March 31st, 2021
My Dear America:
Quite Frankly I haven't thought much about G. Gordon Liddy for a long time. With Donald Trump in the White House doing his best to wreck the Country for the past four years it was hard for me to concentrate on anyone beside Trump or one of his Flunkies.
But today my wife while reading the newspaper advised me that Gordon Liddy just died. Suddenly I was back there in the Seventies again thinking about Watergate and specifically thinking about G. Gordon Liddy, one of the most controversial figures involved in the Watergate Scandal. Indeed, if it was not for Gordon Liddy there probably never would have been a Watergate Scandal.
I realize that there a a lot of younger people who do not remember Watergate and a lot of older people who might have forgotten about it or never paid much attention to the details of Watergate. During the Seventies in America it was difficult, if not impossible to avoid hearing about or thinking about Watergate during and after the Nixon Years.
Watergate was the name of the Residential and Office Complex in Washington D.C. where the Democratic Party Offices were located in 1972. In June of 72 a Security Guard at the Watergate Complex found tape keeping one of the main doors from locking. The Guard called the police and the police came and surprised and arrested several men inside the Democratic Party Offices. What became obvious very quickly was that the men inside the Democratic Offices worked for the Committee To Elect The President (CREEP) and as they say the rest is history.
Anyone looking to find out more about Watergate might do well to obtain my book, "Letters To A Lost Nation: A Watergate Chronicle" which is available in a Paperback and Kindle Edition through Amazon.com. The book is also available in several other E Book Platforms through Smashwords.com. A better known book about Watergate is "All The President's Men" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who reported for the Washington Post during Watergate. Their excellent reporting dug up much of what the Nixon White House tried to cover up. "All The President's Men" was also made into a very excellent, exciting and revealing movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the Washington Post Reporters. In addition, several important Watergate Figures including G. Gordon Liddy, John Dean and many others wrote their own books about Watergate and their involvement in the scandal which dominated much of the early Seventies.
Watergate left many of the Watergate Scandal Figures stripped of their Law Licenses, Dignity and Virtually Unemployable following the National Scandal known as Watergate.
What came to be known as "Watergate" began and ended with the establishment in the Richard Nixon White House of The "Plumbers". The Plumbers were a very Shady Group of Individuals working in the White House charged by Richard Nixon, and Assistants, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, with plugging "Leaks", namely leaks of information that Nixon and Company did not want to be released to the press or the public.
The Watergate Burglars and many Nixon White House Aides including Ehrlichman, Haldeman, John Dean, E Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy all spent some time incarcerated mainly due to crimes associated with Watergate. Liddy was convicted of Conspiracy, Burglary and Illegal Wiretapping and received one of the Harsher Watergate Sentences which was 20 years in Prison (and a 40 Thousand Dollar Fine) primarily due to the fact that he refused to Cooperate with the Government and Testify at his Trial. Howard Hunt and others cooperated with the Justice Department and the Special Prosecutors Office and received far lighter sentences than did Liddy. Liddy served 4 and a half years of a 20 year sentence until President Jimmy Carter, apparently recognizing the unfairness of Liddy's unusually long sentence compared to other more cooperative Watergate Defendants, commuted his sentence to 8 Years, which allowed Liddy to apply for Parole and be released from incarceration.
Liddy and the plumbers not only Broke into Democratic Headquarters but also broke into the Office of Daniel Ellsberg's Psychiatrist. Ellsberg was a former Defense Department Analyst who released the contents of a Top Secret Report prepared by the Defense Department on the Vietnam War. Although that report was prepared during Lyndon Johnson's Presidency, President Richard Nixon was incensed that Ellsberg released the Top Secret Report to both the Washington Post and The New York Times and pushed for Ellsberg's arrest and trial. Due to White House Shenanigans the Judge at Ellsberg's Trial declared a Mistrial.
Gordon Liddy was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Hoboken and West Caldwell, New Jersey. His father was a Lawyer and Irish and Liddy's mother was Italian.
Liddy Graduated from Fordham University in 1952. After his Graduation Liddy joined the U.S. Army and served for two years as an artillery officer during the Korean War, although he remained stateside during his stint in the army. In 1954 Liddy began attending Fordham University School of Law. While there he earned a position on the Fordham Law Review.
following his Graduation from Law School in 1957 Gordon Liddy began working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, initially serving as a Field Agent in Indiana and Colorado. He became one of the youngest Bureau supervisors at FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C.. Liddy was a Protege of FBI Deputy Director, Cartha DeLoach. Liddy became a part of Director J. Edgar Hoover's Personal Staff and became his Ghostwriter. Among his fellow FBI Agents Liddy had a reputation for recklessness, a reputation that Liddy Proudly wore like a badge of honor throughout his life.
Liddy resigned from the FBI in 1962 and worked as a Lawyer in New York City until 1966. He was then hired as a Prosecutor in Dutchess County, New York where in 1966 he led a drug raid in Millbrook, New York in which he arrested Timothy Leary. His prosecution of the LSD Advocate Professor was unsuccessful, at least partially because Liddy accidentally shot a hole in the ceiling during the courtroom proceedings
Liddy tried his hand at politics by running for District Attorney and running for U.S. House of Representatives in New York's 28th Congressional District. He was unsuccessful in both attempts.
Rolling Stone Magazine wrote an article about Liddy at one point stating that he bungled his way to the White House. Certainly somehow or other Liddy got hired in 1970 as an aide to White House Domestic Advisor, John Ehrlichman. He also served as General Counsel to the Finance Committee of the Committee to Re Elect The President from 1971 to 1972 while also serving as one of the Leaders of the Plumbers Unit.
In 1971 Liddy was moved to the 1972 Re Election Campaign in an effort to extend the scope of the White House Plumbers "Special Investigations Unit" to further improve control of damaging leaks to the press.
While at the Committee to Re Elect Nixon Liddy developed some rather far fetched and in some cases downright weird plans and plots, some of which were rejected by Campaign Leaders such as a plan to kidnap anti war protest organizers and transport them to Mexico during the Republican National Convention in 1972. Another Strange and Terrible Liddy Plan was to lure mid level Democratic Campaign Officials to a Houseboat in Miami where they would be secretly photographed in compromising positions with Prostitutes. Most of Liddy's crackpot ideas were rejected by Attorney General who later became Campaign Manager, John Mitchell but a few were given the go ahead by Nixon Administration Officials including the Break In at Daniel Ellsberg's Psychiatrist's Office and the bugging of the Democratic Party Offices at the Watergate.
Unlike many other Watergate figures who went to jail followed by a life of obscurity, Gordon Liddy did his time but did not fade into obscurity. Clearly Gordon enjoyed the limelight and once his prison time was over he returned to stake his place in history, as unapologetic as he had ever been. Liddy received a lot of attention when he published his biography, "Will". He wrote about his plan to kill Washington Columnist, Jack Anderson because of Nixon's statement "We need to get rid of this Anderson Guy". Luckily for Jack Anderson White House Officials shut down this plan before Liddy was able to act on it.
In the mid 1980's Liddy began to have some success on the lecture circuit and in 1982 was actually listed by the Wall Street Journal as the top speaker on the College Lecture Circuit. He was also involved in debates with Timothy Leary, of all people and also with Al Franken on College Campuses. The Debates with Leary, who had been called "The Most Dangerous Man in America" by Richard Nixon, were featured in a 1983 Documentary Film called "Return Engagement", apparently in reference to Liddy's arrest and failed prosecution of Timothy Leary.
Liddy also began to make a name for himself as an actor in several Movies and Television Shows including Miami Vice where he played a semi recurring role as a shadowy former covert operations officer who, Miami Vice Star, Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) knew from his military service in Vietnam.
In the early 1980's Liddy, with the partnership of a former Illinois Policeman, launched a private security firm called G. Gordon Liddy & Associates.
In 1992 Liddy began to host his own radio talk show. This show was controversial and led to national syndication and success for over 20 years.
Liddy also wrote Several Nonfiction and Fiction books over his career.
He was married for 53 years until his wife passed away in 2010. Liddy and his wife had Five children.
Because of his Weird and Controversial history Gordon Liddy was the butt of many a late night talk show host's jokes for many years. Although he was certainly a man who led Richard Nixon down a strange and terrible path, in the end things turned out Okay for Gordon Liddy.
One of the the more disturbing yet interesting things I read today about Gordon Liddy is that, Like Donald Trump, who studied all of Adolph Hitler's speeches, Gordon Liddy was also fascinated as a young man by Hitler's speeches.
Controversial Birds of a feather, I guess.