Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, 1971

This is the kind of White House that President Richard Nixon was running. Want to impress the president? John Ehrlichman sure does:

Ehrlichman: There's a lot of hanky-panky with secret documents and on the eve of the publication of the Pentagon Papers those three guys [Paul Nitze, Morton Halperin, Leslie Gelb] made a deposit into the National Archives under an agreement of a whole lot of papers. Now I'm going to steal those documents out of the National Archives.

President Nixon: You can do that, you know.

Ehrlichman: Photograph them and find out what the hell is there.

President Nixon: How do you do that?

Ehrlichman: Well, through [GAO Administrator Robert] Kunzig I can do that. He can send the Archivist out of town for a while and we can get in there and he will photograph and he'll reseal them.

President Nixon: There are ways to do that?

Ehrlichman: Yeah. And nobody can tell we've been in there.

Of course, the context of all of this is that they've just done the first Plumbers break-in, which Ehrlichman authorized and Nixon may or may not know about, but really it's pretty obvious that in their minds this kind of thing is basically how they intend to go about their business. It's also worth noting that two days earlier Ehrlichman had referred to the Fielding break-in as something "better that you don't know about," but here he has no such hesitation. Because this isn't (in his mind at least) criminal? Because he realizes now that Nixon wants this sort of thing? Because what Nixon shouldn't know wasn't about the break in, but about the various ways that it went wrong? I have no idea; I'm just speculating from the text.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?