed to get Nixon to initiate what would shortly become the Plumbers.
Another leading Watergate burglar was James McCord, a former top official of the CIA Office of Security, the agency bureau which is supposed to maintain contacts with US police agencies in order to facilitate its basic task of providing security for CIA installations and personnel. The Office of Security was thus heavily implicated in the CIA’s illegal domestic operations, including cointelpro operations against political dissidents and groups, and was the vehicle for such mind-control experiments as Operations Bluebird, Artichoke, and MK-Ultra. The Office of Security also utilized male and female prostitutes and other sex operatives for purposes of compromising and blackmailing public figures, information gathering, and control. According to Hougan, the Office of Security maintained a “fag file” of some 300,000 US citizens, with heavy stress on homosexuals. The Office of Security also had responsibility for Soviet and other defectors. James McCord was at one time responsible for the physical security of all CIA premises in the US. McCord was also a close friend of CIA Counterintelligence Director James Jesus Angleton. McCord was anxious to cover the CIA’s role; at one point he wrote to his superior, General Gaynor, urging him to “flood the newspapers with leaks or anonymous letters” to discredit those who wanted to establish the responsibility of “the company.” [fn 21] But according to one of McCord’s own police contacts, Garey Bittenbender of the Washington DC police Intelligence Division, who recognized him after his arrest, McCord had averred to him that the Watergate break-ins had been “a CIA operation,” an account which McCord heatedly denied later. [fn 22]
The third leader of the Watergate burglars, G. Gordon Liddy, had worked for the FBI and the Treasury. Liddy’s autobiography, Will, published in 1980, and various statements show that Liddy’s world outlook had a number of similarities with that of George Bush: he was, for example, obsessed with the maintenance and transmission of his “family gene pool.”
Another key member of the Plumbers unit was John Paisley, who functioned as the official CIA liason to the White House investigative unit. It was Paisley who assumed responsibility for the overall “leak analysis,” that is to say, for defining the problem of unauthorized divulging of classified materal which the Plumbers were supposed to combat. Paisley, along with Howard Osborne of the Office of Security, met with the Plumbers, led by Kissinger operative David Young, at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia on August 9, 1971. Paisley’s important place on the Plumbers’ roster is most revealing, since Paisley was later to become an important appointee of CIA Director George Bush. In the middle of 1976, Bush decided to authorize a group of experts, ostensibly from outside of the CIA, to produce an analysis which would be compared with the CIA’s own National Intelligence Estimates on Soviet capabilities and intentions. The panel of outside experts was given the designation of “Team B.” Bush chose Paisley to be the CIA’s “coordinator” of the three subdivisions of Team B. Paisley would later disappear while sailing on Chesapeake Bay in September of 1978.
In a White House memorandum by David Young summarizing the August 9, 1971 meeting between the Plumbers and the official CIA leaders, we find that Young “met with Howard Osborn and a Mr. Paisley to review what it was that we wanted CIA to do in connection with their files on leaks from January, 1969 to the present.” There then follows a fourteen-point list of leaks and their classification, including the frequency of leaks associated with certain jourmalists, the gravity of the leaks, the frequency of the leaks, and so forth. A data base was called for, and “it was decided that Mr. Paisley would get this done by next Monday, August 16, 1971.” On areas where more clarification was needed, the memo noted, “the above questions should be reviewed with Paisley within the next two days.” [fn 23]
The lesser Watergate burglars came from the ranks of the CIA Miami Station Cubans: Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez, Felipe de Diego, Frank Surgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, and Reinaldo Pico. Once they had started working for Hunt, Martinez asked the Miami Station Chief, Jake Esterline, if he was familiar with the activities now being carried out under White House cover. Esterline in turn asked Langley for its opinion of Hunt’s White House position. A reply was written by Cord Meyer, later openly profiled as a Bush admirer, to Deputy Director for Plans (that is to say, covert operations) Thomas Karamessines. The import of Meyer’s directions to Esterline was that the latter should “not …concern himself with the travels of Hunt in Miami, that Hunt was on domestic White House business of an unknown nature and that the Chief of Station should ‘cool it.'” [fn 24]
During the spring of 1973, George Bush was no longer simply a long-standing member of the Nixon Cabinet. He was also, de facto, a White House official, operating out of the same Old Executive Office Building (or old State-War-Navy) which is adjacent to the Executive Mansion and forms part of the same security compound. As we read, for example, in the Jack Anderson “Washington Merry-Go- Round” column for March 10, 1973, in the Washington Post: “Washington Whirl- Bush’s Office–Republican National Chairman George Bush, as befitting the head of a party whose coffers are overflowing, has been provided with a plush office in the new Eisenhower Building here. He spends much of his time, however, in a government office next to the White House. When we asked how a party official rated a government office, a GOP spokesman explained that the office wasn’t assigned to him but was merely a visitor’s office. The spokesman admitted, however, that Bush spends a lot of time there.” This means that Bush’s principal office was in the building where Nixon most liked to work; Nixon had what was called his “hideaway” office in the OEOB. How often did George drop in on Dick, or Dick on George, or how often did they just meet in the hall?
As to the state of George’s relations with Nixon at this time, we have the testimony of a “Yankee Republican” who had known and liked father Prescott, as cited by journalist Al Reinert: “I can’t think of a man I’ve ever known for whom I have greater respect than Pres Bush…I’ve always been kind of sorry his son turned out to be such a jerk. George has been kissing Nixon’s ass ever since he came up here.” [fn 25] Reinert comments that “when Nixon became president, Bush became a teacher’s pet,” “a presidential favorite, described in the press as one of ‘Nixon’s men.'”
On the surface George was an ingratiating sycophant. But he dissembled. The Nixon White House would seem to have included at least one highly placed official who betrayed his president to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, making it possible for that newspaper to repeatedly outflank Nixon’s attempts at stonewalling. This was the celebrated, and still anonymous source Woodward called “Deep Throat.”
Al Haig has often been accused of having been the figure of the Nixon White House who provided Woodward and Bernstein with their leads. If there is any consensus about the true identity of Deep Throat, it would appear to be that Al Haig is the prime suspect. However, there is no conclusive evidence about the true identity of the person or persons called Deep Throat, assuming that such a phenomenon ever existed. As soon as Haig is named, we must become suspicious: the propaganda of the Bush networks has never been kind to Haig. Haig and Bush, as leading clones of Henry Kissinger, were locked on a number of occasions into a kind of sibling rivalry, a rivalry which became especially acute during the first months of the Reagan Administration.
One of the major sub-plots of Watergate, and one that will eventually lead us back to the documented public record of George Bush, is the relation of the various activities of the Plumbers to the wiretapping of a group of prostitutes whio operated out of a brothel in the Columbia Plaza Apartments, located in the immediate vicinity of the Watergate buildings. [fn 26] Among the customers of the prostitutes there appear to have been a US Senator, an astronaut, A Saudi prince (the Embassy of Saudi Arabia is nearby), US and South Korean intelligence officials, and above all numerous Democratic Party leaders whose presence can be partially explained by the propinquity of the Democratic National Committe offices in the Watergate. The Columbia Plaza Apartments brothel was under intense CIA surveillance by the Office of Security/Security Research Staff through one of their assets, an aging private detective out of the pages of Damon Runyon who went by the name of Louis James Russell. Russell was, according to Hougan, especially interested in bugging a hot line phone that linked the DNC with the nearby brothel. During the Watergate break-ins, James McCord’s recruit to the Plumbers, Alfred C. Baldwin, would appear to have been bugging the telephones of the Columbia Plaza brothel.
Lou Russell, in the period between June 20 and July 2, 1973, was working for a detective agency that was helping George Bush prepare for an upcoming press conference. In this sense, Russell was working for Bush.
Russell is relevant because he seems (although he denied it) to have been the fabled sixth man of the Watergate break-in, the burglar who got away. He may also have been the buglar who tipped off the police, if indeed anyone did. Russell was a harlequin who had been the servant of many masters. Lou Russell had once been the chief investigator for the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He had worked for the FBI. He had been a stringer for Jack Anderson, the columnist. In December, 1971 he had been an employee of General Security Services, the company that provided the guards who protected the Watergate buildings. In March of 1972 Russell had gone to work for James McCord and McCord Associates, whose client was the CREEP. Later, after the scandal had broken, Russell worked for McCord’s new and more successful firm, Security Associates. Russell had also worked directly for the CREEP as a night watchman. Russell had also worked for John Leon of Allied Investigators, Inc., a company that later went to work for George Bush and the Republican National Committee. Still later, Russell found a job with the headquarters of the McGovern for President campaign. Russell’s lawyer was Bud Fensterwald, and sometimes Russell performed investigative services for Fensterwald and for Fensterwald’s Committee to Investigate Assassinations. In September, 1972, well after the scandal had become notorious, Russell seems to have joined with one Nick Beltrante in carrying out electronic countermeasures sweeps of the DNC headquarters, and during one of these he appears to have planted an electronic eavesdropping device in the phone of DNC worker Spencer Oliver which, when it was discovered, re-focussed public attention on the Watergate scandal at the end of the summer of 1972.
Russell was well acquainted with Carmine Bellino, the chief investigator on the staff of Sam Ervin’s Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Practices. Bellino was a Kennedy operative who had superintended the seamy side of the JFK White House, including such figures as Judith Exner, the president’s alleged paramour. Later, Bellino would become the target of George Bush’s most revealing public action during the Watergate period. Bellino’s friend William Birely later provided Russell with an apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland, (thus allowing him to leave his room in a rooming house on Q Street in the District), a new car, and sums of money.
Russell had been a heavy drinker, and his social circle was that of the prostitutes, whom he sometimes patronized and sometimes served as a bouncer and goon. His familiarity with the brothel milieu faciliatated his service for the Office of Security, which was to oversee the bugging and other surveillance of Columbia Plaza and other locations.
Lou Russell was incontestably one of the most fascinating figures of Watergate. How remarkable, then, that the indefatigable ferrets Woodward and Bernstein devoted so little attention to him, deeming him worthy of mention in neither of their two books. Woodward and met with Russell, but had ostensibly decided that there was “nothing to the story. Woodward claims to have seen nothing in Russell beyond the obvious “old drunk.” [fn 27]
The FBI had questioned Russell after the DNC break-ins, probing his whereabouts on June 16-17 with the suspicion that he had indeed been one of the burglars. But this questioning led to nothing. Instead, Russell was contacted by Carmine Bellino, and later by Bellino’s broker Birely, who set Russell up in the new apartment (or safe house) already mentioned, where one of the Columbia Plaza prostitutes moved in with him.
By 1973, minority Republican staffers at the Ervin committee began to realize the importance of Russell to a revisionist account of the scandal that might exonerate Nixon to some extent by shifting the burden of guilt elsewhere. On May 9, 1973, the Ervin committe accordingly subpoenaed Russell’s telephone, job, and bank records. Two days later Russell replied to the committee that he had no job records or diaries, had no bank account, made long-distance calls only to his daughter, and could do nothing for the committee.
On May 16-17, 1973, Deep Throat warned Woodward that “everybody’s life is in danger.” On May 18, while the staff of the Ervin committee were pondering their next move vis-avis Russell, Russell suffered a massive heart attack. This was the same day that McCord, advised by his lawyer and Russell’s, Fensterwald, began his public testimony to the Ervin committee on the coverup. Russell was taken to Washington Adventist Hospital, where he recovered to some degree and convalesced until June 20. Russell was convinced that he had been the victim of an attempted assassination. He told his daughter after leaving the hospital that he believed that he had been poisoned, that someone had entered his apartment (the Bellino-Birely safe house in Silver Spring) and “switched pills on me.” [fn 28]
Leaving the hospital on June 20, Russell was still very weak and pale. But now, although he remained on the payroll of James McCord, he also accepted a retainer from his friend John Leon, who had been engaged by the Republicans to carry out a counterinvestigation of the Watergate affair. Leon was in contact with Jerris Leonard, a lawyer associated with Nixon, the GOP, the Republican National Committee, and with Chairman George Bush. Leonard was a former assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Nixon administration. Leonard had stepped down as head of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) on March 17, 1973. In June, 1973 Leonard was special counsel to George Bush personally, hired by Bush and not by the RNC. Leonard says today that his job consisted in helping to keep the Republican Party separate from Watergate, deflecting Watergate from the party “so it would not be a party thing.” [fn 29] As Hougan tells it, “Leon was convinced that Watergate was a set-up, that prostitution was at the heart of the affair, and that the Watergate arrests had taken place following a tip-off to the police; in other words, the June 17 buglary had been sabotaged from within, Leon believed, and he intended to prove it.” [fn 30] “Integral to Leon’s theory of the affair was Russell’s relationship to the Ervin committee’s chief investigator, Carmine Bellino, and the circumstances surrounding Russell’s relocation to Silver Spring in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate arrests. In an investigative memorandum submitted to GOP lawyer Jerris Leonard, Leon described what he hoped to prove: that Russell, reporting to Bellino, had been a spy for the Democrats within the CRP, and that Russell had tipped off Bellino (and the police) to the June 17 break-in. The man who knew most about this was, of course, Leon’s new employee, Lou Russell.”
Is it possible that Jerris Leonard communicated the contents of Leon’s memorandum to the RNC and to its Chairman George Bush during the days after he received it? It is possible. But for Russell, the game was over: on July 2, 1973, barely two weeks after his release from the hospital, Russell suffered a second heart attack, which killed him. He was buried with quite suspicious haste the following day. The potential witness with perhaps the largest number of personal ties to Watergate protagonists, and the witness who might have re-directed the scandal, not just towards Bellino, but toward the prime movers behind and above McCord and Hunt and Paisley, had perished in a way that recalls the fate of so many knowledgeable Iran-contra figures.
With Russell silenced forever, Leon appears to have turned his attention to targetting Bellino, perhaps with a view to forcing him to submit to depositioning or other questioning in which questions about his relationship to Russell might be asked. Leon, who had been convicted in 1964 of wiretapping in a case involving El Paso Gas Co. and Tennesse Gas Co., had weapons in his own possession that could be used against Bellino. During the time that Russell was still in the hospital, on June 8, Leon had signed an affidavit for Jerris Leonard in which he stated that he had been hired by Democratic operative Bellino during the 1960 presidential campaign to “infiltrate the operations” of Albert B. “Ab” Hermann, a staff member of the Republican National Committee. Leon asserted in the affidavit that although he had not been able to infiltrate Hermann’s office, he observed the office with field glasses and employed “an electronic device known as ‘the big ear’ aimed at Mr. Hermann’s window.” Leon recounted that he had been assisted by former CIA officer John Frank, Oliver W. Angelone and former Congressional investigator Ed Jones in the anti-Nixon 1960 operations.
Leon collected other sworn statements that all went in the same direction, portraying Bellino as a Democratic dirty tricks operative unleashed by the Kennedy faction against Nixon. Joseph Shimon, who had been an inspector for the Washington Police Department told of how he had been approached by Kenndy operative Oliver W. Angelone, who alleged that he was working for Bellino, with a request to help Angelone gain access to the two top floors of the Wardman Park Hotel (now the Sheraton Park) just before they were occupied by Nixon on the even of the Nixon-Kennedy television debate. Edward Murray Jones, then living in the Philippines, said in his affidavit that he had been assigned by Bellino to tail individuals at Washington National Airport and in downtown Washington. [fn 31] According to Hougan, “these sensational allegations were provided by Leon to Republican attorneys on July 10, 1973, exactly a week after Russell’s funeral. Immediately, attorney Jerris Leonard conferred with RNC Chairman George Bush. It appeared to both men that a way had been found to place the Watergate affair in a new perspective, and, perhaps, to turn the tide. A statement was prepared and a press conference scheduled at which Leon was to be the star witness, or speaker. Before the press conference could be held, however, Leon suffered a heart attack on July 13, 1973, and died the same day.” [fn 32 ]
Two important witnesses, each of whom represented a threat to reopen the most basic questions of Watergate, dead in little more than a week! Bush is likely to have known of the import of Russell’s testimony, and he is proven to have known of the content of Leon’s. Jerris Leonard later told Hougan that the death of John Leon “came as a complete shock. It was…well, to be honest with you, it was frightening. It was only a week after Russell’s death, or something like that, and it happened on the very eve of the press conference. We didn’t know what was going on. We were scared.” [fn 33] Hougan comments: “With the principal witness against Bellino no longer available, and with Russell dead as well, Nixon’s last hope of diverting attention from Watergate–slim from the beginning–was laid to rest forever.”
But George Bush went ahead with the press conference that had been announced, even if John Leon, the principal speaker, was now dead. According to Nixon, Bush had been “privately pleading for some action that would get us off the defensive” since back in the springtime. [fn 34] On July 24, 1973, Bush made public the affidavits by Leon, Jones, and Shimon which charged that the Ervin committee chief investigator Carmine Bellino had recruited spies to help defeat Nixon back in 1960. “I cannot and do not vouch for the veracity of the statements contained in the affidavits,” said Bush, “but I do believe that this matter is serious enough to concern the Senate Watergate committee, and particularly since its chief investigator is the subject of the charges contained in the affidavits. If these charges are true, a taint would most certainly be attached to some of the committee’s work.” Bush’s statement to the press prediscounted Democratic charges that his revelations were part of a Nixon Administration counter-offensive to deflect Watergate.
Bush specified that on the basis of the Shimon and Leon affidavits, he was “confident” that Jones and Angelone “had bugged the Nixon space or tapped his phones prior to the television debate.” He conceded that “there was corruption” in the ranks of the GOP. “But now I have presented some serious allegations that if true could well have affected the outcome of the 1960 presidential race. The Nixon- Kennedy election was a real cliff-hanger, and the debates bore heavily on the outcome of the people’s decision.” Bush rejected any charge that he was releasing the affidavits in a bid to “justify Watergate.” He asserted that he was acting in the interest of “fair play.”
Bush said that he had taken the affidavits to Sen. Sam Ervin, the chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee, and to GOP Sen. Howard Baker, that committee’s ranking Republican, but that the committee had failed to act so far. “I haven’t seen much action on it,” Bush added. When the accuracy of the affidavits was challenged, Bush replied, “We’ve hear a lot more hearsay bandied about the [Watergate] committee than is presented here. I’d like to know how serious it is. I’d like to see it looked into,” said Bush. He called on Sam Ervin and his committee to probe all the charges forthwith. Bush was “convinced that there is in fact substance to the allegations.”
In 1991, the Bush damage control line is that events relating to the 1980 “October surprise” deal of the Reagan-Bush campaign with the Iranian Khomeini mullahs of Iran to block the freeing of the US hostages are so remote in the past that nobody is interested in them any more. But in 1973, Bush thought that events of 1960 were highly relevant to Watergate.
Bellino labelled Bush’s charges “absolutely false.” “I categorically and unequivocally deny that I have ever ordered, requested, directed, or participated in any electronic surveillance whatsoever in connection with any political campaign,” said Bellino. “By attacking me on the basis of such false and malicious lies, Mr. Bush has attempted to distract me from carrying out what I consider one of the most important assignments of my life. I shall continue to exert all my efforts to ascertain the facts and the truth pertinent to this investigation.”
Here Bush was operating on several levels of reality at once. The implications of the Russell-Leon interstices would be suspected only in retrospect. What appeared on the surface was a loyal Republican mounting a diversionary attack in succor of his embattled president. At deeper levels, the reality might be the reverse, the stiffing of Nixon in order to defend the forces behind the break-in and the scandal.
Back in April, as the Ervin committee was preparing to go into action against the White House, Bush had participated in the argument about whether the committee sessions should be televised or not. Bush discussed this issue with Senators Baker and Brock, both Republicans who wanted the hearings to be televised- in Baker’s case, so that he could be on television himself as the ranking Republican on the panel. Ehrlichmann, to whom Bush reported in the White House, mindful of the obvious potential damage to the administration, wanted the hearings not televised, not even public, but in executive session with a sanitized transcript handed out later. So Bush, having no firm convictions of his own, but always looking for his own advantage, told Ehrlichman he sympathized with both sides of the argument, and was “sitting happily on the middle of the fence with a picket sticking up my you know what. I’ll see you.” [fn 35] But Nixon’s damage control interest had been sacrificed by Bush’s vacillating advocacy, and the devastating testimony of figures like Dean and McCord would have its maximum impact.
Bush had talked in public about the Ervin committee during a visit to Seattle on June 29 in response to speculation that Nixon might be called to testify. Bush argued that the presidency would be diminished if Nixon were to appear. Bush was adamant that Nixon could not be subpoenaed and that he should not testify voluntarily. Shortly thereafter Bush had demanded that the Ervin committee wrap up its proceedings to “end the speculation” about Nixon’s role in the coverup. “Let’s get all the facts out, let’s get the whole thing over with, get all the people up there before the Watergate committee. I don’t believe John Dean’s testimony.” [fn 36]
Senator Sam Ervin placed Bush’s intervention against Carmine Bellino in the context of other diversionary efforts launched by the RNC. Ervin, along with Democratic Senators Talmadge and Inouye were targetted by a campaign inspired by Bush’s RNC which alleged that they had tried to prevent a full probe of LBJ intimate Bobby Baker back in 1963. Later, speaking on the Senate floor on October 9, 1973, Ervin commented: One can but admire the zeal exhibited by the Republican National Committee and its journalistic allies in their desperate effort to invent a red herring to drag across the trail which leads to the truth concerning Watergate.” [fn 37]
But Ervin saw Bush’s Bellino material as a more serious assault. “Bush’s charge distressed me very much for two reasons. First, I deemed it unjust to Bellino, who denied it and whom I had known for many years to be an honorable man and a faithful public servant; and, second, it was out of character with the high opinion I entertained of Bush. Copies of the affidavits had been privately submitted to me before the news conference, and I had expressed my opinion that there was not a scintilla of competent or credible evidence in them to sustain the charges against Bellino.” [fn 38]
Sam Dash, the chief counsel to the Ervin committee, had a darker and more detailed view of Bush’s actions. Dash later recounted: “In the midst of the pressure to complete a shortened witness list by the beginning of August, a nasty incident occurred that was clearly meant to sidetrack the committee and destroy or immobilize one of my most valuable staff assistants–Carmine Bellino, my chief investigator. On July 24, 1973, the day after the committee subpoena for the White House tapes was served on the President, the Republican national chairman, George Bush, called a press conference….” “Three days later, as if carefully orchestrated, twenty-two Republican senators signed a letter to Senator Ervin, urging the Senate Watergate Committee to investigate Bush’s charges and calling for Bellino’s suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. Ervin was forced into a corner, and on August 3 he appointed a subcommittee consisting of Senators Talmadge, Inouye, and Gurney to investigate the charges. The White House knew that Carmine Bellino, a wizard at reconstructing the receipts and expenditures of funds despite laundering techniques and the destruction of records, was hot on the trail of Herbert Kalmbach and Bebe Rebozo. Bellino’s diligent, meticulous work would ultimately disclose Kalmbach’s funding scheme for the White House’s dirty tricks camapaign and unravel a substantial segment of Rebozo’s secret cash transactions on behalf of Nixon.” [fn 39] Dash writes that Bellino was devastated by Bush’s attacks, “rendered emotionally unable to work because of the charges.” The mechanism targetted by Bellino is of course relevant to Bill Liedtke’s funding of the CREEP described above. Perhaps Bush was in fact seeking to shut down Bellino solely to defend only himself and his confederates.
Members of Dash’s staff soon realized that there had been another participant in the process of assembling the material that Bush had presented. According to Dash, “the charges became even murkier when our staff discovered that the person who had put them together was a man named Jack Buckley. In their dirty tricks investigation of the 1972 presidential campaign, Terry Lenzner and his staff had identified Buckley as the Republican spy, known as Fat Jack, who had intercepted and photographed Muskie’s mail between his campaign and Senate offices as part of Ruby I (a project code named in Liddy’s Gemstone political espionage plan).” It would appear that Fat Jack Buckley was now working for George Bush. Ervin then found that Senators Gurney and Baker, both Republicans, might be willing to listen to additional charges made by Buckley against Bellino. Dash says he “smelled the ugly odor of blackmail on the part of somebody and I did not like it.” Later Senators Talmadge and Inouye filed a report completely exonerating Bellino, while Gurney conceded that there was no direct evidence against Bellino, but that there was some conflicting testimony that ought to be noted. Dash sums up that in late November, 1973, “the matter ended with little fanfare and almost no newspaper comment. The reputation of a public official with many years’ service as a dedicated and incorruptible investigator had been deeply wounded and tarnished, and Bellino would retire from federal service believing-rightly-that he had not been given the fullest opportunity he deserved to clear his good name.”
Another Bush concern during the summer of 1973 was his desire to liquidate the CREEP, not out of moralistic motives, but because of his desire to seize the CREEP’s $4 millon plus cash surplus. During the middle of 1973, some of this money had already been used to pay the legal fees of Watergate conspirators, as in the case of Maurice Stans. [fn 40]
During August, Bush went into an offensive of sanctimonious moralizing. Bush appears to have concluded that Nixon was doomed, and that it was imperative to distance himself and his operation from Nixon’s impending downfall. On the NBC Today Show, Bush objected to John D. Ehrlichman’s defense before the Ervin committee of the campaign practice of probing the sex and drinking habits of political opponents. “Crawling around in the gutter to find some weakness of a man, I don’t think we need that,” said Bush. “I think opponent research is valid. I think if an opponent is thought to have done something horrendous or thought to be unfit to serve, research is valid. But the idea of just kind of digging up dirt with the purpose of blackmail or embarrassing somebody so he’d lose, I don’t think that is a legitimate purpoose,” postured Bush. By this time Ehrlichman, who had hired retired cops to dig up such dirt, had been thrown to the wolves. [fn 41]
A couple of days later Bush delivered a speech to the American Bar Association on “The Role and Responsibility of the Political Candidate.” His theme was that restoring public trust in the political system would require candidates who would set a higher moral tone for their campaigns. “A candidate is responsible for organizing his campaign well–that is, picking people whom he trusts, picking the right people.” This was an oblique but clear attack on Nixon, who had clearly picked the wrong people in addition to whatever else he did. Bush was for stricter rules, but even more for “old-fashioned conscience” as the best way to keep politics clean. He again criticized the approach which set out to “get dirt” on political adversaries– again a swipe at Nixon’s notorious “enemies’ list” practices. Bush said that there were “gray areas in determining what was in good taste.” Bush has never been noted for his sense of self-irony, and it appears that he was not aware of his own punning reference to L. Patrick Gray, the acting FBI Director who had “deep-sixed” Howard Hunt’s incriminating records and who had then been left by Ehrlichman to “hang there” and to “twist slowly, slowly in the wind.” Bush actually commented that Ehrlichman’s comments on Gray had been in questionable taste. At this conference, Bush rubbed shoulders with Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. [fn 42]
The next day Bush was at it again, announcing that he was re- opening an investigation into alleged courses in political sabotage and dirty tricks taught by the GOP to college Republicans in weekend seminars during 1971 and 1972. Bush pledged to “get to the bottom” of charges that the College Republican National Committee, with 1000 campus clubs and 100,000 members listed had provided instruction in dirty tricks. “”I’m a little less relaxed and more concerned than when you first brought it to our attention,” Bush told journalists. [fn 43]
Bush had clearly distanced himself from the fate of the Nixon White House. By the time Spiro Agnew resigned as vice president on October 10, 1973, Bush was in a position to praise Agnew for his “great personal courage” while endorsing the resignation as “in the best interest of the country.” [fn 44]
Later the same month came Nixon’s Saturday night massacre, the firing of Special Prosecutor Cox and the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus. To placate public opinion, Nixon agreed to obey a court order compelling him to hand over his White House tapes. Bush had said that Nixon was suffering from a “confidence crisis” about the tapes, but now commented that what Nixon had done “will have a soothing effect. Clearly it will help politically…Hopefully, his move will cool the emotions and permit the President to deal with matters of enormous domestic and international concern.” [fn 45] Later, in November, Bush bowed out of a possible candidacy in the 1974 Texas gubernatorial race. Speculation was that “the specter of Watergate” would have been used against him, but Bush preferred sanctimonious explanations. “Very candidly,” he said, being governor of Texas has enormous appeal to me, but our political system is under fire and I have an overriding sense of responsibility that compels me to remain in my present job.” Bush said that Watergate was “really almost…nonexistent” as in issue in the Texas race. “Corruption and clean government didn’t show up very high at all,” he concluded. [fn 46]
By the spring of 1974, the impending doom of the Nixon regime was the cue for Bush’s characteristic reedy whining. In May of 1974, after a meeting of the Republican Congressional leadership with Nixon, Bush told his friend Congressman Barber Conable that he was considering resigning from the RNC. Conable did not urge him to stay on. A few days later, John Rhodes, who had replaced Gerald Ford as House Minority Leader when Ford was tapped by Nixon for the vice presidency, told a meeting of House Republicans that Bush was getting ready to resign, and if he did so, it would be impossible for the White House to “get anybody of stature to take his place.” [fn 47]
But even in the midst of the final collapse, Bush still made occasional ingratiating gestures to Nixon. Nixon pathetically recounts how Bush made him an encouraging offer in July, 1974, about a month before the end: “There were other signs of the sort that political pros might be expected to appreciate: NC Chairman George Bush called the White House to say that he would like to have me appear on a fund-raising telethon.” [fn 48] This is what Bush was telling Nixon. But during this same period, Father John McLaughlin of the Nixon staff asked Bush for RNC lists of GOP diehards across the country for the purpose of generating support statements for Nixon. Bush refused to provide them. [fn 49]
On August 5, 1974, the White House released the transcript of the celebrated “smoking gun” taped conversation of June 23, 1972 in which Nixon discussed ways to frustrate the investigation of the Watergate break-ins. Chairman George was one of the leading Nixon Administration figures consulting with Al Haig in the course of the morning. When Bush heard the news, he was very upset, undoubtedly concerned about all the very negative publicity that he himself was destined to receive in the blowback of Nixon’s now imminent downfall. Then after a while he calmed down somewhat. One account describes Bush as “somewhat relieved” by the news that the coup de grace tape was going to be made public, “an act probably fatal,” as Haig had said. “Finally there was some one thing the national chairman could see clearly. The ambiguities in the evidence had been tearing the party apart, Bush thought.” [fn 50] At this point Bush became the most outspoken and militant organizer of Nixon’s resignation, a Cassius of the Imperial Presidency.
A little later White House Congressional liaison William Timmons wanted to make sure that everyone had been fully briefed about the transcripts going out, and he turned to Nixon’s political counselor Dean Burch. “Dean, does Bush know about the transcript yet?”, Timmons asked. Burch replied, “Yes.” “Well, what did he do?”, Timmons asked.
“He broke out in assholes and shit himself to death,” was Burch’s answer. [fn 51]
But why, it may be asked, the dermal diahhrea? Why should Bush be so distraught over the release to the press of the transcript of the notorious White House meeting of June 23, 1972, whose exhcanges between Nixon and Haldeman were to prove the coup de grace to the agony of the Nixon regime? As we have seen, there is plenty of evidence that the final fall of Nixon was just the denouement that Bush wanted. The answer is that Bush was upset about the fabulous “smoking gun” tape because his friend Mosbacher, his business partner Bill Liedtke, and himself were referred to in the most sensitive passages. Yes, a generation of Americans has grown up recalling something about a “smoking gun” tape, but not many now recall that when Nixon referred to “the Texans,” he meant George Bush. (“Das Bekannte ueberhaupt ist darum, weil es bekannt ist, nicht erkannt,” as even old Hegel knew.)
The open secret of the much-cited but little analyzed “smoking gun” tape is that it refers to Nixon’s desire to mobilize the CIA to halt the FBI investigation of the Watergate burglars on the grounds that money can be traced from donors in Texas and elsewhere to the coffers of the CREEP and thence to the pockets of Bernard Barker and the other Cubans arrested. The money referred to, of course, is part of Bill Liedtke’s $700,000 discussed above. A first crucial passage of the “smoking gun” tape goes as follows, with the first speaker being Haldeman:
- H: Now, on the investigation, you know the Democratic break-in thing, we’re back in the problem area because the FBI is not under control, because [FBI chief] Gray doesn’t exactly know how to control it and they have –their invesitgation is leading into some productive areas because they’ve been able to trace the money–not through the money itself–but through the bank sources–the banker. And, and it goes in some directions we don’t want it to go. Ah, also there have been some things–like an informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami who was a photographer or has a friend who was a photographer or has a friend who was a photographer who developed some films through this guy Barker and the films had pictures of Democratic national Committee letterhead documents and things. So it’s things like that that are filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell’s recommendation that the only way to solve this, and we’re set up beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that– the only network that paid any attention to it last night was NBC–they did a massive story on the Cuban thing.
P: [Nixon] That’s right.
H: That the way to handle this now is for us to have [CIA Deputy Director Vernon] Walters call Pat Gray and just say “Stay the hell out of this–this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it. That’s not an unusal development, and ah, that would take care of it.
P: What about Pat Gray–you mean Pat Gray doesn’t want to?
H: Pat does want to. He doesn’t know how to, and he doesn’t have, he doesn’t have any basis for doing it. Given this, he will then have the basis. He’ll call Mark Felt in, and the two of them–and Mark Felt wants to cooperate because he’s ambitious–
H: He’ll call him in and say, “We’ve got the signal from acorss the river to put the hold on this.” And that will fit rather well because the FBI agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that’s what it is.
P: This is CIA? They’ve traced the money? Who’d they trace it to?
H: Well they’ve traced it to a name, but they haven’t gotten to the guy yet.
P: Would it be somebody here?
H: Ken Dahlberg.
P: Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg? He gave $25,000 in Minnesota and, ah, the check went directly to this guy Barker.
P: It isn’t from the committee though, from Stans? Yeah. It is. It’s directly traceable and there’s some more through some Texas people that went to the Mexican bank which can also be traced to the Mexican bank– they’ll get their names today. And (pause)
P: Well, I mean, there’s no way–I’m just thinking if they don’t cooperate, what do they say? That they were approached by the Cubans. That’s what Dahlberg has to say, the Texans too, that they–
H: Well, if they will. But then we’re relying on more and more people all the time. That’s the problem, and they’ll stop if we could take this other route.
P: All right.
H: And you seem to think the thing to do is get them to stop?
P: Right, fine.
Kenneth Dahlberg was a front man for Dwayne Andreas of Archer- Daniels-Midland. Nixon wanted to protect himself, of course, but there is no doubt that he is talking about Liedtke, Pennzoil, Robert Mosbacher–his Bush-league Texas money-raising squad. With that comment, Nixon had dug his own grave with what was widely viewed as a prima facie case of obstruction of justice when this tape was released on August 5. But Nixon and Haldeman had a few other interesting things to say to each other that day, several of which evoke associations redolent of Bush.
Shortly after the excerpts provided above, Nixon himself sums up why the CIA ought to have its own interest in putting a lid on the Watergate affair:
- P: Of course, this Hunt, that will uncover a lot of things. You open that scab there’s a hell of a lot of things and we just feel that it would be very detrimental to have this thing go any further. This involves these Cubans, Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with ourselves. Well what the hell, did Mitchell know about this?
H: I think so. I don’t think he knew the details, but I think he knew.
P: He didn’t know how it was going to be handled through –with Dahlberg and the Texans and so forth? Well who was the asshole that did? Is it Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts!
Shortly after this, the conversation turned to Bus Mosbacher, who was resigning as the Chief of Protocol. Nixon joked that while Mosbacher was escorting the visiting dinitaries, bachelor Henry Kissinger always ended up escorting Mosbacher’s wife. But before too long Nixon was back to the CIA again:
- P: When you get in– when you get in (unintelligible) people, say, “Look the whole problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing and the President just feels that ah, without going into the details–don’t, don’t lie to them to the extent to say there is no involvement, but just say this is a comedy of errors, without getting into it, the President believes that it is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah, because these people are plugging for (unintelligible) and that they should call the FBI in and (unintelligible) don’t go any further into this case period! (inaudible) our cause.
It would also appear that Nixon’s references to Howard Hunt and the Bay of Pigs are an oblique allusion to the Kennedy assassination, about which Nixon may have known more than he has ever told. Later the same day Haldeman reported back to Nixon about his meeting with Walters:
- H: Well, it was kind of interesting. Walters made the point and I didn’t mention Hunt. I just said that the thing was leading into directions that were going to create potential problems because they were exploring leads that led back into areas that would be harmful to the CIA and haremful to the government (unintelligible) didn’t have anything to do unintelligible).
Later Haldeman returned to this same theme:
- H: Gray called Helms and said I think we’ve run right into the middle of a CIA covert operation.
P: Gray said that?
H: Yeah. And (unintelligible) said nothing we’ve done at this point and ah (unintellibible) says well it sure looks to me like it is (unintelligible) and ah, that was the end of that conversation (unintelligible) the problem is it tracks back to the Bay of Pigs and it tracks back to some other the leads run out to people who had no involvement in this, except by contracts and connection, but it gets to areas that are liable to be raised? The whole problem (unintelligible( Hunt. So at that point he kind of got the picture. He said, he said we’ll be very happy to be helpful 9unintelligible) handle anything you want. I would like to know the reason for being helpful, and I made it clear to him he wasn’t going to get explicit (unintelligible) generality, and he said fine. And Walters (unintelligible), Walters is going to make a call to Gray. That’s the way we put it and that’s the way it was left.
P: How does that work though, how they’ve got to (unintelligible) somebody from the Miami bank.
H: (Unintelligible) The point John makes –the Bureau is going on this because they don’t know what they are uncovering (unintelligible) continue to pursue it. They don’t need to because they already have their case as far as the charges against these men (unintelligible) One thing Helms did raise. He said. Gray–he asked Gray why they thought they had run into a CIA thing and Gray said because of the amount of money involved, a lot of dough (unintelligible) and ah (unintelligible)
H: Well, I think they will. If it runs (unintelligible) what the hell who knows (unintelligible) contributed CIA.
H: Ya, it’s money CIA gets money (unintelligible) I mean their money moves in a lot of different ways, too. [fn 52]
Nixon’s train of associations takes him from the Pennzoil-Liedtke Mosbacher-Bush slush fund operation to Howard Hunt and the Bay of Pigs and “a lot of hanky-panky.” and then back to Bus Mosbacher, Robert’s elder brother. Later on Haldeman stresses that the FBI, discovering a large money laundering operation between Pennzoil and Bill Liedtke in Houston, Mexico City, Maurice Stans and the CREEP in Washington, and some CIA Miami Station Cubans, simply concluded that this was all a CIA covert operation.
As Haldeman himself later summed it up:
- If the Mexican bank connection was actually a CIA operation all along, unknown to Nixon; and Nixon was destroyed for asking the FBI to stop investigating the bank because it might uncover a CIA operation (which the Helms memo seems to indicate it actually was after all) the multiple layers of deception by the CIA are astounding. [fn 53]
Later on Nixon’s last Monday, Bush joined White House Counsel J. Fred Buzhardt and Dean Burch on a visit to Congressman Rhodes, and showed him the transcript of the smoking gun tape. “This means that there’s just no chance in the world that he’s not going to be impeached,” said Rhodes. “In fact, there’s no chance in the world that I won’t vote to impeach him.” Bush must have heaved a sigh of relief, since this is what he had wanted Rhodes to tell Nixon to get him to quit. “Rhodes later let it be known that he was offended that Bush had been briefed before he was,” but of course, Bush was a top official of the Nixon White House. [fn 54]
But Nixon still refused to quit, raising the prospect of a trial before the Senate that could be damaging to many besides Nixon. The next day, Tuesday, August 6, 1974 saw the last meeting of the Nixon cabinet, with Chairman George in attendance. This was the Cabinet meeting described as “unreal” by Bush later. Nixon’s opening statement was: “I would like to discuss the most important issue confronting this nation, and confronting us internationally too–inflation.” Nixon then argued adamantly for some minutes that he had examined the course of events over the recent past and that he had “not found an impeachable offense, and therefore resignation is not an acceptable course.” Vice President Ford predicted that there would be certain impeachment by the House, but that the outcome in the Senate could not be predicted. Otherwise, said Ford, he was an interested party on the resignation issue and would make no further comment.
Nixon then wanted to talk about the budget again, and about an upcoming summit conference on the economy. Attorney General Saxbe interrupted him. “Mr. President, I don’t think we ought to have a summit conference. We ought to make sure you have the ability to govern.” Nixon quietly assured Saxbe that he had the ability to govern. Then Chairman George piped up, in support of Saxbe. The President’s ability to govern was impaired, said George. The Republican Party was in a shambles, he went on, and the forthcoming Congressional election threatened to be a disaster. Watergate had to be brought to an end expeditiously, Bush argued. From his vantage point at Nixon’s right elbow, Kissinger could see that Bush was advancing towards the conclusion that Nixon had to resign. “It was cruel. And it was necessary,” thought Kissinger. “More than enough had been said,” was the Secretary of State’s impression. Kissinger was seeking to avoid backing Nixon into a corner where he would become more stubborn and more resistant to the idea of resignation, making that dreaded Senate trial more likely. And this was the likely consequence of Bush’s line of argument.
“Mr. President, can’t we just wait a week or two and see what happens?”, asked Saxbe. Bush started to support Saxbe again, but now Nixon was getting more angry. Nixon glared at Bush and Saxbe, the open advocates of his resignation. “No,” he snapped. “This is too important to wait.”
Now the senior cabinet officer decided he had to take the floor to avoid a total confrontation that would leave Nixon besieged but still holding the Oval Office. Kissinger’s guttural accents were heard in the cabinet room: “We are not here to offer excuses for what we cannot do. We are here to do the nation’s business. This is a very difficult time for our country. Our duty is to show confidence. It is essential that we show it is not safe for any country to take a run at us. For the sake of foreign policy we must act with assurance and total unity. If we can do that, we can vindicate the structure of peace.” The main purpose of this pompous tirade had been to bring the meeting to a rapid end, and it worked. “There was a moment of embarrassed silence around the table,” recalls Nixon, and after a few more remarks on the economy, the meeting broke up.
Kissinger stayed behind with Nixon to urge him to resign, which Nixon now said he felt compelled to do. Bush sought out Al Haig to ponder how Nixon might be forced out. “What are we going to do?”, asked Bush. Haig told Bush to calm down, explaining: “We get him up to the mountaintop, then he comes down again, then we get him up again.” [fn 55] Kissinger walked back to his office in the West Wing and met Gen. Brent Scowcroft, the NSC Director. Kissinger told Scowcroft that “there was precious little support for the President. Kissinger, no mean hypocrite in his own right, thought that Saxbe had been “weak-livered.” Bush and Saxbe had both been petty and insensitive, Kissinger thought. He compared Bush and Saxbe and the rest to a seventeenth- century royal court with the courtiers scurrying about, concerned with themselves rather than with their country.
During this cabinet meeting, Bush was already carrying a letter to Nixon that would soon become the unkindest cut of all for Chariman George’s wretched patron. This letter was delivered to Nixon on August 7. It read as follows:
- Dear Mr. President,
It is my considered judgment that you should now resign. I expect in your lonely embattled position this would seem to you as an act of disloyalty from one you have supported and helped in so mnay ways. My own view is that I would now ill serve a President whose massive accomplishments I will always respect and whose family I love, if I did not now give you my judgment. Until this moment resignation has been no answer at all, but given the impact of the latest development, and it will be a lasting one, I now firmly feel resignation is best for the country, best for this President. I believe this view is held by most Republican leaders across the country. This letter is much more difficult because of the gratitude I will always have for you. If you do leave office history will properly record your achievements with a lasting respect. [fn 56]
During Bush’s confirmation hearings for the post of CIA Director in December, 1976, when it became important to show how independent Bush had been, Senator Barry Goldwater volunteered that Bush had been “the first man to my knowledge to let the President know he should go.” That presumably meant, the first among cabinet and White House officials.
The next day, August 8, 1974, Nixon delivered his resignation to Henry Kissinger. Kissinger could now look forward to exercising the powers of the presidency at least until January, 1977, and perhaps well beyond.
For a final evaluation of Bush in Watergate, we may refer to a sketch of his role during those times provided by Bush’s friend Maurice Stans, the finance director of the CREEP. This is how Stans sizes up Bush as a Watergate player:
- George Bush, former member of Congress and former Ambassador to the United Nations. Bush, who proved he was one of the bravest men in Washington in agreeing to head the Republican National Committee during the 1973-74 phase of Watergate, kept the party organization together and its morale high, despite massive difficulties of press criticism and growing public disaffection with the administration. Totally without information as to what had gone on in Watergate behind the scenes, he was unable to respond knowledgeably to questions and because of that unjustly became the personal target of continuing sarcasm and cynicism from the media.” [fn 57]
But there are many indications that Bush was in reality someone who, while taking part in the fray, actually helped to steer Watergate towards the strategic outcome desired by the dominant financier faction, the one associated with Brown Brother, Harriman and with London. As with so much in the life of this personage, much of Bush’s real role in Watergate remains to be unearthed. To borrow a phrase from James McCord’s defense of his boss, Richard Helms, we must see to it that “every tree in the forest will fall.”
Return to the Table of Contents
1. Fitzhugh Green, George Bush, p. 137.
2. Bush and Gold, pp. 120-121.
3. Bush and Gold, p. 121.
4. Fitzhugh Green, p. 129.
5. Harry Hurt III, “George Bush, Plucky Lad,” in Texas Monthly, June 1983.
6. Dallas Morning News, November 25, 1971.
7. Washington Post, December 12, 1972.
9. Washington Post, January 22, 1973.
10. Washington Post, February 6, 1973.
11. Washington Post, January 22, 1973.
12. See for example Len Cholodny and Robert Gettlin, Silent Coup (New York, 1991).
13. Lyn Marcus, “Up-Valuation of German Mark Fuels Watergate Attack on Nixon,” New Solidarity, July 9-13, 1973, pp. 10-11.
14. See Thomas Petzinger, Oil and Honor (New York, 1987), pp. 64- 65. See also Harry Hurt’s article mentioned above. Wright Patman’s House Banking Committee revealed part of the activities of Bill Liedtke and Mosbacher during the Watergate era.
15. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, All the President’s Men (New York, 1974), present the checks received by Barker as one of the ways they breached the wall of secrecy around the CREEP, with the aid of their anonymous source “Bookkeeper.” But neither in this book nor in The Final Days (New York, 1976), do “Woodstein” get around to mentioning that the Mexico City money came from Bill Liedtke. This marked pattern of silence and reticence on matters pertaining to George Bush, certainly one of the most prominent of the President’s men, is a characteristic of Watergate journalism in general. For more information regarding William Liedtke’s role in financing the CREEP, see Hearings Before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, 93rd Congress, including testimony by Hugh Sloan, June 6, 1973; and by Maurice Stans, June 12, 1973; see also the Final Report of the committee, issued in June, 1974. Relevant press coverage from the period includes “Stans Scathes Report,” by Woodward and Bernstein, Washington Post, September 14, 1972; and “Liedtke Linked to FPC Choice,” United Press International, June 26, 1973. Liedtke also influenced Nixon appointments in areas of interest to himself.
16. Maurice H. Stans, The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of Watergate.
17. New York Times, August 26, 1972, and Nov. 1, 1972.
18. Interview with a Post Oak Bank executive Nov. 21, 1991. Houston Post, Dec. 27, 1988.
19. Stanley L. Kutler, The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon (New York, 1990), pp. 229-33.
20. See Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York, 1984), p. 92.
21. Ervin Committee Hearings, Book 9 pp. 3441-46, and Report of the Nedzi Committee of the House of Represenatives, p. 201, cited by Hougan, p. 318.
22. Nezdi Committee report, pp. 442-43, quoted in Hougan, p. 21.
23. Hougan, pp. 46-47.
24. Ervin Committee Final Rport, pp. 1146-49, and Hougan, pp. 131-132.
25. Al Reinert, “Bob and George Go To Washington or The Post-Watergate Scramble,” Texas Monthly, April, 1974.
26. The question of the Columbia Plaza Apartments is a central theme of Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (New York, 1984). We have also relied on Hougan’s version of the Russell-Leon-Bellino subplot described below. Hougan’s book, although it studiously avoids drawing obvious conclusions about Bush, Kissinger, Rockefeller, and many others, is a convenient starting point for the necessary metacritique of Watergate. By contrast, the Colodny-Gettlin Silent Coup (New York, 1991) represents a step backward, away from the truth of the matter on numerous points.
27. Hougan, p. 324.
28. Hougan, p. 370.
29. Interview of Jerris Leonard with Tony Chaitkin, August 26, 1991.
30. Hougan, p. 374-375.
31. See Jules Witcover, “Political Spies Accuse Committee Investigator,” Washington Post, July 25, 1973, and John Geddie, “Bush Alleges Bugs,” Dallas News, July 25, 1973. See also Victor Lasky, It Didn’t Start with Watergate (New York, 1977), pp. 41-55.
32. Hougan, p. 376. Notice that the day of Leon’s death was also the day that White House staffer Butterfield told Congressional investigators of the existence of Nixon’s taping system.
34. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 811.
35. Pincus and Woodward, Presidential Posts and Dashed Hopes, Washington Post, August 9, 1988.
36. Washington Post, July 12, 1973.
37. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., The Whole Truth (New York, 1980), p. 28.
38. Ervin, p. 29.
39. Sam Dash, Chief Counsel (New York, 1976), p. 192.
40. Evans and Novak, July 11, 1973.
41. Washington Post, August 7, 1973.
42. Washington Post, August 9, 1973.
43. Washington Post, August 10, 1973.
44. Washington Post, October 11, 1973.
45. Washington Post, October 24, 1973.
46. Washington Post, November 17, 1973.
47. Bernstein and Woodward, The Final Days, pp. 159, 176.
48. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 1042.
49. Fitzhugh Green, p. 135.
50. The Final days, p. 368.
51. The Final Days, p. 369.
52. For the “smoking gun” transcript of June 23, 1972, see Washington Post, August 6, 1974.
53. H. R. Haldeman, The Ends of Power (New York, 1978), p. 64.
54. The Final Days, p. 374.
55. Available accounts of Nixon’s last cabinet meeting are fragmentary, but see: RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, p. 1066; The Final Days, pp. 386-389; Theodore H. White, Breach of Faith: The Fall of Richard Nixon (New York, 1975), p. 24; Henry Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, pp. 1202-1203; J. Anthony Lukas, Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years (New York, 1976), pp 558-559. These have been collated for the account offered here.
56. The ostensible full text of this letter is found in Nicholas King, George Bush: A Biography (New York, 1980), p. 87. Vic Gold gives only seven lines of excerpts. Fitzhugh Green, in his post November 1988 hagiography, liquidates the matter in fewer than five lines. In each case the calculating eye of the public relations man is observing the reader like the sucker in a medicine show. Apparently Bush’s handlers concluded that there was less and less to gain from distancing their candidate from Nixon; perhaps their polls were showing that popular resentment of Nixon had somewhat declined.
57. Maurice H. Stans, The Terrors of Justice: The Untold Side of Watergate, p. 66.