Senator Bayh. I have heard some things floating around and I would just as soon put this to rest, did you ever interview Mrs. Mitchell?
Mr. Gray. We endeavored to interview Mrs. Mitchell, but Mr. Mitchell said that Mrs. Mitchell's stories and the things that were in the press were not so and we were not going to interview Mrs. Mitchell. There was no need to interview Mrs. Mitchell and that was that.
Senator Bayh. Is it standard operating procedure — let's fii'st say that I am amused by some of the things that ]\Irs. Mitchell says and I think that she is quite a lady, and I do not ask this to embarrass her or anybody else — but is it customary in the process of the investigation of a matter involving a \dolation of the criminal law for a husband to be able to say that the FBI cannot inter\dew his wife?
Mr. Gray. I do not know if that would be customary, but one of the things I have found in the FBI, Senator, is that the men and women of the FBI have an innate sense of courtesy, decency, and dignity, and I think that under those cu'cumstances this \yas appropriate. This man was a former Attorney General of the United States and I think we would have accorded that courtesy to any officer of the Government regardless of administration. It was just a matter of courtesy and I do not think, I cannot classify it as a normal procedure
except for individuals of that type. But generally, we advise Senators and Members of Congress when we are going into any area where they are going to have a particular interest, so it is partly that innate sense of dignity, decency, and courtesy.
Senator Bayh. Let me say that is a sort of double standard. I think you are sort of asking for trouble. If I may make an observation — well, I will not proceed with it.
In the White House that morning, Nixon meets with John Dean about Gray's offer from the previous day to allow Congressional access to FBI Watergate files. Dean has spoken to Attorney General Kleindienst about it, and Kleindienst has told Gray to back up on that offer, and to say in the future that he'll check with the Attorney General. After which Nixon, to make a point about how presidents handle investigations, literally reads to Dean from Nixon's book, Six Crises, about the Hiss case.
Nixon then gets on the phone with the Attorney General, who reports that "everything is going fine" with Gray's testimony, except that "Pat might have gone a little bit farther than I would like to have him go with respect to the availability of FBI records to the Senate..." Nixon then brings up, yes, the Hiss case again, and Kleindienst proceeds to make clear his familiarity with the case and how impressed he was at Nixon's handling of it.
Meanwhile, back at the hearing:
Senator Tunney. Mr. Gray, I have no reason in any way to doubt your integrity. I think that you have handled yourself here as a person who is speaking the truth.
But one of the reasons that I feel strongly that we ought to have Mr. Dean come down and testify to the committee, and perhaps Mr. Colson, is that I am shocked, quite frankly, at the possibility that something that you, as Director of the FBI, send to the White House could be used by White House counselors to disseminate to a man like Segretti, or possibly to someone like Dita Beard or to the ITT. It seems to me that in any procedures in which these classified documents in the FBI are sent to a White House staffer for the purposes of briefing the President, they should remain completely confidential, and the situation in which there is a possibilitv that thev are disseminated wideh^ within the White House staff or dissemmated to third parties outside the White House is terrible.
Nixon had known that he would have to fight with the Watergate Committee over whether the White House staff would have to testify. Now, suddenly, the fight is coming at an unexpected time and venue, and with (among other things) the fate of his FBI nominee possibly hanging in the balance.