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Poll: Watergate was a CIA plot to depose Nixon.


Mark Gorton
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  • 2 weeks later...

The reason I voted the way I did is that I think Military Intelligence played a greater role in deposing Nixon than did the CIA. Washington, D.C. police detective Carl Shoffler who arrested the burglars was a Military Intelligence agent assigned to the D.C. police department. He had prior knowledge of the planned break-in at Watergate on June 17, 1972.

Howard Hunt was a CIA agent and at least two of the arrested burglars had long-standing connections to the CIA. The CIA hierarchy was well aware of Hunt's activities prior to the arrests at Watergate. The CIA was drastically and negatively affected by the fallout of the Watergate scandal while the Military escaped basically unscathed.

The dictionary defines "depose" as: to remove from high office." I believe the Watergate break-in operation was primarily a CIA operation. I do not believe its intent was to remove President Nixon from the presidency. I do believe Shoffler's intent was to remove Nixon from office and that he had shared his prior knowledge of the planned break-in with his superiors in the Military and that a decision adverse to Nixon had been reached.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Douglas,

Thanks for voting. I have not studied the boundaries or links between military intelligence and the CIA as regards Watergate, and at times I use the term CIA to refer to the entire intelligence complex. Particularly when dealing with unofficial, off the books operations, a lot of operations are done by an informal network of current/former military/intelligence people who move around within organizations. I consider George HW Bush to be a senior if not THE senior person in the CIA watergate hierarchy; however, Bush was most likely not a CIA employee during the Nixon years; however, he remained part of unofficial CIA old-boys network which really ran things.

I have a hard time understanding the boundaries and linkages between the CIA, DIA, ONI and other military intelligence agencies. At times they seem to act in unison, and at other times, they are somewhat independent.

It seems like you agree that Nixon was deposed by the intelligence complex. Can you suggest a better phrasing of the question which might better include your viewpoint?? And what are some other Military Intelligence links to Watergate?

Best Regards,

Mark

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Douglas,

Thanks for voting. I have not studied the boundaries or links between military intelligence and the CIA as regards Watergate, and at times I use the term CIA to refer to the entire intelligence complex. Particularly when dealing with unofficial, off the books operations, a lot of operations are done by an informal network of current/former military/intelligence people who move around within organizations. I consider George HW Bush to be a senior if not THE senior person in the CIA watergate hierarchy; however, Bush was most likely not a CIA employee during the Nixon years; however, he remained part of unofficial CIA old-boys network which really ran things.

I have a hard time understanding the boundaries and linkages between the CIA, DIA, ONI and other military intelligence agencies. At times they seem to act in unison, and at other times, they are somewhat independent.

It seems like you agree that Nixon was deposed by the intelligence complex. Can you suggest a better phrasing of the question which might better include your viewpoint?? And what are some other Military Intelligence links to Watergate?

Best Regards,

Mark

This is a complex issue.

Both the CIA and Military Intelligence had separate secret operations inside the White House that essentially monitored everything Nixon said or did.

The Watergate break-in was a CIA operation. However, Military Intelligence possessed prior knowledge of the planned break-in. This was because Carl Shoffler, the D.C. detective who arrested the burglars at Watergate, was a Military Intelligence agent assigned to the D.C. police. He had learned of the planned break-in weeks before it took place.

The CIA had its own file on the role of Military Intelligence inside the White House and in Watergate.

Military Intelligence undertook an operation to steal this key CIA file that was successful.

This prevented the real role of Military Intelligence in Nixon being deposed from ever becoming part of the public record.

Some of this is explained in the link below:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=17579

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Douglas,

If I were to change the text of the poll to say, "Watergate was a plot by elements of the US intelligence community to depose Nixon", would the way you vote on the poll be much different. It is my feeling that in general, we agree on the basic outline of what transpired with Watergate, so I want to see there is phrasing for the poll that allows us to find common ground.

Best Regards,

Mark

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9 months later Saigon fell. When was it acknowledged that losing the war was inevitable?

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Douglas,

If I were to change the text of the poll to say, "Watergate was a plot by elements of the US intelligence community to depose Nixon", would the way you vote on the poll be much different. It is my feeling that in general, we agree on the basic outline of what transpired with Watergate, so I want to see there is phrasing for the poll that allows us to find common ground.

Best Regards,

Mark

As I wrote earlier, I do not believe that those involved directly in executing the Watergate break-in (Liddy, Hunt, McCord and the four Cuban-Americans) had as their goal the deposing of Nixon, although the hierarchy of the CIA was well aware at the time of Hunt's activities leading up to the break-in and of those of other members on the break-in team who had close ties to the CIA.

So in my opinion one has to separate the plot to break-in at Watergate from the plot of expose the planned break-in at Watergate that culminated with the arrests of the five burglars.

The plot to expose the planned break-in at Watergate, which culminated with the arrests of the five burglars, was devised and orchestrated by Military Intelligence whose intent was to depose Nixon. Washington, D.C. police officer, Carl Shoffler, who arrested the burglars, had obtained advance knowledge of the break-in. He was a Military Intelligence agent assigned to the Washington, D.C. police who prior to the break-in had as his primary task the monitoring of anti-Vietnam War protesters.

It might be validly asserted that the successful plot to remove JFK from the presidency through assassination was a CIA executed plot while the successful plot to remove Nixon from the presidency through the Watergate scandal was a Military Intelligence executed plot.

Pertinent to all this is a prescient column that Arthur Krock wrote in The New York Times six weeks before the assassination of Kennedy:

The New York Times, October 3, 1963

"The Intra-Administration War in Vietnam"

by Arthur Krock

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 The Central Intelligence Agency is getting a very bad press in dispatches from Vietnam to American newspapers and in articles originating in Washington. Like the Supreme Court when under fire, the CIA cannot defend itself in public retorts to criticisms of its activities as they occur. But, unlike the Supreme Court, the CIA has no open record of its activities on which the public can base a judgment of the validity of the criticisms. Also, the agency is precluded from using the indirect defensive tactic which is constantly employed by all other Government units under critical fire.

This tactic is to give information to the press, under a seal of confidence, that challenges or rebuts the critics. But the CIA cannot father such inspired articles, because to do so would require some disclosure of its activities. And not only does the effectiveness of the agency depend on the secrecy of its operations. Every President since the C. I. A. was created has protected this secrecy from claimants Congress or the public through the press, for examples of the right to share any part of it.

With High Frequency

This Presidential policy has not, however, always restrained other executive units from going confidentially to the press with attacks on CIA operations in their common field of responsibility. And usually it has been possible to deduce these operational details from the nature of the attacks. But the peak of the practice has recently been reached in Vietnam and in Washington. This is revealed almost every day now in dispatches from reporters in close touch with intra-Administration critics of the CIA with excellent reputations for reliability.

One reporter in this category is Richard Starnes of the Scripps-Howard newspapers. Today, under a Saigon dateline, he related that, "according to a high United States source here, twice the CIA flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Herny Cabot Lodge [and] in one instance frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought from Washington because the agency disagreed with it."

Among the views attributed to United States officials on the scene, including one described as a "very high American official who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy" are the following:

The CIA's growth was "LIKENED TO A MALIGNANCY" which the very high official was not sure even the White House could control "ANY LONGER." "If the United States ever experiences an attempt at a coup to overthrow the Government, it will come from the CIA and not the Pentagon". The Agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone".

Disorderly Government

Whatever else these passages disclose, they most certainly establish that representatives of other executive branches have expanded their war against the CIA from the inner government councils to the American people via the press. And published simultaneously are details of the agency's operations in Vietnam that can come only from the same critical official sources. This is disorderly government. And the longer the President tolerates it the period already is considerable the greater will grow its potential of hampering the real war against the Vietcong and the impression of a very indecisive Administration in Washington.

The CIA may be guilty as charged. Since it cannot, or at any rate will not, openly defend its record in Vietnam, or defend it by the same confidential press "briefings" employed by its critics, the public is not in a position to judge. Nor is this department, which sought and failed to get even the outlines of the agency's case in rebuttal. But Mr. Kennedy will have to make judgment if the spectacle of war within the Executive branch is to be ended and the effective functioning of the CIA preserved. And when he makes this judgment, hopefully he also will make it public, as the appraisal of fault on which it is based.

Doubtless recommendations as to what his judgment should be were made to him today by Secretary of Defense McNamara and General Taylor on their return from their fact-finding expedition into the embattled official jungle in Saigon.

Edited by Douglas Caddy
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Douglas,

If I were to change the text of the poll to say, "Watergate was a plot by elements of the US intelligence community to depose Nixon", would the way you vote on the poll be much different. It is my feeling that in general, we agree on the basic outline of what transpired with Watergate, so I want to see there is phrasing for the poll that allows us to find common ground.

Best Regards,

Mark

Mark

It was never my intention that your poll would take the detour as it has. I guess the lesson for all of us is the same one that is faced by professional pollsters, which is that the poll question must be cafefully crafted so as not to be open to interpretation. This is a difficult task. I have attempted to frame below the initial questions that I would ask about Watergate and even I am not certain that these meet the criterion of being carefully crafted so as not be open to interpretation. But for what it is worth, here they are:

The Watergate break-in was a CIA plot to depose Nixon.

The Watergate scandal was a Military Intelligence plot to depose Nixon.

The Watergate break-in was ordered by Nixon.

The Watergate break-in was ordered by officials in the White House but Nixon did not have advance knowledge of it.

The real story of the Watergate break-in will never be known just as it has been said that the real story of the JFK assassination will never been known.

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Douglas,

Thanks for you suggestions for questions to poll. They are all good questions, and each gets at a different aspect of Watergate. Please feel free to put them up for a vote. It would be useful to me if other people would launch some polls of their own because that way I could get user feedback and see if there are any issues with the software. Although this discussion is a bit off from the original question I asked, it is useful to get a sense of what other people are thinking about Watergate.

The Watergate Coup was an operation that spanned beyond the intelligence community. I have a hard time defining in simple terms the whole network of people involved. Of course there are the corrupt elements of the CIA and their friends and allies. Military intelligence is also involved, but my feeling is that military intelligence is part of a larger network of intelligence agencies of which the CIA is the core. The Watergate Cabal includes politicians and the monied interests who guide much of the political agenda. I believe the primary motivating force behind the Watergate Coup is to maintain the cover-up for the JFK assassination as well as the host of other criminal activities that center around the CIA. It seems the Watergate Cabal is a much smaller bunch that the group behind the JFK assassination. The institutional mechanism of the ongoing cover up of the coup of '63 was centered in the CIA, but clearly the forces necessary to remove Nixon were larger than the CIA itself.

The Watergate Coup involved all of the following activities:

- the bugging and wiretapping of Nixon's White House

- the planting of agents loyal to the CIA in the Nixon administration

- the Townhouse Operation

- the creation of the false scandal to remove Spiro Agnew

- the generation of political pressure within the Nixon administration for Agnew to resign

- the creation of political pressure to prevent Nixon from appointing John Connelly as VP

- the Watergate break in

- the infiltration of the DC police to catch the Watergate burglars

- the placement of reporters with intelligence contacts in the media

- the manipulation of the the congressional investigation committees to bias the investigation against Nixon

- the creation of political pressure for Nixon to resign

So you can see that the operation of the Watergate Coup crosses beyond the intelligence community into their allies in the political sphere. This is really the coalition of interests that grew out of the Coup of '63. One person who had the intelligence and political network to put this operation together was George HW Bush. However, I have a hard time coming up with a very brief description of this network. I would call them the Watergate Cabal, however, this phrase is really self defining and not useful for the purpose of putting together a poll.

The seeds of the Watergate Coup go back to 1965 or 1966, before Nixon was officially a candidate for president. Given that sort of head start, the Cabal was able to embed people deeply within Nixon's campaign and ultimately his administration. The actually decision to pull the trigger seems to have come much later, probably in the 1971-72 timeframe.

Perhaps, the following is a better phrasing of the question to poll: "Watergate was a plot by elements of the US intelligence community and their political allies to depose Nixon". It has a little less punch than simply saying "the CIA", but it is more accurate.

Best Regards,

Mark

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Mark, your quote:

Perhaps, the following is a better phrasing of the question to poll: "Watergate was a plot by elements of the US intelligence community and their political allies to depose Nixon". It has a little less punch than simply saying "the CIA", but it is more accurate.

------------------------------

I think that is fine. It covers all bases.

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  • 4 years later...
On 3/4/2013 at 1:13 PM, Mark Gorton said:

Watergate was a CIA plot to depose Nixon.

True or false?

Essentially False.

My working pet-theory is that the Watergate break-in was intentionally botched. The break-in was executed by operatives who had a hand in the JFK assassination. These guys (Anti-Castro Cubans / Mob) were expecting an invasion of Cuba after the JFKA but were double-crossed by co-conspirators (Far-Right-Industrial) who had no interest in freeing Cuba and wanted the Vietnam war.

Nobody was going to get what they wanted through JFK.

The JFKA burglers showing-up at Watergate was a threat to Nixon to make the move on Cuba. They might have expected Ford to do it but the parties that were not interested in Cuba were still not on board, and launching a Cuba invasion might have been seen as a quid-pro-quo, and the association with the Dallas hit might have already been precariously close to being exposed.

The intent was to get Nixon to act, not to necessarily take him down.

Cheers,

Michael

PS. I see no poll-option on this thread.

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