The Break-In That History Forgot

Egil"Bud" Krogh, one of the Watergate Plumbers, in an op ed in the NYT, claims the break-in of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist office was the real start of Watergate. Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers.

From the op ed:

THE Watergate break-in, described by Ron Ziegler, then the White House press secretary, as a “third-rate burglary,” passes its 35th anniversary this month. The common public perception is that Watergate was the principal cause of President Nixon’s downfall. In fact, the seminal cause was a first-rate criminal conspiracy and break-in almost 10 months earlier that led inexorably to Watergate and its subsequent cover-up.....

In early August 1971, I attended a secret meeting in Room 16, a hideaway office in the basement of the Old Executive Office Building, across the street from the White House. Huddled around the table were G. Gordon Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent; E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent; and David R. Young Jr., a member of the National Security Council staff. I was deputy assistant to the president.

Two months earlier, The New York Times had published the classified Pentagon Papers, which had been provided by Daniel Ellsberg. President Nixon had told me he viewed the leak as a matter of critical importance to national security. He ordered me and the others, a group that would come to be called the “plumbers,” to find out how the leak had happened and keep it from happening again.

Mr. Hunt urged us to carry out a “covert operation” to get a “mother lode” of information about Mr. Ells-berg’s mental state, to discredit him, by breaking into the office of his psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis Fielding. Mr. Liddy told us the F.B.I. had frequently carried out such covert operations — a euphemism for burglaries — in national security investigations, that he had even done some himself....

On Sept. 3, 1971, burglars broke into Dr. Fielding’s Beverly Hills office to photograph the files, but found nothing related to Mr. Ellsberg.

The premise of our action was the strongly held view within certain precincts of the White House that the president and those functioning on his behalf could carry out illegal acts with impunity if they were convinced that the nation’s security demanded it. As President Nixon himself said to David Frost during an interview six years later, “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” To this day the implications of this statement are staggering....

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Anthony R ussell Reese - 7/3/2007

The Ellsberg and Watergate break-ins were seminal events in my political journey. Born and raised in New Hampshire and of Massachusetts Puritan stock, with conservative parents, I could appreciate the need and desire for effective and honest, but very limited government. Believing my father who often claimed that Democrat FDR and the UN were the bane of our republic, in 1972, I finally had my chance to register my input in the debate by my first (and last) presidential vote (one year married, just after completing a six-year enlistment in the USN). Watergate gave birth to and crystallized my belief that ALL human politics were easily corruptible [Jer. 10:23; Ps. 146:3], and that God's Kingdom was the only truly lasting solution [Da 2:44; Matt 24:14]; I registered for that Kingdom 28 years ago. Thirty-five years of history since, has confirmed the efficacy of my choice.

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