Jump to content
The Education Forum

Who Is Robert Merritt?

Douglas Caddy

Recommended Posts


By Douglas Caddy

Robert Merritt and I have completed our book manuscript titled, “Watergate Exposed: A Confidential Informant Tells How The Burglars Were Setup and Reveals Other Government Dirty Tricks, by Robert Merritt As Told To Douglas Caddy, Original Attorney for the Watergate Seven.” Anyone reading it cannot escape the conclusion that but for Merritt, there would have been no Watergate scandal.

The manuscript, portions of which have been posted in the Watergate and JFK Assassination topics of the Education Forum, is an accurate portrayal of Merritt’s unique and painful life, which is almost as mindboggling as the scandal itself.

With our 18-month collaboration accomplished, I have decided to step back and attempt to view Merritt objectively and what he had to tell.

In his affidavit of December 31, 2009, posted on the Education Forum on January 1, 2010, Merritt describes some of the cruel and vicious activities he enthusiastically engaged in as a Confidential Informant (CI). These began in 1970 under the direction of Detective Carl Shoffler of the Washington Metropolitan Police (MPD), who was to gain fame later as the officer that arrested the Watergate burglars.


As graphic and shocking as these activities are, they are not inclusive. Many more illegal and dirty activities that Merritt willingly engaged in are described in greater detail in the book manuscript. To give only one example: At one point Shoffler gave Merritt a list of 30 persons who worked in corporations and U.S. Government agencies along with a telephone number next to their name. The phone number was that of the person’s employer, in most cases the agency’s security office. Over a period of several days, with Shoffler at his side, Merritt used a pay phone in Peoples Drug Store near Dupont Circle to call the numbers. In reference to the targeted individual he would say either “You should be aware that Mr. X is a homosexual” or “You should be aware that Mr. X is a national security risk.” That was all it took to get the innocent person fired from his job. In the case of one man who had merely crossed Shoffler’s path in some way, the individual lost his job, his home, his wife and his children. The man was vice president of the Hecht Department Store in Washington, D.C. In addition to stating falsely that he was gay, Shoffler ordered Merritt to assert the falsehood that the man was embezzling funds from the company.

While my name was not on that particular list, I, too, was targeted. In his affidavit of July 29, 2009, posted on the Education Forum on July 30, 2009, Merritt recounts how Shoffler, FBI agents and CIA agents attempted to recruit him to compromise me and, in one instance, to have me killed.


Merritt is not a late bloomer in telling his story about Watergate. All any researcher or investigator had to do was to follow up on his statements to the media while the scandal was evolving. For example, Merritt in an interview in the Daily Rag of October 5-12, 1973, an alternative newspaper then published in Washington, D.C., is quoted:

“In June 1972, a few days after the Watergate break-in and arrests MPD Intelligence Shoffler and Leaper approached me to get me to do one last job. They said it was the most important thing that I had ever done and it was for my country…

“They wanted me to get close to Douglas Caddy [the attorney for the burglars caught inside the Watergate], who was alleged to be gay. They wanted me to get to know him socially, sexually or any other way. They said he had been born in Cuba, that he liked Cubans and was associated with communist causes.

“Sgts. Shoffler and Leaper were among the arresting officers of the burglars inside Watergate, and one of the first witnesses before the Senate Watergate Committee, Leaper testified second, and Shoffler third, I think.

“When Leaper was on the stand, I saw him on television – he was asked one question at the end of his testimony, ‘have there been any attempts at further investigation of the break-in?’ He answered ‘no.’ That was not true.”

In another interview, one that Merritt gave to The Advocate, a national gay newspaper, in its issue of March 9, 1977, he again discussed how Shoffler and Leaper attempted to enlist him to get close to me by offering him money and his response to them that even if I were gay, it would be nearly impossible for him to get to know me to seduce me. The Advocate reported that “Merritt refused the offer, but that police kept returning to him with the same request, as late as December 1972, months after the city’s police claimed to have ended their Watergate investigation.”

While Merritt turned down the pleas by MPD Sgts. Shoffler, Leaper and certain FBI and CIA agents to get close to me, he quite willingly participated in their shadowy campaign to smear me and destroy my professional reputation. In 1973 Shoffler gave him a list of half a dozen senators and congressmen involved in investigating the Watergate scandal, along with their private telephone numbers. Again, using the same pay phone in Peoples Drug Store and with Shoffler at his side, Merritt dropped a dime on me, reaching each senator or congressman on his private line and telling him that I was a homosexual.

After the Watergate cover-up broke open, Merritt met with the Watergate Special Prosecutor, the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee and even testified before an executive session of the Committee. He candidly told these investigations about how, under the direction of Shoffler, MPD and the FBI, he had engaged in illegal activities against hundreds of targeted persons and organizations starting in 1970.

According to Merritt, Senator Sam Ervin, chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee, told him after his executive session testimony: “Mr. Merritt, I believe your testimony but I am not quite certain that the American people are prepared to hear the shocking revelations that you have made.” The very next day John Dean testified before the Committee about the cover-up and as a consequence the Committee’s primary agenda shifted to removing Nixon from office. However, the Committee continued to express interest in learning more information from Merritt. At this point, Merritt’s attorney, David Isbell of Covington and Burling, refused to let Merritt testify further unless his client was granted immunity from prosecution. Such grant was not forthcoming.

The overriding reason that Merritt did not speak up was because Shoffler threatened him that if he publicly told what he knew of the origins of Watergate, he would be “publicly hung” for being a homosexual and prosecuted and incarcerated for the illegal acts he had committed as a CI, even though these were done under the direction of Shoffler, the MPD and the FBI.

Merritt met with the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s staff for over a week and then with Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and reached the decision in his mind to defy Shoffler and tell that group about the origins of Watergate. But the day after he met with Cox and before he could tell what he knew, Cox was fired as Special Prosecutor in the infamous Saturday Night Massacre and the FBI seized the files from the office of the Special Prosecutor. These dramatic events caused Merritt to decide not to disclose what he knew.

The rest is history. Nixon was forced to resign the presidency, never learning before his death that Shoffler had setup the Watergate burglars. Had Merritt spoken up, the Vietnam War might not have ended as it did, with tens of thousands of American soldiers killed and even a larger number injured physically and/or mentally. The course of world events would have been vastly different.

As serious as Shoffler’s threats were, a courageous individual would have spoken out. Whatever might have befallen Merritt had he done so paled next to the fate of American soldiers and the inhabitants of Vietnam once the war was lost.

All this being so, we should be grateful that Merritt in his twilight years has come forward to set the Watergate record straight. His story, as told in Watergate Exposed, will rewrite history. I feel privileged to have been able to participate with him in this endeavor. How often does a person get a chance to collaborate with an author on a book manuscript when that author on a prior occasion had been approached the join a conspiracy to kill the person?

Douglas Caddy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting. By "Shoffler had setup the Watergate burglars" do you mean set them up for arrest, or set them on their way - or both? And whatever the answer, my question is WHY did Shoffler do so and was he more than a police chief and either formally or informally working for some other agency[ies] or entity[ies] within the government of American Oligarchy?

Carl Shoffler used a method of wiretap triangulation that he had learned from his prior training at the National Security Agency’s Vint Hill Farm Station in Virginia to set up the burglars for arrest.

As to why, this is covered in our forthcoming book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...