Friday, November 26, 2010

Watergate: Part Two

Robert T. Crowley, a longtime top C.I.A. covert action planner, thought that Hunt had convinced Nixon that George Mc Govern was getting money and information from the Cuban government. This he thought set off Nixon. Hunt later was required to fall on his sword by going to prison, but he did not go easily. Crowley said the C.I.A. was behind the plane crash that killed Hunt’s wife at Chicago Midway. This convinced Hunt to take the fall. Of Nixon, Crowley said:
We could read Tricky Dick like a dime novel. True to form, he believed he was an imperial figure and acted that way right up to the end. Hunt played his part and I’m sure you watched the thing unfold, right on the five o’clock news every night. For a smart man, Nixon was very stupid and played right into our hands.

Some claim White House Counsel John Dean ordered the second break-in because he believed that the Democrats had records on a call girl ring was operating out Columbia Plaza Apartments because he wanted to obtain certain documents that could damage the reputation of a friend connected to the ring. Phillip Bailley, a young lawyer accused of having a role in the operation of the service, claimed the Democratic party was arranging sexual liasons for politicians. Bailley represented many prostitutes and seemed to have a business relationship with Heidi Rikan, aka “Erika” or “Cathy” Dieter, who ran the call girl ring as well as Columbia Plaza. She had previously been a stripper at the Blue Mirror. The service eventually had many Democrat clients and serviced one astronaut, South Korean and US intelligence people, and a Saudi prince, who came from the nearby Saudi Arabian embassy.

Alfred C. Baldwin, who was to work for James McCord during the Watergate break-in, seems to have been tape recording the call girl ring’s telephones. He was using equipment puirchased by one Louis James Russell, who initially used McCord funds to buy equipment to spy on columnist Jack Anderson. He had once worked as a stringer for Anderson. Russell hung out at Columbia Plaza, acting as a customer, bouncer, and friend to the girls, who often crashed at his apartment and shared sad stories with him. Russell had been bounced out of the F.B.I. due to drunking problems and spent years as an investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee. For a time, he was a watchman for the Committee to Re-Elect the President. After the scandal broke, he went on the payroll of Security Associates, a detective agency owned by McCord. In that capacity, he did some work in George McGovern’s headquarters. Russell also worked for another firm that was doing some work for George H.W. Bush. He was a good friend of man who would later head of Senator Sam Erwin’s investigative staff, Carmione Bellino.

Cathy/Heidi’s roommate was Mo Biner, known by t he codename “Clout.” We do not know what role “Clout” played, but her name and code name turned up in Bailley’s address book along with the names of Heidi’s employees. Mo Biner was dating John Wesley Dean at the time. In 1972, Bailley visited the DNC headquarters and succeeded in soliciting some business for the prostitution ring. The arrangement was attractive to the DNC because the Watergate was not far from Columbia Plaza. Bailley, an active Democrat, thought communications between the DNC and the prostitution operation were made on Oliver’s telephone line. Oliver travelled frequently, so so his office could be used for private telephone conversations. Bailley later claimed that Maxine Wells showed photographs of female sex workers to people who were interested in entertainment. In a 1996 deposition, Robert Strauss said he had been told that some state party chairmen used Oliver’s phone to make dates. After the DNC started using the Columbia Plaza bordello, former F.B.I. agent told lawyer Bernard Fensterwald and two of his employees that he was recording conversations between Democrats and the girls; he added that the ladies did not mind. Russell sometimes worked for Fensterwald, who also served as his attorney. Republicans, including White House people, also frequented the brothel near the DNC.

Sometime near when Bailley was making visits to the DNC, John W. Dean became interested in the layout of those offices and sent Tony Ulasewicz to visit the offices and diagram the layout. This was probably a few months before Bailley began his visits. There are three different dates for the Ulasewicz visits, but late 1971 is probably most accurate. Dean wanted to get information on Democratic sexual activities, and must have suspected the Democrats were using services other than those provided by Heidi.

On April 6, 1972, Bailley was arrested for a a Mann Act violation, but it had no connection to Heidi’s ring. The case was given to prosecutor John Rudy, who was soon visited by Louis James Russell, who tried to steer Rudy away from the Columbia Plaza operation and toward another brothel frequented by judges and local politicians. The problem involved in the Bailley case was that the F.B.I. obtained his two address books. At the apartment they obtained films, photographs, a whip, and other sexual apparatus. The Washington Star erventually ran a story stating that Bailley was involved in a sex ring that could involve a White House lawyer and that that ring’s activities were not mentioned in Bailley’s indictment. Dean acted quickly and summoned Rudy and his superior to his office on Friday, June 9, 1972. Dean demanded to keep the notebooks over the weekend, but the prosecutors only permitted him to photocopy them. On Monday, Jeb Magruder told G. Gordon Liddy to break in to the DNC for the second time to repair the O’Brien bug. Recently, Magruder, now a clergyman, admitted that Dean – not Mitchell—had ordered the break-in.

Bailley’s case went to Judge Charles R. Richey, a Nixon appointee, who sent Bailley to St. Eliozabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, where he spent 15 days and only receivecd 45 minutes with an analyst. He was committed on the basis of sexual photographs the prosecution showed Richey.

In Bailley’s second hearing, The Judge then instructed both sides to dispose of the case. Bailley, now completely demoralized, accepted a plea bargain that resulted in getting him 5 years in federal prison. He was now thoroughly disgraced. For some reason, the paperwork on his two hearings was sealed and subsequently lost. By settling the case without a hearing, the judge made it impossible to bring up the material on the sex ring. But all of this took some time, and it was not certain how much evidence needed to be buried.
The second break-in occurred on the night of June 16-17, two days after Dean talked to the prosecutors. It was ostensibly being done to change the bugs placed on Larry O’Brien’s telephones. However, hust before that, AT&T had swept the offices and found no bugs. James McCord, on the pretext of delivering a typewriter, stuffed and taped a lock on door accessing the building. The team knew that the tape had been found and removed, but Gordon Liddy thought it was still safe to go ahead with the operation. He reasoned that a maintenance man might have removed the stuffing and simply gone home. After all, there were no police on the scene. This time Gonzales probably taped the door again and the operation went ahead at 1:30 AM. It was McCord’s job to remove the tape once they were in, but he did not do so.

Subsequently, James McCord and five Cubans were arrested in the DNC headquarters. Also arrested were Liddy and Hunt, who were monitoring what the break-in at a distance. The F.B.I. arrested Alfred E. Baldwin at his listening post. Baldwin was supposed to be listening to DNC phone calls for about twenty days. He recorded nothing, but supposedly took some notes. Some now think there were no bugs in the DNC. If that was the case, it is likely he was only listening to phone calls and bugs in the bordello down the street from the DNC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy "Red" Day to you!