Friday, April 13, 2012

April 12, 1972

(Sorry, one day late)

G. Gordon Liddy is assembling his team for bugging his targets. He immediately makes two horrible, terrible, mistakes. The first one is about money. Checks had come in that CRP didn't want associated with the donors, either because they were illegal corporate campaign contributions or because they were from Democrats or others who didn't want it known that they were supporting the president's re-election. The plan was to convert checks into cash. How to do it? Liddy asked Howard Hunt, who asked his Cuban friends to do it. Why was that a disaster? For one thing, because US banks, as Emery tells us, were recording serial numbers of bills involved in large cash withdrawals -- in other words, the money could eventually traced back to them. But even worse, perhaps, is that the person who did it was Hunt's Havana-born friend, Bernard Barker, who as you may recall had also been involved in the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. And that, of course, is a problem because it now links the campaign to that crime. Of course, Liddy himself was a link, but it's getting more interwoven now.

The second mistake is similar. To actually handle the bugs, Liddy recruited a former CIA agent, James McCord. And where did he find McCord? It wasn't hard; McCord was the Committee to Re-Elect's chief of security. Now, again, if Liddy himself was caught doing anything, that was already going to be a huge problem. But by using Barker and McCord, Liddy made it that much worse; if anyone got caught, it was going to be at least a CRP story and perhaps a White House story. Basically, for a high-risk operation, no one was really treating it as something that could get everyone in big trouble.

Liddy, now authorized to move ahead, collected the same money from CRP treasurer Hugh Sloan that Liddy had already laundered through Barker, and on April 12 passed most of it to McCord for purchasing the equipment they would need.


  1. I'm a little unclear on something here. CReeP needed money laundered anyway, and Liddy was tasked with that, separately from what he then went to spend it on? So, if not for GEMSTONE, they would have been spending laundered money on lawn signs and stuff? Or was it GEMSTONE that led to the laundering?

    1. Sorry, didn't get to this over the weekend...

      I don't think it was all Gemstone. I think there were two parts, but I'm not quite sure of either. Incoming money: some people might not have wanted a record of a check to CRP, and in some cases CRP wouldn't want a record of a check from them. Outgoing money: beginning April 7, all expenditures by the campaign committee had to be disclosed. Obviously you wouldn't want to disclose breaking into the DNC, but you also might not want to disclose some legit spending. Converting it all to cash outside the accounting of the campaign allowed them to do that. It also may have been a good way for the WH to keep more direct control of some of the money.


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