Hougan''s book is excellent. It demythologizes Watergate. Front and center is the CIA. For a great overview of what actually happened, and all of the behind the scenes machinations, this book can''t be beat. I''ve read almost everything there is on Watergate--as well as...
Hougan''s book is excellent. It demythologizes Watergate. Front and center is the CIA. For a great overview of what actually happened, and all of the behind the scenes machinations, this book can''t be beat. I''ve read almost everything there is on Watergate--as well as Hearings Transcripts and White House Transcripts. This is the single best book on Watergate.
Unfortunately, as the title suggests, Hougan''s thesis is that McCord, the master spy, "shut down" E. Howard Hunt''s operation as it got too close to an on-going prostitution ring likely being used by the CIA. This was the "Secret Agenda" at play during Watergate.
Personally, I think Hougan was too close to the Spooks he had contact with, and they spun his story.
To those who want to know what Watergate was really about, I would ask you to focus on one single question: Was Daniel Ellsberg a CIA asset? If this is true, then the entire Watergate saga must be re-written. Interestingly, if you read the book "Wild Man", a biography of Ellsberg, the opening chapter gives us an entirely different version of what the burglars did when breaking into Ellsberg''s psychiatrist''s office, one at odds with what Hunt tells us happened. And, what do we find in "Wild Man"? Well, it starts out with the funeral of a heralded CIA fighter, who Ellsberg just happened to know from Vietnam. (BTW, when in Vietnam, Ellsberg was ''dating'' the daughter (journalist--a quaint and common CIA cover) of the #2 guy in the CIA.) We also find out that when Ellsberg is at trial, his co-defendant (well, not exactly a co-defendant because Ellsberg asked that their trials be separated, much to the consternation of Anthony Russo) came to court one day with a "red book". The biographer, for reasons unknown, doesn''t tell us what the book was (I happened to research it in a library, on microfiche). It turns out to be Fletcher Prouty''s "Secret Team"!! Why didn''t the author identify the book? Why didn''t he look into any possible CIA connection Ellsberg may have had. For Russo, reading Prouty''s book---wherein Prouty, the Air Force liaison to the CIA during the 50''s and early 60''s, identifies Ellsberg as a CIA asset---helped him to make sense of Ellsberg''s behavior. It should do that for all of us as well.
Just look at the time line in all of this: April 1971, the putative "Pentagon Papers" arrive at the NYT; May 1971, Hunt visits south Florida for his Bay of Pigs buddy Bernard Barker; June of 1971, the Pentagon Papers are published. June 1971, Colson hires Hunt; September 1971, Ellsberg''s psychiatrist''s office is broken into.
And why was it broken into? So that the CIA could do a "psychological profile" on Ellsberg. But, you see, if Ellsberg was a CIA asset, then so, too, was his psychiatrist. And there would have been no need whatsoever for the CIA types to break in. The real reason for the break-in was that Ellsberg would later on be let off any charges against him on the grounds that the government never informed his lawyers of the break-in. Ellsberg wasn''t going to release the papers unless he was sure he wouldn''t spend years in jail. He got his insurance policy via E. Howard Hunt.
From what I can tell, Watergate was just part of a war of survival on the part of the CIA. Hoover knew just how treacherous they were. He didn''t trust them. During the Vietnam War Years, the CIA and military intelligence--as well as Wm. Sullivan''s CoIntelPro--were infiltrating protest groups. The FBI did this somewhat legally; but MI and CIA had no authorization to be doing domestic spying. Hoover didn''t trust these agencies one bit (cf. the Huston Plan). Hoover stopped the "black bag jobs" because he wanted police agencies to know that any black bag jobs were not FBI jobs. This pulled the cover out from underneath MI and CIA. To those who are sophisticate enough, you will see that a ''smear campaign'', much like the Post''s and Times'' job on Nixon, was unleashed by the CIA (cf the Church Committee''s findings---I had to go to a Law library). The CIA used Liddy (the apparent dupe in all of this) to go after Hoover. When Nixon wouldn''t force Hoover to resign, the smear campaign started. Hoover, tough as he was, knowing who he was dealing with, was not flustered by any of this. And then.........he dies. What do you know about that!
The Pentagon Papers were let out by the CIA (they were actually National Security Council papers---it seems to me "Pentagon Papers" is a great misnomer) to point the finger at JFK and to all the dirty stuff connecting him with Liem''s assassination and the Bay of Pigs fiasco. "The Company", by Erlichman, brings this side of things out nicely.
So this was the tainted milieu within which Watergate unfolded. Per Haldeman, Nixon''s fall in Watergate happened because Nixon, after the ''72 election, had asked that EVERY federal employee resign, so that he could hire back "his own people". But, of course, the CIA had, and has, people in all parts of the government, some needing years to get into places of power. They weren''t about to let that happen. And, so, when Nixon wins the election, and makes this decision to force resignations, guess what, next thing to happen is James McCord sending a note to the White House saying that if DCI Helms were forced out, "all the trees in the forest will fall." That''s a fairly apt description of Watergate, isn''t it?
McCord then changed lawyers, and, before you know it, he''s written a note to Sirica saying that perjury had taken place. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The only book that even gets close to what really happened are Haldeman''s, "The Ends of Power", and Hougan''s. This book will sweep away all of the media nonsense we, the unsuspecting public, are force-fed by the (CIA influenced) media.