Watergate Revisited: The CIA's War Against Nixon
Bay of Pigs (and CIA) Connection
On details on the Watergate burglary, the president seemed confused. “Who ordered it?” he asked Haldeman. Who was so stupid as to have given a CREEP check for $25,000 to Barker? Then Nixon instructed his aide to tell Helms: “The President's belief is that this is going to open the whole Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah, because, ah, these people are playing for, for keeps and that they should call the FBI in and we feel that... that we wish for the country, don't go any further into this case, period!”
That afternoon, Helms and his deputy were summoned to the White House, where Haldeman passed on Nixon's message. In his memoirs, Haldeman wrote: “Turmoil in the room, Helms gripping the arms of his chair, leaning forward and shouting, 'The Bay of Pigs has nothing to do with his. I have no concern for the Bay of Pigs.' Silence. I just sat there. I was absolutely shocked by Helms's violent reaction.” Haldeman reported back to Nixon that there was “no problem;” any leads “that would be harmful to the CIA and harmful to the government” would be ignored.
The Mullen company's man in Washington, Robert Bennett, met with his CIA case officer, Martin Lukoskie, in a Washington cafeteria. Lukoskie's memo was considered so sensitive that he hand-carried it to Helms, saying Bennett had steered reporters at the Washington Post and Star away from pursuing a coup d'état-type scenario that would tie the CIA into the Watergate conspiracy. Bennett later admitted feeding stories to Bob Woodward at the Post, “with the understanding that there be no attribution.” It's yet another black mark against our media that the Post chose not to examine potential CIA complicity to any extent—despite that every one of the Plumbers had a clear-cut CIA connection! [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
Eleven days after Hunt was arrested, the FBI's acting director, L. Patrick Gray, was summoned to the White House and instructed by Ehrlichman to deep-six the files from Hunt's personal safe. Gray recalled being told that the files were “political dynamite and clearly should not see the light of day.” Gray said he took the material home and burned it in his fireplace. Hunt began to threaten the White House with public disclosure of his other secret activities unless he was paid off.
Following the Watergate trail into early 1973 came the bombshell that ignited the Senate hearings: the letter from McCord to Judge John Sirica. McCord wrote: “The Watergate operation was not a CIA operation. The Cubans may have been misled by others into believing that it was a CIA operation. I know for a fact that it was not.” Why did McCord feel compelled to state this? Maybe because this was just the latest gambit in the long history of coverups on behalf of the CIA? McCord's attorney happened to be Bernard Fensterwald Jr., who had a private Committee to Investigate Assassination (CTIA) and had once represented James Earl Ray. In exchange for helping McCord post bond, the papers said, “It was understood, however, that McCord agreed to help Fensterwald in some of his research at a later date.”