Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 2, 1973

President Nixon and Chuck Colson are talking about a plan to mess with the Washington Post; I'm going to just excerpt the relevant bits, which have a wonderful den of thieves flavor about them.


President Nixon: Let's face it. The only thing in my view, the main thing that was unfortunate from the standpoint of the presidency on the Watergate was the Segretti business, and Haldeman slipped a bit in here, ... he shouldn't have had, say Chapin, working on the damn thing. My point is that's too Goddamn close. You know what I mean? That kind of operation should be on the outside.

Colson: Three steps removed. And we know that.

President Nixon: We know that. You see, the point is by having Chapin in we had a White House man, a White House man, directly involved in a political operation, Chuck. You get the point? Don't you agree?

Colson: Oh, absolutely. I totally agree.
Colson: The only thing is this -- I did a hell of lot of thing on the outside...and you never read about it. The things you read about were the things I didn't do [laughter], Watergate and Segretti. I had nothing to do with it...

President Nixon. I see your point, by yourself. I just want it done. You know, let's do it.

Colson: Oh, it'll be done.

President Nixon: [New RNC Chair George H.W.] Bush will never do it. He'll do positive things, but that's all.

Colson: But the key to it, if I may say so, is to be damn sure that the things you do are done in such a way that they don't bounce back. In other words, the Watergate was -- whoever finally approved that, and I don't know who it was and I don't want to know, was just plain stupid, Mr. President. I would never -- if I'd have known of that then, I would have fallen down in the doorway to block somebody from doing it, because it was inevitable you get caught. You can't put five men into that Goddamn building without getting caught.[...]

Colson: The mistake of the Watergate was whoever said do it.[...] Segretti, in a way the same thing. The only way you can handle Segretti is somebody far removed from us sets it up, and that you can do. That person just came in too close. But my God.

President Nixon: Particularly with Segretti and the committee. It was a mistake to have it financed out of...[Herbert] Kalmbach. It was very close to me.

Colson: Which was unnecessary...You see, I did things out of Boston, we did some blackmail and you say, my God. I'll go to my grave before I ever disclose it, but we did a hell of a lot of things and never got caught...


We're in a sort of odd time now. The story has become bigger in the newspapers, and they've been putting out (or trying to) fires with regard to the men involved directly in the break-in, but nothing has really cracked yet. The trial is about to being, however, in just a few days, and the possibility that it could all blow open is surely obvious to them all -- to which they respond by blaming each other for it. As I said, den of thieves, all ready at the drop of a hat to turn against each other.

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