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Has anyone done any research into Robert F. Bennett, the Republican Senator for Utah?

In 1957 Bennett became a chaplain in the Army National Guard. In 1969 Bennett became chief congressional liason at the Department of Transportation. Two years later he purchased Robert R. Mullen & Co, a public relations company in Washington. Amongst his clients was Howard Hughes. It was later discovered that the company was a CIA front organization. When Hunt retired from the CIA in 1970 Richard Helms suggested he should go and work for Robert Mullen.

On 7th July, 1971, Charles Colson and John Ehrlichman appointed Hunt to the White House staff. Working under Egil Krogh and Gordon Liddy Hunt became a member of the Special Investigations Group (SIG). The group was (informally known as "the Plumbers" because their job was to stop leaks from Nixon's administration). However, Hunt continued to work for Bennett. In fact, Bennett was able to help Hunt with his work at the White House. This included telling Hunt that Hank Greenspun, had enough information on Muskie to "blow him ut of the water."

There is some evidence that Bennett was Deep Throat (I will post on this later).

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There is some evidence that Bennett was Deep Throat (I will post on this later).

____________

I think a lot of people believe Bennett was Deep Throat in spite of the new revelations re Mark Felt.

Will look forward to your post on this.

Dawn

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Robert F. Bennett has his own website. He does not mention working for Robert Mullen and Co in his biography. Nor does this information appear in his Congressional biography:

http://bennett.senate.gov/bennettinthesenate/biography.html

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodi...l?index=B000382

He can be emailed at:

http://bennett.senate.gov/contact/emailmain.html

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The irony, as I remember it, is that Colson got Bennett the Hughes account. Hughes was looking for someone new after letting O'Brien go due to O'Brien's friendship with Maheu. (According to Hughes, Maheu and his buddies--Rosselli, etc.-- had been robbing him blind.) Anyhow, after the Watergate investigation uncovered that the Mullen Co., where Hunt worked for Bennett, was in fact a CIA front, Colson sold Nixon this whole bill of goods that they'd been set-up at the Watergate by the CIA. This helped Colson cast the blame away from himself, as the break-in was his idea in order to figure out what O'Brien knew. Read the transcripts: Nixon immediately suspected Colson. Haldeman's book concludes this very thing. Bennett would never have worked for the CIA if he hadn't owned a CIA front and he would never have owned the CIA front if it weren't for Colson, nor have the Hughes account. Bennett is nothing more than Colson's patsy.

To clarify:

Colson became friends with Hunt.

Colson helped Hunt find a new owner for Mullen and Co., choosing Bennett, the son of a Republican Senator friendly to the administation.

The "Mormon Mafia" around Hughes forced Maheu out. Hughes also fired O'Brien.

Colson helped set Hughes up with Bennett, and his company.

Colson then asked Hunt, as both a Mullen employeee and CRP employee, to break into Greenspun's safe to find out what was in there. They created the cover story that it was to get Muskie-related materials. It was really to get damaging memos from Hughes to Maheu that Maheu had given Greenspun.

Colson then asked Hunt to break into the DNC to find out what O'Brien knew about Hughes' secret "loans" to Nixon via Rebozo. They figured Maheu had told O'Brien. (He hadn't.)

When the Watergate investigation revealed that Mullen and Co. was a CIA front, Colson tried to convince Nixon and everyone around him that the CIA had set him up from the beginning. This was his last pathetic attempt at avoiding responsibility for the break-in. Ultimately, it became too much for him; he cracked and found the Lord.

While Bennett is reported to have been friendly with Woodward, I don't see him as telling Woodward very much because I don't see him as knowing very much. What Bennett knew about was the Hughes connection, and he couldn't have talked much about that without alienatiing his very wealthy client.

Edited by Pat Speer
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To clarify:

Colson became friends with Hunt.

Colson helped Hunt find a new owner for Mullen and Co., choosing Bennett, the son of a Republican Senator friendly to the administation.

The "Mormon Mafia" around Hughes forced Maheu out. Hughes also fired O'Brien.

Colson helped set Hughes up with Bennett, and his company.

Colson then asked Hunt, as both a Mullen employeee and CRP employee, to break into Greenspun's safe to find out what was in there.  They created the cover story that it was to get Muskie-related materials.  It was really to get damaging memos from Hughes to Maheu that Maheu had given Greenspun.

Colson then asked Hunt to break into the DNC to find out what O'Brien knew about Hughes' secret "loans" to Nixon via Rebozo.  They figured Maheu had told O'Brien.  (He hadn't.)

When the Watergate investigation revealed that Mullen and Co. was a CIA front, Colson tried to convince Nixon and everyone around him that the CIA had set him up from the beginning.  This was his last pathetic attempt at avoiding responsibility for the break-in.  Ultimately, it became too much for him; he cracked and found the Lord.

According to Hunt (Undercover) It was Helms that arranged for him to work with Mullen & Co.

When the Watergate Scandal broke Bennett was asked several times if Mullen & Co was a CIA front. He repeatedly denied it. He later admitted he was following orders from the CIA to deny his relationship with the organization (his contact agent was Martin J. Lukoske).

Bennett was told to use his contacts in the press to argue that the CIA had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in. As he told a friend at the time: "If the press gets the feeling that I have anything to hide, they are going to go over every inch of this firm with a fine tooth comb and discover the relationship to the detriment of the U.S. government."

In 1974 the House of Representatives' Special Subcommittee on Intelligence, chaired by Lucien Nedzi, carried out an investigation entiltled 'Inquiry into the Alleged Involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Watergate and Ellsberg Matters'. Its report was classified for many years. The report points out that Bennett testified before the committee and admitted he knew that "Mullen & Co. had a contractual cover relationship with the CIA."

Bennett also admitted that it was Richard Helms who got Hunt the job with Mullen. He also testified that he knew Charles Colson as a result of working with him in a programme of dirty tricks against Dita Beard when she was threatening to expose details of the ITT antitrust scandal.

Bennett also admitted that he had advance knowledge of the Watergate break-in (he was the one who leaked this to Jack Anderson). Bennett also testified that he helped Hunt and Colson to recruit Tom Gregory to work in the dirty tricks campaign against Ed Muskie. Later Gregory worked as an undercover agent at the headquarters of the George McGovern campaign.

Bennett also told the committee that in the spring of 1973 he had a meeting with a senior CIA official. He told the official: "Bob Woodward of the Washington Post interviewed me at great length on numerous occasions. I have told Woodward everything I know about the Watergate case, except the Mullen company's tie to the CIA".

Pat suggests that Bennett did not know much about Watergate. Richard Helms of course did and was fighting for his career at this time. Is it so hard to believe that Helms used Bennett to both distance the CIA from Watergate and also to bring down Nixon?

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I didn't mean to imply that Bennett didn't know much about Watergate. He knew a heck of a lot. Gregory was a friend of his nephew's. Hunt was his employee. Bennett was a middleman to Hunt when he was on the run, etc. He knew a lot about the activities of the plumbers, and he helped CREEP hide cash donations, as I recall. Even worse, it's undisputed that he spoke to Woodward. What I meant to imply is that Bennett's contact to the White House was primarily through Hunt and that once Hunt was on the run there is no reason to believe Bennett would have access to any of the info coming out of the White House or Justice Dept. I believe Bennett was a Woodward source, but he wasn't Deep Throat.

While Helms arranged for Hunt to get the job at Mullen, Mullen sold the company shortly thereafter to Bennett. I may have the dates backwards. Anyhow, the point is that Bennett had no longstanding relationship with the CIA, and that the only reason he had any contact with the CIA was that Colson unwittingly had arranged it. Of course, Bennett may have become a Helms devotee or something and joined forces with Helms to bring Nixon down, but there's no reason to think that he would choose Helms over Nixon (or Helms over Hughes for that matter).

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While Helms arranged for Hunt to get the job at Mullen, Mullen sold the company shortly thereafter to Bennett.  I may have the dates backwards.  Anyhow, the point is that Bennett had no longstanding relationship with the CIA, and that the only reason he had any contact with the CIA was that Colson unwittingly had arranged it.  Of course, Bennett may have become a Helms devotee or something and joined forces with Helms to bring Nixon down, but there's no reason to think that he would choose Helms over Nixon (or Helms over Hughes for that matter).

The key to this mystery is the date that Robert Bennett first began working for the CIA. Robert Mullen sold the CIA fronted company to Bennett in 1971. It is unlikely that Bennett was not already a CIA asset before this date. In fact, Bennett told Lucien Nedzi's committee that he knew it was CIA front organization when he bought it.

What were his links to people like Richard Helms? Bennett later admitted that he used the press to persuade them that the CIA was not involved in Watergate. It is assumed he was telling the truth. However, is it possible that Watergate was a CIA operation in the sense that it was an attempt to get rid of Nixon.

I have argued that Deep Throat was not one man. However, what all the serious candidates for being Deep Throat had a close links with the CIA. This is except Mark Felt, who probably supplied the information that attempted to suggest that the CIA might have been involved in the break-in.

One of the main puzzles is why Deep Throat has not come forward to claim his reward for being the man who saved America from Richard Nixon’s corruption. Woodward has argued that the reason Deep Throat did not come forward is because “his post-Watergate public persona is so different from the persona of Deep Throat”. This of course does not apply to Mark Felt. It does however apply to Bennett. After all, he went on to become a Republican senator. I am not sure how popular he would be in the party if it emerged he was the one responsible for exposing Republican corruption.

Anyway, here are a few quotations you might find interesting.

(1) Robert F. Bennett, testimony before House of Representatives' Special Subcommittee on Intelligence (1974)

Hunt said: "They have nothing on me. I was nowhere near that place that night." He told me that the purpose of the (Watergate) team was to photograph documents. He said that this was not the first time they had been in the Democratic National Committee, that they-the ubiquitous term, and he never gave me names - but that they were so titillated by what the team had found the first time, they had sent them back for more.

(2) Robert F. Bennett, testimony before House of Representatives' Special Subcommittee on Intelligence (1974)

To impress the point upon him (the senior CIA official), I enumerated some of the more significant interviews to which I had been a part: "Bob Woodward of the Washington Post interviewed me at great length on... numerous occasions. I have told Woodward everything I know about the Watergate case, except the Mullen company's tie to the CIA. I never mentioned that to him. It has never appeared in any Washington Post story." I pointed this out to (the CIA official). I said, "As a result, I am a good friend of Woodward." I told him I considered mvself a friend of Woodward; that as a result of our conversations, Woodward had some stories.

(3) Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda (1984)

On July 10, less than a month after the Watergate arrests, Bennett met with his CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, in a downtown Washington cafeteria. At that meeting, memorialized by Lukoskie in a handwritten memorandum of such sensitivity that he hand-carried it to CIA Director Helms, Bennett bragged that he had dissuaded reporters from the Post and Star from pursuing a "Seven Days in May scenario" implicating the CIA in a Watergate conspiracy. Moreover, Lukoskie wrote, "Mr. Bennett related that he has now established a 'back door entry' to the Edward Bennett Williams law firm which is representing the Democratic Party... Mr. Bennett is prepared to go this route to kill off any revelation by Ed Williams of Agency association with the Mullen firm."'

Bennett, then, was attempting to manipulate the press. That he was successful in the attempt-at least so far as he and the CIA were concerned-is established in a second memorandum, this one written almost a year later by Lukoskie's boss, Eric Eisenstadt: "Mr. Bennett said... that he has been feeding stories to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post with the understanding that there be no attribution to.. Bennett. Woodward is suitably grateful for the fine stories and by-lines which he gets and protects Bennett (and the Mullen Company)." Elsewhere in that same memo, Eisenstadt reports that Bennett spent hours persuading a Newsweek reporter that the Mullen Company "was not involved with the Watergate Affair."' In addition, the memo implies that Bennett helped to convince reporters for the Washington Star, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times that the CIA had not "instigated the Watergate affair" as the reporters seemed to suspect. As an example of Bennett's "achievements," Eisenstadt cited Bennett's inspiration of a Newsweek article entitled "Whispers about Colson" and a Washington Post story about Hunt's investigation of Senator Edward Kennedy.'

We do not know what Eisenstadt meant when he wrote that Woodward was "suitably grateful" for Bennett's help, or what the CIA official had in mind when he indicated that the reporter was "protecting" Bennett and the Mullen Company. The implication of the memo is that Woodward agreed to ignore Watergate leads that tended to incriminate the CIA in return for information that Bennett, himself a CIA agent, spoon-fed him. But is that conclusion fair? After all, it is possible that Bennett, in conversation with his CIA case officer, may have exaggerated his influence with the newspaper so as to enhance his own stature in the agency's eyes. Perhaps Bennett took credit for elisions in the Post's reports with which he had little or nothing to do. Neither Woodward nor the Post, after all, required cajoling to pursue the theory that the Nixon White House was solely responsible for the Watergate break-in and every other dirty trick. Still, the newspaper's willingness to turn a blind eye toward the CIA's involvement is disturbing. Although leaks about the Mullen Company's relationship to the CIA had been published elsewhere in Washington only a few weeks after the Watergate arrests, nearly two years passed before the Post itself reported on the subject." By then, of course, the information could have little or no impact on the scandal: the President's resignation was only a month away. Ten years later, in 1984, I asked Bob Woodward if he had agreed with Bennett to suppress the Mullen Company's links to Langley. Woodward said that he had not. He added that, on the contrary, "I think we were about the first to report it." Told that he was incorrect, Woodward became stubborn. "Are you sure?" he asked. "Have you read every story? Every story?" In fact Woodward is mistaken...

The first Washington Post reporter to explicitly identify the Mullen Company as a CIA cover, however, was neither Woodward nor Bernstein but the late Laurence Stern. In a July 2, 1974, article about Senator Baker's dissent to the Ervin committee's Final Report, Stern acknowledged the Mullen Company's CIA involvement, and made reference to the memoranda written by the CIA's Martin Lukoskie and Eric Eisenstadt. Nowhere in Stern's brief article, however, is Woodward mentioned, and neither he nor the Post's executive editor, Benjamin Bradlee, was asked to comment about the CIA's suggestion that its agent had manipulated the Post's reportage and planted stories in the press. Obviously, the Post was frightened of the subject.

Even so, Bennett must have been a valuable source. Aside from his connections to the intelligence agency, he was the employer of both Howard Hunt and Spencer Oliver, Sr. He had lobbied the White House on behalf of Hunt's consultancy there, and working with Liddy, he had helped to establish a battery of dummy commitand Liddy in the wake of the Watergate arrests; as the Lukoskie memo makes clear, he continued to share confidences with Hunt and others who were privy to the operation's secret details (Bennett, for example, knew when others did not that the DNC had been broken into during May). All in all, Bennett's record is astonishing for someone who figures only peripherally in the Post's reports and the Senate's investigation.

Indeed, Bennett's credentials as a Watergate source were so profoundly relevant that many reporters still consider him to be a leading candidate for Woodward's most important source, "Deep Throat." In fact, however, Bennett cannot have been Throat. A strict Mormon, he neither smoked nor drank (as we are told Throat did), and he was not an employee of the executive branch (as Woodward says Throat was). Bennett's task, moreover, was to steer Woodward and the Post away from leads implicating the CIA in the scandal, whereas Deep Throat had no compunction about suggesting that the CIA was involved in the affair." Finally, and most unusually, we have Woodward's word that Bennett is not Deep Throat. While the reporter's usual practice is to avoid comment when others claim to have identified his supersource, Woodward feels different about Bennett. In my interview with him, Woodward issued a "preemptive denial" that Bennett and Throat were one obviously, the Post reporter is concerned that the public should not come to believe that his best and most secret source was a CIA agent.

(4) Leonard Garment, In Search of Deep Throat (2000)

The most obvious fact about Mullen & Co.'s relationship to the CIA was that if it were revealed, the CIA would have to discontinue it, along with the financial benefits it provided to the company. That is in fact what happened not long after Watergate, when the company's cover was finally blown.

This set of mixed motives made Bennett, to my mind, even more plausible as a Deep Throat candidate. When some writer claims that Deep Throat acted because he hated Richard Nixon's Vietnam policy, the alleged motivation is murky and uncertain. But when I thought of Deep Throat acting to keep the bread and butter coming, I had found a motivation I understood.

In addition, when I thought of Bennett as Deep Throat I remembered the one positive clue that Woodward had given me. The reason Deep Throat does not come forward even after all these years, Woodward said, is that his post-Watergate public persona is so different from the persona of Deep Throat.

There could not have been a Deep Throat candidate whom this description fit better than Robert F. Bennett. After Watergate, Bennett left Washington and made his fortune. In due course, he re-entered politics - this time electoral politics in his home state of Utah. Bennett, once an obscure public relations entrepreneur, succeeded his father as senator from Utah. The younger Senator Bennett is now a figure of considerable stature within the Senate...

Bennett even had the physique attributed to Deep Throat in All the President's Men. He is extremely tall. That would explain how he could, without thinking, place a message for Woodward on a garage ledge that Woodward could not reach. Finally, Bennett was the only Deep Throat candidate on record as admitting that he had provided Woodward with unacknowledged, off-the-record information. He had access, opportunity, and motivation...

I wondered why the Bennett testimony, once declassified, had not been enough to settle the question of Deep Throat's identity once and for all. If Bennett was not literally Deep Throat, in my view at the time, he was the closest that any candidate would ever come. Bennett knew immediately about the Watergate break-in; he knew as well about the White House connections to the event, both before and after the fact. Bennett also had a powerful motive for playing the "source" card with the press: He was anxious to safeguard the existence and economic well-being of his company by protecting the secrecy of its relationship with the CIA. He had confirmed under oath that he had preserved this secret by disclosing to Woodward "everything" he knew about Watergate-which was, at the time, just about all there was to know.

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