Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2, 1973

At this point, the morning newspapers are just full of revelations and accusations; the Times today has stories about the Ellsberg trial, where it's been revealed that Ehrlichman met with Judge Byrne in April to offer him a job, and about the details of the Fielding break-in. I love this one: on the plane to California, Liddy and Hunt were traveling under assumed names, presumably to cover their tracks. A flight attendant from that plane now says that she had talked to Hunt, who later sent her a book (presumably one of his? the story doesn't say) -- signing the accompanying note with his alias. On White House stationery.

By now, many of the basic facts of the Watergate operation, other Nixon campaign operations, and the plumbers have become public, although many in garbled for, exaggerated, or with important pieces left out.

The big story in the Times, by Seymour Hersh, reports on the cover-up -- it's a good indication of where they were at this point. Hirsch has the cover-up organized by Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell, and also names Magruder, LaRue, and Dean as key players.


The cover-up was formulated during some secret meetings held at the re-election headquarters here [Washington] in late June, according to investigators.

The basic scheme was said to have called for all of those involved in the operation to deny any knowledge of it, and for the re-election committee to issue statements to that effect. In essence, investigators said, everyone involved in the operation repeatedly lied to federal investigators, prosecutors, other White House officials, and finally, to President Nixon


So close!

In the White House, Nixon met with John Ehrlichman for the last time. Nixon, in Ehrlichman's version (via Ambrose), is acting suspicious, leading Ehrlichman to believe the conversation might be being taped. Nixon says, for example: "In March I learned some things [such as the Fielding break-in]. I acted instantly. I said to Kleindienst and Petersen: 'By all means, get it to the prosecutor or Dean will hold it over your head.' As soon as it came to my attention -- that's the important point -- it was relayed to California."

Ehrlichman knows that's not true, and challenges him, but Nixon changes the subject. Ehrlichman then pleads to Nixon that former plumber Egil Krogh, who now is in the Department of Transportation but will soon have to resign, should not go to jail for the Fielding break-in, and Nixon, in Ehrlichman's telling, agrees to a pardon.

Then it's Haldeman's turn, in his last Oval Office meeting with Nixon. Haldeman now tells the president that his new Chief of Staff should be Alexander Haig, Kissinger's old assistant. Nixon agrees. And so Al Haig now enters the picture.


  1. Oooh, can i get inside historical baseball and point out that Al Haig is as an interesting character as some of the folks we've met so far?

    Early on Haig was a junior staff officer under MacArthur and then served under General Edward Almond, who was controversial to say the least. Anyway read this if you want to know where Haig is coming from:

  2. Typo: Seymour Hersh, not Hirsh.


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