Howard Hunt, Watergate Conspirator, Dies, 88

E. Howard Hunt, 1918-2007E. Howard Hunt, the man who recruited the burglars and organised the June 1972 break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate complex, has died, aged 88.

Reports quoting Hunt’s sun, Austin, say that he died at a Miami hospital, following a bout with pneumonia.

Everette Howard Hunt was a former Central Intelligence Agency operative. Born in Hamburg, New York, on October 9, 1918, he worked as a war correspondent and screen writer before beginning a long career with the CIA from 1949-70. During this time he was involved with the organisation of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1962.

Hunt recruited four of the five Watergate burglars: Barker, Gonzalez, Martinez and Sturgis. All four men had previously worked with Hunt on the Bay of Pigs. Along with James McCord, they were arrested in the Watergate complex on the evening of June 17, 1972. Hunt was observing the burglary from a room in the Howard Johnson hotel opposite the Watergate complex. Hunt’s White House phone number was found in the address book of Bernard Barker.

Bernard Barker's Address Book With Howard Hunt's White House Phone Number

Hunt spent 33 months in prison on burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping charges. He and the burglars pleased guilty to federal charges in January 1973.

Hunt was also responsible for organising the burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Lewis Fielding. Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, part of the group known as the “Watergate Plumbers”, broke into the office to gain information about Ellsberg, the Pentagon official who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in 1971.

Hunt’s first wife, Dorothy, died in a plane crash in Chicago on December 8, 1972. Investigators found $10,000 in $100 bills in Mrs. Hunt’s purse. The money was believed to be from pay-offs to the Watergate conspirators.

As the Watergate conspiracy unfolded, Hunt demanded money for his silence. His blackmail attempts were the subject of a taped conversation between White House counsel John Dean and President Nixon in March 1973. During the conversation, Dean tells Nixon that Hunt is demanding $72,000 for personal expenses and $50,000 for his legal fees. Nixon says: “If you need the money, I mean you could get the money… I mean it’s not easy, but it could be done.”

Hunt’s autobiography, “American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond,” is scheduled for publication in March.

Deep Throat Close To Death, Claims Dean

Deep Throat, the anonymous source who provided Watergate information to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, is reportedly close to death.

John DeanThe claim is made in an article by John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, in an article in the Los Angeles Times. Dean was jailed for his part in Watergate. More recently, he is the author of Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. [Read more…]

John Ehrlichman, Watergate Conspirator, Dead At 73

John EhrlichmanJohn D. Ehrlichman, jailed for his role in the Watergate scandal, has died, aged 73.

Ehrlichman died in Atlanta, Georgia, of natural causes.

Ehrlichman was President Richard Nixon’s Domestic Affairs Advisor from the start of Nixon’s term in 1969. Together with H. R. Haldeman, who died some years ago, Ehrlichman formed part of the “Berlin Wall” that protected Nixon.

Ehrlichman and Haldeman were both sacked by Nixon in April 1973. They had been summoned to the presidential retreat at Camp David after Nixon’s counsel, John Dean, implicated them in the cover-up of the break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic Party’s National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington.

Nixon sacked Dean and called on Ehrlichman and Haldeman to resign.

Ehrlichman was convicted of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and perjury, and was jailed for four to eight years in October 1976. He spent 18 months behind bars.

Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, following the passage of 3 articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

Ehrlichman’s conviction arose from his false testimony to the Senate Watergate Committee and through his involvement in the burglary of the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist who treated Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was the Defence Department official who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times.


Nixon’s First Watergate Speech

President Nixon used his first televised Watergate speech to announce the departure of several members of his staff.

The resignations of John Ehrlichman, Bob Haldeman, Richard Kleindeinst and John Dean were all announced in this speech. [Read more…]