Showing posts with label Watergate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Watergate. Show all posts

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Parliament of Whores - The Sexual History of Watergate

"There's a lesson to be learned from this. We can't drive presidents out of office in feeding frenzies. There shouldn't have been a Watergate Committee where Dean could perjure himself to death and where there was no way to check it."

Len Colodny, co-author of Silent Coup.

"Courts are a capricious venue for arguments about history.

Sometimes, as when a British court last year resoundingly rejected the Holocaust denial of "historian" David Irving, litigation can help protect established history from those who would maliciously rewrite it.  But conspiracy theorizing generally is better addressed in the public arena by rigorous confrontation with facts.  That's true both out of respect for freedom of speech---even wrong-headed speech---and because historical truth does not always fare so well in court.  A jury in Tennessee in 1999 embraced the looniest of conspiracy theories concerning the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  And this week, in a federal court in Baltimore, the commonly understood and well-founded history of the Watergate scandal took a hit as well.

        The forum was the defamation case of G. Gordon Liddy...  Mr. Liddy has argued that the burglary was not an attempt to collect political intelligence on President Nixon's enemies, but an effort masterminded by then-White House counsel John Dean to steal pictures of prostitutes---including Mr. Dean's then-girlfriend and current wife---from the desk of a secretary at the Democratic headquarters.  The secretary...is now a community college teacher in Louisiana and was understandably offended by the implication that she was somehow involved in a call-girl ring.  She sued Mr. Liddy, and the battle has dragged on for four years.

        The jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict, but it split overwhelmingly in favor of Mr. Liddy; the majority of jurors felt that Ms. Wells's lawyers had failed to proved his theory wrong.  They found this in spite of the fact that Mr. Liddy relies, for his theory, on a disbarred attorney with a history of mental illness.  The call-girl theory "is possible," one juror (said)...  "It sure makes me more curious."  "We'll never know" what happened, said another.

        The danger of such outcomes as this one is that this sort of thinking spreads.  For whether or not Mr. Liddy's comments legally defamed Ms. Wells, we do know what happened at Watergate---and it had nothing to do with prostitutes. "

Washington Post Editorial, Feb. 4, 2001


"'Chuck, why do you figure Liddy bugged the DNC instead of the Democratic candidates?  It doesn't make much sense.  I sat in (Atty. Gen. John) Mitchell's office when Liddy gave us his show, and he only mentioned Larry O'Brien in passing as a target...'

"'It looks suspicious to me,'" Dean continues.  "'(I)t's incredible.  Millions of dollars have been spent investigating Watergate.  A President has been forced out of office.  Dozens of lives have been ruined.  We're sitting in the can.  And still nobody can explain why they bugged the place to begin with.'"


John Dean, 
Blind Ambition, 
Simon & Schuster (1976),
 pp. 388-91. 

Blind Ambition was written in 1975, while Gordon Liddy was in prison, refusing to talk about Watergate.  When Liddy published his own memoir, and when other books began to appear, Dean's inconsistencies and "errors" became as glaring as they were numerous.  Accordingly, Dean dismissed the book he had once embraced with pride, claiming that he hadn't actually read it before it was published, while insisting that much of the book was "made up out of whole cloth by Taylor Branch."  

A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Branch calls the allegation a lie. 


        In April, 1972 the seamy side of Washington was rocked when FBI agents raided the office and home of the Phil Bailley, a Washington defense attorney whose clientele included prostitutes.  Coded address-books, photographs and sexual paraphernalia were seized, and what began as a simple violation of the Mann Act, became a grand jury investigation with ramifications throughout the capital.
        Asst. U.S. Atty. John Rudy was placed in charge of the investigation.  Soon, Rudy found himself looking into the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring and its connections to the DNC---where a secretary was said to have "arranged for liaisons."
        It was at about this time that Lou Russell appeared in Rudy's office.  According to Rudy, Russell tried to divert his attention from the Columbia Plaza to another operatioon that serviced lawyers and judges on the other side of town.
        But it didn't work.  On June 9th, Bailley was indicted on 22 felony counts, including charges of blackmail, racketeering, procuring and pandering.  That same afternoon, the Washington Star published a front-page story, headlined "Capitol Hill Call-Girl Ring."  According to the article:



"Capitol Hill Call-Girl Ring."  

The FBI here has uncovered a high-priced call girl ring allegedly headed by a Washington attorney and staffed by secretaries and office workers from Capitol Hill and involving at least one White House secretary, sources said today.

Front Page Story,
Washington Star, 
June 9th 1972

        The article did not go unnoticed on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Within an hour of its publication, Bailley's prosecutor received a telephone call from the President's counsel John Dean, ordering him to the White House.  "He wanted me to bring 'all' the evidence but, mostly, what I brought were Bailley's address books," Rudy recalled.  "Dean said he wanted to check the names of the people involved, to see if any of them worked for the President." 




POSSIBLE BLACKMAIL OF NIXON 
OFFICIALS CHECKED HERE

At least two high-ranking officials in the Nixon administration are among the people the Manhattan District Attorney's Office intends to question about the possibility that they were blackmailed because of their association with an East Side brothel.

***

New York Times




        In the weeks that followed, John Rudy had second thoughts.  After the Watergate arrests, his investigation of a link between the Columbia Plaza call-girl ring and the DNC might appear to be politically-motivated.  Worried about that perception, he asked his boss, U.S. Atty. Harold Titus, what he should do.  And the advice came back: Chill it (sic).

        And so he did.

        Bailley was remanded to St. Elizabeth's Hospital to undergo psychiatric tests.  This was an unwelcome and surprising development, inasmuch as he had been practicing law before that same court only a few weeks earlier.  Eventually, he was certified sane, and encouraged to plead guilty to a single felony.  When he did, he was bundled off to a federal prison in Connecticut where, ironically, he served on the Inmates Committee with Howard Hunt and other Watergaters.  The case-file, thick with interviews and evidence, was sealed and, soon afterwards, it became "lost."

        Which was unfortunate because, a few doors down the hall,  others in the U.S. Attorney's office were putting together a case in which sexual blackmail was said to be the central motive in the Watergate break-in.  Asst. U.S. Atty. Earl Silbert was convinced that "Hunt was trying to blackmail Spencer (Oliver)." The same point was made by Charles Morgan, who represented Wells and Oliver at the burglars' trial in early 1973.  Determined to block any testimony about the contents of the conversations that Baldwin overheard, Morgan said Silbert told him over lunch in December, 1972, that "Hunt was trying to blackmail Spencer, and I'm going to prove it." Morgan was skeptical.  Taking a page (or at least a metaphor) from John Dean's book, Morgan railed that "Mr. Silbert's blackmail motive had been woven from whole cloth." Accordingly, he asked the court to bar any testimony about the conversations Baldwin overheard.

        The court complied.
***


Heidi Rikan

        
        But what about "Cathy Dieter"?  Who was she?  According to Gordon Liddy, Dieter's real name was Heidi Rikan.  Liddy testified that he learned this from a seemingly authoritative source: Walter "Buster" Riggin, a sometime pimp and associate of Joe Nesline, himself an organized crime figure in the Washington area.

        Formerly a stripper at a seedy Washington nightclub called the Blue Mirror, the late Erica "Heidi" Rikan was a friend of Nesline's and, more to the point, of John Dean and his then-fiancee, later wife, Maureen.  Indeed, Rikan's photograph appears in the memoir that "Mo" wrote about Watergate.

        While admitting their friendship with Rikan, the Deans deny that she ran a call-girl ring, or that she used "Cathy Dieter" as an alias.  Beyond Buster Riggin's assertion to Liddy, evidence on the issue is slim or ambiguous.  One writer who attempted to verify the identification is Anthony Summers.  As the Irish investigative reporter wrote in his massive biography of President Nixon:

Before her death in 1990, Rikan said in a conversation with her maid that she had once been a call girl.  Explaining that a call girl was 'a lady that meets men, and men pay them'---the maid had grown up in the country and knew nothing of big-city sins---she added, tantalizingly: 'I was a call girl at the White House." 



"Liddy stated that the burglars' objective during the Watergate break-in was to determine whether the Democrats possessed information embarrassing to John Dean.  More specifically, Liddy asserted that the burglars were seeking a compromising photograph of Dean's fiance that was located in Wells's desk among several photographs that were used to offer prostitution services to out-of-town guests. "

Ida Maxwell Wells v. G. Gordon Liddy,
 No. 98-1962, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit,
 decided July 28, 1999. 




Woodward Lies


Q : "What do you think of Bob Woodward's new book?

Christopher Hitchins : "Not much."

        "The real issue, which in the end may be even more important than the who-shot-who of Watergate, concerns the arrogance of media such as the Washington Post, which pretend to an infallibility they do not have.  For decades, the Post and its cousins have refused to tolerate (much less undertake) a re-examination of the Watergate affair---or any other major story in which they may be said to have a stake. 
        Watergate, after all, was journalism's finest hour.  Courageous editors and intrepid young reporters risked everything in a brave effort to save America from a White House ruled by Sauron and the hordes of Mordor.  To question the received version of the story is, therefore, a kind of heresy.  And so the Post becomes the Inquisition, labelling its critics "conspiracy theorists" while warning the public against the "danger" of such thinking.  Clearly, the Post would rather its readers let the newspaper do their thinking for them.

        If there wasn't so much blood on the floor, it would be funny."

Jim Hougan,
On the New Inquisition



"Three days after graduating from Yale, Woodward was sent by the U.S. Navy to Norfolk, Virginia, where he was commissioned as an ensign by none other than U.S. Senator George Smathers from Florida. Bob's assignment was to a very special ship, called a "floating Pentagon," the U.S.S. Wright. The ship was a National Emergency Command Ship-a place where a President and cabinet could preside from in the event of a nuclear war. It had elaborate and sophisticated communications and data processing capabilities. It had a smaller replica of the war room at the Pentagon. It ran under what was called SIOP-Single Integrated Operation Plan. For example, in the event of nuclear war, the Wright was third in line to take full command if the two ahead of it, the Strategic Air Command in Omaha (SAC) and NORAD, were rendered incommunicado. Woodward-straightfacedly-told authors Colodny and Gettlin (Silent Coup) that he guessed he was picked for the ship because he had been a radio ham as a kid.

Aboard the Wright, Woodward had top secret "crypto" clearance-the same clearance researcher Harold Weisberg found had been assigned to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was himself in the Marines. Such clearance in Woodward's case gave him full access to nearly all classified materials and codes on the ship. Woodward also ran the ship's newspaper. Woodward has insisted that possessing a high security clearance is not necessarily indicative of intelligence work.

The Wright carried men from each of the military services, as well as CIA personnel. One of Havill's government sources reported that the CIA would likely have had additional informants on a ship of such sensitivity, adding that "the rivalry between the services was intense."

After a two and a half year stint on the Wright, Woodward was assigned to go to Vietnam. Woodward wrote the Pentagon asking to serve on a destroyer. The wish was granted. One naval captain told Havill that it seemed reasonable Woodward would have a little pull from his previous duty to avoid getting assigned to Vietnam. Another former naval officer disputed that, saying "Nobody got out of going to Vietnam in 1968."

But Woodward did. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Fox, based in Southern California. The personnel on board the Fox included an intelligence team, many of whom had studied Russian and Asian languages at the famous armed services language school in Monterey, California.

By 1968, Woodward ran the ship's radio team. In 1969, Woodward was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his communications work. From there, Woodward moved on to a Pentagon assignment, a job that included briefing top officers in the government. Admiral Thomas Moorer and former secretary of defense Melvin Laird are both on record noting that Woodward briefed Al Haig at the White House during this period. What is suspicious is Woodward's semi-admittance to Hougan that he had done some briefing, and his complete denial to Colodny and Gettlin that he had ever briefed anyone at the White House. Havill notes:
Considering the evidence, Bob Woodward's denial more strongly suggests intelligence than it does his uninvolvement in White House briefings.
Woodward's secrecy about his past, his choice of associates, and what is known of his activities caused Havill to write:
The question, then, begs itself once more. Was Bob Woodward ever a free-lance or retained Central Intelligence Agency liaison officer, informant or operative . . . ? This author got various forms of affirmative opinions from intelligence experts. It would explain his assignment to the Wright and his misleading statements to interviewers. It would make understandable his being able to get out of going to Vietnam in 1968, his extension for an additional year at the Pentagon, his being chosen to brief at the White House and his denials as well. It would also help explain his subsequent high-level friendships with leaders of the U.S. military and the CIA.
It would also explain the role Woodward and Bernstein wittingly or unwittingly played in keeping the CIA's nose clean while making sure the world saw the President's nose was dirty.



The Deceptions of All the President's Men

Had the book been presented as fiction, readers could not complain. However, the book sits on non-fiction shelves around the world. Maybe it shouldn't.

In his book Deep Truth, author Adrian Havill presents several events in All the President's Men that are, to put it generously, highly suspect. One example is the scene in which Woodward and Bernstein have made their first egregious mistake. They sourced Hugh Sloan's grand jury testimony for a story that Sloan had never told the Grand Jury, showing that Haldeman was one of the inner group at CREEP controlling the mysterious slush fund. In the book, the dejected Woodward and Bernstein walk home in the rain, beaten both physically and symbolically by the elements, with only newspapers over their head to keep them dry. Havill did some checking. It never rained that day. That might seem an inconsequential detail to some, but others will understand that it was a device created to bring drama. How many other "events" were merely fictional devices? Havill found several. For instance, at one point, Carl Bernstein is about to be subpoenaed by CREEP, and Ben Bradlee advised Carl to go hang out at a movie until after 5:00 p.m., then to call into the office. According to the book, Carl went to see Deep Throat, hence the reason for the name "Deep Throat" having been given to Woodward's secret source. But there was no Deep Throat playing anywhere in D.C. at that time. In fact, the theaters were being very cautious, having recently been raided by law enforcement authorities. Not one theater in town was showing Deep Throat.

And speaking of "Deep Throat" . . .


One of the most astonishingly bald-faced inventions was the process by which Woodward and "Deep Throat" allegedly made contact when they needed to speak to one another. In the book, much is made of the spooky, clandestine meetings between "Deep Throat" and Woodward. When Woodward needed to ask "Deep Throat" something, he was to put a flower pot with a red flag in it on his sixth floor balcony, which, we are supposed to believe, this high level source checked daily. When "Deep Throat" wanted to speak to Woodward, a clock would supposedly be drawn in his copy of the New York Times designating the meeting time. But neither of these scenarios fits the reality of where Woodward lived. Woodward, who could remember the exact room number (710) where he met Martha Mitchell just once, evidently had trouble remembering the address at which he had lived. In an interview he once said it was "606 or 608 or 612, something like that." However, Havill found that Woodward's actual address was 617. This is important, because the balcony attached to 617 faced an interior courtyard. Havill poked around and found that the only way to view a flower pot on the balcony was to walk into the center of the complex, with eighty units viewing you, crane your neck and look up to the sixth floor. Even then, a pot would have been barely visible. There was an alley that ran behind the building that allowed a glimpse of the apartment and balcony, but at an equally difficult angle. And in both cases, we are to believe that this source, who strove hard to protect his identify, would walk up in plain view of the eighty apartments facing the inner courtyard or the alley on a daily basis, on the chance that there might be a sign from Woodward. When Havill tried to poke around, just to look at the place, residents of the building stopped him and inquired who he was and what he was looking for. Unless "Deep Throat" was well known to the residents of the building, his daily visits seem to preclude being able to keep his identity a secret.

As for the clock-in-the-paper, the New York Times papers were delivered not to each door, but left stacked and unmarked in a common reception area. There was no way "Deep Throat" could have known which paper Woodward would end up with each morning.

Havill, in fact, believes that "Deep Throat" is no more real than the movie episode or the rain, but rather, a dramatic device. It certainly worked well. And Woodward's and Bernstein's editor at Simon and Schuster, Alice Mayhew, urged them to "build up the Deep Throat character and make him interesting." While it is now clearly known that at least one of Woodward's informants was, in fact, Robert Bennett, the suggestions from Colodny and Gettlin in Silent Coup about Al Haig and Deborah Davis's suggestions in Katherine the Great about Richard Ober may not be contradictory. Other names that have been suggested have included Walter Sheridan (Jim Hougan in Spooks) and Bobby Ray Inman (also in Spooks). If Havill is correct and there is no "person" who was known as "Deep Throat", it is possible that any or all of the above were passing along information, explicitly not to be sourced or credited to them in any way, on deep background.

Havill asks, and then answers, his own questions as to the dishonesty in All the President's Men:
Why would Bob and Carl invent or embellish such seemingly incidental details of their book? Why would they make up meetings with a character named Deep Throat? The answer is Bob was consumed by naked ambition, anxious to prove that he could succeed at his newly chosen profession. There was money and fame at stake. . .
And maybe a cover story to protect as well.




Brian Lamb:
Len Colodny, co-author with Robert Gettlin of the "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President," give us a brief synopsis of what you found.


Len Colodny, CO-AUTHOR, "SILENT COUP: THE REMOVAL OF A PRESIDENT": Well, the major points that were made in the book start with the beginning of the Nixon administration when he came in and formed a secret government. That, in itself, spawned a spy ring which we talk about in some depth -- how it was uncovered and what the president did with it. We also talk about John Dean as being the mastermind behind the break-in at the Watergate -- actually ran the coverup, unbeknownst to anyone, was running his own rogue intelligence operation. Finally, we deal with Bob Woodward and Alexander Haig and we show that not only did they have a relationship in 1969 at a time they both claim not to know each other, but beyond that, in book three, which we call "Exit the President," we show how the two men interacted through the entire Watergate thing. Not only was he writing material which was damaging to the president of the United States, but they were also writing stories that they knew to be untrue, that covered up Al Haig's role in things like the wiretapping.


Brian Lamb///; Mr. Gettlin.

00:01:49
Robert Getlin CO-AUTHOR, "SILENT COUP: THE REMOVAL OF A PRESIDENT": Well, Len has laid out the essential revelations in the book. We spent a better part of seven years working on this book and it's really rich in detail. We were lucky to have a 20-year record to go over. We looked at all the memoirs that have been written. We looked at the Senate Watergate Committee testimony, the House Judiciary Committee testimony. We looked at the White House tapes in a way which really no one's looked at before. We went to the archives. We had a whole array of documentary evidence, all of which is listed in the back. The other thing that I think is interesting is that we never really started out intending to write a book about Watergate. Our original premise, our original project was a look at Bob Woodward the journalist, post-Watergate when he was metropolitan editor of the Washington Post during the famous Janet Cook affair. It was only once we learned about Woodward's military background, which Len talked about, his relationship with Haig, that the whole of string began to unravel, and we found this incredible story about what was really happening during the Watergate period.


00:02:51
Brian Lamb
Why did you care about Bob Woodward?

00:02:53
Robert Getlin
Well, we had known from the early 1980s that Woodward's journalistic practices, his role as an editor at the Washington Post did not hold up to the kind of standards that, at least, I felt as a journalist and Len felt as someone who'd work with the journalists for a number of years. So we never really intended to look at Watergate. We were looking at Woodward and how he operated at the Post and how reporters reacted to him as an editor and so forth, and the Janet Cook affair was in the middle of that. We had some other instances of behavior which was less than ethical.

00:03:29
Len Colodny
He said some strange things during that period. When they uncovered the Janet Cook mess and they did an in-house ombudsman thing, Bill Green looked at it and he said something very strange to Green. Now it's all been exposed and they've had to return the Pulitzer, and Woodward says, "Fake and fraud that it was, it was a great story." I don't think journalists talk that way. The more we talked to reporters at the Post or the more we talked to reporters who left the Post -- there was a Mobil Oil suit in the middle of all this -- all that sort of made for an interesting Woodward-after-Watergate type of a thing. Then, lo and behold, there's the secret job. There's the job that makes sense. How does a guy that's nine months at the Washington Post city section have a source at the highest level of our government who trusts him with this damaging information on the president of the United States. That's what led us down the trail.

00:04:18
Brian Lamb
You know that there's been a lot written around this town about both of you and your own motives. Let's deal with those upfront. You used to be out in Montgomery County which is out in the suburbs of here. What and why is that a source of some controversy?

00:04:32
Len Colodny
Well, that is not the sum and substance of my life. I was a businessman in Prince Georges County in Maryland. I was a public official in Maryland, and I was involved in Democratic politics in Maryland, including the McGovern campaign of '72. When I got to Montgomery County to do a consulting job for the government over there, the Post covered it. If anything, I was partial to the Post. They had covered me through my entire political career, and I knew the reporters and trusted the reporters. I learned through that process what pressures Woodward was putting on them to produce a story that was in many instances not true. One of those reporters eventually left the Post after winning a Pulitzer, just having had their fill of it. That's the Montgomery connection, but it really wasn't central to anything. It was just a question of seeing how it worked. Here was Woodward, who I had admired in Watergate because he had knocked off a man I disliked greatly, Richard Nixon, and I could believe the things that were said about Nixon. So I went into Woodward thinking he was Robert Redford.

00:05:38
Brian Lamb
And, in your case, you had met Bob Woodward where, first?

00:05:42
Robert Getlin
Oh, I first met Woodward when I was in college, right at the height of Watergate when Woodward and Bernstein had become household names. I was a young reporter, just starting out in my own career. I was working for a weekly newspaper in Santa Barbara, California. Woodward came there to give a speech. I interviewed him. I wrote a story about it. Subsequent to that, I had applied at the Post for some jobs, talked to Woodward, didn't get a job there. I worked at the Star, which was where Len and I met when I was a Star reporter. Once the Star folded, myself, as did many other Star reporters, interviewed at the Post for possible jobs. I ended up working somewhere else and had a career in Washington at the Newhouse Newspapers. So, I've dealt with Woodward in the past, and it's funny, in the early part of our project, Woodward refused to talk to us. He eventually did grant an interview, but he initially said, "You know, the only reason you're writing this book is because you never got a job at the Post," which was obviously untrue. I mean, this book is so well sourced, so well documented, and goes far beyond the issue of Bob Woodward. But that sort of gives you a picture of Woodward's reaction to us. There's very little of us in this book. This book is based on documentary evidence, on-the-record interviews -- as I said before, a rich array of sources that haven't anything to do with Len Colodny and myself, but everything we feel to do with the record that's sitting out there.

00:07:13
Brian Lamb
When you read the book, you're constantly coming across quotes from other books that have been written. How many other books were written on Watergate?

00:07:20
Len Colodny
We did something that I didn't think was so unique if you look back at investigative reporting pre-Bob Woodward -- a fellow named I. F. Stone, who I think is one of the giants of this field. That's how he did it. He didn't go out and meet people in garages. He sat and compared, and that's all I was doing. I was looking at what each one -- just like they had testified in court. I said, "This book said this," and I took it by like subject matter. I didn't read the books right through. What did they say about this? What evidence is there to support that? And constantly doing that. That's the way we built the book so that's why we're always referring to that. When we did interviews, we did them the same way. If somebody told us something, that didn't mean it was true. I, in many instances, interviewed people over years. Jeb Magruder took a full year. I would deal with, "Why did you say this in your testimony, and it's different than you said it in your book?" Now, Dean is the one who told me how to find his crime. He was very interested in Deep Throat. He himself had been looking for Deep Throat in a book called "Lost Honor" in 1982. John Dean, when we got to 1987, even wanted to write the forward to "Silent Coup." He said, "You know, it would be great if I did the forward." I started to move into Watergate, and he said, "Len, it's too painful. I've been through this. I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's over. Read everything that I've said in the courts, in the Senate Committee, what I wrote in "Blind Ambition" and the White House tapes." For the next year, that's all I did, was sit there and read everything he said -- not verbatim, but by subject matter. Lo and behold, in four different venues, sometimes five different venues, he never told the same story twice. By the time that he got to his book "Blind Ambition," he would actually drop the lies -- some of the most important material. So, when I came back to confront him, he had no answers. But, that's the way it was done. There was no black magic here. Just compare stories and look for evidence to support or to not support what a person was saying.

00:09:20
Brian Lamb
Let's again go back to your findings. In Bob Woodward's case you found what?

00:09:26
Robert Getlin
We found that Bob Woodward, before he was a Washington Post reporter, was in the military. Actually, he came out of a very conservative background in the Midwest. His father was a naval officer. Woodward has long said he was sort of an outsider as long ago as high school. In fact, we found that he was almost the top of his class, a student body president, and he went to Yale on a very competitive scholarship, went into the military, had a fast-track career in the Navy, served under some powerful admirals, and he had some good jobs working in communications and related matters. He ended up, in 1969, working for the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Thomas Moorer. In that job at the Pentagon when he worked for Moorer, Woodward had a special briefing assignment so sensitive it's not even listed on his official service record. He would go from the Pentagon over to the White House and in the basement at the National Security Council offices, brief officials, among them Alexander M. Haig. This is a relationship, I think as Len said earlier, that was formed at that time -- perhaps even earlier than that, but we can take it as far back as '69. These two men trusted each other. Haig trusted Woodward and as Woodward himself said about Deep Throat in All the Presidents Men, Deep Throat hated the press, distrusted newspapers and yet he talked to Bob Woodward, his former briefing officer.

00:10:56
Len Colodny
Now, Bob Woodward locked himself in. I was amazed he gave us an interview to start with.

00:11:00
Brian Lamb
When did you interview him?

00:11:01
Len Colodny
We interviewed him in March of 1989 when he was well underway in "The Commanders." Of course, there was no Panama and no Iraq at the time, so he was writing something else at the time. We met in his home. It was all tape-recorded, and we've made the transcript of that interview available through St. Martin's for anyone who wants to read the total interview.

00:11:19
Brian Lamb
St. Martin's is your press?

00:11:20
Len Colodny
Yes. What he did was, he drew a line in the sand. Bob didn't think he'd do it. "I didn't meet Al Haig until 1973." Now, if there's nothing going on here, folks, why not just say, "Yes, I briefed the guy. This is no big deal. A lot of guys briefed Al Haig. I was one of those guys," and we move on. But they've both drawn the line. They've both decided to conceal that early existence. So Woodward is now flat-out lying about the relationship. 

The Washington Post -- it's now over four weeks -- the last story they wrote on this book they said we didn't interview Admiral Moorer. They've been sitting with the transcripts in which Admiral Moorer clearly says, "In 1969, I sent Bob Woodward to brief Alexander Haig." Mel Laird clearly says, "Alexander Haig was being briefed by Bob Woodward."

00:12:05
Brian Lamb
Hold on just a second. Admiral Thomas Moorer was who at the time?

00:12:10
Len Colodny
He was Chief of Naval Operations at the time Woodward did the briefing. What's interesting about that job is Woodward had the title of communications duty officer. He didn't have the title of a briefer, which would indicate the job was even more sensitive than we've been able to unearth to this point because why in the world would you even have a cover job for something that's so openly being done? 

It appears he was some sort of a back channel -- a very sensitive back channel between the White House and the Pentagon. So, there's a lot of things going on here. Not only that, but Haig conceals from Richard Nixon that he knows Bob Woodward. At the height of Watergate, the best Nixon can figure out is that somehow David Gergen is the way to get to Woodward. So there's something very important going on here. 

We first establish the '69 relationship. We have four -- and this for Woodward is a blow, because we use four on-the-record sources. We use Moorer, we use Laird, we use Roger Morris, who actually saw Woodward enter Haig's office in '69

The briefer job, which Woodward said, "I defy you to find a single person that said I was a briefer," Jerry Friedheim, who was Laird's assistant at the time, press assistant, also has confirmed that he was a briefer. So, it's there. It's in the book. It's not a "Commanders", "Final Days", 400 people on background, whatever. I mean, Woodward has this remarkable talent for doing that.

00:13:30
Brian Lamb
Let me read you a quote out of the Washington Times by his partner at the time, Carl Bernstein. He says, talking about your book, "It's a lunatic piece of work -- reckless, fast and loose with the facts." He adds, "I know who Deep Throat is, and it's not Al Haig."

00:13:45
Robert Getlin
Well, Bernstein's just not telling the truth. You know, Bernstein made a number of statements about "Silent Coup" early on which are just blatantly false.

00:13:57
Brian Lamb
Did you talk to him?

00:13:58
Robert Getlin
Well, I attempted to, and I'll explain to you why Bernstein's credibility on this issue is very thin. When we had a news conference when the book was published on May 20, a reporter stood up at the news conference and reiterated that quote which he had gotten from Carl Bernstein and Bernstein claimed, "As a matter of fact, these two authors didn't even contact me until two weeks ago." Well, that itself was crazy because the book was being printed. In fact, I had letters, certified letters, I had sent to Bernstein from months and months earlier in which he asked to have questions posed to him that he would answer. He never did answer the questions. So Bernstein didn't have his facts straight. Bernstein was on an effort to really discredit the book, as have others who have a motive for doing so. In fact, the book is not fast and loose with the facts, and Bernstein knows that.

00:14:56
Brian Lamb
This is so hard to follow in conversation if you don't read the book. I only say that for our audience's sake because we're going to be all over the place, and I want to try to get some concrete things down here because the story is quite difficult to follow in conversation, as I just said. It's easier to follow in the book, but even after you've read the book, it appears that it's going to take a long time for you to really get to the bottom. I mean, there's so many loose ends.

00:15:27
Len Colodny
Well, we've had a lot of people in town. I was in town yesterday and one of the staffers of the Watergate Committee went to lunch with me. He said, "You know, I've read it once. I now know I have to go back and reread it." You see something different because it's so information-packed that one thing builds on another thing. You can't just skip around or excerpt or whatever. It's really very difficult.

00:15:47
Brian Lamb
Let's see if we can get some basics out. How many people that you tried to reach of importance did not talk to you?

00:15:53
Robert Getlin
Nixon is one. Kissinger is another. Alexander Haig did not. There were very few others.

00:16:03
Brian Lamb
Who did you interview that you felt was the most useful?

00:16:07
Robert Getlin
Well, you have to look at which part of the book we're talking about. I mean, there were different parts of the book in which different people were more useful than others.

00:16:15
Brian Lamb
John Mitchell.

00:16:16
Robert Getlin
John Mitchell was very useful on the issue . . .

00:16:18
Len Colodny
I want to qualify that because I've heard the charge that this is Mitchell's book and his version of events. As you know, John Mitchell was offered $50,000 by Simon & Schuster to write his own book. John Mitchell was helpful in the early stages because he believed that Haig was the rat in the woodpile. Had nothing to do with the Watergate break-in. We didn't even get to the Watergate break-in until '87, and the interviews with Mitchell start in '85. 

John Mitchell and Nixon were in the middle of a fight between he and the former president over Alexander Haig. They had fought in 1980, very vehemently, when President Nixon successfully tried to get Al Haig appointed secretary of state. This is the one issue these two men fought over. So when he saw us putting the Woodward-Haig relationship together, he got very interested. 

His helpfulness, though, as far as I could tell, was basically getting us interviews or people to talk to us. When we got to 1987 and we moved toward Watergate itself, John Mitchell tried to tell me that Chuck Colson was behind the break-in, and he gave me his version of those events. As it turned out, he was dead wrong. That's the only version. 

If you read Silent Coup and the middle part which is about John Dean, book two called "Golden Boy," there's very little of Mitchell there because Mitchell didn't know what the heck happened to him. That was true of almost all the other Nixon people. Interviewing Haldeman and Ehrlichman and Colson and reading the White House tapes, the confusion was just obvious. Even Dean confirmed to me that he read the tapes the same way and was amazed at how little they really knew.

00:17:54
Brian Lamb
I just showed the audience the list, Appendix A, of all the interviewees in the back. Why did you do that?

00:18:00
Robert Getlin
Because we wanted people to know who our sources were, and I think it was important for historical purposes as well as just for the general readership that others can go behind us and check who we talked to, where we got the information from.

00:18:16
Brian Lamb
What are you going to do with all those tapes?

00:18:17
Robert Getlin
We're not sure what we're going to do with all the tapes. I think they're important for historical purposes.

00:18:24
Brian Lamb
Are they available for anybody to listen to?

00:18:27
Robert Getlin
Well, what we've said is that when there is a matter of dispute and someone allegedly is disputing what they said, the record is irrefutable and available to answer that charge. We're not about to just open our notebooks to everybody and open everything up for general perusal. If an issue comes up, and I think this is a basic standard journalistic and historical practice, that if someone disputes what was said, we have the evidence to show that what's in Silent Coup is accurate.

00:18:56
Len Colodny
I don't think there's a quote in that book that isn't taped and in context. If somebody even questioned the context of their quote, we would be in a position to do that. But let's take the Mitchell tapes, which are the ones I've been asked about the most. There's 82 hours of tape with John Mitchell. There's a lot of personal. You know, there's not a Q and A going on here. There's a lot of conversation going on here. Things are said about individuals that weren't ever going to be in the book, never intended to be in the book. So, just on that alone -- and Mitchell certainly didn't give those interviews, the only ones he gave. I didn't know that until he died. I didn't realize I was the repository of John Mitchell at this point. But, that's just an example. I don't think anybody gave us interviews where they've said some things about people that aren't very nice and aren't germane to the book and really are irrelevant. But, on point, if we're talking about something Dean said or something Magruder said -- I mean, Magruder has totally done a 180 on major parts of his testimony. He's now saying, "I perjured myself," in effect. It's there. Everything is there. Somebody told me that Mr. Garment was running around saying he wasn't quoted properly. Len Garment. I can assure you that every word that's in there in context Len Garment said. Now, Garment hasn't said that to me. That came through a third party who said Garment had said that. Garment, when I did talk to him, when I talked to Len, he said he was really looking forward to the book and thought it would be a great addition to history.

00:20:19
Brian Lamb
Who else did you talk to anywhere close to 82 hours?

00:20:23
Len Colodny
I think John Ehrlichman ranks close in that.

00:20:27
Robert Getlin
Roger Morris, we spoke with -- not for that long, but for . . .

00:20:30
Brian Lamb
Who was Roger Morris? He writes the forward to your book.

00:20:33
Robert Getlin
Roger Morris was a young National Security Council aide during the Nixon years. Actually, he had worked in the Johnson White House previous to that. Kissinger had kept him on. He resigned over the bombing of Cambodia during the Nixon period and has gone on to become a noted historian, biographer of Nixon, Kissinger, Haig. In fact, his first volume of his three-volume work on Nixon was nominated for a National Book award.

00:21:08
Len Colodny
He was a finalist. Let me tell you how we got to Roger. We were shocked at was coming. How would you like to be sitting there watching this material come across your desk every day and you're saying, "Wait a minute. This is a cold story. Where is this all coming from? Here's two guys who've never written a book before. We're going to tell the American public that something they've been told for 20 years" -- and we're not fools. We understood that this book was not going to be accepted overnight. We understood that. We understood what we call the five-year test. We believe Silent Coup will be there. It's not the definitive work on Watergate, but it turns it in the right direction. We begin to get the players in their right place. Others will follow us and I'm sure they will be able to expand. So what do we do? We called people like Morris up who were in that White House, who knew the players, and said, "Please evaluate the evidence." On the Dean side, we went to Benton Becker who was President Ford's private counsel and we said to him, "Benton, please come on over to Tampa." He's an old childhood friend of mine. "Would you please come on over and evaluate the Dean material for me because this is serious. Are we really talking the kind of massive perjury and so on?"

00:22:12
Brian Lamb
This is Benton Becker right here.

00:22:13
Len Colodny
Right. Benton Becker secretly negotiated the pardon for Richard Nixon -- or thought he had without the help of Al Haig. As this book points out, he did have some help he didn't know he had. But the point being that we really had Becker's help in crafting the entire center part of the book. He's a former prosecutor. He understood full well the legal ramifications of what we were writing and helped us craft it in such a way that we got it right and we got the thing on point. What's interesting is we're now a number of weeks into this book and you can bet that if the Washington Post assigned three reporters to this book to just find the holes -- nobody has found the hole in this book yet. It's been smeared. You get the smear jobs. But anybody who's read the book and reports on its facts has not refuted a single fact in "Silent Coup."

00:23:02
Brian Lamb
It's going to be hard for us to solve that problem here, but there are a lot of things that we can learn about the two of you. Seven years. How did you live for seven years?

00:23:11
Robert Getlin
Well, I was fortunate enough to work part time for part of those years. I was then a national reporter in the Newhouse Newspaper Washington bureau, reporting on Washington, some investigative work. Part time I was working with Len, who was down in Tampa -- I was here in Washington -- on the book doing research, putting our proposal together. Len was then working full time on the book. It was only until late '88 when we signed our contract that I went full time in working on putting the book together, writing it and so forth.

00:23:46
Brian Lamb
How did you survive seven years?

00:23:48
Len Colodny
I've had a wonderful wife and she believed in the project, believed in me, and we had savings. God knows why -- looking back, I knew that it was going to be published and it was going to be an important book. It's a book without heros, but Sandy is a hero and Sandy believed in the project and financially helped us through the tough years of getting it off the ground. Then, of course, in 1988, we had a contract, and it went for a lot more money, obviously, than even Bob and I dreamed. That's how it happened.

00:24:22
Brian Lamb
Go back to the beginning of this. What were you doing then?

00:24:25
Len Colodny
I had left Washington. I had sold my business. I had gotten out of politics.

00:24:30
Brian Lamb
What was your business at the time?

00:24:31
Len Colodny
I was in the wholesale liquor business. I had a wholesale liquor distributorship in Maryland and I had had a brokerage in D.C., and that mixed with my political activities. That's what I did for most of my adult life.

00:24:44
Robert Getlin
Just to add, your investigative skills in working on P.G. County with the Police Department.

00:24:50
Len Colodny
In Prince Georges County, Maryland, I oversaw for the Human Relations Commission the Police Department, and I learned a lot of investigative technique in that job. I had a natural curiosity about investigating. I mean, I've read things about various historical events, and they do read differently in different books. So I had a background for what we were going to do. I didn't dream we were going to do it.

00:25:12
Brian Lamb
Who is Tom Shachtman?

00:25:13
Len Colodny
Tom Shachtman came in the last stages. We were having difficulty finishing book two, and Bob was swamped with book three.

00:25:22
Brian Lamb
You mean basically book two of this book?

00:25:24
Len Colodny
Yes, which is "Golden Boy," which is the Dean section. Since I had done most of the investigating in developing Dean, they sent Tom Shachtman down to Florida. He was an absolute master at what he did, and we finished the eight chapters of the Dean section.

00:25:38
Robert Getlin
You know, this was our first book, and as a writer of newspaper stories never having written a book before, Shachtman came in and really helped me as a writer to be able to put this into book form. He's a masterful writer. He's got a lot of experience. He's written a lot of books himself. So he really kind of came in and served as sort of a super editor and helped pull together this massive array with the rewriting at the very final stages when we were ready to go.

00:26:05
Len Colodny
This is a complicated story, and he helped uncomplicate it. Becker helped uncomplicate it. Because we know certainly the type of viewers that you have -- it's like an inside baseball book for them. They're going to be looking at this and they're going to say, "My God -- Oh, I knew this was going on all along." The Nixon people, if they should be credited for anything because they didn't know a heck of a lot about Watergate, they did let us see the Nixon White House the way it really was.

00:26:28
Brian Lamb
You end your little piece in the acknowledgments by saying, "Last but not least, we acknowledge our old antiwar friends now residing in Maine, Irene and Ben." Why did you do that?

00:26:38
Len Colodny
Well, because during part of the book they were helpful. They are old and dear friends of mine. Henry Oberman, who is Ben, was, in fact, in military intelligence and there were times I went to him, not only as a friend but as an expert to help me with some of this book, to understand some of the military side of what we were looking at. Strangely enough, when you live in Tampa, people do return your long-distance phone calls. They may not call you in Washington, but they'll call you in Tampa. I came in one day, and I had called Mitchell, left a number, and my daughter said, "Oh, by the way, John Mitchell called you back." So I returned the phone call and we started to chat and I said, "By the way, Mr. Attorney General, you were not my favorite Attorney General." I remember being gassed on at least two occasions as I marched in an anti-war march, so it was sort of a turn back to my roots. I'm a liberal Democrat. There's three of us in Florida, I think, now. We meet in a phone booth once a week and discuss the good old days.

00:27:37
Brian Lamb
You're still a liberal Democrat?

00:27:38
Len Colodny
Absolutely. I've never traded in the ...

00:27:42
Brian Lamb
Robert Gettlin, what's your politics?

00:27:43
Robert Getlin
I, again, grew up in the era of the antiwar movement and voted for McGovern and voted for Jimmy Carter and voted for Democrats most of my life, but I don't cast myself as a Democrat or Republican. I look at myself as somebody who's kind of in the middle as an independent who leans a certain way, but doesn't belong to any political party.

00:28:06
Brian Lamb
Let me go back to your book and ask you if the three biggest losers in this book, as you portray them, are Bob Woodward and Al Haig and John Dean.

00:28:17
Robert Getlin
The biggest loser in the book -- and it's unfortunate that we're in the Haig-Woodward mess because John Dean is the important story in this book.

00:28:25
Brian Lamb
Why?

00:28:26
Robert Getlin
Because John Dean pulled off an incredible hoax. He pulled it off on the Watergate Committee and he pulled it off on the courts and he pulled it off on the American people, and in a sense he erased the election. If you take John Dean out of the story, it doesn't matter what Woodward and Haig do because it will be a series of leaks that will mean nothing. There's no Watergate. It will be traditional Washington leaks that may nick the president a little bit, but it's not going to drive him out of office. It is the John Dean story that is just absolutely the most important story in the book.

00:28:55
Brian Lamb
Who is this man?

00:28:56
Len Colodny
Phillip Mackin Bailley.

00:28:59
Brian Lamb
What did he have to do with the story?

00:29:00
Len Colodny
Phil Bailley was an attorney who represented criminals and prostitutes and pimps and assorted people here in Washington in the late '60s and early '70s. One of his clients was a woman named Cathy Dieter who set up a call-girl ring after another ring had been raided on 18th Street in the Columbia Plaza. Mr. Bailley, working with her, knew that there was a connection between the Democratic National Committee and her call-girl ring. She did not own the call-girl ring. She was running it for another gentleman, but she was a key figure. Bailley knew all about the pictures of the girls and how the Democrats -- what phone they used and so on. When he told us this story at first, I thought, "Oh, come on." I called Becker again. I said, "Becker, we've got a tough one now. If this is true, this is an incredible story." Sure enough, it turns out -- and I was able to interview Mr. Martinez, the burglar -- that the target was in fact the desk with the photos, number one, and, number two, the phone that was tapped at the Watergate was the phone used to make the dates. If you look in Silent Coup, you'll see that the lookout thing looks right into those offices. You can't see Larry O'Brien if you tried. He was then Democratic Party chairman and up until now thought to be the target of the break-in. G. Gordon Liddy is out on the coast, I believe, as we speak. He has rewritten a portion of his autobiography Will, and he now says that in fact the target was this. He was the cut out. The real orders were going directly from Dean to Hunt. Mr. Martinez was given a key and was arrested with the key that fit that desk, and he was arrested with a floor plan with that X mark. He then told us himself in his own words that was the target. Her desk and that phone were in fact the target of the Watergate break-in.

00:30:59
Brian Lamb
You actually have charts in here.

00:31:04
Robert Getlin
The chart shows the location of the desk and the telephone that was the target -- right below where your finger is pointing -- which is the real target. The long perceived target of the break-in was Lawrence F. O'Brien, the chairman.

00:31:24
Len Colodny
That's the target.

00:31:26
Brian Lamb
Where's Mr. O'Brien's office?

00:31:28
Robert Getlin
He's down over here.

00:31:30
Brian Lamb
Show me again. Put your finger on it.

00:31:31
Robert Getlin
Right in here.

00:31:32
Len Colodny
Now if you turn it the other way, for the other page, you will see that this is the Howard Johnson where the lookout room is, and this is Mr. O'Brien's office all the way over here. You couldn't even see it and you couldn't get a bug from there. It looks right into the three-office complex.

00:31:48
Brian Lamb
We're now into the middle of something that's very complicated and I'm not so sure if you're listening to this for the first time that you understand what we're talking about. Let me see if I can sort through all of this. Watergate happened when?

00:32:01
Robert Getlin
I think the way to understand it is you have to follow John Dean to understand what happened and why the break-in had to do with the call-girl ring and not Larry O'Brien.

00:32:12
Brian Lamb
Just give us a date. When did Watergate happen?

00:32:14
Robert Getlin
June 17, 1972.

00:32:16
Len Colodny
This is the second break-in. The first break-in was May 28, and that break-in was where they put the tap on the phone to get the sexual dirt.

00:32:23
Brian Lamb
Tap on the phone at the Democratic National Committee headquarters, you say to get the sexual dirt.

00:32:29
Robert Getlin
You have to understand Dean. John Dean came into the White House in July of 1970 as a young Republican attorney in his early 30s, very flashy. He wore Gucci shoes and he drove a Porsche. He understood that the ticket to the top in the Nixon White House was gathering dirt on the Democrats and the opposition.

00:32:51
Brian Lamb
Let me ask you about this picture. Do you know when this picture was taken?

00:32:54
Robert Getlin
That was taken during the time of the Watergate coverup, I think.

00:33:00
Brian Lamb
But you say that he cut his hair and put on owlish looking glasses but here he's got on contacts and had a different appearance when he met the American people.

00:33:08
Robert Getlin
Went before the committee.

00:33:10
Len Colodny
Nobody should underestimate the role of Richard Nixon in this. Let's understand that President Nixon when he became president not only formed a secret government, but President Nixon hired a private investigator to do off-the-books jobs. The way he ran those jobs was he had Ehrlichman given the order. The order would be passed to an aide named Jack Caulfield who would pass it on to Tony Ulasewicz from the payoff days. When Dean entered Ehrlichman's old job, he found Ulasewicz there and began to run a rogue intelligence operation using Ulasewicz. Again, it's another outgrowth of the Nixon personality. That's what you really needed to understand. Dean just didn't come in and say, "I'm going to do it." Dean found this private investigator.

00:33:53
Brian Lamb
This is Tony Ulasewicz.

00:33:55
Len Colodny
Right. Ulasewicz went, at Dean's direction, to the West Coast to spy on Tunney and Kennedy. It wasn't like this was the first time. This is 50-some jobs into it. You can see there's the key, by the way, to the secretary's desk.

00:34:08
Robert Getlin
On the far right.

00:34:10
Len Colodny
That's what was taken from Mr. Martinez at the time of the arrest. There's no question what the target of the break-in is now. The target of the break-in is, in fact, that complex, that desk, and that phone. To understand that, Cathy Dieter is really Heidi Rikan, who was Maureen Biner's old girlfriend from Texas who she was staying with here in Washington. That's how Dean found out the sexual dirt was there to get.

00:34:37
Brian Lamb
We can get real lost in this so easily. This picture is of whom?

00:34:41
Robert Getlin
Maureen Dean, who is John Dean's wife. They were married in October of '72 at the height of the cover-up. She had been his girlfriend Maureen Biner previous to the marriage. As Len said, the ticket to understanding all this is that Dean knew that at the Democratic National Committee, and specifically at the desk that we discussed earlier and the telephone, the call-girl ring was being facilitated. How did Dean know that? He knew because Maureen Biner, his then-girlfriend, had a roommate, Heidi Rikan, who went by an alias, Cathy Dieter. In her own book "Mo: A Woman's View of Watergate", Maureen Biner Dean describes her good friend Heidi Rikan. There's even a picture of Heidi Rikan in there. We were able to confirm through law enforcement sources, U.S. attorneys, the people working on the case, that Heidi Rikan, in fact, had this Cathy Dieter alias. As Cathy Dieter, she was a madam, so to speak, in this call-girl ring. Dean knew Heidi Rikan as well as Maureen did. Dean knew that this operation was going on, and he wanted to get sexual dirt out of that operation to use to feather his own nest at the White House.

00:36:00
Brian Lamb
Against the Democrats.

00:36:01
Robert Getlin
Exactly.

00:36:01
Brian Lamb
Let me read a line in your book. This particular line isn't being criticized, but this kind of a thing is being criticized. On page 132, "We do not know, but we have been informed by another source who agreed to speak only if not identified that Dean and Heidi Rikan were great friends." I mean the point of that is that the source stuff we'll never know.

00:36:23
Len Colodny
What fascinates me about that is here we have -- you just did "The Commanders" and you talked to Woodward about sources and Woodward made a point in the clip you showed the other morning that if you don't do it this way, you're not going to get people to talk and I'm not going to be able to tell my story. Well, "Silent Coup" got hundreds of people, 150 people to talk, who we named. We proved you could do it. This was a very sensitive source and I gave them, for one of the few times -- 10 people we gave this to -- that we wouldn't say who that person was. But I will tell you this: The person was very close to Maureen.

00:36:58
Robert Getlin
More to the point, which is very interesting, is that when we were on the "Larry King Live" show the day after the book came out, Dean had been asked to come on. Instead he declined that, and he sent in a fax letter criticizing the book and so forth, and I think this was put up on the screen when we were on. At one point he said, "This book discusses an old friend of mine and my wife, who has since deceased." And Cathy Dieter/Heidi Rikan died within the last year or so of cancer. Dean himself has acknowledged that he knew this woman, OK? There's no question that Maureen knew Heidi Rikan/Cathy Dieter. It's in her book. There's no question that John Dean's girlfriend was Maureen Biner. We had this source, again, that Len said we couldn't put on the record.

00:37:53
Len Colodny
We couldn't name.

00:37:55
Robert Getlin
Right, couldn't name, exactly -- one of the small sliver of sources that couldn't be named. Dean, himself, has acknowledged it, so I don't think there's much dispute about it at this point.

00:38:05
Brian Lamb
Let's go back to the kind of coverage your book has gotten in Washington through the Washington Post. How would you characterize it?

00:38:14
Len Colodny
The first shot out of the box they used their so-called media critic, Howard Kurtz. The idea was to poison the well. They put it in the Style section, they trashed the book, and then they sent it to all the wire services that they service around the country in order to poison the well. That was the whole purpose of that.

00:38:34
Brian Lamb
You think that was all planned?

00:38:35
Len Colodny
Well, let me put it to you this way. Every part of that story has now been refuted. It started out by saying Time dropped it for credibility reasons. Then he said "60 Minutes" dropped it for credibility reasons. That night we were on the Larry King show. Mike Wallace calls up and refutes that charge on the air on the Larry King show. The next day Time issues a statement saying something similar to what you said. "It was tough to excerpt. We tried, we couldn't do it. This is in no way to show the credibility of the book." But the worst part of that story was when Woodward was asked about Haig and he says, "Well, if I'd known him, I'd be glad to admit it." Now Kurtz writes that and then to bolster it, he takes a Moorer quote which says, "It's a pack of lies. They never interviewed me."

00:39:16
Brian Lamb
Thomas Moorer.

00:39:16
Len Colodny
Thomas Moorer.

00:39:17
Len Colodny
We sent him the transcripts. We're now four weeks into it. You don't see Howard Kurtz printing the truth or telling the readers, a) that we did interview Admiral Moorer, and, b) that Admiral Moorer named Haig and Woodward as knowing each other.

00:39:29
Robert Getlin
Let me ask something about that because Howard Kurtz and I were friends for years. I mean, we met 14 years ago when I first came to Washington. We worked together at Jack Anderson's office. I've known him for many years and Howard knew I was working on this book, that it was a serious effort, that is was as a well-documented effort. He actually had called me even before the book came out, and I had told him that we got this nailed and the stuff is irrefutable and so forth. He never bothered to call me back after he printed his story. I had called him originally and said,"I will offer you to listen to the tapes of Admiral Moorer to hear for yourself that what you said was untrue." He never returned my call. They've never, as Len said ...

00:40:20
Len Colodny
Worse than that, he would not take Roger Morris's positive quotes. He cut them from the story. First he blamed his editors for it. So here's the media critic, the guy who's criticizing the media -- his entire story has been discredited, and the Post has never changed or reported to its readers the truth of the story, which again tells you the importance of the Haig-Woodward relationship.

00:40:41
Robert Getlin
I want to say, too, Brian, that we're not really surprised. The Post is Bob Woodward's paper, of course, and the Post's reputation has risen largely on the Watergate story. To the extent that "Silent Coup" overturns much of the mythology about Watergate -- because that's what it does -- the Post has a vested interest in the old established version. We're not particularly surprised that the Post was unfriendly, but we felt that the Howard Kurtz piece, which again is the only piece that they've done on the book, was really not intended to give a fair hearing to the issue but really intended to knock the book down before it came out. It hasn't worked. We're on the bestseller list, and people are reading it around the country. Len and I have been doing interviews all over the United States and Canada. People are endlessly, endlessly fascinated on the subject of Watergate and Richard Nixon.

00:41:33
Brian Lamb
I've got a piece that you had with you when you came today that you just picked up from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and the headline on this is "Noisy Critics Inadvertently Tout Silent Coup." Is that what's happened? All the critics have helped you?

00:41:47
Len Colodny
No. You know what's happened. You know, everybody's looking at this book. It's been out for a month now. It's on the New York Times bestseller list since it came out. It's been moving up. We found out something you knew. See, you did a show a number of months ago on radio talk shows, and you brought them in from all over the country and you began to show the kind of power these guys had. It's really at the heart at what C-SPAN is all about -- talking directly to the people, unfiltered through the journalistic, analytical eye. That's the basis for this kind of a network. That's what happening. The talk show hosts have read the book. They love the book. They give it hour commercials. We're number three in L.A. this week. How could you be number three in L.A. when the L.A. Times hasn't written about it, when it hasn't been anywhere but in the talk shows? That's what's happening. They're reading it, they're loving it, they're telling their readers how good it is. That's happening throughout the country. In Miami, it's number seven. It's just amazing what's going on.

00:42:41
Robert Getlin
Even those people who haven't read it and take issue with some of what they've heard about it, who are skeptical -- that's fine. We don't mind skeptics because what's in between the two covers of the book speaks for itself. People can read it and come to their own conclusions. But the point is that people are endlessly fascinated in this subject of Watergate. We were asked when we first wrote this book, "Well, who wants to read another Watergate book?" Again, not to belabor the Post issue because we've really dealt with it, but the Post and, I must say, other media organs in the New York/Washington corridor, have been silent about Silent Coup. They haven't touched it. The problem is that Silent Coup cuts too close of the bone of too much of what has been accepted over 20 years, and it's going to take a while for the media establishment so to speak, out of which I consider having come as a print journalist and Len is familiar with as well, to accept it. The American public is far ahead of the press on this issue.

00:43:43
Brian Lamb
Appendix B.

00:43:45
Len Colodny
That is a still-classified document. You can't get it out of the archive. It can't be found, I understand, at the Pentagon. It's Admiral [Robert] Welander's confession to the spy ring. We decided to run it verbatim because, while we allude to it in the book and quote from it in the book, we thought the American people were entitled to the document. Here you've got an admiral sitting in John Ehrlichman's office, over the Oval Office, talking into a tape recorder and admitting to the entire spy ring -- what they stole, who was involved, and many, many times mentioning Alexander Haig as a facilitator.

00:44:17
Brian Lamb
I have to stop you because we don't know who Admiral Welander is. Let me ask you this first of all: How did you get this particular transcript of a taped conversation between David Young, John Ehrlichman and Admiral Welander?

00:44:32
Robert Getlin
We can't tell you who gave it to us, but what we can tell you is this: Once we got -- and we got it from someone who had direct authority and access to retrieve it -- we went to the principals involved. I went and personally interviewed Admiral Robert Welander, the person who was interviewed on that tape, met with him at his home in Maryland, and he read it and authenticated it as the real McCoy. We went to others including John ...

00:45:02
Len Colodny
I think what Brian's asking is -- first of all, the ring, the way it was set up is Yeoman Charles Radford was the yeoman doing the stealing. Yeoman Radford -- there's a picture of Yeoman Radford -- would steal the stuff, break into Kissinger's briefcase, go into burn bags, whatever he had to do to get this material, and then he would pass it to Admiral Welander who ironically also happens to be Bob Woodward's former commanding officer on the USS Fox. He would then pass the documents directly over to Admiral Moorer, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. So that's the significance of what we're hearing here.

00:45:37
Brian Lamb
Let's go back because we've left a lot out. Has anybody read this transcript? Who in the world has read this transcript before you published it?

00:45:47
Len Colodny
Obviously we asked John Ehrlichman to authenticate it. But I will tell you under whose authority we got it. We got it under the authority of President Richard M. Nixon. Now, he doesn't know how that happened, and I've tried to explain to John Taylor out at the library that I can't tell him who under his authority, but it didn't walk out of there. Nobody stole it.

00:46:07
Brian Lamb
What day was this transcript made?

00:46:09
Robert Getlin
December 22, 1971.

00:46:12
Brian Lamb
December 22, 1971, which was prior to Watergate.

00:46:16
Robert Getlin
Six months prior to the burglary, correct.

00:46:18
Brian Lamb
Admiral Welander was at the time working for ...?

00:46:21
Robert Getlin
He was working in what was called the Joint Chiefs of Staff Liaison Office at the National Security Council. He was a military man who was working at the National Security Council.

00:46:33
Brian Lamb
So he had an office in the White House.

00:46:34
Robert Getlin
He had an office at the NSC at the White House and also an office at the Pentagon. Basically, the liaison office was supposed to be the funnel that handled information between the Pentagon and the NSC, just to facilitate the flow of information. What in fact was happening once Admiral Moorer became chairman of the Joint Chiefs in July of '70 is that he turned the liaison office into, in effect, an operation that enabled Radford to steal documents. Nixon had cut out the Joint Chiefs, and this get to the point Len made early on when we began the program. Nixon came into the government and decided that he was going to carry out foreign policy successes with Kissinger, but he was going to do it secretly by cutting out not only the Democrats and the liberals on the left, but the Pentagon on the right.

00:47:23
Brian Lamb
Who is this man again?

00:47:24
Robert Getlin
Charles Radford.

00:47:26
Len Colodny
And you want to hear this? He's still in the Navy and still has a top-secret clearance. It goes on.

00:47:31
Brian Lamb
I read that in your book and I wondered how this man -- first of all, was he ever prosecuted?

00:47:37
Robert Getlin
No, he wasn't. I'll tell you what happened to Charles Radford. Charles Radford was a young man who came out of a difficult background. He went into the Navy and was loyal to the Navy. When he got to the White House, he was handpicked to go there and to be an aide to Welander, the admiral we talked about before, and a previous admiral, Admiral Robinson, the predecessor to Welander.

00:48:00
Brian Lamb
And Mr. Radford talked to you?

00:48:03
Robert Getlin
Oh, yes. Over many hours we interviewed him.

00:48:06
Brian Lamb
And Admiral Welander talked to you?

00:48:07
Robert Getlin
Correct.

00:48:08
Brian Lamb
And Admiral Robinson is dead.

00:48:10
Robert Getlin
He died in '72, so we couldn't talk to him.

00:48:12
Len Colodny
And Admiral Moorer talked to us.

00:48:13
Brian Lamb
And Admiral Moorer talked to you.

00:48:14
Len Colodny
But I think for your viewers it's important to understand that before Richard Nixon ever assumed office, he sat in his hotel in New York with Mitchell and Kissinger and drew up these NSDDs that they write at the White House, special orders and changes for the National Security Council, so it became a government unto itself. It is the precursor of Iran-Contra. There's no question it's the model for the events of the Iran-Contra. Nixon understood how to use that office in a way nobody before him ever understood. It was a non-confirmable post. He didn't have to tell the bureaucracy what he did. When we first got that document, we were shocked. We were saying, "My God, there's a military spy ring."

00:48:51
Brian Lamb
When did you get the document?

00:48:52
Len Colodny
In 1986. When we got the document, as we did the book, we began to realize, "Hey, wait a minute. These guys really had some reasons to know what he was hiding from them." They didn't know about troop withdrawals and why he was withdrawing troops. They couldn't find the intelligence. The Paris Peace talks, the China opening, the SALT -- it was all hidden from them. That's what this document produces.

00:49:14
Brian Lamb
What you're saying then was that Admiral Moorer, when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was on behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spying on President Nixon right under ...

00:49:23
Robert Getlin
Well, let me explain. You brought up Radford before. I want to make it clear that Radford was loyal to his commanding officers, and he was working at their instruction. He was not doing this on his own. He was their eyes and ears. He was gathering documents, turning it over to them and they loved it. They appreciated, needless to say, the intelligence he was providing to them.

00:49:43
Brian Lamb
Was he taking orders from Admiral Welander?

00:49:44
Robert Getlin
Correct. And before that from Admiral Robinson.

00:49:47
Brian Lamb
And there's no question in your mind that he was just taking orders?

00:49:50
Len Colodny
It's all here. It's in the confession.

00:49:51
Robert Getlin
Absolutely not. Absolutely no question at all.

00:49:53
Brian Lamb
What was the reason for John Ehrlichman calling Admiral Welander into his office and to make this tape?

00:49:58
Robert Getlin
What happened was the way this whole thing was uncovered was by accident, just like many other things in history. Jack Anderson, the columnist, was a much hated enemy of the Nixon White House. Anderson had his own sources in the Pentagon. He was writing about the famous tilt to Pakistan in the India-Pakistan war. He revealed some conversations that Henry Kissinger was involved in. An investigation ensued into who had leaked it, and the prime target became Radford because they believed that he had the documents and had turned it over to Anderson because Anderson was a Mormon and Radford's a Mormon and they thought there was a connection there and so forth. In the course of polygraphing Radford, they asked him, "Were you Anderson's source?" He said no. We have the polygraph test, and he passed that. He was also asked, "Have you ever turned over classified documents to unauthorized persons?" As we describe in the book, Radford got nervous and he told the truth and said, "I have." It was at that point that the investigators involved found out about his activities of spying for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was after that that Admiral Welander, then Radford's boss, was called in and asked about what Radford had admitted in the polygraph exam, and it was at that point that the taped confession was made.

00:51:20
Brian Lamb
Let me ask you to deal with a criticism by Steven Ambrose who has written a New York Times review of your book in which he basically says, "This Radford-Moorer thing is old hat. We all know about this."

00:51:33
Len Colodny
The Moorer-Radford thing surfaced in 1974 publicly and there were hearings, but they were a sham. Mel Laird admitted to us they were fixed, and the truth did not come out.

00:51:44
Brian Lamb
Who held the hearings?

00:51:45
Len Colodny
Senator Stennis and the Armed Services Committee held the hearings at the same time the Watergate hearings were going on.

00:51:50
Brian Lamb
These were done in private, the hearings?

00:51:51
Len Colodny
They were done in private, but the transcripts came out. You could read them and the results of their interrogations. But what's really important here is that the Plumbers uncovered Moorer-Radford. As you know, the Plumbers became an issue in Watergate. So every time the Plumbers surfaced, that tape threatened to be surfaced.

00:52:11
Brian Lamb
Who were the Plumbers?

00:52:12
Len Colodny
They were David Young and Bud Krogh and Liddy and all the people.

00:52:16
Brian Lamb
All working in the White House?

00:52:17
Len Colodny
All working in the White House. Remember, they broke into Ellsberg's psychiatrist office. Hunt was involved in the Watergate matter as well. So the two matters got linked. What happened was that the president buried Moorer-Radford and never read that transcript. Never once did he read the transcript or try to find out what really happened in Moorer-Radford, very similar to what he'd do in Watergate. So he never saw the references to Haig, so he didn't understand even what Haig's role was at that point. That could have changed history immensely at that point.

00:52:47
Brian Lamb
You're saying that Al Haig was involved in the Moorer-Radford-Welander connection.

00:52:52
Robert Getlin
Correct. Absolutely.

00:52:53
Len Colodny
We're saying when you read that transcript and the many references to Haig's facilitating that spy ring and then there's a second confession that's taken after the president buries it, which is also completely in the back of this book, which eliminates all reference to Haig. That's the one they were offering to the Senate committee.

00:53:10
Robert Getlin
That's the issue with Ambrose. Ambrose said it's an old story. It's clear from our book we rely on the past sources. Seymour Hersh wrote about the spy ring known as the Moorer-Radford affair we've been talking about. What we discovered and showed for the first time in "Silent Coup" is that Nixon, in fact, did bury the issue rather than really uncover what had happened and that Alexander Haig, as you pointed out, was right smack dab in the middle of it. That's what's important and that's what's new. We got the Welander transcript which proves that the spying occurred, and, while it's been an issue that's been around, we uncovered the new evidence.

00:53:48
Len Colodny
Ambrose has the same problem. As a historian who's already written a book, he wrote me a letter in 1989. He was getting ready to put his second volume out, and he knew that if we were right, he had a problem. So he called and offered to trade with me information. I said, "I can't do that. We have a confidentiality clause." So as a result, the trade never took place and at some point in that conversation he said, "Please reconsider. I'm a historian. I can make or break a book like this." He never told the New York Times about that exchange and now the Times says they shouldn't have assigned him to do "Silent Coup." That's what's happening. There are vested interests who have to protect them. He's got a book coming out in three months which is totally obsolete as a result of "Silent Coup." That's not the kind of person that you can deal with or take seriously in his criticisms of this book. In fact, he even said we didn't name our sources when he was looking at a list of 150 of them.

00:54:38
Brian Lamb
We've got such little time left. For people who have joined even at the top of the hour, let's go back over your principal findings.

00:54:47
Robert Getlin
Our principal findings are that Richard Nixon came into the office intending to run a secret government, cut out the Joint Chiefs of Staff, among others. This caused an angry reaction which caused the military spy ring which Alexander Haig, long considered loyal to Nixon, was involved in. Haig had a secret relationship with Bob Woodward that continued through Watergate, leaked information to Woodward in an effort to tarnish Nixon because of distress over the foreign policy. A separate leg of our story is John Dean. Working independently, a young ambitious guy running a rogue intelligence operation in the White House ordered a break-in at the Democratic National Committee and when it failed, covered it up and tricked the president, who never bothered to find out the truth, into the coverup as well.

00:55:33
Brian Lamb
Is there another book from all the material you've got?

00:55:35
Len Colodny
No, not from me.

00:55:36
Brian Lamb
No book at all? You have 82 hours of John Mitchell?

00:55:38
Len Colodny
At this point, having been under fire and everything else, I want to see Silent Coup take root. I want to see other journalists -- because I think that's the way it should be done, independent of us -- see what they can find as a result. There are no heros. I hope nobody gets the misimpression here. There are no heros in Silent Coup. Absolutely no heros -- maybe a little guy, Don Stewart, down in Miami who uncovered the spy ring. 

But the victim of "Silent Coup" is important. That's the American people. This is what they ended up with -- an unelected president, an unelected vice president. They had no impeachment, they had no trial and no guilty finding. 

There's a lesson to be learned from this. We can't drive presidents out of office in feeding frenzies. There shouldn't have been a Watergate Committee where Dean could perjure himself to death and where there was no way to check it. We have a way in this country to get presidents out of office. 

It's called impeachment. Had they filed their charges before the House Judiciary Committee, which is the appropriate way to go, we wouldn't have the situation we have right here. We wouldn't have had President Ford. We may not have had President Carter. Those are the lessons from "Silent Coup", and they're of major import.

00:56:44
Brian Lamb
What's next for you?

00:56:45
Robert Getlin
That's a good question. There's still a lot to do on "Silent Coup" because there's, again, Len talks about the interests who don't want to see the book succeed. After that, I'd like to do more book writing.

00:56:59
Brian Lamb
Another book on this?

00:57:00
Robert Getlin
I think Watergate and me and Len have sort have run our string, but hopefully there's another important historical story to deal with.

00:57:09
Brian Lamb
Len Colodny, what are you going to do next?

00:57:11
Len Colodny
I don't know. I'd like to teach a little bit. I'm very fascinated by government and how government works. I use C-SPAN for background music everyday. It helped me get the book through, just watching the players. I'm fascinated by them, and I like young Americans to understand how the government really functions.

00:57:27
Brian Lamb
Was this worth it?

00:57:28
Len Colodny
Absolutely. I think it's one heck of a story. It was beyond my belief when it was finally done as to how well we had nailed it.

00:57:35
Brian Lamb
Was it worth it?

00:57:36
Robert Getlin
No question about it. It absolutely was. Having a chance to set history right is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

00:57:43
Brian Lamb
Robert Gettlin, co-author with Len Colodny, of "Silent Coup: The Removal of a President", thank you for joining us.

00:57:50
Robert Getlin
Thank you, Brian.

Transcript Source: http://www.booknotes.org/FullPage.aspx?SID=20346-1

*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.