by Charles A. Burris
by Charles A. Burris: Bush
As the fortieth
anniversary of the June 17th, 1972 Watergate break-in
approaches, the momentous events responsible for bringing about
the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon remain a deeply shrouded
mystery to most Americans. The revelation and confirmation of former
FBI deputy director W. Mark Felt as the legendary whistleblower
"Deep Throat" in the Watergate Scandal brings them no
closer to solving that mystery. This is because most of what they
think they know about Watergate is simply wrong.
As a high school
history instructor I have discovered that Watergate is a series
of mysterious events to which my students sadly have little or no
knowledge (other than Forrest Gump had difficulty sleeping in his
Washington, D. C. hotel room because of some flashing lights from
the adjacent Watergate complex).
will attempt to focus light upon this subject in the hope such illumination
will foster understanding of this crucial episode in American history.
To older Americans,
Watergate was a vast scandal involving presidential abuse of power.
It was about
a Nixon administration out of control – obstructing justice – concocting
enemies lists of Nixon critics – soliciting illegal campaign contributions
– using "dirty tricks" against electoral opponents – and
most importantly – the June 17th, 1972 burglary of Democratic
National Committee (DNC) chairman Larry O’Brien’s office in the
Watergate complex by men linked to the Republican’s Committee to
Re-Elect the President (CREEP) and the Nixon White House.
It is this
last item which remains the central fact most Americans recall concerning
the scandal, for it was the subject of months of televised public
hearings by Senator Sam Ervin’s Watergate Committee and numerous
criminal trials and investigations.
surrounding the Watergate break-ins were also the basis of the Academy
Award winning film, All
The President’s Men, starring Robert Redford and Dustin
Hoffman, based on the acclaimed number one best-seller of the same
name, by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl
Bernstein, who Redford and Hoffman portray. In this Watergate of
the imagination, actor Hal Holbrook masterfully captured the cinematic
persona of the elusive informant "Deep Throat."
including I daresay most journalists, have read the scores of Watergate-related
books and published Congressional committee reports. But they have
seen All The President’s Men. The movie has become their
reality of that series of events that gripped our nation.
Guys" as seen by the American public: Washington Post
reporters Woodward and Bernstein who courageously exposed the details
of the Watergate Scandal, the shadowy whistleblower "Deep Throat,"
and the heroic fired White House Counsel to the President John Dean,
who was the chief witness against Richard Nixon.
Guys" as seen by the American public: the evil Machiavellian
President Richard M. Nixon, his malevolent Attorney General John
Mitchell, his manipulative presidential aides H. R. Halderman and
John Ehirichman, the sinister G. Gordon Liddy, the enigmatic E.
Howard Hunt, and the numerous CREEP/Nixon administration officials
and creepy minions who went to prison.
But Larry O’Brien’s
office was not the target of the break-ins.
John Dean was
not the selfless hero testifying to dark deeds of an evil
Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein were not all they
seemed in the mythos of the Watergate legend.
Throat," W. Mark Felt, it has been revealed, may have been
more motivated by revenge at not being appointed successor to FBI
Director J. Edgar Hoover by Nixon and by protecting the Bureau’s
imperial turf from outsider L. Patrick Gray, than by convictions
of conscience and dedication to the rule of law. Felt was no Hal
At the epicenter
of Watergate was a sex scandal involving a Washington, D. C. call-girl
ring. This crucial fact is little known to the vast numbers of the
American public who think they know the real story of Watergate
but only know the myth created and fostered by secret forces at
the heart of the mystery.
1n 1972, at
the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the vast Watergate
complex, the executive director of the Association of Democratic
State Chairmen was R. Spenser Oliver, Jr. Oliver was the nephew
of Robert F. Bennett. Bennett, president of the public relations
firm (and CIA front), Robert R. Mullen and Company, employed two
men who were fierce rivals, Oliver’s father and E. Howard Hunt,
longtime CIA operative and handler of the Watergate burglars (all
former CIA operatives) at the time of the Watergate break-in. According
to investigative journalist Jim Hougan, Bennett was a key source
for Woodward and Bernstein’s Washington Post "investigations."
His mission was to feed them disinformation to steer them clear
of the CIA involvement in the affair and possibly the true significance
of his nephew in the scandal.
also plugged into Washington super-lawyer and powerbroker Edward
Bennett Williams, whose important clients included the Democratic
National Committee, The Washington Post, CIA director Richard
Helms, and Senator Edward Kennedy. Watergate Judge John Sirica was
one of Williams’ closest friends – "I owe my career to Ed Williams."
Jr. was a longtime associate of the sleazy attorney/pimp Phillip
Mackin Bailey who set up the DNC connection to Heidi Rikin’s Columbia
Plaza call-girl operation. Bailey arranged with an inside DNC contact
to have a secure phone and confidential descriptive information
on the call-girls available for potential clients. It was the desk
and telephone of Oliver’s secretary, Ida Maxine Wells that was the
target of the Watergate break-ins. Burglar Eugenio Martinez had
a key to that desk when arrested on June 17th, 1972.
The key lay in the National Archives for two decades before anyone
realized its significance.
became chief council for the Senate committee investigating the
1980 Reagan campaign "October Surprise" scandal (which
resulted in a similar massive cover-up of evidence and truth of
that affair) while his uncle, Robert Bennett went on to a vice presidency
of the Summa Corporation, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes’s
The CIA had
allegedly been secretly running Summa for decades.
the CIA’s middleman in the CIA-Mafia assassination plots against
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, was Hughes’s right-hand man and alter
ego. According to Jim Hougan, the "super-connected" Robert
A. Maheu Associates firm found office space with Kennedy family
spook Carmine Bellino, sharing Bellino’s secretary and telephone.
Many persons assumed Maheu and Bellino were partners. Bellino had
served at John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy’s side on the McClellan
Senate Investigating Committee on Labor Racketeering, targeting
New Orleans Mob boss Carlos Marcello, Chicago Mob boss Sam Giancana,
and Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa. Indeed Bellino was a key figure
in RFK’s war against Hoffa. Bellino was appointed chief investigator
for the Senate Watergate Committee.
was also closely connected with attorney Edward Bennett Williams.
the 1950s, Maheu was instrumental in the multinational oil companies’
conspiracy to destroy Greek oil tanker tycoon Aristotle Onassis,
which involved Vice President Richard Nixon, CIA director Allen
Dulles (former senior partner of the nation’s most powerful law
firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, who represented the Rockefeller’s Standard
Oil interests), future Chief Justice of the United States Warren
Burger, the Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank chairman John J.
McCloy, and attorney Edward Bennett Williams.
Onassis later married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the slain JFK.
McCloy later served on the Warren Commission.
Special Counsel Leon Jaworski, who investigated Lee Harvey Oswald
for possible CIA or FBI connections, and found none, was later selected
by Richard Nixon to be Watergate Special Prosecutor, after firing
Archibald Cox in what was described as the "Saturday Night
In the last
days before his death, former CIA official and Watergate conspirator
E. Howard Hunt, in a recorded confession to his son St. John Hunt
described his involvement in a conspiracy to kill President John
F. Kennedy. Other alleged conspirators named by Hunt included CIA
operatives Cord Meyer, David Atlee Phillips, Frank Sturgis, David
Morales, William Harvey, and vice president Lyndon Baines Johnson.
member Gerald R. Ford succeeded Nixon as president, pardoning him
of all crimes he may have committed. Ford, in an intriguing post-Watergate
gesture, offered the Directorship of the CIA to Edward Bennett Williams.
Williams declined the position. The appointment was later accepted
by Nixon loyalist, George H. W. Bush, the chairman of the Republican
National Committee during the unfolding Watergate Scandal.
Jim Hougan: "Organized in 1954, Robert A. Maheu Associates
became the prototype for the ‘Mission Impossible’ television series,
handling CIA assignments so sensitive that the federal spooks dared
not perform themselves. In short, it was dirty work, involving prostitution,
pornography, illegal wiretaps, (and) assassination. . . According
to Joe Shimon, one of Maheu’s oldest friends, ‘Bob was a pimp for
the Cookie Factory. What I mean is, The Agency (CIA) would call
him up when Sukarno or Hussein (the late King of Jordan long on
the CIA’s payroll) was coming to town, and ask him to get some girls."
Shimon appeared as the mysterious "Doctor Peters" featured
in the A & E documentary, The Plot To Assassinate President
Kennedy. He was the chief of detectives for Washington’s upscale
Northwest quadrant where almost all of our nation’s capitol’s foreign
embassies are located. Shimon was a close friend of Mob figures
Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli, both involved with Maheu in the
CIA-Mafia Castro assassination plots and both brutally murdered
for what they knew. Shimon was at early Miami meetings of these
Howard Hughes was one of Robert Bennett’s principal clients, a contract
held earlier by Larry O’Brien, chairman of the DNC at the time of
the break-ins. Bennett was the long-time United States Senator from
Utah recently defeated in the 2010 GOP primary. (Do not get this
Robert F. Bennett confused with Robert S. Bennett, President Clinton’s
lawyer in the Paula Jones sexual harassment affair, Enron’s Washington
attorney, Reagan administration Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s
Iran-Contra Scandal lawyer, and attorney for the Keating Five in
the Reagan administration’s 1980’s multibillion dollar Savings and
Loan Scandal. That Robert Bennett is the brother of Neoconservative
warmonger and former Reagan Drug Czar, the crazed William J. Bennett.)
the nation’s elite news media played a "parlor game" concerning
the Watergate Scandal. The "game" was to keep the nation
guessing the true identity of Washington Post reporters Woodward
and Bernstein’s famous source of information on the scandal, who
they labeled "Deep Throat" after a notorious porno movie
of the period starring actress Linda Lovelace. In an ironic twist
of fate, Richard Nixon and Linda Lovelace both died on April 22nd,
the former in 1994, the later in 2002.
was rife. "Deep Throat" candidates included Admiral Bobby
Ray Inman, former director of the Office of Naval Intelligence,
the National Security Agency, and deputy director of the CIA (who
used to be briefed by Bob Woodward when he was communications duty
officer of the Chief of Naval Operations, one of the most elite
and trusted assignments for a young officer in the National Security
Establishment); or Washington powerbroker and fixer Edward Bennett
Williams; or CIA counter-intelligence official Richard Ober – a
close friend of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; or former
NATO Commander/Nixon White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig (also
briefed regularly by Woodward when he as a briefing officer at the
A host of Nixon
administration appointees suspected of disloyalty to their chief
were also tossed in the ring.
But all that
came to an end in 2005 with the May 31st Vanity Fair
story revealing that Felt was "Deep Throat." You could
see the utter disappointment on the faces of the Cable News Network
talking heads and their guests the day the news broke.
"parlor game" was part of the media misdirection/disinformation
effort to keep the public focused on "Deep Throat," and
not on the real story of Watergate – why were the two break-ins
undertaken by Hunt and Liddy’s burglars?
X (Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty played by actor Donald Sutherland
in Oliver Stone’s movie, JFK) – "Who planned the break-ins?
Who stood to benefit? And who has the power to cover it up? Who?"
John Dean masterminded
the whole Watergate affair, from the break-ins, the cover-ups and
obstructions of justice, to ratting out Nixon, and emerging as the
hero of the scandal.
Why were the
break-ins planned? The first was planned by John Dean to get sexual
dirt on the Democrats concerning the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring
which had the DNC at the Watergate as one of its contact points
for clients. Nine days after this initial break-in, Phillip Mackin
Bailey was busted by federal authorities. Upon examination of the
evidence compiled by the assistant U. S. attorney in charge of this
case, John Rudy, Bailey’s address book was discovered by White House
Counsel John Dean to have the name and phone number of "Mo
Biner" under the reference "clout." Mo was Dean’s
vivacious blonde girlfriend, Maureen Biner, roommate of Erika L.
"Heidi" Rikin (aka Cathy Dieter), the madam of the call-girl
ring and mistress of Washington, D. C. Mob boss Joseph Nesline –
an associate of the powerful organized crime Syndicate’s Meyer Lansky
– and also roommate of Josephine Alvarez, Nesline’s wife.
married Maureen, for a wife cannot testify against her husband.
A photograph of "my very dear friend Heidi" who attended
their wedding appears in Maureen Dean’s book, Mo:
A Woman’s View of Watergate. "Heidi" had performed
as a stripper at Washington’s Blue Mirror Club in the mid 1960s
and had long been associated with prostitution in the D. C. area.
break-in was necessary for John Dean to find out if Mo’s picture
and confidential information was in the sexual client book in the
locked desk of secretary Ida Maxine Wells in the DNC’s Watergate
office, and thus possibly lead back to implicating him.
In other words,
the real unanswered question of Watergate was never: "Who was
‘Deep Throat?’" or "What did the President know, and when
did he know it?"
The real question
remains: "WAS MO A HO?" But the elite media will never
go there in a million years.
And since the
infamous John and Maureen Dean/G. Gordon Liddy civil law suit about
all this controversy was settled without going to trial, and the
wiretap transcripts of Ida Maxine Wells’ bugged phone used for the
sexual liaisons have been sealed by a federal judge, we may never
know the full truth.
On March 27th
of this year I had the distinct honor of addressing those two wonderful
fabulists, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, spinners of the yarn
known as Watergate. These aging gatekeepers of the mainstream media
were in town to deliver the University of Tulsa’s Presidential Lecture
(sponsored by the Darcy O’Brien Endowed Chair). After these gentlemen
had once again returned the spell-bound yet geriatric audience to
those thrilling days of yesteryear four decades past, re-telling
the lurid tales of Nixon, Liddy, Hunt, McCord, Mitchell, Halderman,
etc. I expressed to them just how pleased I was to finally meet
the Brothers Grimm of our national mythos, and that one day in the
future I will perhaps meet Hans Christian Anderson himself, John
Dean. Then we may finally address the real question at the heart
of Watergate. It was not, of course, the identity of "Deep
Throat," or "What did the president know and when did
he know it." The real question remains: "Was Mo a Ho?"
The audience gasped! You should have seen the look on Woodward’s
face as he struggled to explain (or as he put it, decode), the meaning
of my interrogatory. Priceless! I then stated that my true question
was actually directed at Mr. Bernstein, author of the brilliant
article, "The CIA and the Media." I pointed out that he
had outlined in his piece how the Central Intelligence Agency had
engaged in covert activities with the nations’ press described as
"the Mighty Wurlitzer" or "Operation Mockingbird."
Was the intelligence community engaged in such activities today?
We can all sleep better tonight since Bernstein reassured me that
all that kind of stuff ended at the conclusion of the Cold War.
Woodward equally reassured us that "the system worked"
because Gerald Ford did the right thing in pardoning Richard Nixon.
passed legislation providing for an independent special prosecutor
to investigate Watergate. Nixon Attorney General Elliot Richardson
appointed his former Harvard Law professor Archibald Cox. Cox was
the epitome of a card-carrying member of the Ivy League, eastern
seaboard, anti-Nixon liberal Establishment. He had served as JFK’s
1960 campaign speechwriter and later as Kennedy’s Solicitor General
in the Justice Department.
present at the ceremony of Cox repeating his oath of office were
two longtime friends, Senator Edward Kennedy and his sister-in-law
Ethel Kennedy, widow of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, under whom
Cox had served.
himself came from the liberal Rockefeller-wing of the eastern Establishment,
and was chosen by Nixon to placate these elements.
Nixon was deeply
suspicious of Cox and his motives in widening his investigation
beyond the Watergate break-ins and cover-up, and with good reason:
of the thirty-seven lawyers Cox recruited, all but one were Ivy
Leaguers, eighteen from Harvard; most were Democrats; many had worked
in the Justice Department under Bobby Kennedy or Nicholas dfB. Katzenbach
who succeeded Kennedy. They were determined to get Nixon.
20, 1973, Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused
and resigned. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William
Rucklehaus to fire Cox, Rucklehaus refused and was fired. Nixon
then ordered the acting Attorney General, Solicitor General Robert
Bork to fire Cox, which he did.
was outraged by this series of impromptu actions. Bumper stickers
soon emerged around the country proclaiming – IMPEACH THE COX SACKER!
then appointed Leon Jaworski as Special Prosecutor.
Tapes Which Brought Down A President
had enjoyed a distinguished career in military intelligence when
he went to work for the Nixon White House senior staff. He was one
of the most important persons surrounding Nixon. Butterfield was
involved in virtually every aspect of activity relating to the day-to-day
decisions of the president.
was also a CIA plant within the highest echelons of the White House,
and his pivotal role in the ensuing outcome of the Watergate Scandal
cannot be overestimated. He was not the only such covert agent spying
on the Nixon White House for the National Security Establishment.
The Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, distrusting certain Nixon
foreign policy initiatives, had run an elaborate military espionage
operation within the administration. There were secret forces who
wanted to see Nixon go.
was called to testify before the Senate Watergate Committee. He
revealed the existence of a sophisticated White House Oval Office
taping system which had recorded every important conversation relating
to Watergate and the crimes of the Nixon administration.
contents of the June 23rd, 1972 Oval Office tape discussing
Richard Nixon’s and John Dean’s strategy for the obstruction of
justice regarding the June 17th Watergate break-in has
gone down in history as the "smoking gun," which led to
Nixon’s ultimate destruction and resignation.
Post and the CIA
Post has long held a close relationship within the Washington
power elite Establishment. In the 1950s under the direction of CIA
Director Allen Dulles, the Agency formulated a vast strategic program
for infiltrating and manipulating the American news media. The plan
was designated "Operation Mockingbird." It was devised
by Frank Wisner, director of the Office of Policy Coordination,
the covert action arm of the CIA; his aide Richard Helms; and by
Washington Post publisher Phillip Graham. Graham committed
suicide in August of 1963 after reported mental instability and
ravings about CIA manipulation of journalists. His estranged wife
Katherine Graham took control of the Post. Katherine was
daughter of Washington powerbroker Eugene Meyer, who was chairman
of the War Finance Board under Woodrow Wilson, chairman of the Reconstruction
Finance Corporation under Herbert Hoover, Governor of the Federal
Reserve Board under Franklin Roosevelt, and President of the World
Bank under Harry Truman. Meyer purchased the Post in 1933.
Post editor Ben Bradlee, who supervised Woodward and Bernstein’s
Watergate investigations, was well connected in Washington circles
of power. He had been a close friend of President Kennedy and his
wife Jacqueline. In fact, Bradlee’s sister-in-law, Mary Pinchot
Meyer, former wife of high-ranking CIA counter-intelligence official
Cord Meyer, had a sexual affair with JFK, allegedly involving the
use of Marijuana and LSD. Mary Pinchot Meyer was mysteriously murdered
in 1964. Richard Helms, instrumental in the creation of "Operation
Mockingbird," was a close friend of Bradlee’s since childhood.
Helms was CIA Director during the Watergate Scandal. He was later
convicted for lying to Congress concerning CIA activities in Chile.
Naval Intelligence elite briefing officer of the highest ranking
officials of the National Security Council and the Pentagon, is
now editor of the Post. In the nearly forty years since the
Watergate Scandal he has built his career reputation as author of
a series of best-selling books on America’s military/intelligence
Establishment. Bob Woodward has indeed proved to be a good and faithful
servant to those secret forces within the corridors of power of
the National Security Establishment responsible for the downfall
of Richard Nixon, and loyal to the elusive man which contributed
so much to building that reputation, W. Mark Felt.
Reading: Jim Hougan’s excellent books, Spooks:
the Haunting of America – the Private Use of Secret Agents,
Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA; Len Colodny
and Robert Gettlin’s masterwork, Silent
Coup: The Removal of a President; Len Colodny and Tom Shachtman’s
Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons, From Nixon To
Obama; and Anthony Summers’ superb The
Arrogance of Power: the Secret World of Richard Nixon, are
essential. In 2005, Bob Woodward authored The
Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat.
links between the JFK Assassination and the Watergate Scandal, see
Carl Oglesby, The
Yankee and Cowboy War; Jim Marrs, Crossfire;
Russ Baker, Family
of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and
the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years; and James W.
and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.
website on the Watergate Scandal can be found at: www.watergate.com.
video version of the classic A & E documentary, The Key To
Watergate, which inspired this article, is available at this
A. Burris [send him mail]
teaches history in the Murray N. Rothbard Room at Memorial High
School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
© 2012 Charles A. Burris
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