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G. Gordon Liddy, Mastermind Behind Watergate Burglary, Dies at 90


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G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, Va. He was 90.

His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.

Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.

As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.

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Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.

Never carried out? Oh please.

Liddy would never admit to any dastardly deeds he did carry out. Even if they were exposed. How naive to think Liddy didn't pull off many nefarious political dirty jobs. 

Who knows what the guy may have done in this area? Even murder wouldn't shock me. Liddy would do "anything " in the spirit of being a loyal soldier to those whom he considered the ultimate American patriots.

And Liddy bragged how he would lie profusely if he thought the patriotic "cause" demanded this.

E. Howard Hunt was " weakly" asked by his son's godfather William F. Buckley if he ( Hunt ) had participated in other nefarious political dirty trick acts and Hunt's eyes shifted and he hemmed. 

Buckley quickly dropped the subject.

Hunt, Liddy, McCord, etal.

They wouldn't have been chosen and greenlighted to do the Watergate caper if they had a track record of failure in the dark world of illegal political subterfuge.

These guys were extremely experienced "experts" in their field of nefarious political dirty deeds. And how do you earn the title of expert?  By doing these things successfully.

If we only knew the full extent of all the capers they were apart of.

Most would probably not believe the full file truth. IMO.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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I read a piece penned by/with burglar Eugenio Martinez that was published in Vanity Fair in 1974.

That piece has some details about Liddy and Hunt in it, details which are at once inconsequential, comical, and unforgettable. I can't begin to understand this, but it made me laugh when I first read it:

"By that time Liddy, whom we had known as George from the Fielding break-in, was taking a visible role in the planning. Eduardo had started calling him “Daddy,” and the two men seemed almost inseparable."

...

"Liddy was already in the room when Eduardo came in to give the briefing. Eduardo was wearing loafers and black pants with white stripes. They were very shiny. Liddy was not happy with those pants. He criticized them in front of us and he told Eduardo to go change them.

So Eduardo went and changed his pants." 

Imagine a scene in Oliver Stone's film Nixon ... tense strings and atmospheric music, black and white. The burglars are meeting in a dimly lit apartment, going over plans. A conspiracy is afoot. Then, Liddy starts screaming at Hunt over his pants, demanding that Hunt change them. Fast-camera cut: Hunt in the other room, pulling on a new pair of pants, then returning to the coffee table to speak to the conspirators of their dark plan.

It's comical, in part, because of how absurd it is. 

Here is Martinez's account of the burglary from Vanity Fair:

https://watergate.info/burglary/eugenio-martinez-account-of-watergate-burglary

Edited by Richard Booth
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20 hours ago, Richard Booth said:

I read a piece penned by/with burglar Eugenio Martinez that was published in Vanity Fair in 1974.

That piece has some details about Liddy and Hunt in it, details which are at once inconsequential, comical, and unforgettable. I can't begin to understand this, but it made me laugh when I first read it:

"By that time Liddy, whom we had known as George from the Fielding break-in, was taking a visible role in the planning. Eduardo had started calling him “Daddy,” and the two men seemed almost inseparable."

...

"Liddy was already in the room when Eduardo came in to give the briefing. Eduardo was wearing loafers and black pants with white stripes. They were very shiny. Liddy was not happy with those pants. He criticized them in front of us and he told Eduardo to go change them.

So Eduardo went and changed his pants." 

Imagine a scene in Oliver Stone's film Nixon ... tense strings and atmospheric music, black and white. The burglars are meeting in a dimly lit apartment, going over plans. A conspiracy is afoot. Then, Liddy starts screaming at Hunt over his pants, demanding that Hunt change them. Fast-camera cut: Hunt in the other room, pulling on a new pair of pants, then returning to the coffee table to speak to the conspirators of their dark plan.

It's comical, in part, because of how absurd it is. 

Here is Martinez's account of the burglary from Vanity Fair:

https://watergate.info/burglary/eugenio-martinez-account-of-watergate-burglary

This article is extremely interesting. Surprised it was allowed to be published.

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1 hour ago, Chris Barnard said:

One of the funny things is that we have all these people running around the earth that believe in Karma.
Another villain living to a ripe old age.... 
 

 

At one point, Buckley cites Liddy's "personal heroism." ?

Buckley is Buckley light in this interview. 

Not his usual aggressively sharp tongued sarcastic and antagonistic combativeness with condescending offended raised eyebrow theatrics and hard hitting even insulting insinuations like he leveled at so many other show guests whom he thought were of the "left."

In this debate/interview Buckley is notably subdued ( soft spoken, no outraged face making, no sarcastic analogy jokes ) just like he was with E.Howard Hunt.

My sense is that Buckley protects those whom he considers true patriots by pulling back on his usual hard probing, attacking and insulting barb punches,

Kid glove stuff?

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20 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

At one point, Buckley cites Liddy's "personal heroism." ?

Buckley is Buckley light in this interview. 

Not his usual aggressively sharp tongued sarcastic and antagonistic combativeness with condescending offended raised eyebrow theatrics and hard hitting even insulting insinuations like he leveled at so many other show guests whom he thought were of the "left."

In this debate/interview Buckley is notably subdued ( soft spoken, no outraged face making, no sarcastic analogy jokes ) just like he was with E.Howard Hunt.

My sense is that Buckley protects those whom he considers true patriots by pulling back on his usual hard probing, attacking and insulting barb punches,

Kid glove stuff?

He's Buckley "High-5, CIA mates, good pal Buckley" in this interview. It's the same on the E.Howard Hunt one. 

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2 minutes ago, James DiEugenio said:

Gordon Liddy was really a dupe at the last Watergate break in.

He was being duped by McCord and Hunt.

And he never wanted to admit it.

https://kennedysandking.com/obituaries/the-mysterious-life-and-death-of-james-w-mccord

Agree. I think he realized it, though, and what accounts for him having kept his mouth shut was his realization of who was behind the whole thing. He was not about to go to war with people who trace back to Richard Helms. 

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Reading that article, McCord kinda stuck out to me as a possible saboteur. If this was a setup as many feel it was. If I'm remembering correctly McCord was the one who convinced them not to abort the mission after the initial tape had been removed. He was the one who said he had removed the tape the last time when he had not. Once they were discovered he was trying to tell them it was ok, nothing was out of the ordinary. He seems to be the obvious fishy one in this scenario to me.

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That is true as far as the break in goes.

But it was Hunt who recruited the Cubans, and then did not secure any of their possessions.  And that included an address book with Hunt's number and name at the White House.

And then there is Carl Schoffler, who I left out of that article.  In Jim Hougan's book, he titles his appendix  about Schoffler, "If I was a jury I'd convict me."  And that was Carl saying that.

And i agree with Richard.  Liddy had to have figured this out some time after. 

Edited by James DiEugenio
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At the first Watergate trial, which took place in January 1973, I was a voluntary witness for the two  defendants, Liddy and McCord. I was an involuntary witness for the prosecution. Hunt and the four Cuban-Americans had already pleaded guilty at the start of the trial. On the witness stand Earl Silbert, the prosecutor, elicited testimony from me about a meeting that I had with Liddy at his request in the office of the law firm where I worked that took place on the the Saturday one week after the arrests of the five burglars on June 17, 1972. Our conversation at that meeting was protected by the attorney-client privilege and for that reason what Liddy told me was not disclosed at the trial. Liddy was the Mastermind of the burglary at Watergate.

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Doug,

Yes we know that much since he was the guy presenting the plans to the WH and the AG.

But no one I know thinks he was aware of what McCord and Hunt were up to.

There is no way you will convince me that two veteran CIA agents could do what they did except if it was deliberate.

I am sure you have read Hougan's book, which I still think is the best ever on the subject.  

 

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Hougan never bothered to interview me while he was writing his book. It is the best book on Watergate as far as it goes and I recommend it highly. However, don't forget he ultimately cleared  Shoffler. 

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