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May 26, 1973 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1973-05-26

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Saturday, May 26, 1973

THE SUMMER DAILY

Poge Five

Saturday, May 26, 1973 THE SUMMER DAILY Page Five

Testimony conflicts on
basic Watergate issues

Watergate: National
security vs. pol.tics

By RICHARD MEYER
AP Newsfeatures Writer
Phase 1 of the Watergate hear-
ings has ended with key figures
in conflict over promises of ex-
ecutive clemency and whether
there was an attempt to blame
the CIA - and with unresolved
controversy over the major. point
at issue: How much did the Pres-
ident know?
McCord . .. Caulfield ... Alch
. . . Barker . . . all testified on
the red carpet in front of the
long table covered with green
felt, where the Senate Water-
gate committee sought answers
to what Chairman Sam J. Ervin
Jr. called 'questions that . .
strike at the very undergirding
of our democracy."
AS THE Watergate hearings re-
cessed Thursday until June 5,
contradictions during the five
days of investigation came down
more clearly than ever before in
the nearly year-long story of
Watergate to one man's word
against another's.
These conflicts are clear in
testimony and the two major
Watergate statements by Presi-
dent Nixon - one televised cm
April 30 and the other distribut-
ed to White House reporters last
Tuesday.
- Were the Watergate con-
spirators working under sanction
from the President?
JAMES McCORD JR., 48, con-
spirator: "John Mitchell, by
virtue of his position as attorney

general of the United States, and
John Dean, by virtue of his posi-
tion as a counsel to the Presi-
dent, by their consideration and
approval of the Watergate opera-
lion, in my opinion, gave sanction
to the Watergate operation by
both the White House and t h e
attorney general's office . . . It
was not my habit to question
when two such high offices sanc-
tioned an activity - it carried
the full force and effect of pres-
idential sanction."
Nixon: "The burglary an3 bug-
ging of the Democratic National
Committee headquarters came as
a complete surprise to me. I had
no inkling that any such activities
had been planed. . . and if I had
known, I would not have per-
mitted it."
In his testimony, McCord said
he had heard from G. Gord so
Liddy, a fellow conspirator, that
Mitchell and Dean had approved
the Watergate break-in. T h e
President, in his statement Tues-
day, decried charges whicn
amount to "second- or third-hand
hearsay."
AND ERVIN made it clear that,
"so far as John Mitchell and
John Dean . . . are concernod
. . . hearsay does not connect
them to Watergate legally speak-
ing."
-Was executive clemency of-
fered and by whose authority?
McCord: "John Caulfield stated
that he was carrying the mes-
sage of executive clemency to
me 'from the very highest levels

of the White House.' He stated
that the President of the United
States . . . had been told . . .
He further stated that 'I may
have a message to you at our
next meeting from the President
himself."
John Caulfield, former White
House aide: "At no time in our
first meeting do I recall say-
ing anything about the Presi-
dent . . . John Dean . . . told
me . . . Jack, I want you to
. . . tell McCord . . . executive
clemency is a sincere offer which
comes from the very highest lev-
els of the White House.' . . I
believed that he was talking
about the President ..."
NIXON: "At no time did I auth-
orize any offer of executive cle-
mency for the Watergate defend-
ants, nor did I know of any such
offer."
Again Ervin distinguished be-
tween direct evidence and hear-
say.
Was there a - coverup? How
much was the President told?
FORMER Acting FBI pi -ector
Patrick Gray, in testimony be-
fore a Senate appropriations sub-
committee: On July 6, 1972,
three weeks after the break-in, he
told Nixon on the telephone, "Mr.
President, there is something I
want to speak to you about. Dick
Walters, deputy CIA director and
I feel that people on yaar staff
are trying to mortally wound you
by using the CIA and FBI and
by confusing the question of CIA
interest is, or not in, people the
FBI wishes to interview. Gray
remembers Nixon paustng, then
replying: "Pat, you just continue
to conduct your aggressive and
thorough investigation.'
In his tApril 30 speech, Nixen
said he remained convinced un-
til March of 1973 "that charges
of involvement by members of
the White House staff were
false." But then "new informa-
tion . . . came to me . . . sug-
gesting further that there had
been an. effort to conzial the
facts both from the public -
from you - and from me."
In his statement Tuesday, Nix-
on was more specific: Because he
feared that investigation into the
activities of the CIA veterans
involved in Watergate "cou;l. 1
lead to the uncovering of covert
CIA operators totally unrelated
to the Watergate break-in," he
had told his two top aides, H. R.
Haldeman and John Ehrlich-
man, to "insure that the FBI
would not carry its investigation
into areas that might comprom-
ise . . . the CIA."

By WALTER MEARS
AP News Analysis
WASHINGTON - In the tangle
of operations that became t h e
Watergate scandal, the line be-
tween national security and poli-
tics seems to have blurred.
To some of the people impli-
cated, the distinction, seems to
have vanished.
PRESIDENT NIXON has ack-
nowledged that persons involved
in national security operations
acted unethically and illegally in
his 1972 re-election campaign.
The President repeated that no
illegal campaign activities t o o k
place with his knowledge or ap-
proval, but conceded that intel-
ligence and security operations
he approved could have contri-
buted to the attitudes that
brought Watergate.
Similar tactics, and in s o m e
cases the same persons, under-
took acts Nixon defended in the
name of national security - and
political behavior he denounced
as illegal or unethical.
NIXON catalogued three sets of
national security steps he said
had become entangled in Water-
gate although they were not con-
nected:
-Wiretaps, he said fewer than
20, to determine the source cf
news leaks about foreign policy.
-A secret special investiga-
tions unit in the White House,
assigned to stop security leaks
NIXON SAID he had emphasiz-
ed national security strongly and,
"because of the emphasis I put
on the crucial importance of pro-
tecting the national security, I
can understand how highly mo-
tivated individuals could h a v e
felt justified in engaging in spe-
cific activities that I would have
disapproved had they been
brought to my attention."
Indeed, he said, "unethical, as
well as illegal, activities took
place in the course of the 1972
campaign.
"None of these took place with
my specific approval or know-
ledge. To the extent that I may
in any way have contributed to
the climate in which they took
place, I did not intend to; to the
extent that I failed to prevent
them, I should have been more
vigilant . .
"AND IT NOW appears t h a t
there were persons who may
have gone beyond my directives
and sought to expand on my ef-
forts to protect the national se-
curity . . . to cover up any in-
volvement they or certain others
might have had in Watergate."
- Was there pressure on the
Watergate defendants to plead
guilty in return for help later
on?
McCord: "I had heard from Mr.
Bernard Barker specifically that
Mr. E. Howard Hunt, a Water-
gate conspirator had brought
pressure to bear upon Mr. Bark-
er, and the Cubans to use as
their defense that this was a CIA
operation . .. Mr. Barker came
to me in the corridor outside, I

and investigate other sensitive
matters. Two of its members lat-
er were convicted as Watergate
conspirators.
-An intelligence plan, never
implemented, involving the FBI,
the CIA and military intelligence
agencies. Nixon said the plan he
approved on July 23, 1970, and
rescinded five days later, includ-
ed authorization for breaking and
entering. He said such activities
had been going on until 1966. The
plan is still secret and Nixo:
said it should remain so.
THE PRESIDENT said in his
Tuesday statement that he didn't
intend to put a national-security
cover on Watergate, but to separ-
ate security matters from the po-
litical scandal.
But the distinction does not
seem to have been clear to some
of the people involved.
Discussing the 1970 intelligence
plan that contemplated burglar-
ies, Leonard. Garment, now White
House counsel, said Presidents
traditionally have authorized na-
tional-security measures "that go
beyond the boundary of the ordin-
ary civil law."
That led to this exchange at a
White House briefing:
Q: Does that mean the pres-
idents of the United States have
broken the law if they can jus-
tify that, using national security,
and doesn't that lead precisely to
Watergate?
Garment: Really, I would leave
that to the historians.
believe, the courtroom of the
U.S. District Court building in
Washington during breaks in the
court proceedings and proceed-
ed to relate to me the pressure
which he said was being impos-
ed upon him and upon the other
men who were defendants - Mr.
Frank Sturgis, Mr. Virgilio Gon-
zales, Mr. Eugenio Martinez -
pressure that he stated was stem-
ming from Mr. Hunt and other
unnamed individuals to plead
guilty and to go off to jail or
prison and ultimately to receive
executive clemency and to re-
ceive financial support for their
families while they were in pris-
on and promises - and he stated
promises were made that they
would be given help in obtain-
ing a job or 'rehabilitation' at the
prison."
BARKER: Nobody told him
Watergate was a CIA operation.
He had Hunt's word that "this
was national security and above
the FBI and CIA." There was no
pressure or offer of executive
clemency to plead guilty and go
to jail in silence. "I was guilty.
I was caught inside the Democra-
tic national headquarters at 2:30
in the morning." Nor were there
conditions attached to $45,000
to $47,000 he received from
Hunt's late wife for expenses.
-Was McCord encouraged to
blame to CIA?
McCord, a 20-year CIA veter-
an: "Gerald Alch . . . my at-
torney through the Watergate
trial . . . stated that he had a
suggestion . . . that I use as my
defense that the Watergate oper-
ation was a CIA operation . . .

_

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