Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mid-November, 1972

My apologies; I've fallen behind on the story, what with the election and all. But it's time to get back to it.

As you may recall, the five men arrested at the break-in, Hunt, and Liddy have all been indicted and are awaiting trial. Numerous members of the White House and campaign staffs perjured themselves, coordinated by John Dean, to keep the story of rogue campaign aides intact through the election; the indicted men themselves were taken care of with cash.

After the election, however, it turns out that the hush money operation had fallen behind, and the indicted men were starting to squirm -- especially, or at least most loudly, E. Howard Hunt.  Chuck Colson makes contact with Hunt in mid-November (that's the date Fred Emery gives us; quotes below are from him), and Colson tapes the call:


Hunt: ...Commitments that were made to all of us at the onset have not been kept. And there's a great deal of unease and concern on the part of the seven defendants, and possibly, well I'm quite sure, me least of all. But there's a great deal of financial expense here that has not been covered and what we've been getting has been coming in very minor dribs and drabs. [...]

Colson: Okay. You've told me, all, all, that, that, don't tell me any more --

Hunt: Okay.

Colson: -- cause, I understand that, let me, let me just --

Hunt: -- because these people have really got to dig. This is a very long-haul thing but stakes are very, very high --

Colson [Unintelligible]

Hunt -- and I thought that you would want to know that this thing must not break apart for foolish reasons...


Hunt also mentions that he wants them to "get the goddamn thing out of the way once and for all."


Hunt: ...after all, we're protecting the guys who, who were really responsible. But not that's -- then, of course, that's a continuing requirement, but at the same time this is a two-way street.

Colson: Uh huh. Uh huh.

Hunt: And, as I said before, we think that now is the time when some moves should be made and surely your cheapest commodity available is money. These lawyers have not been paid...


Hunt then says that he's going to write a memo to Committee to Re-Elect lawyer Kenneth Parkinson, which he does -- and in which he threatens them all even more: "The Watergate bugging is only one of a number of highly illegal conspiracies engaged in by one or more of the defendants at the behest of senior White House officials..."

Colson played the tape of the Hunt/Colson conversation to John Dean, who then says he played it to Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, although they denied it.

It all held together so well through the election, but now, things are starting to break apart. There are so many people who could bring the whole thing down, so much that they're covering up.

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