Friday, October 17, 2008

Gordon the Unrepentant Plumber 

G. Gordon Liddy, White House Plumbers Unit:
McCain finds his own radical friend (Chicago Tribune):

Liddy was in the thick of the biggest political scandal in American history -- and one of the greatest threats to the rule of law. He has said he has no regrets about what he did, insisting that he went to jail as "a prisoner of war."

Gordon the Assasin:
Persistence was one of Gordon Liddy's strong points; patience was not. In the weeks that followed the February 4 meeting, he relentlessly hounded Magruder to secure approval of Gemstone from John Mitchell. The attorney general had announced his resignation on February 15, 1972, and left Justice for CRP [ed/farmer note: Nixon's Committee for the Re-Election of the President] on March 1. To keep their chops sharp in the meantime, Liddy and Hunt performed an odd assortment of investigative jobs, including an examination of Jack Anerson's finances and a review of the best options for murdering the columnist,...

~ [James Rosen, The Strong Man; page 268; Doubleday, 2008]

Gordon the Jeweler -- Operation Gemstone:
Now, at 11:00 a.m. on January 27, 1972, Dean once again found himself seated in one of the faded red leather chairs in the attorney general's office, alongside Magruder and Liddy. The lawyer-cum-covert operator was finally going to present his master plan for a "first-class" campaign intelligence operation to Mitchell. Liddy strode into the attorney general's office carrying an easel and, under his arm in a brown paper wrapper, a set of large, professionally printed charts. [...] Liddy summarized his qualifications for the covert mission at hand, the many experts he had consulted, and the tight security precautions surrounding the entire operation. Next, he distributed sheets of paper with dollar figures on them.

Then came the charts. There were half a dozen, all multicolored and prepared - in Liddy's first breach of security - by Howard Hunt's friends at CIA. Each chart was three feet tall and four feet long, "artistically composed," as Mitchell later recalled, and bore the name of a precious stone or mineral. Each stone or mineral, in turn, comprised a component in the overall plan, which Liddy code-named Gemstone.

First came Operation Diamond, aimed at neutralizing the unruly hordes of antiwar radicals expected to disrupt the '72 convention. Liddy explained that the most effective riot-control techniques ever developed originated with the Texas Rangers, who, despite vastly inferior numbers, penetrated a given mob. "beat the hell out of" its leaders, then easily dispersed the stuned remainder. Indulging his fondness for all things German, Liddy proposed a similar program for the '72 convention, under which, as he put it, "special action groups" - a mordant reference to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen units that liquidated 1.5 million Jews - would kidnap and drug antiwar leaders and remove them to Mexico until the convention ended.

Liddy paused to extol the caliber of his agents, "professional killers who have accounted between them for twenty-two dead so far," Liddy said, "including two hanged from a beam in a garage." Mitchell gazed unblinkingly, puffed on his pipe, and posed his forst interjection. "And where did you find men like that?" I understand they're members of organized crime," Liddy said. "And how much will their services cost?" Mitchell asked. Liddy pointed to a hefty figure on the chart: "Like top professionals everywhere, sir, they don't come cheap." "Well," Mitchell said dryly, returning to his pipe, "let's not contribute any more than we have to to the coffers of organized crime."

Liddy sensed his pitch was not going over well. What's more, he was getting no help from his confreres, Magruder and Dean, who stared motionless at Mitchell "like two rabbits in front of a cobra." In slow succession, the charts came off the easel, Liddy explaining how each component fit into his overall plan. Ruby entailed the placement of spies in the Democratic contenders' campaigns. Coal called for the covert funneling of cash to Shirley Chisholm, a black female congresswoman whose quest for the Democratic nomination stood to divide the party along racial and gender lines. Emerald outlined how Liddy could intercept airborne and wireless communications from the planes and buses of opposing candidates by using a "chase plane" outfitted with state-of-the-art electronics gear. Quartz, and explication of how the Soviet embassy intercepted telephone signals using microwave systems, proved nearly incomprehensible. Crystal envisioned the rental in Miami, where both parties were holding their conventions, of a luxury houseboat, from which Liddy's men would monitor wiretaps and bugs. The bedroom of the houseboat, wired for sound, would also serve the purposes of Sapphire, wherein sophisticated call girls would seduce and debrief Democratic politicos. "Mitchell listened to that impassively, as did Dean," Liddy later recalled. "Magruder, however, wore a look of eager interest."

On it went. Opal's points I through IV set aside funds for illegal break-ins, in which the aforementioned wiretaps and bugs would be installed. As targets, Liddy specified the Washington campaign headquarters of Senators Edmund Muskie and George McGovern; the Democratic Party's convention headquarters in Miami; and one target to be chosen by Mitchell, who kept silent when Liddy paused for suggestions. Next came Topaz, the illicit photography of documents; followed by Garnet, the clandestine recruitment of unappealing hippies to endorse opposition candidates; and Turquoise, a plot for Hunt's Cuban mercenaries to sabotage the air-conditioning system at the Democrats' convention. Two final charts, Brick and Gemstone, broke down the costs by mission and projected dates of expenditure.

When Liddy was finished, the room was silent. All power emanated from Mitchell, and it was to him the other three looked for direction. The attorney general was dumbfounded. "Mr. Liddy put on his perfomance," he later testified, "and eveybody just sat there with their mouths open." [...] As Magruder told the Senate Watergate committee, in previously unpublished testimony, Mitchell "indicated that [Liddy's plan] was not acceptable both in its scope and its budget.


The revised Gemstone, Magruder later testified, was "less spectacular and therefore more acceptable."

[James Rosen, The Strong Man; page 262-265; Doubleday, 2008]

Gordon the Talk Radio Show Sniper:
In 1994, after the disastrous federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, he gave some advice to his listeners: "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Kill the sons of bitches." ~ Wiki link

Gordon the Great:
In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns -- including $1,000 this year.

Last November, McCain went on his radio show. Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."

Which principles would those be? The ones that told Liddy it was fine to break into the office of the Democratic National Committee to plant bugs and photograph documents? The ones that made him propose to kidnap anti-war activists so they couldn't disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention? The ones that inspired him to plan the murder (never carried out) of an unfriendly newspaper columnist? ~ [Chicago Tribune - see link above, "McCain finds his own radical friend"]

McCain, the Unrepentant Old Friend:
Via Atrios (Oct. 16, 2008)

"Did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?" Letterman asked about Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.

McCain said he knew him. Then, after a commercial break, McCain said, "I know Gordon Liddy. He paid his debt, he went to prison ... I'm not in any was embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy."

How many plumbers do you know making a quarter million dollars a year?

Gordon the Entrepreneur (New York Times, November 12, 1988):
The G. Gordon Liddy Story Continues With Chapter 11

LEAD: A Miami-based security company co-founded by G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted Watergate burglar who became a television and movie villain, has sought protection from its creditors under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

A Miami-based security company co-founded by G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted Watergate burglar who became a television and movie villain, has sought protection from its creditors under the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

International Security and Intelligence Inc., also known as G. Gordon Liddy & Associates, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Miami.

The company's services range from alerting corporate clients to the presence of listening devices to teaching courses on how to plant bugging devices, but most of its revenues come from providing armed guards in South Florida.

The two-year-old company has also advertised its ''Hurricane Force,'' which it describes as an anti-terrorist squad of former American, European and Israeli commandos that is capable of rescuing kidnapped executives.


During the 52 months that Mr. Liddy spent in jail, he decided to enter the security business to capitalize upon his five years' experience with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other security-related background. ''Basically, the same spying techniques used by governments are being used by private firms,'' Mr. Liddy said in a recent interview.

In September 1977, after President Jimmy Carter commuted his sentence, Mr. Liddy left Federal prison heavily in debt but apparently with his sense of humor intact. In 1982 he he founded Gemstone Security of Florida Inc., the predecessor to G. Gordon Liddy Associates. Gemstone was a code name used by the Watergate conspirators.


In the 11 years since he left prison, Mr. Liddy has found other lucrative ways to mine the Watergate episode.

"Obviously crime pays,... ” ~ G. Gordon Liddy [Thought for the Day - The Independent (London), Sep 1, 2000].


Book note: excerpted material above from:
The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate, by James Rosen, 2008 (Amazon link).


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