Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 9, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
-Wednesday, May 9, 1973 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 47 Getting at the truth in Watergate Persistent scandal investigators vindicated By PETER BUCKLEY WASHINGTON (CP) Two different bodies, each with sweeping and fearsome powers, have been entrusted with get- ting at the truth behind the po- litical scandal known as the Watergate affair. One is the grand jury, the other is a special Senate com- mittee. Nothing in Canadian ju- dicial or political structures compares with either of them in purpose or methods. The 23-member grand jury currently investigating Water- gate has been sitting for weeks ill the federal court house here, listening to a parade of wit- nesses. A few blocks away on Capitol Hill is the Senate office building where chairman Sam Ervin, 78, the doughty Democrat from North Carolina, is scheduled to convene hearings later this month for his seven-man select committee on presidential cam- paign- activities. While the grand jury meets in secrecy, with the names of its witnesses and the nature of their testimony only rarely dis- closed, the Ervin committee will sit in the glare of tele- vision. Witnesses can expect their names and words to make front pages across the United States. JAIL POSSIBLE Despite their different meth- ods, both the grand jury and the Senate committee have the power to threaten balky wit- nesses with court-imposed jail sentences for refusing to testify. In each case, evidence gath- ered is turned over to the courts for prosecution. The grand jury, an historic and respected part of the Amer ican judicial system, was con- ceived as a means of protecting citizens from unjust or ma- licious prosecution by weighing evidence privately to determine whether a person must face public trial. In the past, the juries were also a prod to reluctant prose- cutors since they have consider- able independent powers. But in recent years, they have tended to be docile and critics say they have become tools of prose- on occasion, for "fishing expeditions" when the police cannot obtain evidence by other means. Grand juries were Inherited from the British legal system, although Britain and many other countries have since largely abandoned them. Their function is somewhat similar to that of a preliminary hearing or coroner's inquest in Canada. HEARSAY ACCEPTABLE Although grand-jury testi- mony is given under oath, hear- say and other evidence not ac- ceptabel in open court is allowed at a grand-jury hearing because the proceedings are se- cret. The Ervin committee's man- date is to investigate irregula- rities committed by either party during the 1972 presidential election campaign. Its focus is expected to be fixed firmly on Republican wrongdoing. Little evidence has been put forward that the Democrats were involved in shenanigans even remotely comparable to those alleged against President Nixon's re-election committee and his White House staff. However, the committee hear- ings may well spread beyond Watergate into a precedent-set- ting test of the doctrine of exec- utive privilege. Ervin, a constitutional spe- cialist, is known to be inter- ested in straightening out the question of how much immunity the president's staff and other federal employees can claim when faced with congressional inquiries. The question has never been satisfactorily resolved by the courts. Each time it has arisen in the past, Congress and the White House have worked around it. _ Former attorney general Richard Kleindienst caused an uproar in Congress and among the legal profession recently when he insisted that every past or present federal em- ployee could withhold informa- tion from Congress at the presi- dent's direction. A member of the Ervin com- mittee has mush- roomed to more than 30 lawyers and professional researchers within three exec- utive privilege could prove to be the "nitty-gritty" of the hearings. Nixon at first claimed blanket immunity for his staff, but has since backed down and ordered than to answer all questions not dealing with privileged presidential affairs. If a clash should develop be- tween the committee and its witnesses about what is "privi- the matter might end up in the Supreme Court for a ruling. JUICY SCANDALS IN U.S. HISTORY By STANLEY JOHNSON NEW YORK (AP) From George Washington to Richard Nixon, American presidents have been plagued by scandals which have led to criminal trials, suicides, unexpected res- ignations and sudden oblivion. "Watergate now joins such terms as "Teapot Dome" and "influence pedlar." The scan- dals all have involved a grab for power or for money or both. When Thomas Jefferson re- tired as secretary of state in 1793, Washington appointed Ed- mund Randolph of Virginia as his successor. Washington had just con- cluded a treaty with Britain which was violently opposed by the "French party in the United States. A certain Citizen Fauchet sent a dispatch to Paris hinting that Randolph had asked for "a few thousand dol- lars. The British captured the dis- patch, and sent it to Washington who confronted Randolph with it. That gentleman promptly re- signed. One of the most intriguing conspiracies involved Aaron Burr after Jefferson became president. While still Jefferson's vice- president, in the winter of 1804- 05, Burr approached the British minister and offered to detach newly-acquired Louisiana from the United States for plus the loan of a British naval squadron. Britain, deeply in- volved in its wars with Napo- leon, said no. WANTED TO BE EMPEROR Free of office, Burr pro- ceeded down the Ohio and Mis- sissippi rivers selling a project to conquer Mexico, make him- self emperor and set up the Louisiana territory as an inde- pendent republic. Burr was tried for treason, but acquitted on the grounds that his forces had collapsed be- fore they could damage the United States. Newspapers supporting in- cumbent federalist John Quincy Adams printed lurid, details of alleged pre-marital relations be- tween Democrat Andrew Jack- son and his wife; papers sup- porting Jackson described a bil- liard table and a chess set in- stalled in the White House by Adams as "gaming tables and gambling furniture. Jackson won. He went on to appoint one of his chief election campaign managers, Samuel Swartwout, as coilector of the port of New York, then the biggest patron- age job at presidential disposal. Swartwout stole more than ?l million. Civil War hero Gen. Ulysses j S. Grant was another victim of his appointees. His confidantes connived with such speculators as Jim Fisk and Jay Gould to corner the gold market; these men, including Vice-President Schuyler Colfax, helped the Credit Mobilier to drain the Un- ion Pacific railway of their ben- efits; Grants private secretary, Gen. Orville E. Babcock, de- frauded the government of mil- lions of dollars in whisky taxes. In the moral climate of the "Gilded none was pun- ished. MADE A FORTUNE The Republicans in 1884 nomi- nated for the presidency James Elaine who, while speaker of the House of Representatives, had made as broker for the bonds of a bankrupt rail- way. Blaine lost, not because of dishonesty, but because an ear- nest supporter called the Demo- crats the party of "Rum, Ro- manism and Rebellion and the backlash carried the election. After Warren Harding took of- fice in 1921, the key term ap- plied his administrations scan- dals was Teapot Dome. But the bribe-eased lease of that naval oil reserve to Harry Sinclair wsa only a small part of it. The "Ohio gang" moved into Washington with Harding and soon took over the government. Harry M. Daughterly, a pro- fessional lobbyist who had man- aged Hardings Senate campaign in 1914, was named attorney- general. His valet, Jess Smith, was given an office in the jus- continued on Page 48 By WILLIAM MILLINSHIP London Observer WASHINGTON Ben Brad- lee, the energetic, decisive edi- tor of the Washington Post, worries aloud these days that the paper may take an "ego trip." The sudden break in the Watergate "bugging" scandal has brought glorious vindica- tion to the Post's doggedly per- sistent coverage of what has now emerged as probably the gravest political corruption in American history. Washington takes the Post's Pulitzer Prizes for granted. Last month it won the rarer distinction of praise in a leading article in its local riv- al, the Washington Star-News (one of President Nixon's fav- orite papers) for prosecuting the Watergate case "with com- mendable zeal in the face of every obstacle which could be in their way." It was even patted on the back by the Nixon Administration's leading apologist, the columnist Joseph Alsop. "Reporters and editors should keep off the stage, says Brad- lee. But the Post is part of the drama. It's very much on- stage. On one day this week five members of its staff, including the owner, Mrs. Katharine Graham, appeared on television shows. The Post is required reading for any- one trying to follow the intri- cate twists in this extraordin- ary affair. "We decided last summer and says Bradlee, "that we should do occasional things on TV in an effort to get some company. We were alone and it was bloody lonely. We had the standard elements: brains and sources, but what other newspaper owner would have shown such The Post's reporting of Wa- tergate brought a deluge of ac- cusation from White House and Republican officials that it was indulging in "shoddy, shab- by "character as- sassination" and worse Mc- Carthyism. One of its social reporters was shut out of White House events. Telephone calls were not answered. The president pointedly gave a striking post- election interview to the Wash- ington Star-News. Post reporters were net invited to press brief- ings. More financially threaten- ing, the licences of Post-owned television stations in Florida were challenged by prominent Republicans in that state. Now, says Bradlee, "we're not gloating, vindictive or vengeful, because the story ex- ceeds that it's the most god- dam story I've ever know but it's kind of hard to take that (White House Press Secre- tary Ron) Ziegler wipes out ten months of the most virulent at- tack on the integrity of a pap- er just by saying it's all 'in- operative' Bradlee works in shirt- sleeves in a fishbowl office in a year-old building, with one window overlooking a garage roof, the other a glazed wall open to the Post's enormous, multicolored newsroom. The quiet hum there is light years from any "Front Page" excite- ment. So are the personalities of the two young reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who have been digging into the Watergate scandal every day for the past 10 months. The "Woodstein twins'1 as they are affectionately called, have desks just like any others in the middle of the newsroom. Woodward is aged 30, a gradu- ate of Yale in 1905, who spent five years in the navy, a year on a Maryland weekly paper and who joined the Post only 18 months ago. Bernstein is 29, freckle-faced with long black hair and began his career 13 years ago as a copy boy on the Washington Star. They were in luck when the Watergate case broke in June last year, because they were local police department report- ers and the arrest of five men in the Democratic headquarters looked at first like a local bur- glary. The Post put two men on the case because, says Woodward, "it was apparent on June 17 that this does not hap- pen every day there was an aroma about it." It was an extraordinary de- cision to leave the story with two young men, instead of handing it to established star reporters. But, says Bradlee, "there was never any question of taking it away from them because they did so goddam well." They have not had a day off since last June. In 300 days they have produced more than 300 stories, most of them on page one a total of well a quarter-of-a-million words. They work 14 hours a day dur- ing the week and eight to 10 hours at weekends. They retrieve all the back- ground information from their heads. They say: "We are im- mersed in the thing so totally that we know the characters, even their birthdays, better than our own families." They have no elaborate charts. Bar- ry Sussman has put in an equally solid 10 months edit- ing their stories. In their spare time (Wood- ward is unmarried; Berstein is separated) they are writing book to be published next spring. Have the investigators been investigated? "There have been some suggestions of it, but no proof at all. It's still a free country. Though there is a chilly effect, when you're de- nounced by the man who speaks for the president." Says Ben Bradlee: "I don't think we ever had a source who was a Democrat and who was not personally in favor of Nixon's re-election. 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