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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 12, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta jt inc. i_cinBMiuut HtHALU Wednesday, aepiemoer 12, 'Dirty tricks' sapping American politics Watergate jumble floods Nixon's progress B> HARRY F. ROSENTHAL WASHINGTON (AP) Early last summer Watergate began evolving from its dic- tionary meaning to President definition. "A whole series of acts that either represent or appear to repre- sent an abuse of trust Now that most major witnesses have had their say in the Senate hearings and Nixon has responded, a light glance back might help put things into focus Until June 17. 1972. Watergate was a fancy address in Washington, a place where people like the John Mitchells bought apartments with six-ligure price tags Tucked into the circular str- ing of structures is the Watergate Olfice Building. The Democratic national committee occupied the en- tire sixth floor. In the post-midnight hours ot June 17 police arrested five men inside party head- quarters. In their pockets and rooms in the adjoining Watergate Hotel were dis- covered in bills, electronic equipment, and a telephone notebook containing the number of E. Howard Hunt. HAD FALSE PAPERS The men all had falsepapers in their pockets. Their names were quickly uncovered: James McCord. security chief of the Committee for the Re- election of the President; Ber- nard Barker, Eugenio Mar- tinez. Virgilio Gonzalez and Frank Sturgis. all of Miami. By the end of that day police and the White House knew that Hunt was a former White House consultant and that a seventh man. Gordon Liddy. also was involved. Liddy had been a White House aide and was the counsel for the finance arm ot the re-election committee. Identification of three men tied so closely to the executive mansion and the campaign threw consternation into the men around the president, who feared any higher-level involvement might cost Nixon the second-term election. Liddy approached Attorney- General Richard Kleindienst to get his help lor the release of McCord and the others. He got nowhere. ATTENDED MEETINGS Presidential counsel John Dean, who heard about the break-in on his return from a trip abroad, guessed what had happened He and deputy campaign director Jeb Stuart Magruder had attended meetings on Jan. 27 and Feb. 4 at which political espionage plans were discussed. The meetings had been in former attorney-general Mitchell's office at the- justice department and the plans were Liddy's. Liddy first presented a scheme costing million and including such things as burglary and wiretapping, prostitution and the kidnapp- ing of potential campaign trouble-makers It was re- jected. A week later Liddy came back with a plan costing half as much and half as am- bitious. It was turned down. There was a third meeting March 30 in Key Biscayne. Fla The accounts differ- Magruder said Mitchell agreed to a plan that included burglary and wire- tapping of the Democratic headquarters Mitchell said he rejected it. A third man present. Frederick LaRue. said Mitchell left the decision open. BUGGED TELEPHONES In any case, the burglars had been caught with wiretapping and bugging equipment. A former FBI man. Alfred Baldwin, was found to be manning the receiving end in a motel room across from Watergate. His summaries of some 200 conversations were given to Liddy and Magruder. Whether they' went higher still is a question. Baldwin had been hired by McCord. a former Central Intelligence Agency man. The tour Miami men also had worked for the CIA. Those facts led to presiden- tial suspicions that the CIA might have been behind the in- cident. The FBI quickly traced in Barker's bank ac- count to a lawyer in Mexico City and determined it was American money sent through that route to render it un- traceable. Nixon and his top aides, H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman since resigned say they wanted to make sure the FBI investigation didn't expose any CIA operations. But top CIA of- ficials quickly determined there was no involvement. There also was the problem of Hunt's safe, still in the ex- ecutive office building. Inside were found two envelopes of fake state department cables, forged to make it apper Presi- dent John F. Kennedy had a part in the 1963 assassination ot South Vietnam's premier. Sears Save S5 Courtelle doubleknit pants that fit. No bulging waist or flabby thighs. No baggy knees or sloppy bottoms. Just a sleek, comfy flattering fit. 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Toward the end of June, Dean approached Herbert Kalmbach, then Nixon's per- sonal counsel, and told him money was needed for legal fees and support of the defen- dants' families. Kalmbach says he undertook to raise money only on assurances by Ehrlichman that the activity was proper; Ehrlichman denies saying that. While the cover-up proceeded, Nixon was renominated and overwhelmingly elected. Democrats couldn't make the break-in a winning campaign issue. The next phase began in January when Hunt and the Miami men pleaded guilty and Liddy and McCord stood trial for 16 days and were con- victed. MONEY SUPPLIED Money had been supplied from campaign funds for the defendants, dropped off in cloak-and-dagger ways by a former New York cop, Anthony Ulasewicz. Hunt's wife, a major go-between, was killed in an airliner crash Dec 8, carrying in bills. Ulasewicz, taking instruc- tions from former White House aide John Caulfield, also transmitted offers of clemency to McCord. Dean was behind the offers. The president, the only one who can make such offers, said he neither knew of nor authoriz- ed them. And Hunt apparently was increasing his demands for money. He had a wedge in that he and Liddy in September, 1971, broke into the office of psychiatric! Lewis Fielding in Beverly Hills looking for records of Pentagon Papers figure Daniel Ellsberg. Nixon said he didn't learn about the break-in until March 17 this year Dean said he told the presi- dent Hunt's demands might reach million and that Nix- on's response was that that would be no problem The president and Haldeman, who was there, deny Nixon made such a comment. ALLEGES PERJURY The cover-up began un- ravelling on March 23. when McCord came up for senten- cing. The trial judge John Sirica read a letter from the former CIA man in which he alleged perjury was com- mitted at the trial, that others were involved, that there had been pressure on the defen- dants to remain silent. Soon after. Dean and Magruder told what they knew to the grand jury. Dean said he talked to Nix- on on Feb. 27 and that the president told him Haldeman and Ehrlichman were prin- cipals in the case and he would not let them testify before the Senate committee then forming. And on March 13. Dean said, Nixon mentioned that Hunt had been offered executive clemency. On March 21, Dean said, he told the chief ex- ecutive, "that there was a cancer growing on the and named those involved. Nixon says he then ordered Dean to write a report. Dean denies it. On March 30, Nixon turned the job over to Ehrlichman. LIDDY SILENT On the day that McCord's letter was read, he went with his lawyer to the Senate com- mittee staff and started tell- ing what he knew most of it second-hand, from Liddy. Liddy has told investigators nothing. He is serving a contempt sentence for that refusal, in addition to his prison sentence of six to 20 years Then Dean and Magruder told their stories to the prosecutors. Gray admitted he destroyed the Hunt files and resigned. Haldeman and Ehrlichman quit April 30, praised by the president as "two of the finest public servants" he had ever known. Kleindienst, who had taken himself out of the investigation because so many friends were involved, also resigned April 30. Dean was fired. When the Senate hearings began on May 17. under the chairmanship of Sam Ervin Jr., a Democrat from North Carolina, that is the story that unfolded through 35 witnesses. CONVERSATIONS TAPED But there were surprises to come Alexander Butterfield revealed July 16 that Nixon had (ape-recorded every conversation in his offices and over his telephone. That set off demands by the Senate committee for the tapes of the crucial meetings that Dean testified about. The Watergate special prosecutor appointed with Nixon's consent. Archibald Cox, made a similar demand. Nixon refused and both went to court .where the constitutional issue was joined. Judge Sirica ordered Nixon to surrender the tapes but the White House said the ruling would be appealed. A memorandum was made public in which Charles Colson. a former White House aide, disclosed that a controversial anti-trust settle- ment had been discussed with Nixon. Magruder and LaRue have pleaded guilty and the grand jury is readying more in- dictments. Mitchell, former campaign treasurer Maurice Stans and two others have been indicted in New York for irregularities in campaign financing. REPORT DUE IN SPRING The Senate committee is nearing the end of its Watergate phase and is scheduled thereafter to take up "dirty tricks" and cam- paign financing. The com- mittee is supposed to make its report to the Senate by Feb. 28. The Watergate scandal un- doubtedly contributed hugely to Nixon's fall in popularity from a post-election high of 68 per cent approval to 31 per cent. And in his speech on Watergate Aug. 15, Nixon attributed a paralysis in government to the preoccupa- tion with the affair. An obsession with past mis- deeds, Nixon said, is stalling vital legislation, sapping con- fidence in America's economy, currency and foreign policy and undermin- ing critical negotiations. There the matter stands 15 months after the break-in It is a confusing jumble of lies and half-truths. It is as if the gate was open- ed to let the flood tide in Troop cuts urged WASHINGTON (Reuter) The senate armed services committee suggested Monday that at least a seven-per-cent reduction can be made in the strength of United States sup- port troops in Europe. Even bigger cuts can be made in headquarters person- nel, the committee added in a report circulated to senators on the defence department's weapons procurement bill President Nixon, in a mes- sage Monday, criticized sena- tors, headed by Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield, who have been calling for a cut in the force of just over U S. men stationed in Europe, mainly in West Germany. The Senate committee said about 42 per cent of the American force in Europe is for administration and logistical support. A re-designed force might have more combat power with fewer total personnel than the present force, it suggested. The committee said the ac- tual American military strength in Europe in the last several years has been about men, not the that was authorized Devaluation of the U.S. dollar is increasing the cost to the United States of maintain- ing the troops in Europe and is putting a burden on the soldiers and their families who live on the European economy, the group noted It recommended substantial reductions in the force of Americans assigned to NATO headquarters, which it called excessive Attempts to pass amendments calling for reductions of American troops in Europe are likely when the committee's defence authorization bill reaches the Senate floor, probably later this month. PATIENCE REWARDED iCl'i lormiT ln-i iMiidi'il nuking InM' I Ml II lllc'l .1 hoi 111.I H'l ill "I Ill'l HIM' III' ll.lil IX'I'll M M 'I lii si i mi hmiM'll (In; I I iTIIjll'l ll IU' jll'l V li ii' --.ilil Ilic i" 'in.....i i ii id ;