Saturday, July 7, 2012

July 6, 1972

Haldeman's diary:


The P and I then met for a couple of hours with E afterward. Got into the Watergate caper problem. Walters apparently has finked out and spilled the beans to Pat Gray, which complicates the issue substantially.


Nixon, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman are all in California, at San Clemente, for a while now, so no tapes for a couple of weeks. The big news of the day, however, was in Haldeman's diary: the CIA plan had come completely undone. Both sides were in revolt. At the CIA, Vernon Walters was fed up with his part of it. And continued CIA involvement was going to be necessary to make this version of the cover-up work, because Pat Gray can't keep a lid on the FBI. Mark Felt -- who of course was to become famous decades later when it was revealed that he was Bob Woodward's secret source -- told Gray that the investigation had to move forward unless there was explicit, written instructions from the CIA that there were good national security reasons to squash it.

So Walters and Gray met on July 6, and Walters not only refused, but told Gray about Haldeman and Ehrlichman's intervention.

Gray then took a call from the president, and reported to back to Walters, who wrote a memo of the call:


Gray [told the president] that the case could not be covered up and it would lead quite high and he felt the President should get rid of the people that were involved. Any attempt to involve the FBI and the CIA in this case could only prove a mortal wound (he used my words) and would achieve nothing...Later that day Gray talked to Dean and relayed the conversation to him...Dean had said "okay."


Meanwhile, another loose thread was out there and should have been dangerous to them, but wasn't, at least yet. Al Baldwin on July 5 turned himself over to the prosecutors, agreeing to testify in return for not being charged at all. With Baldwin talking, the prosecution was now certain to include both Hunt and Liddy, in addition of course to the five men caught at the Watergate. But the prosecutors didn't press Baldwin for anything beyond that. That the cover-up couldn't protect Hunt and Liddy was a real problem, but that's the story that they're going to settle on, and so far they're selling it successfully.

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