Tuesday, March 6, 2018

This day in Watergate history, 1973

I'm now reading All the President's Men , and came across this section, from March 6, 1973, during the Senate confirmation hearing of Pat Gray to head up the FBI.
...Gray told the Senators he was "unalterably convinced" [John] Dean had withheld nothing from Howard Hunt's safe. Almost simultaneously, the White House issued a statement asserting that Dean had turned over all its contents. (In late 1973, John Dean acknowledged that he had destroyed the notebooks, which he had found the previous January in the President's personal financial file. The White House said, "The President did not know the notebooks were in his estate file," and declined further comment.) But the matter was eclipsed by a more startling development at the hearings.

That afternoon, a group of reporters, including Woodward, filed into [an aide to US Sen. Robert Byrd]'s anteroom to pick up copies of documents Gray had supplied in answer to some of the Senator's earlier questions. One was headed "Interview with Herbert W. Kalmbach."

"Mr. Kalmbach said that in either August or September, 1971, he was contacted by Mr. Dwight Chapin and was informed that Capt. Donald H. Segretti was about to get out of the military service and that he may be of service to the Republican Party." It was all there. Kalmbach had admitted, in the interview, that he had paid Segretti for undercover activities, on,instructions from Chapin. In one irretrievable step, Patrick Gray had undermined the basic claim of White House innocence. In the process, he had helped establish the credibility of the Washington Post.

Segretti headed up the Ratfuckers, a group of young Republican slimeballs who pulled dirty tricks and misdirections for the Nixon campaign. And one of the biggest Ratfuckers on this group? A 19-year-old Roger Stone. THAT Roger Stone. The same Roger Stone who is BFF with Julian Assange of Wikileaks (cue Donald Trump: "I LOVE WIKILEAKS!").

The more time goes by, the more it can resemble the past.

One other line from that section of All the President's Men resonates, which comes from a Nixon campaign spokesman who rigged a TV station's poll and created fake news.
"When you're involved in an election, you do what you,can...We assumed the other side would do it also. On that assumption, we proceeded."
A McGovern campaign aide responded
"It didn't occur to us believe me. These guys are something. They assume we have the same sleazy ethics as theirs."

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