1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-25; Part 1 of 6
[silence] [silence] [inaudible] The Committee met in executive session earlier today but we don't know what was said. [gavel being struck] - [Sen. Ervin] The committee will come to order. The counsel will call the first witness. [counsel] Thank you. Mr. John W. Dean the third. [clears throat] [Sen. Ervin] - Stand up and raise your right hand. Do you swear that the evidence that you shall give to Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing
but the truth, so help you God? [Dean] - I do, so help me God. [Sen. Ervin] You are accompanied by counsel, and I would ask... your name is John W. Dean the third? [Dean] That is correct. [Ervin] I would ask counsel to identify themselves for the record. You may be seated. - [Shaffer] Mr. Chairman, my name is Charles N. Shaffer, I'm from Rockville, Maryland, and I'm one of Mr. Dean's counsel. [McCandless] Mr. Chairman, I am Robert C. McCandless of Washington D.C. and I too am one of Mr. Dean's counsels. [Ervin] I would like for members of the Committee and the witness and counsel for the witness to pay strict attention to what I shall say. Mr. Dean appears before the Committee and has appeared previously before the staff of the Committee in obedience to a subpoena from the Committee. Mr. Dean at all times has claimed that
he is privileged against testifying by the self-incrimination clause of the Fifth Amendment, on the ground that any testimony he might... might give to the Committee concerning the matters the Committee is authorized to investigate might incriminate him, and therefore he appears involuntarily. The committee has unanimously requested, in times past, requested His Honor, Judge John Sirica, United States... Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to enter an order of immunity for the witness under the provisions of sections six thousand and two and six thousand five of the Title eighteen United States Code. The Committee, pursuant to those statutes, gave ten days' notice to the Attorney
General of its application to Judge Sirica, and at the instance of the Attorney General Judge Sirica delayed entering an order until twenty days, more than twenty days thereafter had expired. He then entered an order of immunity under the statutes, and Mr. Dean is now informed of that fact and has previously been informed of that fact, and that he is testifying under this order of immunity granted instance of the Committee and he appears here involuntarily as a witness pursuant to this order and he has heretofore been ordered by the Committee to answer the questions and that he has all the testimony he has previously given to the Committee staff, and all the testimony which he may give to this Committee is given by him on the basis of the order of immunity. Is that correct? - That is correct, Mr. Chairman. - Now if there is no objection on the part of any member of the Committee the court... the Chairman will find those...
his statement to be the facts on behalf of the Committee. - Mr. Chairman, I might say just for the completion of the record in that respect, it's also my understanding that in addition to appearing in response to subpoena, and after having claimed his constitutional privileges after the attachment of use immunity as the Chairman has just indicated, that counsel for Mr. Dean at a previous executive session of this Committee made certain other requests, particularly that the witness waive no rights, that he was appearing involuntarily pursuant to subpoena, that he filed an application to be excused from testifying because of the fear of prejudicial effect on the possibility of his subsequent trial and that he requested that coverage of the hearings be either in executive session or limited in accordance with the rules of this Committee. I hope it's appropriate to say, Mr. Chairman, that those matters were taken
into account by this Committee as a whole in executive session and the requests were denied, I think that the record ought to indicate that further for Mr. Dean's... for the completion of Mr. Dean's situation. - Thank you. [inaudible] - We appreciate that, Mr. Vice-Chairman, and I would like out of an abundance of caution, so that there be no way for me to again call to the attention of the Committee here and now before the public session, the content of my letter to the chairman, dated june eighteenth nineteen seventy three which I ask you to rule again on the assertions contained therein and that it be made a part of this public record. - That letter will be printed in the body of the record. I've requested by members of the Committee sitting on the left here that you and Mr. Dean swap places because... - I'm going to leave the chair, Mr. Chairman, and sit back. - ...because the reporters, it obstructs their view. - Mr. Chairman, I'd like for the reporter to move a little back so I can see the witness. - Well, I was going to try to move the witness over here. [laughter]
- Mr. Chairman, we have one additional matter we'd like to call to the attention of the Chair. First of all, the subpoena issued under your rules does subpoena all documents, so, uh, we conclude that all materials supplied other than his oral testimony, all exhibits and other documents are under the same subpoena and must be and are being brought forward in that manner. Also we bring your attention again Title eighteen of the US Code, section seven ninety-eight, Disclosure of Classified Information, and Section C, say "Nothing in this section shall prohibit the furnishing, upon lawful demand, of information to any regularly-constituted Committee of the Senate, or House of Representatives, of the United States
of America." We raise that, Mr. Chairman, because as you are very well aware, and other members of the Committee, under a ruling by the Honorable John J. Sirica, this committee came into possession of certain documents which Mr. Shaffer and I as counsel to Mr. Dean, have not even seen ourselves, they're in your possession. If Mr. Dean is to be asked questions on those documents, he does not have a copy in his possession, the Committee would have to furnish such a copy to him for him to be able to refresh his recollection, and we just wanted to make sure that this section of the Criminal Code and your rules, pointed out how they dovetail as to disclosure of secret and classified information. - We will
rule on that at the proper time. I'm hoping that -- I'm expecting rather -- perhaps questions on those documents that were furnished to the Committee by Judge Sirica at the request of the Committee, the questions on that will probably not come up today, and we will handle that in due season. - Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. - I'd state myself that from my study of the subject, I think that information and... on material cannot be classified allegedly in the interests of national security, unless it's... should not be disclosed to an unauthorized person because it relates to either to national defense or to our foreign relations with other nations. I'm of the opinion from my study that there is no authority
under any... under that statute to classify any matter merely because it relates to domestic intelligence or internal security. That's a matter, though, that the Committee will rule on later when it becomes necessary. - It's also our understanding, and I hope it's correct, that any doctrines of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege have also been taken care of by your Committee. - [Sen. Baker] Mr. Chairman, can I say a word in that respect and on the point raised by Mr. McCandless which I think is important for him to raise in connection with the protection of his client's rights, it is my understanding, and Mr. Dash, the chief counsel for the Committee, can correct me if I'm in error, it's my understanding that on last Monday it was transmitted to the witness with copies to the Committee and its staff, a letter from Mr. Leonard Garment, the counsel for the White House or a counsel for the White House,
indicating that the White House would not claim executive privilege as to this witness's testimony nor would it claim the privilege of attorney-client, and as I recall as well, that on matters of the use of documents nominally classified, that they would leave it to the discretion of the Committee to decide how that should be handled. - That is correct, Senator Baker. It initially was an oral statement given to me by Mr. Garment, counsel for the President, and he followed it up with a letter to Mr. Dean, copied to our Committee, in which he put in writing that he was authorized by the President to do as you just stated. - And the Committee in executive session this past Monday, I believe by unanimous vote, I'm sure by unanimous vote, authorized the Chairman to act on behalf of the Committee in the matter of the handling of these classified matters. Thank you, sir. - We'll be certain to let the record show as to Mr. McCandless's statements that the documents are also, any documents that the witness produces are
produced in obedience to a subpoena due case taken. - Yes. Mr. Dean, you have a statement you wish to present to the Committee? - That's correct, Mr. Dash, but, uh... [crowd murmuring] Before I commence reading the rather lengthy statement I would just like to make a couple of comments. First of all, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-chairman and members of the Committee, I sincerely wish I could say it's my pleasure to be here today but I think you can understand why it's not. - Mr. Dean, could you please take the microphone and put it closer to you so we can all hear you. - Certainly. It's a very difficult thing for me to testify about other people. It's far more easy for me to explain my own involvement in this matter, the fact that I was involved in obstruction of justice, the fact that I assisted another in perjured testimony, the fact that I made personal use of
funds that were in my custody, it's far easier to talk about these things myself than to talk about what others did. Some of these people I'll be referring to are friends, some are men I greatly admire and respect, and particular with reference to the President of the United States, I'd like to say this. It is my honest belief that while the President was involved, that he did not realize or appreciate at any time the implications of his involvement. And I think that when the facts come out I hope the President is forgiven. Pursuant to the request of the Committee, I will commence with a general description of the atmosphere that existed in the White House prior to June nineteen seventy-two. To one was in the White House and became somewhat familiar with its inner workings the
Watergate matter was in an inevitable outgrowth of a climate of excessive concern over the political impact of demonstrators, excessive concern over leaks, an insatiable appetite for political intelligence, all coupled with a do-it-yourself White House staff regardless of the law. However, the fact that many of these elements of this climate culminated with the creation of a covert intelligence operation as part of the President's re-election committee was not by conscious design, rather an accident of fate. These of course are my conclusions but I believe they are well founded in fact. This committee however is not interested in my conclusions, rather it's interested in the facts as i know them. Rather than my characterizing the climate and attitudes, I shall as requested present the facts which themselves evidence some of the precursors of the Watergate incident. It was not until I joined the White House
staff in early July of nineteen seventy that I fully realized the strong feelings of the President and his staff had towards anti-war demonstrators and demonstrators in general, but even before my joining the White House staff, I was partially aware of this Presidential concern and a concern that in turn permeated much of the White House. During my tenure at the Justice Department as an Associate Deputy Attorney General, I was involved in representing the government in discussions with demonstration leaders regarding the terms of demonstration permits for activities in the capital city. While I was not the decision-maker in this capacity, I was in close proximity to the decision- making process and thus realize that the White House, principally Mr. Erlichman, often made or cleared the final decisions regarding demonstration activities. It was also because of my proximity to those involved with demonstrations at the Department of Justice that I became aware that the White House was continually seeking intelligence information about demonstration leaders and their supporters that would
either discredit them personally or indicate that the demonstration was in fact sponsored by some foreign enemy. There were also White House requests for information regarding ties between major political figures, specifically members the United States Senate, who opposed the President's war policies and demonstration leaders. I also recall that the information regarding demonstrators, or rather the lack of information showing connections between demonstration leaders and foreign governments or major political figures, was often reported to a disbelieving and complaining White House staff that felt the entire system for gathering such intelligence was worthless. As I shall elaborate shortly, this attitude towards intelligence-gathering capabilities of the government regarding demonstrations prevailed through my tenure in the Justice Department and at the White House and I was hearing complaints from the President personally as late as March twelfth of this year. It was when I joined the White House staff in July of nineteen seventy that I became fully aware of the extent of concern at the White
House regarding demonstrations and intelligence information relating to demonstrators. It was approximately one month after I arrived at the White House that I was informed about a project that had been going on before I arrived, to restructure the government's intelligence-gathering capacities vis-à-vis demonstrators and domestic radicals. The revised domestic intelligence plan was submitted in a document form to the President for his approval. The President... uh, the Committee has in its possession a copy of that document and certain related memoranda pursuant to the order of Judge Sirica. After I was told of the Presidentially-approved plan, that called for bugging, burglarizing, mail covers and the like, I was instructed by Mr. Haldeman to see what I could do to get the plan implemented. I thought the plan was totally uncalled-for and unjustified. I talked with Mr. Mitchell about the plan. He said he knew there was great concern or desire
at the White House to see that the plan was implemented, but he agreed fully with FBI Director Hoover who opposed the plan with one exception. Mitchell thought that an interagency evaluation committee might be useful because it was not good to have the FBI standing alone without the information of other intelligence agencies and the sharing of information is always good and avoids duplication. After my conversation with Mitchell I wrote a memorandum requesting that the evaluation committee be established and the restraints could be removed later. I told Mr. Haldeman that the only way to proceed was one step at a time and this could be an important first step. He agreed. The Interagency Evaluation Committee, the IEC as it was referred to, was created asI recall in early nineteen seventy one. I requested Mr. Jack Caulfield, who had been assigned to my office, to serve as the White House liaison to the IEC, and when Mr. Caulfield left the White House, Mr.
David Wilson of my staff served as liaison. I'm unaware of the IEC ever having engaged in any illegal activities or assignments and certainly no such assignment was ever requested by my office. The reports of the IEC, or summaries of the reports, were forwarded to Haldeman and sometimes Ehrlichman. In addition to the intelligence reports from the IEC, my office also received regular intelligence reports regarding demonstrators and radical groups from the FBI and on some occasions from the CIA. A member of my staff would review the material to determine if it should be forwarded to Mr. Haldeman--that is, for bringing to the President's attention--or sent to another member of the staff who might have interest in the contents of the report. Mr. Chairman, from time to time I'm going to skip parts of the statement in an effort to make sure that I can move as quickly as possible and get the statement completed within the time the Committee has requested so I will... [Sen. Ervin] I believe it'd be well to read the whole statement since you thought it was important enough to
write it. [Dean] I'll honor the Chairman's wish. For example, Len Garment would be sent information regarding Indian uprisings; Mr. Kissinger or General Haig information regarding travels of anti- war groups to avoid. Also, prior to and during a demonstration, my office would prepare summary reports for the President of the anticipated size of a demonstration, any information about the leaders of the demonstration, and during a demonstration a description of the activities of the demonstrators and the government's handling or anticipated handling of the demonstration. Contrary to the policy that existed before I came to the White House, I sought to keep the White House out of these tactical decisions regarding the demonstrations. I felt these were decisions for the Department of Justice and the police. I felt my job was to merely keep the White House informed as to what might happen or was happening. My own desires
in this matter were sometimes superseded when Mr. Ehrlichman or Mr. Haldeman did not like the way a particular demonstration was being handled. Sometimes they so instructed me to inform the Justice Department or Chief Wilson of the Metropolitan Police and sometimes Mr. Ehrlichman himself would so inform the Justice Department or Chief Wilson. As soon as a potential demonstration was in the wind, I began receiving calls from Mr. Larry Higby, Mr. Haldeman's principal staff assistant, requesting intelligence reports. I also received frequent complaints regarding the quality of the available information despite the fact that I felt the White House had the best information available to the government. I became directly and personally aware of the President's own interest in my reports regarding demonstrations when he called me in during a demonstration of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which occurred on the Mall in front of the Capitol. This was the occasion in May nineteen seventy one and I believe that's the date
when the government first sought to enjoin the demonstrations and later backed down. The President called me for a firsthand report during the demonstration and expressed his concern that I keep him abreast of what was occurring. Accordingly we prepared hourly status reports and sent them to the President. I was made aware of the President's strong feelings about even the smallest of demonstrations during the late winter of nineteen seventy-one, when the President happened to look out the window of the residence of the White House and saw a lone man with a large ten-foot sign stretched out in front of Lafayette Park. Mr. Higby called me to his office to tell me of the President's displeasure with the sign in the park and told me that Mr. Haldeman had said that the sign had to come down. When I came out of Mr. Higby's office, I ran into Dwight Chapin, who said he was going to get some "thugs" to remove the man from Lafayette Park. [laughter] He said it would
take him a few hours to get them but they could do the job. [laughter] I told them I didn't believe that was necessary and I... [gavels, Sen. Ervin]: The audience are here by the consent of the Committee and I'm going to request the audience to refrain from giving expression of their feelings by laughter or otherwise. And I hope the audience will restrain themselves in that respect. Thank you. I told him I didn't believe that was necessary. I then called the Secret Service and met with Mr. Louis Sims. Mr. Sims said that he felt that the Park Police could work it out. I went out with Mr. Sims, surveyed the situation and Mr. Sims talked with the Park Police. Within thirty minutes the man had been convinced that he should move to the back of Lafayette Park. There the sign was out of sight of the White House. I reported back to Mr. Haldeman and after a personal look-see, he was delighted, and I told Mr. Chapin to call the troops off. I also recall the first time I
ever traveled with the President was on a trip in nineteen seventy-one to the Football Hall of Fame and onto Iowa to open a dam. After arriving at the Akron-Canton Airport I noticed there was virtually no hostile demonstrator in sight of the President. Later when the President arrived at the motel he was spending the night in Akron, I was a few paces behind him as he walked into the lobby. Across the street were chanting, Viet Cong flag-waving demonstrators. The President, after seeing the demonstrators told the Secret Service agent beside him, in some rather blunt synonyms, to get the demonstrators out of there. The word was passed, but the demonstrators not be moved, much to the distress of the advance men who were responsible for the President's trip. It was after observing that incident that I talked with several individuals in charge of advancing Presidential visits. And that I learned a major part of any Presidential trip advance operation was ensuring the demonstrators were unseen and unheard by the President. In early February of nineteen seventy-two I learned that any means
legal or illegal were authorized by Mr. Haldeman to deal with demonstrators when the President was traveling or appearing someplace. I would like to add that when I learned of the illegal means that were being employed, I advised that such tactics not be employed in the future, and if demonstrations occurred, they occurred. I stated earlier that there was a continuing dissatisfaction with the available intelligence reports. The most frequent critic was Mr. Haldeman, but the President himself discussed this with me in early March of this year as a part of the planned counteroffensive for dealing with the Senate Watergate investigation. The President wanted to show that his opponents had employed demonstrators against him during his reelection campaign. However with each demonstration that the President was confronted with, and each incident that occurred during the campaign, my office had sought to determine if it had in fact been instigated by political opponents of the President: Senator McGovern, the Democratic Party, or whomever. We never found a scintilla of viable evidence
indicating that these demonstrators were part of a master plan, nor that were they were funded by Democratic political funds, nor that they had any direct connection with the McGovern campaign. This was explained to Mr. Haldeman, but the President believed that the opposite was in fact true. I have submitted to the Committee Exhibit number one, the text of the President's memorandum to me on this subject. On February sixteenth nineteen seventy-three almost a month prior to this direct request from the President, I had at Mr. Haldeman's request received all the available intelligence on the demonstrations the President had been subjected to during his nineteen seventy-two campaign. This intelligence did not evidence what the president looking for, but I turned it over to Mr. William Baroody, telling him that the President wanted a speech as part of a counter-offensive to the Watergate inquiry. Several weeks later Mr. Baroody reported that he too agreed that the information wasn't
there for such a speech. While there were other things which occurred that evidenced the concern about demonstrators, I believe that the foregoing gives this committee a good sampling of the degree of concern. The Committee has asked me about concern over leaks. I believe that most anyone who worked at the White House during the past four years can attest to the concern that prevailed regarding leaks, any and all leaks. This was a matter of frequent discussion among staff members and in some instances leaks were investigated by Mr. Haldeman's office or Mr. Ehrlichman. I've submitted to the committee Exhibit number two, some documents evidencing the types of investigations that were made. I began to understand the high degree of concern after I got to know Mr. Jack Caulfield had been assigned to my staff. I would guess that I'd been at the White House almost a year before Mr. Caulfield told me that he had been directed by Mr. Ehrlichman to wiretap
a newsman's telephone in pursuit of a leak. Mr. Caulfield told me that the wiretap was on for only a short period of time because he believed that the FBI had subsequently taken over. He told me that he'd been directed to perform the wiretap when Mr. Hoover was unwilling, but Mr. Ehrlichman wished to proceed. The wiretap was undertaken as I recall in late nineteen sixty-nine or early nineteen-seventy. Caulfield told me it was performed by Mr. Ulasewicz, Mr. John Regan and himself. He later repeated the story to me, telling me it had been rather a harrowing experience when he was holding a ladder in a back alley of Georgetown while also trying to keep a lookout as another member of the group was working on the top of the ladder. He also told me that he received what he referred to as the "pair numbers" for Mr. John Davies who was then on the White House staff and had previously been employed or associated with the telephone company before joining the White House staff.
I do not know what information, if any, they obtained nor do I know any other details other than what I have related above. I have no idea if the reason for the wiretap was related to national security, but I believe that Mr. Caulfield told me that it was indeed Mr. Joseph Kraft's telephone that was tapped. While there is, was always a present concern about leaks, that concern took a quantum jump when the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers in June of nineteen seventy-one. After the initial legal skirmishes to enjoin publication of the Papers had died down, the White House concern about the problem of leaks had heightened. To the best of my recollection and I've been unable to confirm this through White House records was in late June or early July that Jack Caulfield came to me to tell me that Mr. Colson had called him in at Ehrlichman's direction and instructed him to burglarize the Brookings Institution in an effort to
determine if they had certain leaked documents. What prompted Mr. Caulfield to come to me was that he thought the matter was most unwise and that his instructions from Mr. Colson were insane. He informed me that Mr. Ulasewicz had "cased" the Brookings Institute and that Mr. Ulasewicz had made a friendly contact with one of the security men in the building, but that the security system at the Brookings building was extremely tight and it would be very difficult to break in. Caulfield told me that he had so informed Colson, but that Colson had instructed him to pursue the matter and if necessary he should plant a fire bomb in the building and retrieve the documents during the commotion that would ensue. Caulfield said that Colson's entire argument for burglarizing the Brookings was based on a publication he had obtained indicating that the Brookings was planning for the fall of nineteen seventy-one a study of Vietnam based on documents of a "current" nature and the fact that a consultant
who had formerly been with the National Security Council worked there. Caulfield convinced me that Colson was intent on proceeding by one means or another. So I advised Caulfield that he should do nothing further and that I would immediately fly to California and tell Ehrlichman that this entire thing was insane. I flew to California on a military aircraft courier flight that was going to San Clemente. I sat with Mr. Robert Mardian on the flight, who told me he was also going to see the President about a highly important matter that he could not discuss with me, a matter which I will refer to later. When I arrived in California I arranged to see Ehrlichman and told him that the burglary of the Brookings Institute was insane and, to persuade him, probably impossible. He said okay, and he called Mr. Colson to call it off, and I called Mr. Caulfield to tell him it was called off. It was not until almost a year or more later that I learned the reason for Mr.
Mardian's trip to see the President. Mr. Mardian later told me in a social conversation that he'd gone to see the President to get instructions regarding the disposition of wiretap logs that related to newsmen and White House staffers who were suspected of leaking. These logs had been in the possession Mr. William Sullivan, an Assistant Director of the FBI and were, per Mr. Mardian's instructions from the President, given to Mr. Ehrlichman. I had occasion to raise this question about these logs with Ehrlichman during the fall of nineteen seventy-two. I did not tell him that I had been told by Mardian that he had them. About February... Excuse me. Let me go back here. After I had told Mr. Ehlrichman, or asked the question about the logs, he had flatly denied to me that he had the logs at
that time. And it was about February twenty-second or twenty-third of this year when Time magazine notified the White House it was going to print a story that the White House had undertaken wiretaps of newsmen and White House staffers, and a request has been respond... request has been asked for that I further got into the matter. The White House press office notified me this inquiry. I called Mr. Mark Felt at the FBI to ask him first, what the facts were, and secondly how such a story could leak. Mr. Felt told me that it was true that Mr. Sullivan knew all the facts and that he had no idea how it had leaked. I then called Mr. Sullivan, and requested that he drop by my office which he did. He explained that after much haggling the wiretaps were installed, but as I recall Mr. Sullivan said they did not have the blessings of the Director. Mr. Sullivan explained to me all but one set of the logs had been destroyed and all the internal FBI records relating to the wiretaps except one set had
been destroyed, and all the material had been delivered to Mr. Mardian. After Mr. Sullivan departed, I called Mr. Mitchell who told me he also had had an inquiry from Time magazine, and denied to Time magazine any knowledge of the matter. I did not press him further as to what he did know. I then called Mr. Ehrlichman and told him about the forthcoming story in Time magazine. I told him of my conversation... conversations with Felt, Sullivan, and Mitchell. I also told him I knew he had the logs because Mr. Mardian had told me. This time he admitted they were in his safe. I asked him how Mr. Ziegler should handle it. He said Mr. Ziegler should flatly deny it, period. I thanked him, I called Mr. Ziegler and so advised him. Turning now to the so-called "Plumbers" unit, that was created to deal with leaks. I first heard of the Plumbers unit in late July of nineteen seventy-one. I do not recall ever being actually advised in advance that such a unit was being created in the White
House, but I stumbled into it unknowingly when Mr. Egil Krogh happened to mention it to me. I was not involved in its establishment, I only know that Mr. Krogh and Mr. David Young were running it under Mr. Ehrlichman's direction. Shortly after Mr. Krogh told me about his unit, he told me that they were operating out of a super-secure location in the basement of the Executive Office Building. He invited me down to see the unit which I did and he showed me the sensor system and the scrambling... scrambler phone. I never discussed with Mr. Krogh or Mr. Young what they were doing or how they were doing it. It was through Jack Caulfield that I learned that Mr. Gordon Liddy was working with Mr. Krogh. I did not know Liddy personally although I may have met him. All i knew about Mr. Liddy was that Mr. Caulfield... what Mr. Caulfield told me and was to the effect that Mr. Gene Rossides of the Treasury Department and Mr. Liddy had had a falling out and Krogh had waded into the middle of this... of the dispute by hiring Liddy and bringing him into the White House. I did not realize
that Mr. Howard Hunt worked, most of the time while he was at the White House, in the Plumbers unit until after June seventeenth of nineteen seventy-two. I'd seen Hunt, on many occasions, in Colson's office and finally asked Mr. Colson who he was. He told me he was doing some consultant work for him, and then introduced me. That was the only time I've ever talked with Mr. Hunt. I am not aware of what success the Plumbers unit had in its dealing with leaks. I recall on one occasion after Jack Anderson had printed the documents from a National Security Council meeting, asking Bud Krogh if they'd figured out who'd leaked the information to Mr. Anderson. He told me yes, but he couldn't disclose the name of the individual. As I have indicated, the June nineteen seventy-one publication of the Pentagon Papers caused general consternation at the White House over the leak problem. On june twenty-ninth nineteen seventy-one, the President brought the subject of leaks up in a Cabinet meeting as part of a White House orchestrated effort to curtail all leaks. As a part of that effort, Mr. Haldeman instructed Mr. Fred Malek, Mr.
Larry Higby, Gordon Strachan and myself to develop a follow-up strategy for dealing with leaks. Malek and I never took the project very seriously but Strachan and Higby continued to push. I have submitted to the Committee Exhibit number three: memorandum outlining the project that finally developed, in which Mr. Malek was to take charge and Mr. Haldeman was to be brought in as the "Lord High Executioner" when a leak was uncovered. The committee will note from the documents which I have submitted that the project was to complement and not complete with the Plumbers Unit. To the best of my knowledge this project never uncovered the source of a single leak. I shall turn now pursuant to the Committee's request from leaks to the matter of political intelligence, with the hope that my voice will hold up through this entire statement. The pre-election White House thrived on political gossip and political
intelligence. I knew of the type of information they sought even before I joined the White House staff. During the summer of nineteen sixty-nine, while I was working at the Justice Department, the then-Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst called me into his office and told me that the White House wanted some very important information. Mr. Kleindienst instructed me to call Mr. DeLoach, then-Deputy Director of the FBI, and to obtain from him information regarding the foreign travels of Mary Jo Kopechne. I was told that Mr. DeLoach would be expecting a call from me, and once I had the information in hand I was to give it to Jack Caulfield at the White House. The incident stuck in my mind because of the rather sensitive nature of the information being obtained from the FBI, and the fact that I was made a courier of the information. To this day I can only speculate that i was asked to convey the information so that others could deny that they had done so should the matter become known. It was not until I joined the White House staff and Caulfield was placed on my staff that I learned that Caulfield was assigned to develop political intelligence
on Senator Edward Kennedy. Mr. Caulfield told me that within some six hours of the accident at Chappaquiddick on July eighteenth nineteen sixty- nine, he had a friend named Tony on the scene, who remained on the scene conducting a private investigation in the matter and reporting important information back to him. It was not until this spring that I knew or remembered Tony's full name: Anthony Ulasewicz. Caulfield told me that Mr. Ulasewicz posed as a newspaper reporter and always asked the most embarrassing questions at any press gathering relating to the Chappaquiddick incident. Caulfield also informed me that his instructions were to continue surveillance on Senator Kennedy and he was doing so on a selective basis. I was told by Caulfield that although he had been assigned to my staff, that he would continue to perform various intelligence-gathering functions assigned to him by Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Haldeman. I only recall once becoming involved in Mr. Caulfield's
activities related to Senator Kennedy. That occurred in the fall of nineteen seventy-one when I received a call from Larry Higby, who later... and I should say later these calls were followed up by Mr. Strachan, who told me that Mr. Haldeman wanted twenty-four-hour surveillance of Senator Kennedy and regular reports on his activities. I passed this on to Caulfield and we discussed it. He told me that he thought this was a most unwise... was most unwise because it would require several men and could also uncover his activities in that Senator Kennedy was bound to realize he was under surveillance and given the fact that it could be easily misinterpreted as someone who was planning an attack on his life, and that the police or the FBI might be called in to investigate. I agreed fully with Caulfield and after some initial resistance I convinced Higby that it was a bad idea to have the day-in, day-out surveillance concept, and it was called off. Instead Caulfield was to keep a general overview of Senator Kennedy's activity and pursue special investigations of activities that might be of interest. Caulfield
seldom informed me of his findings but occasionally he would bring matters to my attention. For example, Caulfield was instructed to investigate Senator Kennedy's visit to Honolulu in August nineteen seventy-one. I have submitted to the Committee Exhibit number four, a copy of his report which he passed on to me to see, along with several follow-up memorandum relating to the visit. Political intelligence often came from unexpected sources. For example, during this last spring of nineteen seventy-two, a top man at the Secret Service brought me information regarding Senator McGovern. I asked Mr. Colson if he were interested; he was very interested and had the information published. The person on the White House... the persons on the White House staff who were most interested in political intelligence were Ehrlichman, Haldeman, and Colson. As the reelection campaign drew closer, I would have to say that it was principally Colson and sometimes Haldeman who sought information from my office that had political implications to it. While I've been unable to make a complete review of my office files
to document the many types of inquiries, I do have some documents that evidence a fair sampling of the types of requests that were frequently made of me and how they were handled by my office. The documents are extremely sensitive and could be injurious to innocent people whose names are mentioned in them. Accordingly I have submitted them for the Committee's use, Exhibit number five, and I am prepared to answer any questions the Committee may have regarding these documents. In addition to the rather wide-ranging types of inquiries evidenced by the documents I have just referred to, an addition to the extensive efforts to obtain publicly embarrassing information on Senator Kennedy, there were also frequent efforts to obtain politically embarrassing information on Mr. Lawrence O'Brien, the Democratic National Committee Chairman, Senator Muskie and Senator McGovern. While the involvement of my office in seeking such information was peripheral, I have submitted to the Committee Exhibits number six, seven, and eight, records and documents which show the efforts
of the White House to politically embarrass these individuals. Again, because of the very sensitive nature of the information contained in these documents, and the problems the information might unfairly cause those individuals, I shall not discuss the documents further, other than to point out to the Committee that the interest in Mr. Larry O'Brien dates back, from my records, to the time I first joined the White House staff in July of nineteen-seventy, while the interest in Senators Muskie and McGovern developed as the reelection campaign developed. I would now like to turn to a political intelligence and security plan that was designed for the campaign but ultimately rejected. [drinking water] While Caulfield was a member of my staff, the use of Mr. Ulasewicz slowly diminished, and that I had no need for such investigative work and only requested Caulfield to obtain investigative information when someone else on the staff requested it. While I did try to find assignments for Caulfield that related to the work of the Counsel's office, it was difficult in that he was not a lawyer.
Mr. Caulfield was aware of the situation and in the spring of nineteen seventy-one he came to me and told me he was thinking of leaving the White House staff to establish an investigative security consulting corporation. He felt there was a need in a market for such an activity, and what he described as a "Republican Intertel," the Intertel firm being a long established firm that's been in existence for a number of years working in the field. He told me that he felt that he should get started soon as possible so that he could have a going concern by campaign time and that his firm could provide investigative security assistance for the campaign. We casually discussed this on several occasions; the basic and initial concept he had developed was an operation that could be funded by contracts with corporations. Mr. Caulfield's firm would provide services for these corporations but would also provide free
services to the nineteen seventy-two reelection campaign. I recall telling Caulfield that I could not help him in the intelligence field because I did not have any expertise in the area but i advised him that he should work with a lawyer in developing the concept he had just outlined to me because it was fraught with legal problems. For example, I told him that corporations are prohibited under federal law from making direct or indirect campaign contributions. Shortly after these conversations Caulfield informed me that he had formed a group to develop a plan to submit to Mr. Ehrlichman, Mr. Haldeman, and Mr. Mitchell. The planning group intended to become the principal officers of the corporation once it commenced its activity. Caulfield and the group spent several months developing their plans and in early August or September of nineteen seventy-one Caulfield brought me a memorandum entitled: "Operation Sandwedge," and told me that he was seeking a meeting with Mr. Ehrlichman to discuss the matter and requested that I assist him in getting a meeting with Mr. Mitchell. I do not know if Mr. Caulfield met with Mr. Ehrlichman; if he did I was not present and have no knowledge of the
meeting. I read the memorandum and found it to be a privately-operated extension of the types of things that Caulfield had been performing for Mr. Ehrlichman. I returned the memorandum to Caulfield, and told him I would raise it with Mitchell. To the best of my recollection Operation Sandwedge envisioned the creation of a corporation called Security Consulting Group, Incorporated, which was to have offices in Washington, Chicago and New York. It was to have an overt and a covert capacity. The covert capacity would have operated out of New York, presumably under the aegis of Mr. Ulasewicz, and was to be separate and apart from the other operations in Washington and Chicago. The principal activity the Security Consulting Group was to provide private security for all phases of the campaign, but the New York covert operation would have the capacity to provide bagmen to carry money and engage in electronic surveillance if called upon to do so. Although I returned the copy of the Operation
Sandwedge memorandum given to me by Mr. Caulfield, I did find in my records a copy of a proposed budget which reflects some of the items I just mentioned. I also found a number of memorandum relating to the campaign security aspects of the plan. I have submitted these to the Committee, Exhibit number nine. I did discuss Operation Sandwedge with Mr. Mitchell. I recall that he was not interested at all. He told me that he thought that Jack Caulfield was a fine person, but he felt that the principal problems would relate to security and the problems the demonstrators might cause to the campaign. Mr. Mitchell said he wanted the lawyer to handle any such operation and asked me to think about candidates. I told him that Jack Caulfield had requested an opportunity to discuss his plan with him, and I told him that Jack... I told him that I told Jack I would convey the message. Mitchell did not wish to discuss the proposals
so I kept putting Caulfield off, and when he raised it with me because I like Jack, I did not want to hurt his feelings, I continued to keep putting him off. I also recall that Ehrlichman raised Operation Sandwedge with me. I do not know if this was a result of his meeting with Caulfield, or Caulfield sending him a copy of the memorandum. Ehrlichman told me that he would like to keep Tony Ulasewicz around during the campaign, but that he did not think much of Mr. Caulfield's proposed grand plan. Ehrlichman told me that Mitchell knew about Tony Ulasewicz and that Mitchell and Jack Caulfield should talk about Tony's future. Meanwhile Caulfield kept requesting an answer on his plans. He had his heart set on the proposal, he had spent long hours preparing it and I knew he was going to be very disappointed to learn that it had been shot down. Every few weeks Mr. Caulfield would send me an item or two to prompt my
attention and to prompt me to take action. I have submitted to the Committee in Exhibit number nine, the types of items he would send. I would just file them and do nothing, as I decided that the best course of action to save Jack's feelings was to let the matter die a natural death through no action. Indeed, that happened. By November nineteen seventy-one, Mr. Caulfield realized that his plan was dead and he abandoned the idea. Realizing this, he told me he would like to work for Mr. Mitchell during the campaign as an aide-de-camp, and requested that I assist him in getting an appointment with Mr. Mitchell. I arranged for him to meet Mr. Mitchell on November twenty-four nineteen seventy-one. Pursuant to Mr. Caulfield's request, I was not present during the entire meeting but Jack later said that Mr. Mitchell had requested that he do some investigative work on the McCloskey campaign. Apparently, Caulfield convinced Mr. Mitchell that some greatly-reduced version of Operation Sandwedge might be of
value or he was seeking to show Mitchell what he could do. At any rate, Caulfield continued to call his intelligence-gathering operation Operation Sandwedge. I have submitted to the Committee Exhibit number ten, copies of the investigative report Mr. Caulfield prepared for Mr. Mitchell on the McCloskey New Hampshire campaign and I hasten to add that to the best of my knowledge Caulfield employed no illegal procedures in gathering this information. Pursuant to the request of Ehrlichman that Mitchell determine whether continued funding should be provided for Mr. Ulasewicz, Mitchell asked me what Ulasewicz had been doing. I told him I did not know but I would have Caulfield prepare a summary of the activities. On January twelve nineteen seventy-two I informed Mitchell that Caulfield had prepared such a list, and suggested he meet with him. I refer the Committee to Exhibit number eleven. I would also note at this point that there is no list accompanying that exhibit because while I initially thought I did have a list, I have searched my records that are
available and I have no such list other than the possibility there might be a list in my files that remain at the White House. I do not recall how this matter was resolved but I believe some arrangement was made to compensate Mr. Ulasewicz, but to my knowledge he was not used in any manner other than that to which I shall refer later in my statement. Mr. Caulfield and Mr. Kalmbach would know about the arrangements that had been made. I shall now turn to my knowledge of how an intelligence unit was established at the Re-election Committee. To the best of my recollection it was the spring of nineteen seventy-one that Mr. Haldeman discussed with me what my office should do during the forthcoming campaign year. He told me that we should take maximum advantage of the President's incumbency and the focus of everyone in the White House should be on re-electing the President. It was decided that the principal area of concern for my office should be keeping the White
House in compliance with the election laws and improving our intelligence regarding demonstrations. I was also told I should provide legal assistance in establishing a Re-election Committee ensuring that their own capacity to deal with the potential threats of demonstrations during the campaign and particularly the convention. I advised Haldeman that Jack Caulfield was developing a security plan and he wanted to discuss his plan with Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Ehrlichman. I also told him to get the Interagency Evaluation Committee working on the potential for demonstrations during the campaign and subsequently called Mr. Bernie Wells, the head of the IEC, to my office and told him of the concern of the White House for good intelligence during the coming campaign. During the months that followed I devoted most of my time to regular office functions, keeping abreast of the new campaign legislation and familiarizing myself with existing election laws, the Hatch Act, and related laws. It was not until after the proposed Operation Sandwedge had been
shelved and Magruder had left the White House to form the Re-election Committee that I began receiving calls from Strachan and Magruder that I was expected to suggest a lawyer to head up the demonstration intelligence operation at the Re-Election Committee and to serve also as general counsel. On several occasions Magruder told me that he would like to have Mr. Fred Fielding, my principal assistant, for this job. Fielding and I discussed it but rejected it for several reasons. First, Fielding was aware of the fact that I was considering leaving the White House at that time; I was actually interviewing for jobs outside the government and he knew that I would recommend that he succeed me as counsel. Secondly if I stayed I would need his assistance during the coming months. I might add parenthetically as I look back if I had accepted the job I was interviewing for that time, I would not be sitting here today. After I informed Magruder that Mr. Fielding was not
available, he requested that I suggest someone else because he was desperately need of an in- house lawyer. Accordingly I next went to Mr. Krogh and asked him if David Young might be available and interested. Krogh told me that Young was very much involved in the declassification project and could not be spared. The reason Young had occurred to me is that I had spent several days traveling with him in mid-October interviewing prospective candidates for nomination to the Supreme Court. I might add that during those days of traveling around the country together, he never told me what the Plumbers unit was doing or had done, but I felt that Mr. Young was a bright and extremely capable lawyer, and would make an excellent general counsel and could handle the security administration problems of the campaign. During my conversation with Mr. Krogh about Young he suggested Mr. Gordon Liddy might be available and that he had just about completed his work. Krogh spoke very highly of Liddy's legal ability and said that his FBI/Treasury Department background
in law enforcement would qualify him to handle a demonstration intelligence and security operation for the Re-election Committee. I did not know Mr. Liddy, but I respected Krogh's judgment: both as to his judgment of other lawyers and his knowledge of law enforcement. Bud had dealt with the demonstration problem for the White House before I joined the staff. I asked Mr. Krogh to find out if Mr. Liddy was interested. Several days later Krogh informed me that Liddy was interested and asked me to come to his office, Krogh's office, and meet Liddy and describe the job. I did this. I told Liddy that the primary responsibility for the job was to serve as lawyer for the Re-election Committee but among the responsibilities of the general counsel would be keeping abreast of potential of demonstrations that might affect the campaign. Liddy said he was interested. Krogh said that he would first have to clear this with Ehrlichman. I advised them that Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Magruder would be the making the decisions on filling the post and if Krogh got the okay from Ehrlichman, I would set up a meeting for Liddy to be interviewed by Mr. Mitchell.
When Mr. Krogh gave me the okay from Ehrlichman, I called Mr. Mitchell and I told him that Krogh, at Ehrlichman's approval, had suggested Gordon Liddy for the general counsel post and I arranged for Liddy to meet Mitchell on November twenty-four nineteen seventy one, after Mr. Caulfield met with Mr. Mitchell. I attended the meeting with Mitchell and Liddy and I have submitted to the Committee Exhibit number twelve: a copy of an agenda Mr. Liddy prepared for the interview session. While I cannot recall every detail that was discussed I do recall it was that a very general job-type interview. Mitchell realized that Liddy was not familiar with the election laws and asked if I would assist him in any way I could in getting himself familiar with those laws. I agreed. There was virtually no discussion of intelligence plans other than that Liddy would drop some sort of plans. Most of the conversation centered around title and compensation. Mr. Mitchell agreed that Liddy would be titled General Counsel. I do not recall the rate of his compensation.
I also recall that Liddy asked Mr. Mitchell when he would actually join the campaign, but Mitchell said he did not know. After this meeting, Mitchell called me to say that he wanted Magruder to interview Liddy because Magruder would be the man working most with him. I so advised Liddy and on December eighth nineteen seventy-one, Magruder requested I bring Liddy over to his office for an interview. The interview in Magruder's office on December eighth was brief and non-substantive. Magruder told Liddy that he had a host of legal problems that needed attention, immediately, and pointed to a stack of papers that I assume contained the problems that he was concerned about. There was a brief discussion of Liddy's responsibilities for demonstrations vis-à-vis the campaign, Liddy said that after he got acclimated to the committee's problems and needs he would draw up a plan. Magruder requested that Liddy come to work as soon as possible, which i believe was the following Monday. After Liddy was hired at the Re-election Committee,
I informed my staff, principally Mr. Fred Fielding and Mr. David Wilson, that they should assist Liddy in becoming familiar with the election laws. I made my election law file available to Liddy and believe that he used them, and he had periodic contact with my staff and myself on election law matters. I can recall that I had several discussions with Liddy about his responsibilities with the Committee, the Re-election Committee, in complying with election laws. He told me he had more work than there were hours in the day to complete it. I urged him to get volunteer lawyers to assist him, and suggested several names of lawyers who might assist him. I can also recall that several weeks after Liddy left the White House, he was asked to turn in his White House pass. Liddy came to me and asked me to intervene on his behalf so that I might... so that he might retain his pass and avoid the cumbersome procedures of clearance every time he wished to enter the White House. I thought that my office would have a good deal of contact with Liddy, so I requested that he be permitted to keep his pass. This request was turned down however because
they had decided to provide a fixed number of passes for people at the Re-election Committee and Magruder would decide who got the passes. I so informed Liddy, and never heard any more about the matter. The next time I recall meeting Mr Liddy, I might insert before this that I did have a brief occasion to see him in early January, I believe about the ninth through the fourteenth or fifteenth when he attended a general conference in San Diego on the entire scope of the convention and the security problems that were going to confront the convention in San Diego. After that the next time I recall meeting Liddy was at a meeting in Mitchell's office on January twenty-seven, nineteen seventy-two. Magruder called my office to set up the meeting and only after I called Magruder to ask why he wanted me to attend the meeting did I learn that Liddy was going to present his intelligence plan. I met Magruder and Liddy at Mitchell's office. Liddy had a series of charts, or
diagrams which he placed on the easel and the presentation by Liddy began. I did not fully understand everything that Mr. Liddy was recommending at that time because some of the concepts were mindboggling and the charts were in code names, but I shall attempt to reconstruct the high points that I remember as best I can. [silence] [silence]
- 1973 Watergate Hearings
- Part 1 of 6
- Producing Organization
- Contributing Organization
- Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer anchor gavel-to-gavel coverage of day 12 of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In today's hearing, John Dean testifies.
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Event Coverage
- Politics and Government
- Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
- Media type
- Moving Image
Anchor: MacNeil, Robert
Anchor: Lehrer, James
Producing Organization: WETA-TV
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 1957565-1-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-25; Part 1 of 6,” 1973-06-25, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-125q815b4c.
- MLA: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-25; Part 1 of 6.” 1973-06-25. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-125q815b4c>.
- APA: 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-06-25; Part 1 of 6. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-512-125q815b4c