Liddy: Nixon Operatives Plotted to Kill Jack Anderson
NEW YORK (AP) _ In their first face-to-face meeting, G. Gordon Liddy, mastermind of the bungled Watergate burglary, told columnist Jack Anderson that the president’s men vetoed plans to silence the newsman.
″The rationale was to come up with a method of silencing you through killing you,″ Liddy tells Anderson on ″The Real Story,″ a news show to be shown Thursday night on cable TV’s CNBC.
Liddy, these days a novelist, lecturer and sometime TV actor on the syndicated action drama ″Super Force,″ was counsel to the Committee to Re- elect the President in 1972 when GOP-hired burglars broke into Democratic National Headquarters offices in Washington’s Watergate complex.
Liddy, who’d planned the break-in, said he and other political operatives had a ″full discussion″ on how to silence Anderson.
In an interview Wednesday, Anderson, a syndicated columnist who’d been a thorn in the administration’s side long before Watergate, replied: ″Given their record, I was in no danger.″
One suggestion, Liddy said, was to dose Anderson with LSD, but another operative, a former CIA officer, ″shot that down saying the agency didn’t find it reliable.″
″Finally they came up with striking your car on a turn and making it crash and burn,″ Liddy continued. ″Something like that at any rate. It was written up in a memo and sent to the White House.″
The White House was unambiguous about the idea, Liddy said.
″They said no. It was too severe a sanction,″ Liddy told Anderson in the interview, their first face-to-face meeting. ″Let him alone and no one does things without orders. No one proceeded against you. Thus you and I are sitting here corresponding and chit-chatting, the war being over.″
″Actually, I’d known about it at the time,″ said Anderson, who has written about Washington politics for more than four decades.
Anderson said he believes E. Howard Hunt, who reported to President Nixon’s then-special counsel Chuck Colson, carried the ″liquidation order″ to Liddy.
″Who gave it to Hunt is still a mystery,″ Anderson said, adding that Colson has denied originating it.
The columnist said his sources confirmed the plot in 1973, while he also was targeted by ″Operation Mudhen,″ an illegal CIA surveillance that at one point had 18 radio cars tracking him, as well as electronic and photo surveillance of his home and office.
″According to Liddy’s version, the reason for my liquidation was that my stories off classified documents had embarrassed the government, endangered national security and the life of an informant in the Soviet Union,″ Anderson said.
Later in 1973, in an incident documented in Congress’ Watergate hearings, Liddy left a conference with White House communications deputy Jeb Magruder, telling an aide, ″Magruder just told me to knock off Jack Anderson.″
Horrified, Magruder and the aide rushed after Liddy to call him off.
″That happened at a time when he was irritated with Magruder,″ Anderson said. ″He decided to do this is a practical joke on Magruder. Knowing that Magruder’s aide would rush in, he knew they’d be down in the next elevator.″
Liddy, who refused to talk even under subpoena, served the longest Watergate prison term, 52 months, for the break-in and other crimes.
″I found him to be quite mellowed,″ Anderson said. ″ He was actually cordial. The Liddy I remembered from Watergate days took himself grimly serious. This Liddy is even able to make jokes about himself.″