Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27. 1971

Nixon is still pushing the staff hard for results on leaks, on smearing the Democrats, on the Jews, and on Ellsberg. It's the latter that's about to push things well, well, over the line.

First, the president talks to his Chief of Staff, Bob Haldeman:

President Nixon: Another thing we should do. I had mentioned to Ehrlichman or to you [...]I want to have the group in here now to get for me personally, particularly, the documents concerning the Bay of Pigs -- ...the Bay of Pigs, the U.N. confrontation, Berlin, the whole business of the Johnson and Kennedy administrations [...] In other words, make studies like that, Bob, like they make in the Pentagon Papers but I want to get those documents, you see. I'm supposed to have access to them, the bombing halt. Well, that's a good example of it. Now will you take the thing --

Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: You tell, I guess, Krogh is the man or somebody over there that that's an assignment that is to be given. I will expect that to be followed out so that that's in mind. I don't see it in my file or any --

So the President is well aware that the Plumbers exist, and he's giving them assignments through, apparently, both Haldeman and Ehrlichman, at least. And what are the Plumbers up to? Ellsberg. They're still trying to get more information about him. Remember, they tried through the FBI, but Ellsberg's psychiatrist had refused to talk. So try again. Indeed, on that same day, July 27, Plumber David Young wrote a memo to Ehrlichman that they had asked the CIA for a complete psychological profile on Ellsberg. But the CIA wasn't enthusiastic at all about doing it, and the next several days were spent, in part, in pushing the CIA for results.

Meanwhile, the next day, July 28, Howard Hunt sent a memo to Chuck Colson called "Neutralization of Ellsberg." It listed various people to interview, in order to get information to "destroy his public image and credibility."

And among the action items was:

"Obtain Ellsberg's files from his psychiatric analyst."

And so it started. More on that one, soon.

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