One might have thought that investigators would
have nailed down something as central to any crime as the motive, but
the mystery surrounding the famous break-ins in May and June 1972
quickly turned to two other questions that went up the chain of Richard
Nixon's command: Who authorized the operation and who organized the
So, the Watergate motive was never nailed down. Nor
was the related question: Did the Republicans make any use of the
information they got from the one bug which worked between the date of
the first break-in in May and the second break-in on June 17, when five
burglars were arrested.
One reason for these lingering questions was the
illegality of the wiretaps themselves. Federal anti-wiretap laws
strictly prohibit the distribution of information obtained by illegal
bugging for reasons that include a desire to protect the privacy of the
Also, R. Spencer Oliver, whose phone was the only
one with a wiretap device that worked, has shied away from publicizing
his role as the guy whose phone was bugged in Watergate.
In 1972, Oliver ran an association of state
Democratic chairmen and later went on to a career as chief counsel of
the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He is now secretary-general for the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s parliamentary
assembly, located in Copenhagen, Denmark.
For my book,
Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq,
Oliver granted his first extensive interview on his analysis of what
Nixon’s men were after and what they might have done with it. Oliver has
concluded that Nixon’s spying may have been more successful than anyone
The following article – adapted from Secrecy &
Privilege – starts with the background of Nixon’s growing anger
against his perceived enemies who were challenging his Vietnam War
policies as he was beginning to turn to his reelection campaign.
Nixon’s obsession with his Vietnam War critics and
his insecurities about possible electoral defeat merged as Campaign 1972
grew near. Nixon searched for new ways to destroy his adversaries, the
likes of former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg, who had
leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War.
After the Pentagon Papers were published, revealing
the deceptions used to lead the United States into war, Nixon demanded a
more aggressive strategy to stop leaks.
On July 1, 1971, Nixon lectured chief of staff H.R.
Haldeman and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger about the need to
do whatever it takes, including break-ins at sites such as the Brookings
Institution where Nixon suspected incriminating information might be
found about Ellsberg.
“We’re up against an enemy, a conspiracy,” Nixon
fumed. “They’re using any means. We are going to use any means. Is that
clear? Did they get the Brookings Institute raided last night? No. Get
it done. I want it done. I want the Brookings Institute safe cleaned out
and have it cleaned out in a way that makes somebody else” responsible.
“Now, how do you fight this [Ellsberg case]?” Nixon
continued. “You can’t fight this with gentlemanly gloves … We’ll kill
these sons of bitches.”
One of Nixon’s schemes for discrediting the
Pentagon Papers release was to transform it into a spy scandal, like the
Alger Hiss case of the 1940s where Nixon made his national reputation.
He saw a role for the successor to the House Un-American Activities
Committee, the House subcommittee on internal security.
“Don’t you see what a marvelous opportunity for the
committee,” Nixon said on July 2, 1971. “They can really take this and
go. And make speeches about the spy ring. … But you know what’s going to
charge up an audience. Jesus Christ, they’ll be hanging from the
rafters… Going after all these Jews. Just find one that is a Jew, will
Under Nixon’s supervision, a Plumbers unit was
recruited, drawing from the ranks of former CIA officers and operatives.
Looking for derogatory information on Ellsberg, the Plumbers broke into
the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
The secret Plumbers unit that was used to crank
down on leaks soon merged with Nixon’s reelection strategy. The Plumbers
were reassigned from national security break-ins to searching for the
inside dope on the latest Democratic strategies and other intelligence
that could be exploited.
Three times in late May 1972, burglars working for
Richard Nixon’s reelection committee tried to enter the Democratic
National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex, an elegant new
building with curved exterior lines situated along the Potomac River.
For the Watergate burglars, the third try was the
charm. Armed with an array of burglary tools, two of the Cuban-Americans
on the team – Virgilio Gonzalez and Frank Sturgis – entered the building
through the B-2 garage level. Reaching the sixth floor where the DNC
offices were located, Gonzalez made quick work of the door lock and the
burglars were finally inside.
“The horse is in the house,” they reported over a
walkie-talkie back to team leaders across Virginia Avenue at a Howard
Johnson’s hotel. The leaders included G. Gordon Liddy, a former FBI
agent who had devised the spying plan called Gemstone, and E. Howard
Hunt, an ex-CIA officer and part-time spy novel writer.
At word that the break-in had finally succeeded,
Liddy and Hunt embraced. From a balcony at the Howard Johnson’s, James
McCord, another former CIA officer and the security chief for the
Committee to Reelect the President known as CREEP, could see the
burglars’ pencil flashlights darting around the darkened offices.
McCord, an electronics specialist, made his way
over to the Watergate and was let in by one of the Cuban burglars. Upon
reaching the DNC offices, McCord placed one tap on the phone of a
secretary of Democratic National Chairman Larry O’Brien and a second on
the phone of R. Spencer Oliver, a 34-year-old Democratic operative who
was executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen.
While some of the burglars rifled through DNC files
and photographed documents, McCord tested the bugs on the two phones.
His little pocket receiver showed that they worked.
The choice of the two phones has never been fully
explained. O’Brien’s might seem obvious since he was party chairman, but
Oliver, although an important insider in Democratic politics, didn’t
have a high profile outside of those circles.
Some aficionados of the Watergate mystery
have speculated that Oliver’s phone was chosen because his father worked
with Robert R. Mullen, whose Washington-based public relations firm had
employed Hunt. The firm also served as a CIA front in the 1960s and
early 1970s, and did work for industrialist Howard Hughes, who, in turn,
had questionable financial ties to Nixon’s brother, Donald.
Because Spencer Oliver’s father also represented
Hughes, one theory held that Nixon’s team wanted to know what derogatory
information the Democrats might possess about money to Nixon’s brother
from Hughes, evidence that might be sprung during the fall campaign.
Glow of Success
After returning to the Howard Johnson’s from the
Watergate, the burglary team’s glow of success faded fast. The Gemstone
team discovered that their receivers only could pick up conversations on
one of the phones, the tap in Oliver’s office.
Though upset about the limited information that
might flow from that single tap, the Gemstone team began transcribing
the mix of personal and professional calls by Oliver and other members
of his staff who used his phone when he wasn’t there.
One of the Gemstone operatives, Alfred Baldwin,
said he transcribed about 200 calls, including some dealing with
“political strategy,” passing the transcripts on to McCord, who gave
them to Liddy. The intercepts then went to Jeb Stuart Magruder, CREEP’s
deputy chairman who said he passed the material to reelection chairman
John Mitchell, who had quit as Nixon’s attorney general to run CREEP.
Whatever other mysteries might surround the
Watergate operation, one Gemstone goal was clear: to pick up
intelligence on Democratic strategies as part of the larger plan to
ensure that a weakened Democratic Party led by the least appealing
candidate would face President Nixon in November 1972.
How useful the material turned out to be is another
point in historical dispute. Since the intercepts violated strict
federal wiretapping statutes, the contents were never fully disclosed
and the recipients of the intercepts had both legal and political
reasons to insist that they either hadn’t seen the material or that it
wasn’t very useful.
Magruder said Mitchell personally chastised Liddy
over the limited political value of the information. Some of the
material was little more than gossip or personal details about the
break-up of Oliver’s marriage.
“This stuff isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on,”
Mitchell told Liddy, according to Magruder. Mitchell, however, called
Magruder’s account “a palpable, damnable lie.”
Oliver has his own theory about what insights the
wiretap on his phone could have given the Republicans: a window into the
end game of the Democratic nomination.
As it turned out, Oliver was in the middle of the
last-ditch effort by Democratic state chairmen to head off the
nomination of liberal South Dakota Sen. George McGovern.
“The California primary was the first week of
June,” Oliver recalled in an interview with me 22 years later. “The
state chairs were very concerned about the McGovern candidacy,”
foreseeing the likelihood of an electoral debacle.
So they commissioned a hard count of delegates to
see whether McGovern’s nomination could be headed off, even if the
anti-Vietnam War senator secured California’s bounty of delegates with a
victory in the state’s winner-take-all primary.
In the preceding months, other Democratic campaigns
had failed to catch fire or blew up. Secretly, Nixon’s reelection team
had targeted former front-runner, Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie, with dirty
tricks like stink bombs exploded at Muskie events, bogus pizza orders,
and fake mailings that spread dissension between Muskie and other
Though knocked from contention in the early
primaries, Muskie still had some delegates in early June as did former
Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Washington Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson
and some lesser candidates. Scores of other delegates were uncommitted
or tied to favorite sons.
Oliver was hoping that his personal favorite, Duke
University President Terry Sanford, might emerge from a deadlocked
convention as a unity candidate.
“McGovern was having a hard time getting a
majority,” Oliver said. “The state chairmen wanted to know whether or
not, if he won the California primary, he would have the nomination
wrapped up or whether there was still a chance he could be stopped. …
“The best way to find out was through the state
chairmen because in those days not all primaries were binding and not
all delegates were bound. … We called every state chairman or party
executive director to find out where their uncommitted delegates would
go. … We had the best count in the country it was all coordinated
through my telephone.”
So, while Nixon’s political espionage team listened
in, Oliver and his associates canvassed state party leaders to figure
out how the Democratic delegates planned to vote.
“We determined on that phone that McGovern could
still be stopped even if he won the California primary,” Oliver said.
“It would be very close whether he could ever get a majority.”
After McGovern did win the California primary, the
stop-McGovern battle focused on Texas and its Democratic convention
scheduled for June 13. “The one place he could be stopped was at the
Texas State Democratic Convention,” Oliver said.
A Texan himself, Oliver knew the Democratic Party
there to be a bitterly divided organization, with many conservative
Democrats sympathetic to Nixon and hostile to McGovern and his
anti-Vietnam War positions.
One of the best known Texas Democrats, former Gov.
John Connally, had joined the Nixon administration in 1970 as Treasury
Secretary and was helping the Nixon campaign in 1972. Many other Texas
Democrats were loyal to former President Lyndon Johnson who had battled
anti-war activists before deciding against a reelection bid in 1968.
Between the strength of the conservative Democratic
machine and the history of hardball Texas politics, the Texas convention
looked to Oliver like the perfect place to push through a solid
anti-McGovern slate, even though nearly one-third of the state delegates
listed McGovern as their first choice.
Since there was no requirement for proportional
representation, whoever controlled a majority at the state convention
could take all the presidential delegates or divide them up among other
candidates, Oliver said.
At Sanford’s suggestion, Oliver decided to fly to
Texas. When he reached the Texas convention in San Antonio, Oliver said
he was stunned by what he found. The conservative Johnson-Connally wing
of the party appeared uncharacteristically generous to the McGovern
Also arriving from Washington was one of Connally’s
Democratic protégés, the party’s national treasurer Bob Strauss.
“I was really surprised to see him and he makes a
bee-line straight for me,” Oliver said. “He says, ‘Spencer, how you
doing?’ I say, ‘Bob, what are you doing here?’ He says, ‘I’m a Texan,
you’re a Texan. Here we are. Who would miss one of these state
conventions? Maybe we ought to have lunch.’ He was never that friendly
to me before.”
Oliver was curious about Strauss’s sudden
appearance because Strauss had never been a major figure in Texas
Democratic politics. “He was a Connally guy and had no background in
politics except his personal ties to Connally,” Oliver said.
Known as a smooth-talking lawyer, Strauss had made
his first major foray into politics as a principal fund-raiser for
Connally’s first gubernatorial race in 1962. Connally then put Strauss
on the Democratic National Committee in 1968. Two years later, Connally
agreed to join the Nixon administration.
“I wouldn’t say that Connally and Strauss are
close,” one critic famously told the New York Times, “but when Connally
eats watermelon, Strauss spits seeds.” [NYT, Dec. 12, 1972]
Other Connally guys held other key positions at the
state convention, including state chairman Will Davis. So, presumably
the liberal, anti-war McGovern would have looked to be in a tight spot,
opposed not only by Davis but also by much of the conservative state
Democratic leadership and organized labor.
“It was clear that 70 percent of the delegates were
anti-McGovern, so they very easily could have coalesced, struck a deal
and blocked McGovern,” Oliver said. “That probably would have blocked
him from the nomination.”
But that’s not what happened. Connally’s old
machine chose to give McGovern his fair share of the delegates. “That
was the most astonishing thing I had heard in all my years of Texas
politics,” Oliver told me. “There’s never been any quarter given or any
asked in this sort of thing.”
News articles at the time described a convention
dominated by an unusual alliance between Democrats loyal to liberal
George McGovern and populist George Wallace, though the alliance nearly
fell apart when Wallace delegates took to the floor with Confederate
flags. After a 17-hour final session, the convention gave 42 national
delegates to Wallace and 34 to McGovern, with Hubert Humphrey getting 21
and 33 listed as uncommitted.
After failing at his Texas mission, Oliver returned
to Washington, where he discussed the delegate situation by telephone
with some Democratic state chairmen before traveling to his father’s
summer home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
In mid-June, back in Washington, the Gemstone team
began planning a return to the DNC’s Watergate office to install new
G. Gordon Liddy was under pressure from higher-ups
to get more information, Howard Hunt said later. When Hunt suggested to
Liddy that targeting the Miami hotels to be used during the upcoming
Democratic National Convention made more sense, Liddy checked with his
“principals” and reported that they were adamant about sending the team
back into the Watergate.
One person in the White House who was demanding
continued vigilance over the Democrats was Richard Nixon. Though it’s
never been established that Nixon had prior knowledge about the
Watergate break-in, the President was continuing to demand that his
political operatives keep collecting whatever information they could
about the Democrats.
“That business of the McGovern watch, it just has
to be – it has to be now around the clock,” Nixon told presidential aide
Charles Colson on June 13, according to a White House taped
conversation. “You never know what you’re going to find.”
Facing demands from the “principals,” Hunt
contacted the Cuban-Americans in Miami on June 14. The burglars
reassembled in Washington two days later.
For this entry, James McCord taped six or eight
doors between the corridors and the stairwells on the upper floors and
three more in the sub-basement. But McCord applied the tape horizontally
instead of vertically, leaving pieces of tape showing when the doors
Around midnight, security guard Frank Wills came on
duty. An African-American high school dropout, Wills was new to the job.
About 45 minutes after starting work, he began his first round of
checking the building. He discovered a piece of tape over a door latch
at the garage level.
Thinking that the tape was probably left behind by
a building engineer earlier in the day, Wills removed it and went about
his business. A few minutes after Wills passed by, Gonzalez, one of the
Cuban-American burglars, reached the now-locked door. He managed to open
it by picking the lock. He then re-taped the latch so others could
follow him in. The team then moved to the sixth floor, entered the DNC
offices and got to work installing the additional equipment.
Shortly before 2 a.m., Wills was making his second
round of checks at the building when he spotted the re-taped door. His
suspicions aroused, the security man called the Washington Metropolitan
Police. A dispatcher reached a nearby plainclothes unit, which pulled up
in front of the Watergate.
After telling Wills to wait in the lobby, the
police officers began a search of the building, starting with the eighth
floor and working their way down to the sixth. The hapless burglars
tried to hide behind desks in the DNC’s office, but the police officers
spotted them and called out, “Hold it!”
McCord and four other burglars surrendered. Hunt,
Liddy and other members of the Gemstone crew – still across the street
at the Howard Johnson’s – hurriedly stashed their equipment and papers
into suitcases and fled.
Oliver was at his father’s cottage on North
Carolina’s Outer Banks when the news broke that five burglars had been
caught inside the Democratic national headquarters in Washington.
“I heard about it on the television news,” Oliver
said. “I thought that was strange, why would anybody break into the
Democratic National Committee? I mean we don’t have any money; the
convention’s coming up and everybody’s moved to Miami; the delegates
have been picked and the primaries are over. So why would anybody be in
there? I didn’t think anything of it.”
After returning to Washington, Oliver – like other
Democratic staffers – was asked some routine questions by the police and
the FBI, but the whole episode remained a mystery.
In July, along with other Democratic officials,
Oliver went to the national convention in Miami, where McGovern managed
to secure a slim majority of delegates to win the nomination.
After the victory, McGovern loyalists were
installed at the DNC in the Watergate offices. Jean Westwood replaced
Larry O’Brien as national chairman and focused on unifying the party,
which remained deeply divided between the McGovernites and party
At a meeting of the Democratic executive committee
in early September at the Watergate, Oliver was to give a report about
cooperation on voter registration between the McGovern campaign and
state party organizations.
“Someone brought me a note that Larry O’Brien
called and wants you to call him,” Oliver said. “I put the note in my
pocket. The meeting went on. They brought a second note and said, ‘Larry
O’Brien wants you to call.’
“At the lunch break, I went upstairs to call
O’Brien a little after 12 o’clock. I asked to speak to Larry. Stan
Gregg, his deputy, came on the line: ‘Spencer, Larry’s at lunch, but he
wanted me to tell you that he’s going to have a press conference at 2
o’clock and he’s going to announce that the burglars that they caught in
the Watergate were not in there for the first time. They had been in
there before, in May.’
“I was saying to myself, ‘Why’s he telling me all
this?’ He said, ‘and they put taps on at least two phones. One of the
phones was Larry’s and one was yours.’ I said, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘the
tap on Larry’s didn’t work. He’s going to announce all this at 2
After digesting the news of the May break-in,
Oliver called Gregg back, telling him, “‘Stan, take my name out of that
press release. I don’t know why they tapped my phone, but I don’t want
my name involved in it. Let Larry say, there were two taps involved and
one was on his. But I don’t want to become embroiled in this.’ He said,
‘it’s too late. The press releases have already gone out.’”
Oliver suddenly found himself at the center of a
political maelstrom as the DNC moved to file a civil lawsuit accusing
the Republicans of violating the federal wiretap statute. The wording of
the wiretap statute made Oliver a legally significant player, since only
the bug on his phone worked and his conversations were the ones
After the Democratic lawsuit was filed, lawyers for
CREEP immediately took Oliver’s deposition. Some of the questions were
trolling for any derogatory information that might be used against him,
Oliver recalled: “CREEP asked if I was a member of the Communist Party,
Weather Underground, ‘were you ever arrested?’”
But some questions reflected facts that would have
been contained in Gemstone memos, Oliver said, such as “Who was Terry
The FBI also launched a full field investigation of
Oliver. “They tried to tie me to radical groups and asked questions of
my neighbors and my friends about whether I had ever done anything
wrong, whether I drank too much, whether I was an alcoholic, whether I
had a broken marriage, whether I had had any affairs,” Oliver said. “It
was a very intrusive and obnoxious thing.”
Initially, Nixon’s Justice Department denied that
the bug on Oliver’s phone had been installed by the Watergate burglars,
implying that the Democrats may have tampered with the crime scene by
installing the wiretap themselves to create a bigger scandal.
In a television interview, Attorney General Richard
Kleindienst said the device on Oliver’s phone must have been put on
after June 17 because FBI agents had found nothing during “a thorough
sweep” of the office. “Somebody put something on that telephone since
the FBI was there,” Kleindienst said. [NYT, Sept. 22, 1972]
In October 1972, Oliver wrote a memo to Sen. Sam
Ervin, a moderate Democrat from North Carolina, recommending an
independent congressional investigation as the only way to get to the
bottom of Watergate, a task Ervin couldn’t undertake until the next
In the meantime, Nixon’s Watergate cover-up held.
The White House successfully tagged the incident as a “third-rate
burglary” that didn’t implicate the President or his top aides. On
Election Day, Nixon rolled to a record victory over George McGovern, who
only won one state, Massachusetts.
The McGovern debacle had immediate repercussions
inside the Democratic National Committee, where the party regulars moved
to purge McGovern’s people in early December 1972.
“We had a bruising battle for the chairmanship. It
ended up being between George Mitchell [of Maine] and Bob Strauss,”
The Strauss candidacy was strange to some
Democrats, given his close ties to John Connally, who had led Nixon’s
drive to get Democrats to cross party lines and vote Republican.
Two Texas labor leaders, Roy Evans and Roy Bullock,
urged the DNC to reject Strauss because “his most consistent use of his
talents has been to advance the political fortune and career of his
life-long friend, John B. Connally.” [NYT, Dec. 7, 1972]
Another Texan, former Sen. Ralph Yarborough, said
anyone who thinks Strauss could act independently of Connally “ought to
be bored for the hollow horn,” a farm hand’s expression for being crazy.
[NYT, Dec. 11, 1972]
For his part, Connally offered to do what he could
to help his best friend Strauss. Connally said he would “endorse him or
denounce him,” whichever would help more. Strauss “displays in my
judgment the reasonableness that the [Democratic] party has to have,”
“After a terribly hard-fought battle, Strauss won,”
Oliver recalled. “Strauss came to the national committee the next week.”
Strauss’s immediate priority was to give the
Democratic Party a new direction as it tried to traverse the political
landscape reshaped by the Nixon landslide. Strauss’s strategy called for
putting the Watergate scandal into the past both by moving the DNC out
of the Watergate complex and by trying to settle the Watergate civil
“Within a few days of his being there, I was called
and told he wanted to see me,” Oliver said. “He said, ‘Spencer, ...
there’s something I want you to do. I want to get rid of this Watergate
thing. I want you to drop that lawsuit.’ I said, ‘What?’ I didn’t think
he knew what he was talking about. I said, ‘But, Bob, you know that’s
the only avenue we have for discovery. Why would we want to get out of
the lawsuit?’ He replied, ‘I don’t want that Watergate stuff anymore. I
want you to drop that lawsuit.’”
Oliver refused to go along, soon finding himself
cut adrift by the DNC’s lawyers who said they had to follow Strauss’s
orders and back off the Watergate case. Oliver began a search for a new
attorney willing to take on the powerful White House, eventually
settling on a personal injury lawyer named Joe Koonz, who offered to
take the case on a contingency basis.
Oliver’s success in keeping the civil suit alive
represented a direct challenge to Strauss, who continued to seek an end
to the DNC’s legal challenge to the Republicans over Watergate. While
Oliver didn’t directly work for Strauss, the national chairman could
force Oliver off the payroll, which is what happened.
Nixon & Bush
While Democratic leaders were debating whether to
fold their hand on Watergate, Nixon was reshuffling his personnel deck
for a second term. Nixon concluded that George H.W. Bush would be the
best choice to head the Republican National Committee and fend off the
spreading Watergate suspicions.
Bush’s genial demeanor helped in negotiations with
Strauss, a fellow Texan whom Bush also counted as a friend. By mid-April
1973, Strauss appeared on the verge of achieving his goal of putting the
Watergate civil lawsuit into the past.
“I’m driving into work one day and I hear that
Strauss and George Bush were holding a press conference at the National
Press Club to announce that they were settling the Watergate case,
putting it behind them,” Oliver said. “I said he can’t settle that suit
On April 17, 1973, Strauss disclosed that CREEP had
offered $525,000 to settle the case. “There has been some serious
discussion for many months” between Democratic and CREEP lawyers,
Strauss explained his interest in a settlement
partly because the Democratic Party was saddled with a $3.5 million debt
and could not afford to devote enough legal resources to the case. [NYT,
But two days later, Strauss backed off the
settlement talks because Oliver and Common Cause, another organization
involved in the civil case, balked. [NYT, April 20, 1973]
Though in retrospect, the idea of leading Democrats
shying away from the Watergate scandal may seem odd, the major breaks in
the cover-up had yet to occur. At the time, the prospect that the
scandal might lead to Nixon’s removal from office appeared remote. (As
late as April 1974, Strauss would chastise Democratic governors for
calling for Nixon’s resignation. [NYT, April 23, 1974])
Oliver said it was not until spring 1973 that he
began putting the pieces of the Watergate puzzle together, leading him
to believe that the events around the Texas convention were not simply
coincidental but rather the consequence of Republican eavesdropping on
If that were true, Oliver suspected, Strauss may
have been collaborating with his old mentor Connally both in arranging a
Texas outcome that would ensure McGovern’s nomination and later in
trying to head off the Watergate civil lawsuit. That would not mean that
Connally and Strauss knew about the bugging, only that they had been
used by Republicans who had access to the Gemstone information, Oliver
“In my opinion, they [Nixon’s Gemstone operatives]
were listening to me on that phone do a vote count and they’re listening
to us start a project to block McGovern’s nomination,” Oliver said.
“They were scared to death that it would be Scoop Jackson or Terry
McGovern got his share of the Texas delegates after
a marathon session that ended on June 14, 1972. That same day, according
to Hunt, Liddy was told by his “principals” that the burglars must
return to the Democratic offices at the Watergate to install more
“Once they were caught, they [Nixon and his men]
had to cut off our avenue of discovery, which of course was the civil
suit,” Oliver said. “I think Strauss may have run for national chairman
for that purpose.”
Strauss did not respond to my requests for an
Secrecy & Privilege.