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June 18, 1974 - Image 5

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-18

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Tuesday, June 18, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

The break-in: Just two years ago

WASHINGTON (UPI) - Two
yars ago yesterday mornung, se-
curity guard Frank Wills foiund
masking tape on a door lead-
ing into the Watergate office
building and called the cops.
That event changed Ri_:iard
Nixon's life and put the word
Watergate into the history b)iks.
IT WAS about 2 a.m. when
Sgt. Paul Leeper and officers
Probers
find torture
in Uruguay
UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. R')
- Military authorities in Urug-
uay have resorted to widespread
torture of political prisoners to
help stamp out the Tupamaro
guerrilla movement, investigat-
ors of the International Commis-
sion of Jurists and Amnesty In-
ternational says.
"The situation in Uruguay is
much worse than most people
realize," Niall MacDermot, sec-
retary-general of the commis-
sion, told a news conference. He
said that the lowest estimate
said five per cent of the pri-
soners were tortured. The tor-
turers were describes as "in-
variably hooded to avoid identi-
fication."
MACDERMOT said that
among persons arrested and tor-
tured were "doctors who had
given or were believed to have
given medical aid to Tupamar-
or."
MacDermot, a Briton, a n d
Inger Fahlander, Swedish re-
search officer for Amnesty In-
ternational, visited Uruguay
with the consent of the govern-
ment in April and May. The two
organizations are nongovern-
mental associations involved in
human rights causes.
See URUGUAY, Page 9

Carl Shoffler and John Barrett
answered Wills' call and search-
ed the building. Barrett saw the
shadow of a man outside a
sixth-floor office and yelled,}
"Hold it, come out!"
"They got us," someone whis-
pered into a walkie-talkie.
Five men wearing blue surgi-
cal gloves stood up, their hands
raised. "Are you gentlemen me-
tropiltan police?" asked James
McCord, a security officer of
the Committee to Re-Elect the
President (CRP) who was ar-
rested in the office of Democra-
tic party chairman Lawrence
O'Brien.
THE TRAIL of the arrested
men led to the White House, to
the President's most trusted ad-
visers, and recent public opin.
ion polls indicate that many of
the same people who over-
whelmingly returned Nixon to
the White House that year-be-
fore the rest of the scandal un-
folded - now favor his impeach-
ment.
A year ago today, former
White House counsel John Dean
was getting ready to tell his
story to the Senate Watergate
Committee. He testified t h at
Nixon knew of the covar-up,
even participated. A Watergate
grand jury has named Nixon
as an unindicted co-conspirator
Order
Your
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764-0558

.,. - ,

and the Supreme Court said this
weekend it would decide whether
that citation is legal.
There are still unanswered
questions about the break-in. No
one has ever said for sure chat
the burglars wanted, and who-
ever knows won't tell.
O'BRIEN apparently was the
target. Asked about the informa-
tion theburglars wanted, de-
puty GOP campaign director
Jeb Magruder said O'Brien was
"certainly from our standpoint,
their most professional poliiicat
operator, who could be very dif-
ficult in the coming campaign.
So we had hoped that informa-
tion might discredit him."
Magruder told the Senate Wa-
tergate Committee this break-in
was part of a plan proposed by
Gordon Liddy, a former F B I
agent and CRP employe. His
partner was E. Howard Hunt, a
former CIA agent and spy novel-
ist who saw himself as "a mem-
ber of a special investigations
unit, later known at the plumb-
ers, which the President h a d
created to undertake specific
national security tasks for which
the traditional investigative
agencies were deemed to be in-
adequate."
Hunt said the reason for the
break-in was, according to Lid-
dy, "thtat he had information,
the source of which I under-
stood to be a government agen-
cy, that the Cuban government
was supplying funds to the
Democratic Party campaign."
OTHER BURGLARS had been
recruited by Hunt in early 1971.
Some were "plumbers." They

were Cuban-Americans w h o
remembered the Bay of Pigs
and seemed like characters out
of spy novels: Frank Sturgis,
Eugenio Martinez, Virgilio Gon-
zalez and Bernard 3arker.
On May 27, 1972, one of these
teams - the exact mnembers re-
main unknown - broke into
Democratic National Co mmittee
officers and tapped a series of
phones. Barker followed Hunt's
orders to look for evidence of
Cuban contributions and found
none, but stole and photograph-
ed other documents.
Across the street, in Room 419
of Howard Johnson's motel, sat
former FBI agent Alfred Bald-
win, eavesdropping and taping
what he heard. He said he lis-
tened to about 200 calls, some
dealing with political strategy
but others personal - "explicit-
ly intimate," he recalls.
BUT THE tap on the phane
they wanted - O'"3rien's .-
didn't work right, so on June
17, 1972, they went back. Barker,
Martinez, Sturges and Gonzalez
checked into $38-a-night rooms
at the Watergate Hotel rext
door. Sometime that night, Mc-
Cord put tape on a door from
the garage into the office build-
ing.
Wills, a 24-year-old guard,
found it and took it off. He dis-
missed it, figuring it had been
done by maintenance men, and
went out for coffee. The sur-
prised burglars decided to break
in anyway. They put on another
strip of light-colored masking
tape, a device burglars use to
keep a door from locking. Wills

found it again and placed his
call.
Across the street, Baldwin
was standing on the balcony.
The lights on the eighth floor
went on. Ie grabbed 'Jhe walkie-
talkie and told Hunt, teo floors
below in the Howard Johnson's,
but was reassured. "Thai's the
two o'clock guard hecx,' Bunt
said.
THEN THE lights flickered on
and off on the sixth floor. Bald-
win saw two men, one with a
gun, on the sixth floor balcony.
"As I observed them," he tes-
tified, "I called over the walkie-
talkie again 'base 1, unit 1, are
our people in suits or are they
dressed casually?' and the call
came back, "ourhpeople are
dressed in suits. Why?'
"I said 'you have trouble be-
cause there are some individuals
out here who are dressed cas-
ually and who have got their
guns out' and the guy on the
other end went a little bit fran-
tic."
Perhaps the most prophetic
was officer Barrett:
"I SAW an arm," he said. "I
stopped in the position before
I entered the secreatary's office
outside of Chairman O'Brien's
and I hesitated there because it
was dark back in the partitioned
area, and while hesitating at
that partition I saw a man
down in a crouched position as
if hiding by stooping - when
the shadow crossed my face, I
was startled, and that began
the whole mess."
Two years later, the "whole
mess" looms larger than anyone
imagined then.

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