Behind the Bastards - Part Four: G. Gordon Liddy: The Fascist Behind Watergate

Episode Date: October 12, 2023

G. Gordon Liddy is finally given the job of his dreams: managing a dirty tricks campaign to spy on "the left". He is as bad at this job as it is possible for a person to be.See for privacy information.

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Starting point is 00:00:34 Whenever a woman is allowed to kill my two kids. Unrestorable is a new true crime podcast that investigates the case of Catherine Hoggel, a mother accused of murder. Despite signs that Catherine Hoggel took her tiny children one by one into the night, never to come home again. She has yet to stand trial. Listen to Unrestorable on the I Heart Radio app,
Starting point is 00:00:58 Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Mo'Raca, and I'm excited to announce season four of my podcast, Mo'Bituary's. or wherever you get your podcasts. very same day. To the things I wish would die, like buffets. Listen to Movituaries with MoRaka on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome back to behind the BiaStards. That's your normal voice. Robert does a different voice for when he's active.
Starting point is 00:01:42 And when he's speaking to the podcast voice. But that's the actual voice, FYI. I sneakily revealed it. Robert does a different voice for when he's at when he's I do. I do. But that's a sexual voice. FYI. I sneakily revealed it. So now you can A.I. my voice and convince my loved ones I've been kidnapped and ransom. Robert, don't take that. Why not? It's fun. Not for me. It will be fun.
Starting point is 00:02:01 Iish. Yeah. Because you're the one who's gonna get get robbed. So I know. will be fun-ish. Yeah, because you're the one who's gonna get robbed, so fake. I know. Who's gonna spend fun with me? Uh, speaking of things getting lost, I got someone I want to deal with here. I got some policing we need to do here, because people are, people are,
Starting point is 00:02:22 people are gotten to Twitter brain, right? And I say this is someone who uses Twitter too much. I'm not coming out of this from like a moralizing standpoint, right? Let me start this by saying like, I've definitely used, like have a problematic relationship with Twitter. I'm not trying to be a judgemental,
Starting point is 00:02:40 but like this shit needs to stop. And specifically a thing that may be realized it, as we record this, it's like a day after the United States Marine Corps, like an airbase announced like, hey guys, one of our F-35s went missing. The pilot leapt out during flight for reasons that we will not explain to you, left it on autopilot. And we don't know where it is. We don't even know if it's crashed. Like, we have no idea where this is amazing. Multi, multi million dollar, like,
Starting point is 00:03:11 it cost a trillion dollars to, it'll have 80 million dollars to manufacture plain wind. No idea. Yeah. If you see it, give us a call at this number. Like, it's a cat. Like, it's someone's cat who got out. They're just like, hey guys, Mr. Sniffles, the F 35 is lost.
Starting point is 00:03:28 Give us a ring if you see him. Don't try to chase him. Like for real, how is that possible? Like that something can be lost in airspace. I just assumed it crash. When I saw the eject and from the headline, I assumed it probably has, but like they did. So it's a stealth plane, right?
Starting point is 00:03:47 One of the reasons why this is a problem is that like, that is legitimately an issue. So most every plane that's not like an army plane, right? That's not some sort of like government, you know, jet has what's what's called an ADSB. I think that's the name of it. Like it's a transponder that lets, you know, where all of the aircraft are, right? Because that's important to making sure they don't hit each other. Military and government aircraft don't have to have that, right? And if you're running a stealth plane, you wouldn't necessarily want that on, right?
Starting point is 00:04:15 So I think that's probably, anyway, it doesn't matter. This is funny. And it's funny specifically. I made a comment online about like this being America being the only country that could both develop, you know, this fucking trillion dollar, like hyper advanced weapons platform and lose it and need to just like go to Twitter to be like, hey, everybody keep an eye out, right?
Starting point is 00:04:38 No other country could do it. And people like a bunch of people got like angry and started defending the like, we're trying to lose his planes too, it's like that number one, it's not the point. Number two, why are you trying to defend, like why are you trying to attack the US government over this, or why are you trying to pretend the Chinese government
Starting point is 00:04:56 as if I'm not doing any of that. It's funny and it's specifically funny that we are treating a lost, hyper-advanced self-craft, like a lost cat. That's all That's all not making a point about politics not making a point about like the DOD not making any kind of political point It's just kind of funny What up Blue in our ability to just like laugh about this stuff
Starting point is 00:05:21 We lost So here's what happened we misplaced our F 35. Not a big deal. A big deal. If anyone sees that shit, hit me up the deep. Yeah. My dream is that the autopilot set it down safely somewhere in North Carolina. And it's just in a man's barn right now. Some guy just told that shit back and it's like, I don't know. I haven't made up my mind as to how I'm going to deal with this, but I got it now. I mean, this, this woods. Yeah, this is such a great opening to an actual James Bond movie.
Starting point is 00:06:01 Because now it's just, this person should really just in the interest of everyone learning their lesson, try to sell it to Russia at this point. Yeah, just try. Yeah, sure, just like a ring. Call the call the Russian embassy. Hey, guys, I got something you might be interested in. Like I will tell you right now, if this were me, you know, but if I lived out in the boonies and gained control of an F 35, the only thing that I would do with it, because I think it's really
Starting point is 00:06:30 the only thing to do with it, because I don't have to fly a plane. I don't know that like any normal pilot knows how to, I'm sure there's a bunch of special training to fly this specific plane, right? Otherwise, it's a fucking death trap. I would just drag it out, like tow it out into my yard every couple of months and just shoot at it, you know? Just fucking shoot at it with my rifles. You know, just play around, see what happens. In part because when I, I would try to make friends with the AI. Turn it on, see if you can tuck it out. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:07:01 You're a chat GPT on it. I think we could, I think we could iron giant it with the AI. I think we turned this, this one into the good play. Super man. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot of ideas.
Starting point is 00:07:15 There's a lot of ideas. Folks, sometimes you need to just be able to enjoy the world when beautiful things happen. Beautiful things like the F 35 going missing going missing, like doing a homeward bound with our apocalypse fighter. It's got to get led back to home by like a fucking rogged Chinook. Yeah. Yeah. That's pretty much so cute. Yeah. So, we're talking about G Gordon Litties still. For so many, so many five hours now, something like that. Anyway, gotta be close. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:07:53 When we left off, he had just gotten shitt canned by the Treasury Department for rank and competence and repeatedly comparing stuff to the Holocaust for no reason. Wow. It does seem pretty clear he was never fired for the SS stuff. Yeah. The weirdest part of all of this. That is fair. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:08:13 Because I feel like there is an amount of comparing things unnecessarily to the SS that you should be fired for. Right? I don't know what that amount is. Precisely. I don't know. I don't think it's high. Right? I think it should be once. Yeah. Just know. The amount is really low. I don't think it's high, right? I think it should be once.
Starting point is 00:08:26 Yeah. Just once. Yeah. Yeah. You get one freebie and then everyone's like, man, stop falling asleep to the fucking history channel. Yeah. Like come on. He's passed where I think the number should be significantly. Yeah. That's good to know. I'm glad that we're, I'm glad that we're, it's like you're, it's like you're fucking Kevin Bacon number, right? You're here. You're unnecessary SS references number. So Liddy is getting forced out of the of the Treasury Department. This is a real embarrassment for him so he completely ignores it in his autobiography. In favor of telling a long story about his son's getting bullied at school. And how he taught them like the only way to respond to bullies is like violence is immediately escalating to violence. And the
Starting point is 00:09:11 school is like, that's not what we like our students to do here at this private school. We would prefer they not immediately go to violence. And his wife is also like, I don't think this is a good lesson to give the kids, right? I think they're probably going to wind up creating more problems for themselves that they respond this way. And so when the school and his wife are both like, I don't think our advice to them is immediately respond to violence to kids like making fun of them. Lydia's response to that is that before World War II,
Starting point is 00:09:41 they French schools started edge skating children not to respond violently. They tried to stop kids from fighting in schools, and then in World War II, the French lost because German kids had been taught to be aggressive and get into fights at schools. So I'm going to do what the Germans did and teach my kids to get into pointless fights.
Starting point is 00:09:58 Now, first off, yet another unnecessary Nazi reference. Second, what happened next, G Gordon Liddy? Like, you're right, you're right. The French did lose the first part of that war. What happened next to the Germans? How far did starting fights in every conceivable situation take Germany? It's really just like,
Starting point is 00:10:19 like, imagine being so convinced of your rightness and having so little attention span that like, yeah, he's like a real like first act of every movie that a guy. Yeah, what happened? Let's say two years later, she cordoned Liddy, like where was Germany then? And obviously this works the same way for his kids
Starting point is 00:10:41 pretty much that it does for Germany and that the fact that they're told, like escalate physically, and like they're not big kids, right? I think they're getting made fun of. And like, so they start escalating things physically. And it doesn't work out well for them. And in fact, not only do kids not stop bullying them,
Starting point is 00:10:57 but teens from the local high school escalate. And it's very funny. And his book, Liddy notes, that like when describing these teens that are gonna harass him and his kids at their house, he notes, many of them larger than me. Yeah, of course. I'm smaller than a child.
Starting point is 00:11:13 Yeah. So some of these kids escalate to egging his house and the family cars and throwing firecrackers at the Liddy house at night. I think because they realize that the dad's a maniac too, so we can really fuck with this family. Now, Litty knows he can't call the cops because in his mind, we live in a dangerous part of DC and they've got enough on their plate.
Starting point is 00:11:36 I got to handle this on my own, right? Like he's, he's at, and the way he writes this all out is very much like fucking Liam Niesen and Taken taken where he's like, I have a very particular set of skills that makes me a nightmare to a 15 year old like you. Yeah, I mean, I guess that's true. That is undeniable. He starts staying up at night and like waiting for the kids to show up. And then like when they come out, he like chases them and gets one of these children in a headlock. And then he he says one of the kids pulls a knife and he he explains into
Starting point is 00:12:13 tale. I will break that knife into pieces and use them to like, he'll like cut this kid like, I'll kill you. If you fucking pull that knife out on me. And like number one, I don't I don't really believe that a knife got pulled on him. Number two, he tells that story as if it makes him look cool. He never provides evidence that these kids actually had done anything like theoretically, he just chased down and choked a child. There's no evidence given to us that shows anything but that like there's a real reason for him to chase these kids because he's a maniac. Like he just is pretty sure these are the kids, so he attacks them in the street. There's like no version of this in the real life version
Starting point is 00:12:51 that didn't end with him getting enhanced, right? No, no, no. For sure, got enhanced by these kids. They fell down as he was chasing him. I don't know that I actually believe any of it that he actually even caught a kid, but if he did and if a kid pulled a knife, my guess is that like these kids were walking past the house
Starting point is 00:13:08 and he suddenly runs out screaming and attacks one and some kid pulls a pocket knife because he's like, I don't know what else to do in this situation. And yeah, like that's probably how it goes. Nothing, like at no point does this, this is not like whether or not he actually got the culprits. They don't stop throwing eggs at his house, right?
Starting point is 00:13:27 Like the minor vandalism continues. And here's what he writes, about a week later, another egg hit the house. So I took to patrolling the alleys on my own. Now I was hunting them. That's spanked us Batman on them. He's like actively wandering the neighborhood at night looking for teenagers to fight. Oh my god. That spoiled all their fun and I assumed one complained to his parents one evening as I was cleaning my gun collection
Starting point is 00:13:55 which was spread out for that purpose over newspapers on the dining room table. Many of the pistols disassembled. I received a telephone call. A neighbor wanted to talk to me about my nocturnal activities. That told him, fine, come on over. Figuring he was one of the, the father of one of the vandals, I wanted to talk to him. So first off in the book, Litty lays out all of the different guns
Starting point is 00:14:17 and descriptions of what. And by the way, nearly all of them German, right? All of these are like fucking luggers, like they're all old Nazi guns. That's the only kind of gun he buys cowboy revolvers and Nazi pistols. That's it for G Gordon Liddy So he lays out all of this and he like it spins all this to tail on these guns that are laying out and then this guy comes over and Liddy He clearly is like once us to believe that like this Terrified the man that you like sees. Oh my, oh my God, ladies got all these guns, I better not fuck with them.
Starting point is 00:14:46 He doesn't even provide in this story any evidence that this has an impact on the guy, right? Like the dude is like, you need to stop hunting children in the night, right? And yeah, Lydia is like, I don't want to stop hunting children in the night and the guy says, well, you should. And it's kind of over.
Starting point is 00:15:04 Like there's no evidence that his guns had any influence on any of this. Like, we don't need to know this. It's completely irrelevant, right? But eventually, kids stop egging his house, like not even immediately. They keep going for a while. And I think it just peeders out
Starting point is 00:15:19 because children don't do anything forever. Yeah. And he was like, it was clearly because I was scared. This man was of my guns. It's like, no man, they kept egging your fucking house. You did nothing. You had no influence on this situation. That's really remarkable that he did it
Starting point is 00:15:34 and wide up getting like his ass kicked by the neighborhood dance. I think he might, I don't, I think there's a non-zero chance that like one night when he's going Batman on some children He gets hit in the face with an egg and gets like a staff infection in his eye But there's as much evidence for that as anything Litty claims For real, Jesus Christ What a maniac
Starting point is 00:15:57 What a funny, funny man So Litty also claims that he found during his time before getting shitt canned a stack of treasury department badges laying around the office that weren't real badges. They were made up for the CIA for CIA men who needed a cover. And so he stole one and that allowed him to carry a gun anywhere in the country. Again, at no point does G Gordon Litty ever do anything involving a gun. This is not relevant. There is no question that is answered by the fact that he theoretically has the CIA badge. Like he doesn't do anything with that we don't ever need this
Starting point is 00:16:31 information. He just cannot. He like it is he emotionally. He needs us to know he always had a gun on him. Like he can't stand the fact that we wouldn't know that it's so funny Also, I kind of don't believe that like I believe the CIA gave people fake covers using other government agencies Absolutely, I don't believe that they left their badges Yeah, the Treasury Department in a big pile where G Gordon Litty could grab one I do believe that he illegally carried a firearm for years. I'll give him that. I'll give him that. I bet he's I bet he broke those laws. Does that look up a stack of fake badges that somehow would let you carry a gun illegally just sitting by the coffee machine? Yeah. Yeah. Just like hanging out. Oh, yeah, that's
Starting point is 00:17:19 our CIA badges. Don't take one, G Gordon Lennennie to let you carry a gun anywhere you want. So again, he dedicates pages after this to talking like telling all these fake stories about how bad his neighborhood is in DC. And he cannot, again, every time he encounters a black person, he lets you know, right? And he tell, one of the stories he tells us is that like one night, this like black man knocks on the door and G Gordon Litty pulls
Starting point is 00:17:45 a 45 and threatens to shoot him with it. And again, provides no evidence this man wanted to do anything illegal. That like this was anything but like a guy coming to his door by mistake. But by God, G Gordon Litty is going to point a firearm at a stranger. Great man, hero. Yeah. So Litty gets pushed out of the Treasury Department. And I'm not sure why maybe it's that he had made enough friends, maybe it's that he had some lingering family
Starting point is 00:18:10 connections, but they can't, they don't feel like they can get rid of him entirely, right? So instead of immediately pushing Liddy out, they like, they find a job for him, they get, switch him to a new boss and they're like, you can stay here for a while, but you need to find something else. They don't let it be too long, right? And it just so happens that this is the point at which Litty Whites up in the Nixon White House, right? So this is the, at this point his career is, was an FBI agent, got forced out for incompetence, was it worked for the DA's office, probably got forced out for incompetence, worked for the DA's office, probably got forced
Starting point is 00:18:46 out for incompetence, ran for office, lost badly, and then was that the Treasury Department got forced out for incompetence, right? That is G Gordon Litties working career at this point, right? Luckily for him, and luckily for his co-workers at Treasury, but unlucky for Richard Nixon and the rest of the country, the collapse of his career at treasury occurred right alongside an event of much greater historic importance. The release of the Pentagon papers. Do you, have you heard about this? Do you know what, like the the Pentagon papers were? Well, not enough actually. I'm happy to learn. I'll give you an
Starting point is 00:19:20 overview here because people need to know this, uh, especially since Daniel Ellsberg, the guy who's kind of behind the leak of these just died very recently. The Pentagon papers were an internal history of the Vietnam War. From 1945 to 1967, commissioned by the Defense Department, right? It was this kind of thing. You know, again, the Defense Department is completely morally and the wrong about most conflicts that's in post-World War II, But this is a reasonable thing to do, right? You've just had this big disaster of a war, right?
Starting point is 00:19:48 And it's like, it's going terribly. It's been going terribly. In 1967, it's still going on. It should really sit down and like try to lay out all the facts about what happened and figure out like, what the fuck went on here, right? Reasonable thing to want to do. So among the fun facts revealed in the Pentagon papers was the fact that despite President Johnson's claim to the contrary, at no point were we involved in Vietnam to help South Vietnam, right?
Starting point is 00:20:12 The papers include the admission from the U.S. government. We were there because we were in conflict with China, right? Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and others had come to have viewed China as a Nazi-like expansionist threat to the entirety of Asia. And that's why we got involved in Vietnam. It had nothing to do with supporting democracy in South Vietnam, especially since South Vietnam was not
Starting point is 00:20:32 really functionally democracy for at least most of its history, like it was just because of our fears about China, right? That's one of the things we get out of the Pentagon papers. The papers also contained evidence of US involvement in the 1963 South Vietnamese coup and the assassination of President D.M.
Starting point is 00:20:47 And there's always been like these theories that the US have this guy fucking iced and like, yes, basically yes, right? And there's a bunch of other very shady or outright criminal acts that are kind of revealed in the Pentagon papers because these are not meant for public release, right? The guy, one of the guys you compile compiled this report, is a Rand Corporation employee named Daniel Ellsberg. Prior to working for the Rand Corporation, Ellsberg had worked for the CIA on a rural pacification campaign in Vietnam.
Starting point is 00:21:14 So he was one of the guys doing shady, dangerous shit for the U.S. in Vietnam. He had also been an aide to hang Kissinger. So like, this is a guy who's pretty intimately involved in everything that's going on. And as a result of kind of that process of some of the things he sees and as a result of being part of the assembly of these Pentagon papers, he gets radicalized against the war, right? Now, there's some other, again, we're not going to give a comprehensive thing here. There's some other like arguments over like Ellsburg and like, why he did what he did. But that's the broad story. I think it's generally accurate. And in 1969, he leaks some of these papers to a New York Times journalist.
Starting point is 00:21:50 And the whole thing blows up from there. The time starts writing these stories about all this shady and illegal shit that people had suspected for years about US conduct in Vietnam. And because Nixon's the president, all of this shit kind of whites up on his desk. And it, it super charges the protest movement, the anti-war movement. And suddenly like, they're surrounding the White House and like fucking box trucks and national guardsmen to keep away the crowds of protesters. Like, it's this massive, massive, like the Nixon campaign has a fear that like the protesters
Starting point is 00:22:20 might breach the fucking perimeter, right? Like, that's a worry for a while, but they've got. Well, that's crazy. That'll never, ever happen. That'll never happen again. So what's relevant to us today about the Pentagon papers is that they have a massive impact on the paranoia of one Richard M. Nixon president, right? This is when you hear about Nixon being a paranoid maniac,
Starting point is 00:22:40 the Pentagon papers are a big part of why because he becomes convinced they don't know for a while who's done it. They become eventually aware it was probably Ellsburg, but like, there's all these fears about like, who's a leaker? Who can we trust? You know, they're trying to screw us out of here. You know, they're trying to fuck me out of the White House. So I'm gonna quote now from a very readable history of the Watergate scandal, a book called King Richard by Michael Dobbs. When the New York Times began publishing a classified history of the war known as the Pentagon Papers in June 1971, Kissinger exploded, this will totally destroy American credibility forever, he raged. No foreign government will ever trust us again.
Starting point is 00:23:14 The president needed little persuading that draconian action was necessary, according to Holdamen and Holdamen's Nixon's chief staff, I think. Henry got Nixon cranked up and then they started cranking each other up until they were both in a frenzy. This in turn inspired the creation of a special investigations unit to track down leakers of government documents. The team set up shop in a warren of offices on the ground floor of the executive office building known as room 16 because they were charged with plugging leaks. Unit members jokingly affixed a sign to the entryway that read simply plumbers. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt were among the first recruits. So pretty reasonable, like,
Starting point is 00:23:52 understand, not reasonable, but an understandable story, right? There's a leak. Nixon goes crazy. He's like, I need guys to fix leaks and G Gordon Liddy, because he's being forced out, Liddy gets stuck in in this job, right right? Like this is where he gets moved to. And this is kind of a dream for his. Like a guy who fucks up as much as Liddy, he probably shouldn't reward with a White House gig, but they do. So, this is his dream,
Starting point is 00:24:17 this is his chance to do all the spy shit that he dreamed about, all the shit he'd read about in books as a little kid and stuff, like now he's got a chance to be that guy, right? So Liddy proved the FBI right for firing him almost instantly by sitting down with his new colleagues and insisting their investigations unit should be based on you want to make a guess as to what he thinks they should base the unit on. You want to make a guess Andrew what organization do you think he organs back to in history?
Starting point is 00:24:46 It's the SS. Yeah, yeah, once again Always he does it's so weird that he's not aware that they lost the war Yeah, that it didn't work That it was that the whole country gets destroyed that Germany is shattered in a way that almost no nation in history has ever been shattered. But no, he's like, you know, I think we should take a page out of their book for our illegal spying unit in the White House as the fucking SS. Here's what he writes.
Starting point is 00:25:20 Our organization had been directed to eliminate subversion of the secrets of the administration. So I created an acronym using the initial letter of those descriptive words. It appealed to me because when I organized, I'm inclined to think of German terms. And the acronym was also used by a World War II German Veterans organization, belonged to by some acquaintances of mine. Oh, of course. Odessa. On the blackboard in German for clarity and added security, I diagram the new Odessa organization.
Starting point is 00:25:46 And you heard of Odessa, Andrew, do you know who these guys were? Oh my god, I mean not enough. Yeah. So Odessa is not a real organization for one thing. It was never like a group called Odessa. It was a code name US intelligence came up with to describe a mix of different smaller organizations and like escape plans by different Nazi war criminals, specifically generally members of the SS who had been responsible
Starting point is 00:26:11 for the Holocaust. Odessa was the name that intelligence gave all of these plans to get them out of Europe and generally over to Latin America, right? So, Liddy is like, I want to base our intel network on the group that helped SS war criminals. Some of whom are my friends. Get away from Europe, avoid justice. Yeah, you know the guys who helped aid off Ikeman and Joseph Mengele get away? That's who I wanna, and it's also.
Starting point is 00:26:40 It's, yeah. That's no, it's just fucking, oh my God. It's not, it just fucking God God Jesus Christ What a note what a fucking note to have be the only thing that you do and we'll talk about one other thing that G Gordon Litty does But first Andrew Maybe two plugs, you know, we might have a couple of plugs in there Well, we're not plug in leaks. That's for sure. We're not plug-in leaks. This podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp. Robert Evans here, I've had a lot of trouble sleeping
Starting point is 00:27:16 off and on over the years and it's just a difficulty turning my brain off sometimes. It's something I've gotten some help with in the past via a therapist. If you're ever feeling like your brain is getting in its own way, you might want to try therapy, and better help is a great option for that. If you're thinking of starting therapy, better help is entirely online. It's designed to be convenient, flexible, and suited to your schedule. Just fill out a brief questionnaire to get matched with a licensed therapist. You can switch therapists later at any time for no additional charge. Make your brain your friend with better help.
Starting point is 00:27:47 Visit slash behind today to get 10% off your first month. That's betterhelp. slash behind. I noticed Jacob is not in his crib. So I look in and say, oh, she's not there, so I'm like, okay, they're not there. Unrestorable is a new true crime podcast
Starting point is 00:28:09 that investigates the case of Catherine Hoggel, a mother accused of murder. I'm thinking, you know, like, what's going on? Like, this is insane. Like, where are my kids? But despite signs that Catherine Hoggel took her tiny children one by one into the night, never to come home again, she has yet to stand trial. Because soon after her children went missing, she was declared incompetent to stand trial.
Starting point is 00:28:35 You know, when I would ask her her engagement was up in the body of the remaining confidence. And then I would say, well, who advice should I throw you, you know, I can't tell you that. In Maryland, if the defendant is found incompetent and can't be restored to competency, their felony charges are dismissed after five years. So as the clock counts down, Catherine's charges on the verge of being dismissed will a grieving dad ever get justice.
Starting point is 00:29:01 Listen to Unrestorable on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. On his new podcast, six degrees with Kevin Bacon, join Kevin for inspiring conversations with celebrities who are working to make a difference in the world, like musical artist, Jewel. And what an equal opportunist misery is, it doesn't care if you're black or white or rich or poor or famous or homeless, if you are raised in misery systems, it's perpetual."
Starting point is 00:29:27 Kevin is the founder of the nonprofit organization, Now he's meeting with like-minded actors who share a passion for change, like Mark Ruffalo. You know, I found myself moving up state in the middle of this fracking fight that I'm trying to raise kids there and my neighbors, like willing to poison my water. These conversations between Kevin and activist Matthew McConaughey will have you ready to lean in, learn, and inspire to act. They're all on the wrong track, help get on the right track. If you're on the right track, let's help them double down on that and see the opportunities stay on the right track for success in the future. Listen to six degrees with Kevin Bacon on the I Heart Radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever
Starting point is 00:30:06 you get your podcasts. So we're back from outer space, Andrew. I just walked in. Wow. I think I've made that. I think I've made that reference before. Anyway. You definitely have me.
Starting point is 00:30:20 I definitely have. At least once, but it's so natural that just just go. Thank you. Thank you. just go. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So, Liddy, so he decides to make his own Odessa organization for the Nixon White House. And like, it is funny, like the reason why he picks Odessa, because it really doesn't
Starting point is 00:30:38 have anything to do with what he wants to do, right? It was an organization for plugging leaks for one thing. Is that Odessa, again, it's not an actual organization, but in the post-war era, all of these spy books pretend it is because it's a great bad guy for your spy book, right? If you're writing like a bunch of pot boiler James Bond type books, the organization of SS veterans, great idea for like, these will be our bad guys, right? These old Nazis and stuff, you know, the secret Nazi organization
Starting point is 00:31:07 around the country. That's why he focuses on them because like he'd read all these books as a kid where they were the bad guys. Like Odessa is G Gordon Littys' generation's cobra, right? And so that's, that's who he wants to be. Yeah, exactly, right? They're spectacular, right?
Starting point is 00:31:22 Yeah. And he is the same as modern fascists who play Warhammer 40K as kids, and then like beside Trump as the God Emperor, right? Like that's all he's doing, is he's like, I wanna be like these guys and these fictional novels that I thought are cool. So yeah, that's literally what's going on here.
Starting point is 00:31:41 Litties partner in this endeavor, in this plumbing endeavor is is eHoward Hunt. And Hunt is an interesting guy who's kind of in some ways weirdly similar to Littie. Now Hunt is a former CIA man, right? He was with the company for a long time. He had worked overseas. He was there during in Guatemala. He played a role in the coup in Guatemala.
Starting point is 00:32:02 I think he also in Chile, and maybe I'm wrong about that one, but he's involved in a lot in these decades of fuckery in South and Central America by the CIA. And then he torpedoes his career because he's also deeply involved in the Bay of Pigs, which does not go wrong, right? That's kind of the end of his career for the CIA of like meaning anything in it, right? Now the thing is though, while Hunt is definitely involved in doing what you're crimes for the CIA, he's like a paper pusher, he's like a logistics guy. He's not doing cool shit, he's not kicking indoors,
Starting point is 00:32:32 he's not assassinating people, he's certainly not romancing exotic lady spies, right? He is the spy, he's the spook equivalent of a middle manager, right? Yeah. Which is obviously necessary, right? If you're running an illegal spying organization that's committing crimes against humanity, you need a bunch of paid, most of what you need are a paper, mostly, right?
Starting point is 00:32:50 That is mostly it. Most of the job. I never need the other shit. You very rarely need a gym, like, and that's usually not it. Usually it's just like, well, we have a lot of guns. Let's just keep giving them the guys into jungle and like, you know, using our contacts to give them a place to train and then nearby country and eventually they'll over there in the government, right? Like that's most of what goes on in these
Starting point is 00:33:07 actual cases. So hunt, hunt, you know, despite the fact that on paper, his background's legitimate, he kind of always feels like he missed out on getting to have the exciting spy career. Part of how hunt deals with that is he is an author of spy books, like the same kind of books that Litty reads as a young man. He published, he's published like 40 different novels by this point. And they're all like kind of James Bond-ish, right, like slightly worse than Ian Fleming's novels, but like mid-airport fiction grade, like, uh, spy thrillers, right? And so Hunt is, he's got some backstory, has some connections, but he's also like, like Litty kind of insecure about his lack of doing anything cool.
Starting point is 00:33:50 And so you put both of these guys together and that's a fucking disaster, right? Like because they're just going to lead each other into fucking calamity, well beyond their degree of competence. So the disaster starts right away with their project of destroying Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon paper's leaker. The way it is said to do this is they're kind of break into his therapist's office and steal the file on him with the idea that like this probably contains something damning about the man, right?
Starting point is 00:34:16 Now in his book, Liddy Lovingly describes all of the spy cameras they get to buy and how they work and all the different gear, this listening device is, he talks about, he has like this terrible wig. There's a photo of him in it. It's like a horrible wig that he wears that looks like fucking shit. And he has this gate altering device that he wears to make it,
Starting point is 00:34:35 him like force him to have a limp so that it'll disguise him. And like the, and then of this winds up working, like all of the shit that they buy is pointless, right? Because on their first break in, which is the only one where Litty does any actual spy work, they like bust into this guy's office illegally
Starting point is 00:34:52 and take photos of a bunch of paperwork, and Litty doesn't know how to use the spy camera. So the photos they take don't work. There's like nothing in them, right? He gets a bunch of blurry pictures of trash, right? That's all, that is his extent of his real career is a spy. Right? Is he fails to use a spy camera properly and pointlessly breaks into a therapist's office.
Starting point is 00:35:14 This is like any reasonable person would be embarrassed of this, right? This is painful. Litty describes it as a successful op where he like proved that he really had what it took to be a spy. We can see this evidence of this in the fact that his boss, Bud Kroge, who was the White House FBI liaison, and thus did no real jeemon, right? Like Kroge knows actual spies. Immediately told them, you guys can never do an entry again.
Starting point is 00:35:39 Like I don't ever want to hear that you've broken into a place. You are employees of the White House. If you get arrested, if an employee of the White House gets arrested performing illegal surveillance, that could ruin the whole administration. You're not allowed to ever go in on this again. So, Liddy goes over to Hunt and Hunt has friends, Cuban friends from the Bay of Pigs, right? These like criminals who had tried to overthrow the cast regime and failed, right? Most of these guys are some kind of gangster, right? As well as being, you know, one of the revolutionaries.
Starting point is 00:36:07 So he has hunt call up some of these Bay of Pigs guys. And again, also, I don't know, man, if you're looking at like an op that went well, that you might want to like hire dudes from, Bay of Pigs probably isn't the op, right? Like, yeah, the famous, least successful Bay of Pigs. So they bring in these Bay of Pigs guys
Starting point is 00:36:27 and they just spend tens of thousands of dollars on even more fancy camera equipment. And Litty, he's not allowed to do anything, right? So he decides, I'll be their backup, right? I'm gonna, I'll hang around outside of this building that they're breaking into to try to get papers with a weapon in case I gotta kill somebody to keep quiet, right? And so he goes through how like,
Starting point is 00:36:49 he thought he wanted to bring a gun, but the only gun he has that would be good for this, he's got an, he has an unregistered CIA, nine millimeter that was manufactured specifically for assassinations. But God, it couldn't take a silencer, right? So he brings his next best weapon, quote,
Starting point is 00:37:07 a folding browning knife, deadly and quiet, a pocket knife. He calls it like a browning knife because browning also makes sense. He brings a pocket knife. You take a pocket knife to your spy mission in case you need to murder someone on the street. Oh, I mean, also, give it his early history. I guess he's probably physically capable of doing so.
Starting point is 00:37:29 Maybe, maybe, maybe not. Maybe it's actually. It's actually, I guess. It's a thing, it's hard to get people with a knife, right? It is not a quiet weapon. People do it. Number one, most of the time when somebody pulls a knife and uses it on another person, both of them get stabbed. It is a weapon that leads to a lot of screaming, right? You can't,
Starting point is 00:37:52 even with an unsilenced weapon, you can shoot someone with it and they can drop immediately, right? Without making any noise, right? It's possible. But the knife, it is always going to be loud and horrific because you're stabbing someone. Like, yeah, maybe there's the odd spy out there who really can quietly use an eye, but like if you read actual stories of spies, they're really uncommon for knives to be used to this situation. Right.
Starting point is 00:38:15 Yeah, not the tool of choice. Litty certainly not qualified to use this, right? It doesn't matter though, this is all a lot, because again, well, he describes this because he wants us to know he totally might have killed a guy. All that actually happens is he hangs out outside this office while his guys are breaking in for a couple of minutes with a pocket knife on his bait. And to make it even prettier, he has a holster for it on his belt. He's like wearing a pocket knife and a fucking holster to like, maybe murder a fucking dude walking his dog if they come out, right?
Starting point is 00:38:47 And he writes this about this moment. I can run for miles and there were numerous deeply shadowed hiding places in the area from which I could pause to warn them in inside with the transceiver. Only if there were no other recourse would I have used the knife, but I would if I'd had to. I had given my men my word that I would protect them. Great. Totally believable, gee garden. Yeah. Oh my god. His team does succeed at the operation because it turns out, I mean, kind of, right? They get in there, they get pictures and stuff of a bunch of papers, but like, and they get his file, but like, none of it, there's nothing in there, right? Because Ellsberg, there's nothing really impeachable about him. And he certainly, he didn't go tell his therapist,
Starting point is 00:39:29 like, so yeah, I'm committing a major crime by leaking classified data to the New York Times. I mean, he doesn't do that, cause Daniel Ellsberg wasn't a fucking idiot. Yeah. So after ransacking this office, they leave a bunch of random pills to disguise the break in as having been carried out by a junkie. And this is what's sad.
Starting point is 00:39:49 A man with a history of addiction is arrested for the break in and coerced into confessing. He goes to prison because of this, like just some random dude. Liddy has absolutely no sympathy for this guy because he's junky, you know? So he goes, he and Hunt go back to the drawing board. And according to Hunt, Hunt tells Liddy, Ellsberg is scheduled to speak at a fundraising dinner that's going to be held in Washington. And they decide like,
Starting point is 00:40:13 oh, this is a good opportunity to discredit him, right? We can like, we can embarrass him at this dinner in a way that will make people less likely to trust what he's saying. It's going to be the dinner's going to be attended by media, you know, taste makers and shit. And so this is a good opportunity. And the suggestion some guys chuck Colson at the White House has is like, Hey, could Liddy, could you guys drug L's Burke to make him appear that he's like an addict and not trustworthy? So the plan that
Starting point is 00:40:40 that fucking Liddy and hunt work up is to have the same Cuban guys to dress them up as waiters and have them drug Ellsberg with acid in his champagne. Never gets past the drawing board because it's a terrible plan. So next they decide to start, they drop plans to start fucking with the Brookings Institute, which is this liberal think tank that Ellsberg is involved with, right? And Litty suspects Ellsberg hid his copy of the Pentagon papers in their safe, right? So he thinks there's the full copy of these documents that he can leak to the times. I believe they're hiding out at the at the Brookings Institute.
Starting point is 00:41:15 So here's what we're going to do. We're going to fire bomb the Brookings Institute. And then we're going to buy a brand new fire truck for the Cubans and we'll train them all as fire fighters And they'll be waiting around the corner and will be the first responders to the fire and then while the fire is going on And they pretend to fight it. They'll bust in and crack the safe to get whatever's inside it Genius That's the thing that could happen. G GordonGordon. Little boys reading comic books, making plans. And they, they present this plan to Nixon and Nixon's like, fuck it's wrong with you,
Starting point is 00:41:53 people. No, of course not. Liddy is like they just weren't willing to spend the money. It was too much money for the Nixon administration. It might have been part of it. I also think that even Dick Nixon was like, so you wanna light the building on fire, bring in fake firefighters, have them crack the code before real firefighters show up, and like then ditch a brand new fire truck
Starting point is 00:42:14 and hope that nobody tries it back to you. I don't know, it doesn't seem like a good plan to me. I'm just Dick Nixon though. Yeah. So one fact makes the case for hunt and ladies fundamental and competence better than any other. Now, Andrew, I know you have limited experience in clandestine operations, but if you, you know,
Starting point is 00:42:35 think back to they carry out these like first two illegal burglaries on a fucking Ellsberg and his psychiatrist. If you had just done that, you would carry out these burglaries and gotten away. Would you a destroy all evidence that might link you to this crime later? Or b, take multiple pictures of yourself wearing the disguises, including a hideous wig, and holding break-in equipment at the site of the break-in, and then send those photo negatives in with pictures of private documents you found in the break-in and then send those photo negatives in with pictures of private documents you found in the break-in to the CIA to get developed. Which of those two would you do?
Starting point is 00:43:11 They take pictures of themselves and the documents they stole with their illegal equipment, the White House paid for, and they send those photos to the CIA to get developed. So the CIA has a copy of photos proving that Howard Hunt and G Gordon Litty were connected to these crimes. Oh my God. Why did they do that? I mean, never mind. I just listen, I mean, that's the A and B side. And I think we may, it may, was it, was it you and I that had this conversation on Twitter potentially, which is like the clownishness of fascists. Yeah, he's only really overshadowed by the fact that like non-fascists are barely winning some of the time. Yeah, occasionally, barely winning. It's not a, it's not an optimistic
Starting point is 00:43:59 thing when you think about it, but like one of the things that repeatedly fucks over fascists, not as often as it should, but ultimately always does, right, is that they're incapable, constitutionally, fundamentally fascists are incapable of estimating threats correctly. Yes. Right? That's the way it is, right? And that's the thing that ultimately has destroyed them every time in the history, right? They're not, they're not actually able to accurately determine whether or not they're taking unreasonable risks, whether or not they can handle it. They can't, they can't understand the real like forces array against them because of something about like the way in which fascism fundamentally
Starting point is 00:44:39 deranges its adherence, right? Yeah. Well, it's the over over like, you know, it over reliance on the power of Marshall. Yeah. Like, like, the power general. Yeah. You see that a lot in Liddy, where like he just, there, he, there's a lot of own goals constantly because he can't, because he can't actually tell what a good idea is. He can't tell what a real risk is, right? Any reasonable person would be like, I don't know man, it kind of feels like that's gonna get you in some trouble. I kind of I was like,
Starting point is 00:45:08 you shouldn't have any photos that could tie you to this crime you're committing. But Litties like, no, we need that. People need to know that I had all this cool spy gear, right? At some point I want this on the historical record. This is important. While Littie is playing Dipshit James Bond, he continues his irreplaceable habit
Starting point is 00:45:27 of inserting his weird Nazi fetish everywhere possible. And in this case, that now means the White House. So this is happening, well, there's all these protests developing around like the Vietnam War, and it's like really bumming everyone out, right? As you'd expect, like all these guys yelling at you and calling you baby killer, like that bumps them out. So, quote, I got awfully tired of stories about giant rallies with
Starting point is 00:45:48 all the balloons going up in unison. Finally, I had enough of it. Hey you guys, I said one day, you want to see a real rally? Curious. They asked what I was talking about. One of the advantages of living in Washington is the availability of the museums, art galleries, and libraries. One of my favorite haunts had been the National Archives, and I subscribed to the little schedule of motion pictures to be shown at the theater there. I had taken my children to see linear reef installs, cinematic masterpiece triumph of the will. I called the National Archives and set up a special showing for the White House staff.
Starting point is 00:46:20 About 15 people attended. Oh my god. I've got to show you your man, all these people are calling us fascists. We better go watch Shryamph of the Will. This my Nazi movie night was not as well attended as I had hoped. So it's a thought.
Starting point is 00:46:36 And he's like everyone was very impressed about how good the Nazis were at like forming a rally. Maybe, you know what, I'll give you this. You may be, if it's not the truth about this, I do believe you could find 15 people in the Nixon White House who could be legitimately impressed by triumph of the will. I'm not gonna question G Gordon Liddy on that fact. He didn't lie about everything, right?
Starting point is 00:46:56 Right, right, right. That seems like a reasonable claim. Oh my God. Now, you do get the feeling that like shit like this may be, because again, only 15 do show up. And like the fact that he's failing, right? Ultimately, nothing that he does works, it's all very expensive in part
Starting point is 00:47:12 because of all of the fancy spy gear he has to buy. This kind of gets he and Hunt pushed out of the White House and the same way that Lydia had been pushed out of the Treasury not all that long ago. Unfortunately, this didn't mean that Nixon had no use for him. So by 19 late 1971, after a couple of years of the Pentagon paper is being out and like, you know, this really supercharging protests, Dick Nixon is as paranoid a man as he's ever held the presidency. He was among other things certain that Howard Hughes, the billionaire,
Starting point is 00:47:41 was funding a secret war against his reelection. He was convinced that during his 68 election, Democrats had paid for protesters and funded secret espionage against his campaign. And like you get a lot of statements from people that like, well, everyone knew that everyone did this kind of stuff, the kind of shit that happened in Watergate was common. Perhaps it was. I'm not going to, I'm not going to take bat for like fucking anybody who's in power at this point, that they wouldn't do some of this shit, right? But that is, I don't know that they did either. The fact that Nixon believes this though, is a big part of what why Watergate happens,
Starting point is 00:48:16 why Armingland comes, is that he is number one, there are real leaks, there are definitely people who don't want him to win re-election. And he's convinced that he got spied on on 68. So he's, he's justified in doing it now, right? So Nixon is obsessed with the fact, the idea that he needs to fight back and build an apparatus that will warn him of any future leaks before they happen. And as he's putting together a list of task forces before the end of 1971 for his campaign the next year, he tells his chief of staff and political soulmate, Bob Holdeman, make sure we have a political intelligence capability better than we had in previous campaigns. Now Holdeman is an interesting guy.
Starting point is 00:48:55 Bob Holdeman is about as power hungry, a political climber is as ever existed in DC politics. He is Nixon's top. They're often described as soulmates, right? Holdeman and Nixon. Like they were just, they were, they were born waiting for each other, right? Um, and like Nixon is, he's, Nixon's a big picture guy, right? He's a visionary, whereas Bob Holdeman is a put the screws to people, get shit done, fucking that kind of dude. He's very practical, like make things happen, kind of dude. So practical like make things happen kind of dude so they fit together pretty well hold them in spence his first couple of years in the white house kind of devouring the portfolios of other cabinet members right expanding his territory like a medieval lord he's a he's very much like a an internal politics kind of guy right while he's doing this nixon obsesses over these conspiratorial fears of his ever-widening circle of enemies.
Starting point is 00:49:45 Nixon is the kind of guy who's unethical enough to approve an illegal dirty trick section of the campaign, but it's savvy enough that he isn't going to be on record saying that, right? So he and Haldeman, Nixon tells Haldeman, I want a dirty trick's chunk of the campaign. I want people who can spy on the enemy for us. And Haldeman uses his, doesn't want to like just say, hey guys, make us a crime division. So he uses this organizational
Starting point is 00:50:10 structure. He had created within the Nixon White House. In order to kind of push his people to develop this without directly tying it to him. And the name of this structure, this machine that Haldeman builds within the Nixon White House House is called the tickler by former White House counselor John Dean. At its core, the tickler is half phone tree, half harassment campaign. Men will be given in person, will be told something like, yeah, I want you to make a spy division of the campaign. And then Holda Menbild will task other members of the White House staff with calling this person every couple of days and be like, hey, you've done that thing for Bob yet? And then hold him and we'll task other members of the White House staff with calling this person
Starting point is 00:50:45 every couple of days and be like, hey, you've done that thing for Bob yet, you've done that thing for Bob yet, right? And this is meant to escalate over time. So that the calls get more and more frequent, right? In order to kind of push people, give them this ticking clock, make them like kind of work obsessively towards this end,
Starting point is 00:51:02 that's the way the tickler works, right? You're never just sort of writing, saying, I need you to do this. You're kind of like using people's peers in order to like develop this sense of urgency in them to act, right? So weird. And his own, yeah, this is how Alderman works.
Starting point is 00:51:19 And in his own memoirs, John Dean writes, the tickler was an extension of Haldeman and was probably more responsible for the chief of staff's awesome reputation than was his own aluminum personality. It was a self perpetuating paper monster with a computer's memory and a Portuguese man-a-war's touch. Often those who were ticklers made calls
Starting point is 00:51:38 for the sake of making calls to impress Haldeman with their efficiency. Their machine never forgot or tired. Once a staff man was nailed with the responsibility for the slightest project, the tickler would keep pestering until it was fed something, a status report, a piece of paper, a bit of information to chew on. No one could ignore the tickler
Starting point is 00:51:55 because no one could afford to ignore Haldeman. That's how the Nixon White House works. That's how big Bob Haldeman works. Oh my God, right. It is just like, just like the type of bureaucracy That's You know, this is what Republicans are actually talking about when they say big government is inefficient or insane And when you think about you when you think about this organizational structure, right? I think a reasonable person can
Starting point is 00:52:22 predict Two things are going to be the result of this organizational structure. One is people will, in order to get this thing off their back, right, to push back this harassment campaign, they will feel pressured to just do something, to show up, show up something. Even if it's not ready, even if it's not a good idea, because you need to present the tickler with some evidence that you're making progress. Number one, people might get pressured into like approving or allowing things just to have done it. Even if it's not a good idea. And number two, this is a great way to harass people into action, but there's no, it does not provide any actual oversight over what's being done.
Starting point is 00:53:01 Because the product doesn't matter, making progress matters. That's the way in which this works. So you might have a situation which people might approve, what's being done, right? Because the product doesn't matter, making progress matters, right? Like that's the way in which this works. So you might have a situation which people might approve shit, that's a bad idea just to get the tickler off their back without watching what's happening, right? That's how watergate is allowed to happen, right?
Starting point is 00:53:18 It's because of the structure that Holdum and his built. And we'll talk about exactly how that results in watergate, but first, you know, who is actively spying on the Democratic National Committee? I'm going to go with a variety of people, but probably a variety of people, but almost certainly the good people at Blue Apron, right? No. Yeah, well, actually, we probably shouldn't continue that because again, people are incapable of recognizing jokes. Yeah. There's somebody on the subreddit the other week
Starting point is 00:53:50 being like, why does Robert hate the FDA? And people being like, oh, you know, it's because he's a, like, we make jokes about the FDA because the idea of going to war with the FDA of all government agencies is funny, right? That's it, that's it. I don't have a specific beef with the FDA It's a bit again people like anyway, but everyone has a bit it's okay
Starting point is 00:54:10 Seriously, I do in fact want to carry out terrorist attacks against the FDA That's that's the point of that joke. It's a real statement of my political beliefs Good times everybody good times I can't wait for that FDA rate to hit now. Now that I've admitted that online. I noticed Jacob is not in his crib. So I look in and say, oh, she's not there, so I'm like, okay, they're not there. Unrestorable is a new true crime podcast
Starting point is 00:54:44 that investigates the case of Catherine Hoggel, a mother accused of murder. I'm thinking, you know, like, what's going on? Like, this is insane. Like, where are my kids? But despite signs that Catherine Hoggel took her tiny children one by one into the night, never to come home again, she has yet to stand trial.
Starting point is 00:55:04 Because soon after her children went missing, she was declared incompetent to stand trial. You know, when I would ask her her engagement was I been invited to remain incompetent. And then I would say, well, who advised you should throw you know, I can't tell you that. In Maryland, if the defendant is found incompetent and can't be restored to competency,
Starting point is 00:55:22 their felony charges are dismissed after five years. So as the clock counts down, Catherine's charges on the verge of being dismissed will a grieving dad ever get justice. Listen to Unrestorable on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Hi, I'm Marissa Falkberg And I'm Steven Wolf-Badada. We want to invite you to join us for a new podcast for Ann Nue.
Starting point is 00:55:51 So what's actually new about brand-new? Well, Steven and I are not only working C-suite executives, we're friends. My friend Marissa is actually one of the most influential chief marketing officers in the world. And hey, Steven has a story career across finance, tech, and multicultural entertainment. Because that, we've got a lot to say about the world of tech, entertainment, advertising, media, and marketing, what we actually call team.
Starting point is 00:56:14 We always adore each other, but don't always agree with each other, and that's part of the fun. It's real talk from the inside, sometimes personal talk too, and it's meant for everyone rising in business or just interested in it. In each episode we give our hot takes on hot topics and always answer what's on your minds too. Just look for the brand new podcast on the iHeart Podcast Network, or wherever you listen. It's a brand new conversation that you won't want to miss.
Starting point is 00:56:39 Hi, I'm Hillary Clinton back with a new season of my podcast, You and Me Both. On this show, I'll be talking to people I admire about many things, including one of my favorite subjects, Getting Things Done. We'll hear from folks in positions of power like Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries, but also writers and actors, community organizers really anyone who shows up every day and keeps doing the work. There's so much out there to distract us, but all of my guests bring tremendous passion and commitment, an ability to block out the noise, and I should probably warn you lots
Starting point is 00:57:22 of sports metaphors. You stay calm and focused on releasing the ball, getting it to a receiver, and hopefully getting it into the end zone on behalf of the American people. So join me for this conversation and more. Listen to you and me both on the I Heart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Ah, we're back.
Starting point is 00:57:47 So let's keep on talking. So hold them in, you know, the tickler kind of starts the process of bugging these guys lower on in the White House list. Make a spy division, right? Make a spy division, you know. And again, one thing you might note about the tickler is that while it's effective at pushing people into action, it is also effectively a giant game of telephone, right? And so inevitably, when you're playing telephone,
Starting point is 00:58:12 the message gets distorted both ways, right? So no one's getting accurate information about what is being developed. But something is being developed because you have to provide responses to the tickler, right? And Holdman has not really specified what kind of intelligence Nixon wants, right? And his hope is kind of that by keeping continually poking the guys who are running the committee to re-elect the president, usually just called creep, who are the two guys running this,
Starting point is 00:58:36 who are getting harassed by the tickler to make this intelligence division, are John Mitchell, who's a close friend of Nixon, then the former attorney general, and Jeb McGruder, who's like the deputy manager, or whatever, of creep, right? And basically they're being pushed, finds, their reaction is like, we have to give the White House something, let's just find some maniac who will break the law in creative ways
Starting point is 00:58:58 and like give him, you know, the job of running intel. Yeah, whatever. The guy who gets that job is gonna be G Gordon Liddy, right? That's it. That's the end result of all this. He found his perfect place. You know what I will say is this whole, this whole vibe is also very Silicon Valley. This is like, yeah, indistinguishable from break, break, fast, move fast, break things. Yeah. So in his autobiography, Liddy claims that he gets this very prestigious job as a reward for his hard work at the Department of Treasury. It came with a huge pay bump.
Starting point is 00:59:30 He claims he's making what would be the modern equivalent of like a quarter of a million dollars a year, right? He also claims, which is like 30 grand or something at the time. He also claims, in addition to this, that he had been promised a million dollar budget for his dirty tricks project. Now, this was never the case. No one ever told that he was going to get a million dollars. What happened is that like, so there's this, the first person to kind of propose a dirty tricks campaign for the Nixon White House is this dude named Caulfield, who was put forward
Starting point is 01:00:02 as director for the alcohol tax and firearms division of the IRS, right? And the IRS commissioner had blocked Callfield from getting the job because Callfield is a maniac, right? So Callfield comes up and is like, hey guys, I'm going to start a private security firm since I didn't get that job. And maybe you guys can be the first people to hire me. I've got this great idea. We're calling it Operation Sand wedge, right? And if you give me a half a million dollars, I'll hire double agents and infiltrate them into the Democratic Party and carry out all of these different schemes to like a legally spy on them. Now, a lot of people are like, well, this is a good idea. And especially once Nixon says I want a dirty tricks division, they're like, well, this is what Nixon wants. So we should make this thing happen. But
Starting point is 01:00:43 everyone agrees. Callfield doesn't know what he's doing. And part because he's not a good old boy, right? Callfield does not come from any Ivy League school. He's not he's not part of like the family of people who should be trusted with a job like this. Whereas, despite all of the time, Liddy tries to make himself out as like an outsider. He very much is an insider, right? Yeah. So McGrooter, the second man at an insider, right? Right. Yeah. So McGrooter, the second man at Creepe, eventually comes to John Dean and is like, we need someone to run this crime department and we don't trust this guy who pitched us, you know, a pretty good plan for doing it.
Starting point is 01:01:15 We love his ideas about crimes, just not him. Who else can we get to do the job for him, right? And so because he's also being harassed by the tickler, John Dean goes back to Bud Kroke, who had been Litties boss at the plumbing White House plumbers, right? And is the liaison to the FBI? And Bud Kroke is like, his Kroke wants to get rid of G Gordon Littie, like everyone who works with him does. Kroke is like, oh, you need a guy to do dirty tricks. I know it. I know it. A former FBI guy. He's got this reputation of being a wild man, but he's a great lawyer. And because John Dean is also one of these like Ivy League
Starting point is 01:01:50 pricks is like, oh, he's a he this guy went to a good college ready went to for them. You know, he's got a great. He's got a he's a lawyer. He'll this is the calm hand that we need on this pro-cran to really make sure nobody goes too far with anything. So that's how Liddy gets hired to run this, right? And, you know, Kroge seems to, it's kind of unclear if Kroge thinks that Liddy will accomplish in anything or just wants to get rid of him. You know, for Wizards, Jeb McGruder, who's running the committee to re-elect the president more or less, is like most people, he's immediately off put by Liddy. And this paragraph from the book, King Richard, because Bud Crowe writes one book about Watergate, I think that's the one that's show with Justin Thoreau, White House Plummers, is based
Starting point is 01:02:39 off of. And John Dean writes another book about his experiences. And I believe that that's the book that the other Watergate show is based off of. I've read a number of different accounts, large pieces of them from all the guys involved. None of them are trustworthy, right? When it comes to who is right here?
Starting point is 01:02:56 Well, they're all liars, right? These guys were all Nixon administrations, Amber. And the point is they're all liars. Generally, they're here. Triangulate truth by kind of going through all of them. And so I'm going to read a paragraph from the book, King Richard, that gives an idea of how Jeb McGruder responds
Starting point is 01:03:12 to the G-man in a professional setting. Liddy struck McGruder as a cocky little bantam rooster who liked to brag about his James Bondish exploits. An exercise fanatic, he had a disconcerting habit of dropping to the flooring without notice performing a hundred push-ups. He boasted about his method for killing people with a pencil. Hold the eraser in your hand and ram the finely sharpened point into your victim's neck just above the Adam's apple. Again, Liddy never kills a man with a pencil. Nor was he trained to
Starting point is 01:03:40 do it. Obviously, yes, you could in fact kill a man with a pencil, right? That's a thing that is theoretically possible. Liddy is no more capable of doing it than anyone at your middle school. He has never provided any evidence to the contrary. So there's a moment in one of the Watergate shows where Liddy gets winds up in a room with John Dean after they both gotten in trouble. Then like Dean is rolled on the Nixon White House. And Liddy picks up a pencil like threatens to stab him with it. That never happens. And Liddy's autobiography,
Starting point is 01:04:09 all he does, he writes about how he wanted to do that when they're in this room together, but ultimately he was very polite, right? Like that's a kid. The perfect, like, the perfect kind of like mix between the claims of Liddy and sort of this pop culture image of him with this dangerous man.
Starting point is 01:04:24 He's gonna stab John Dean to death, in the reality, which is like, he this pop culture image of him with this dangerous mad man. He's gonna stab John Dean to death in the reality, which is like he thought a lot about threatening him with a pencil but did nothing. So, yeah. I get the more I learn about fucking G Gordon Litty, the more I've come to the conclusion, he's like the fascist Walter Mitty, right? Like every moment, he is nothing but like a bureaucrat,
Starting point is 01:04:44 but every single second when anything happens, he has these big fantasies of being a hero, right? Like every moment, he is nothing but like a bureaucrat, but every single second when anything happens, he has these big fantasies of being a hero, right? I do kinda want Ben Stiller to play G Gordon Liddy in a movie now. Yeah, it is that like a seething small man rage. Yeah, that, yeah. I guess except for all the Nazi stuff, Ben Stiller is pretty perfect. Yeah, he could do it. He could do it. So not long after their first meeting,
Starting point is 01:05:14 McGruder makes the mistake. He puts a hand on Litty's shoulder when they're like, they're working in the office. They're going over a legal brief. Litty calls him over and he like puts a hand in it. Not, I'm not gonna say you should do that, but not like an abnormal gesture, right? Liddy yells at him, Jeff, if you don't take your arm off my shoulder, I'm gonna tear it off and beat you to death with it. Yeah. Again, Jeb McGruder, I think is a pretty big guy. Liddy is 5'9". So, anyway, one tricky thing we've come up against over and over is separating Lydia's performance
Starting point is 01:05:45 of bad assery, which does seem to have worked on Jeb McGruder because Jeb is one of these solace ivy leaked bricks. With the, and McGruder, by the way, is widely considered to be the second dumbest man in the Nixon administration, like universally regarded as a fool. So I'm not surprised that Lydia's bullshit like works on him. It's right, but there's this, there's difficulty in separating. What does Lydia really think is happening with the smoke and mirrors that he presents because it's his image now, right?
Starting point is 01:06:14 And the thing is Lydia is, despite all of his, his, his, his, his, in anity, a committed idea log with a hardcore of belief. And most of this belief is based around his revulsion at the left and the Vietnam protests, right? And he comes to believe, he writes in his book, he thinks that permitting the spirit, lifestyle, and ideas of the 60s movement to achieve power would be as horrifying to him as the thought of surrender to a Japanese soldier in 1945. So hey, he finally compares himself to a fascist that's not a Nazi guys. We did it. We did it. Yeah, he's I mean, right. The asterisk I would have loved to serve. I would. I'm a soldier.
Starting point is 01:06:54 No, he's talking about like it's just horrifying to me to do this as it would be to a Japanese. Oh, yes, that is the one time. Yeah. Yeah, he has like nightmares. His nightmares of Jane Fonda visiting Hanoi. He's convinced that the U.S. is having a cold civil war, right, that that's going on right now.
Starting point is 01:07:16 And so he's willing, certainly right about that. Yeah. He's willing to blow up anything, right, in order to prevent this. There's no, no action, no matter how dangerous or immoral that isn't justified in his mind by beating these hippies, right? And one of Haldomen's aides, Gordon Straykin, who's involved intimately in Watergate, puts, he says this when McGreeter tells him like,
Starting point is 01:07:38 maybe we should get Litty out of this department. Maybe he should not be involved in committing crimes for us. Straykin says, Lydia's a Hitler, but at least he's our Hitler. Why do you need a Hitler? Why do you want a Hitler?
Starting point is 01:07:51 I, it's like, I mean, that is, it truly is like so mind bending to me that. You think there was a brief moment in time when the right wing at least had like a sense of optics, but I guess not. I guess that's the answer is they never have ever.
Starting point is 01:08:12 It's like if you're running a bar and your bartender is like creeping out all of the clientele and like dangerous and you're like, look, so and so is a Bill Cosby, but at least he's our Bill Cosby. Well, do we want to Bill Cosby at this bar? Do we need a Bill Cosby? Like, maybe he's our Bill Cosby. Well, do we want to Bill Cosby at this bar? Do we need a Bill Cosby? Like, maybe that's a bad thing to have at the bar.
Starting point is 01:08:29 No one ever suggests that. So Dean decides, we'll give Lydia shot and he offers him the job, right? And for a while, Lydia's kind of working as a lawyer for the campaign, but Dean keeps getting poked by the tickler to get this Intel operation up and running. And so he brings in Gordon, and he's like, put together a proposal for a dirty tricks campaign, right? And Lydia's like, how much money can I have?
Starting point is 01:08:51 And Dean's like, well, this other guy said half a million dollars, so maybe we could do half a million dollars. And Lydia's like, that must mean a million dollars. So I'm gonna build a plan that will cost a million dollars. So what results is, he calls an operation gemstone and it is both incredibly, profoundly illegal and so far beyond G Gordon Litties limited competence that I think I wish I'd, it had gotten greenlit, right? Some of the stuff in there is that like we're going to drug hippies and we're going to sneak
Starting point is 01:09:21 them into opponent George McGovern's campaign headquarters so they can piss on the floor, right? Like, while he's being interviewed on TV, right? Which is, he might have gotten it away with that, that's with possibly within his limited competence, but there was also outrageously ambitious shit like this plan related by John Dean and his memoir. Quote, he has consulted specialists, one of the world's leading experts, and solved the problem of finding untraceable equipment. Then he launched into an extremely technical description of microwave telephone communications,
Starting point is 01:09:52 speaking of relay stations, routing frequencies, and the difficulties of intercepting non-capable signals. His point became clear when he said there was equipment capable of intercepting all communications between an opposing candidate's airplane and the ground. The intercepting equipment was required to be near the airplane, but not within sight, of course. So Liddy proposed hiring a chase plane to follow the Democratic campaign planes and make transcriptions of all airborne. He wants to have a plane following in secret hidden in the clouds. The Democratic campaign plane at all times to intercept their comms.
Starting point is 01:10:26 There is no way he would have pulled this off. Not possible. It's so amazing. What a, I mean, right, he is just, this is just blowfeld shit. Yes, yes. I, yeah, I guess you got a dream. You got to have a dreamer on every campaign, you know. I don't know
Starting point is 01:10:45 that you do, but he is there. He is there. So another plan that he prefers is to rent an expensive houseboat and and Liddy is constantly being like, we got to rent this now. I got a handshake deal with the owner, you know, give me the money now. Give me and like jeans, like we don't even talk this through, man. And Liddy is like, but I got to I want to fill it with high dollar prostitutes, right? And we're gonna sail it around the whole election to everywhere the DNC goes to like there, we'll have it just always in port,
Starting point is 01:11:11 anywhere the Democrats do a big meeting so that we can pull in democratic officials. And then these prostitutes can apply them for information and record it, right? And yeah, it's very funny. Everyone is like, this seems like a terrible idea. And Liddy's like, no, it's not these are the finest call girls in the country. You know, I can tell you from firsthand experience, they're not dumb broads. They're girls who can be trained and programmed.
Starting point is 01:11:32 I've spoken with the mademois Baltimore and we've been assured of their services at the convention. Part of why they don't do this is because someone intelligent is like, hey, we don't want to like make a big deal about democratic staffers utilizing prostitutes because like everyone does. Like you go into any brothel in like a place where there's a big political convention and it's an even list of dims and repal. We don't want to, we don't want to tug that string. That doesn't work out for us in the long run. Oh my God. Litty also had plans to utilize his dream-duv budget to hire thugs to do violence to protesters.
Starting point is 01:12:10 Now, the simplest version of this is literally hire CIA street fighters, as he calls them, to beat up hippies and public at protests, right? But his more advanced plan is to hire a second team who will be paid for by Richard Nixon to kidnap American citizens and traffic them into foreign countries. Quote, these teams are experienced in surgical relocation activities.
Starting point is 01:12:35 In a word general, he's calling Mitchell General. They can kidnap a hostile leader with maximum secrecy and a minimum use of force. If for example, a prominent radical comes to our San Diego Convention to marshal his army of demonstrators, these teams can drug him and take him across the border into Mexico until the convention is over. He'd never see the face of a single one of our operatives. Oh my god. And this is extra funny because of something else that Liddy says during this, right?
Starting point is 01:13:04 Because he's G Gordon Liddy. And you can probably guess it's bringing the Nazis into it, right? Here's what Liddy writes about. Quote, and would do whatever was necessary to deal with organized mass violence. Both McGrooter and Dean were too young to know what I was talking about, but I knew that Mitchell, a naval officer in World War II, would get the message if I translated the English Special Action Group into German. Given the history involved, it was a gross exaggeration, but it made my point. An Einsatzgruppe, a general, I said.
Starting point is 01:13:41 It is, inadvertently, using a hard G for the word general and turning it to into German. These men include professional killers who have accounted for between them 22 dead so far, including two hanged from a beam in a garage. And like, so the Ion sets group, if you've forgotten, are the division of the SS who carried out the first stages of the Holocaust,
Starting point is 01:14:00 which was largely shooting babies and women and like women and children and burying tens of thousands in the mass graves. That's what he called he names this operation to kidnap hippies after. Well, and also to be like, and you know who's going to be impressed by this a World War Two veteran. World War Two veteran. The US nation. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:14:21 And and Mitchell, he's like, I could tell he was impressed. And for all we can know, Mitchell gets angry about this. He's like, get this fucking dude out of here. And they do, again, because none of them are very competent. They're like, come back with a plan that doesn't cost $1 million, right? Like, cut some of this maniac shit off and try to bring us something else, right? And part because they just need to have updates for the tickler, right? So Liddy gets kind of yelled out of the room and he comes back a few weeks later
Starting point is 01:14:50 with a different idea, right? Operation Crystal, which is cheaper and involves installing wiretaps in democratic offices, right? And this is what comes watergate, right? Listen, hopefully it's just Crystal with a C. Yeah, thankfully it's crystal with a fucking sea, right? In his autobiography, Liddy makes it clear that as soon as he got told to start drawing the shit up, he assumed he had a million dollar budget. So he has a hunt, start paying retainers to his Cubans and promising all these guys money.
Starting point is 01:15:17 And then he's like freaking out to Dean, like I promised dangerous men money, like they have to get paid, you know, yeah, and Dean's like, oh, he never never told you you had a million dollars. Why are you paying people already? Oh, my God. It is, it is, it's very funny. So one of the dudes that he and Hunt bring in to carry out their crime plan to wiretap the
Starting point is 01:15:37 Democratic National Committee is a man named Jim McCord. And of all of the spy adjacent man children in these plots, Jim McCord is the closest to the real deal, which is not a compliment. Born in Oklahoma, he'd been a bombardier in the Army Air Corps in World War II, and had then joined the FBI and transferred after a little while to the CIA at kind of the height of its crimes
Starting point is 01:15:58 against the humanity phase. He became a GS-15, which had him put in charge of the CIA's physical security at its Langley HQ. So he is running security for the CIA headquarters, right? That's a big job, right? That is like a legit gig. Alan Dolas called him my top man.
Starting point is 01:16:15 So he has the, he has the kind of spy, both Hunt and Liddy, want to pretend to be, right? And McCord on paper should be a bugging expert. You know, I cannot blame Litty for trusting the man's credentials. He's got everything you'd want in the resume of a guy to handle bugging for you. So Jim is, the problem with Jim is that he is the security head for creep. So he is an employee of the Nixon White House, right? Well, not the White House, but of Nixon's campaign, right? He's directly tied to Nixon.
Starting point is 01:16:47 So he does seem like an obvious guy to run the water tapping app, but he's also, for the reason why Liddy and Hunt aren't allowed to be doing physical ops together, he shouldn't be on scene in anything. So Liddy puts together a paradigm version of his wiretapping plans, and he gets approved a quarter of a million dollar budget, a significant amount of what he and Howard Hunt are spending lots of this money on luxury hotels and fine dining, traveling around trying to find criminals to do these. They can never help themselves. They cannot help his defense of this is that like, well, no serious criminal will trust us if we're not spending a lot of money on nonsense.
Starting point is 01:17:23 That's right. Yeah. Maybe, maybe, Liddy. Gotta hand it to the man. Yeah. So this is somewhat counteracted. The fact that like this is the only way to make people trust them is a little counteracted by other claims.
Starting point is 01:17:37 Liddy makes about his recruitment efforts and how he tried to get these criminals to impress him. And this brings us to perhaps the most infamous story about G Gordon Litty, his pinchant for lighting his own hand on fire. What a funny man. If you believe Litty in the late 60s, as he's continually trying to increase his willpower and make himself a tough man, he decides, well, this war between us and the left is about to ex, like, so I need to make myself hardened to torture, right? And the only way to do that, he describes this as a technique
Starting point is 01:18:13 recognized in the East for increasing willpower, where he burns himself for increasing periods of time to build up a tolerance for pain. Quote, much as one might build muscles by lifting. Insane thing to compare lighting yourself on fire too. And I also barely think there's any ancient eastern technique for lighting your own hand on fire, but perhaps, you know, perhaps, yeah, I guess. Maybe. So he felt that he needed to harden his body to torture. So in 1967, he starts burning himself regularly
Starting point is 01:18:48 with cigarettes and matches. And he's always careful to light his left hand and forearm on fire, because he doesn't want to damage his gunhand. But one day, Liddy relates, quote, I made a mistake. I burned to the underside of the second joint of my left index finger so badly
Starting point is 01:19:04 it required surgical attention. Fortunately, the surgeon was from India and familiar with the practice, although he found it unusual in an ostential. I told him he told me that it would take a year before he could fully straighten my left index finger, and then only after repeated exercise to stretch the scar tissue that would form in the angle of the joint. I had it seemed nearly cooked out the joint and lost a tendon. Oh, I mean, that sounds delicious, of course. You got a lot of love. It sounds like it's not great. Yeah. Love enough. Nice.
Starting point is 01:19:35 Thankfully, the doctor was Indian. And so he'd seen many men light their own hands on fire. As everyone does in India, it's, it's not. That's right. Yeah. Amazing how many like casual, clear cries for help. This is yeah. Himself admits to constantly. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:19:57 I, I, I'm so rarely like the whole process of involuntary commitment is, is real fucked up. But like, I don't know. Man, if a guy comes to me saying, I have developed a habit of lighting my hand on fire to increase my willpower. Yeah, maybe that guy, maybe that guy needs to be in medical care. He needs help. He doesn't want to be.
Starting point is 01:20:15 He needs some sort of help, right? That is, he's a danger to himself and others if you're doing this, right? This is not reasonable behavior. This is not healthy. This is not certainly the behavior that a man with five children should be carrying out. Yeah, it's bad news and you got it.
Starting point is 01:20:33 Yeah, the way he describes this too, I think this is compulsive. I think there is something compulsive in his need to scarify and injure himself, right? This is far beyond any kind of actual will power building. I mean, look, it does seem like over the course of this tale, between the animal mutilation at the top and this shit, it is like a little of the bastards that I've been party to and then the show isn't party to.
Starting point is 01:21:02 I guess it's just like the, his sheer incompetence and cowardice is what prevented. I mean, he has a lot of other tools. He has a lot of other character tools that, yeah, this potentially could have gotten a lot worse for humanity. This could have gone, like, Litty does not go as badly. And I think maybe his dad is credit for that. Maybe he's constantly held back from like setting off a series of bombs in like the fucking White House lawn by the fact that his dad wouldn't have been proud of that, right? Like that maybe, like we were just, I was criticized the family a little bit, like maybe this is the best case scenario for Liddy because he had that teeny bit of restraint on his actions.
Starting point is 01:21:46 Yeah, it really is like so hard to know to go back and just go to the other time line where. Maybe a little bit of a dexter situation, right? Yeah. I guess we never know. We are, we currently don't know. Maybe one day we'll know. Yeah, so despite the fact that he's permanently injured
Starting point is 01:22:04 himself doing this, Liddy keeps burning himself, both as a hobby and in the days before Watergate as a recruitment tactic. Quote. She was flashily good looking, young and had secretarial skills and expertise and appeared able to attract men sexually if she wished, possibly even the candidate. That means Nixon's opponent. At dinner, Miss Steven seemed reluctant, bulking at the risks involved, and when I told her her identity would be revealed to no one, and she could walk away any time if she feared
Starting point is 01:22:32 exposure, she pointed out that I would know her identity. I told her that no one could force me to disclose anything I chose not to reveal. She didn't believe me, and I was casting about for some way to convince her when I noticed she smoked. I told her to light her cigarette lighter and hold it out. She did, and I locked my gaze upon her eyes and placed my hand palm down over the flame. Presently the flesh turned black, and when she smelled the scent of burning meat, Sherry Stevens broke for my gaze and pulled the lighter away from my hand.
Starting point is 01:22:58 She seemed frightened badly, so I took pains to calm her, wrapping an ice cube against the burn with an aption and returning to my dinner. Pale, Miss Steven said she was sure I would never betray her, but she excused herself as a candidate, invoking a just remembered plan to marry a Swiss airplane pilot in September of 1972. When I told her that I'd be glad to have her services through August at a very generous rate of pay, she refused and expressed concern for my hand, asked to be taken home. Now, good on you, Sherry. That was the, you're the only person in this entire series
Starting point is 01:23:28 who's made an intelligent decision. Like, if a stranger makes you burn his hand to the bone, you leave, right? You bounce again, he's telling this story. It is, it's so incomprehensible to me that like from doing this to telling anyone about it, I don't know what is more bonkers. What a, like, bragging about this particular story, even if it's made up, it's so fucking nuts. Cause he does brag about it.
Starting point is 01:24:01 He's like, yeah, I did do this. You know, I'm dealing with some real hard people. This is the only way to take, convince them I was serious. Like, but it doesn't work. Yeah. Like a normal person, she sees a man light himself on fire during a job interview. And it's like, probably I don't want to be involved.
Starting point is 01:24:16 I don't want to be in business with that, dude. Like, if you put in your LinkedIn, I can cut my wrist to the bone without bleeding to death. Well, that's great, but I don't want to work for you. I think I'm out. I think I may be out of this one. So, and again, one thing that's funny about this to me is that you've got this lady who's living on the wrong side of the law,
Starting point is 01:24:39 but she sees this man do this and is like, oh, I don't want to be anywhere near this guy. This guy's dangerous. At the same time as this is happening, multiple Nixon staff members, Minneff privileged pedigree with Ivy League degrees, find themselves in the same situation. Deep throat will later claim that he saw Liddy do this, light himself on fire, trick at a party, right? That like he was, and like, so multiple men in politics, you know, powerful men are in the same situation and they fail
Starting point is 01:25:07 to act with the same perceptiveness sherry shows. They're like, well, clearly we need to be in business with this man. By way of an example, here's what John Dean writes about his first experience with Litties burning fetish. As he spoke, I noticed a bulky white bandage wrapped around his fist. What happened to your hand, Gordon? He shrugged. Oh, nothing really.
Starting point is 01:25:29 It looks serious. Well, some might feel that way, but I don't. It was necessary, you see, that I proved my strength to the men I'm thinking of recruiting to assist me at the convention. What do you mean? Well in my business, John, it's important that those I work with understand I'm a man of strength. Macho, as they say.
Starting point is 01:25:44 So to prove myself to them, I held my hand over a candle until the flesh burned, which I did without flinching. I wanted them to know that I could stand any amount of physical pain. My God, Gordon, I didn't really know what to say. So I told them I hoped his hand healed quickly, which he also shrugged off. And again, this lady who is just like, you know,
Starting point is 01:26:00 kind of in the shadier part of the world immediately recognizes, nope, don't want to mean. John Dean sees this as crazy and is like, you know, kind of in the shadier part of the world, immediately recognizes, nope, don't want to mean. John Dean sees this as crazy, and is like, guess I'll continue working with this man. Yeah. Guess I'll task him with breaking the law for Richard Nixon. But hey, it must just be that this woman actually knows
Starting point is 01:26:17 tough people and John Dean is like, well, this is nuts, but it is in fact tough. Having made a number of mistakes in my life, like the last people who are ever going to do something like this are dangerous people. Right? People who can, someone who like actually might be able to murder you and disappear the body
Starting point is 01:26:35 is not going to try to prove that to you by lighting themselves on fire, right? They generally don't need to lie. Like, yeah, actively, yeah. they're actually real people, right? So Dean claims that this moment is the point at which he realizes Lidia's nuts and that Bud Kroge had pushed Lidia off on him so that Dean would take him off of the White House's hands, right? That's why Dean thinks all of this gets started, right?
Starting point is 01:27:04 And so all of this shit, basically, I don't even think it's happened here as like this desire to keep pushing Liddy down the ladder where he's not your problem. And this tickler, which is constantly forcing people to provide updates on this illegal scheme, it leads to a situation where eventually G Gordon Liddy is working for creep and has a pocket full of cash to live out his cold, worth thriller dreams. So while John Dean and Jeb McGruder and John Mitchell, Bob Haldeman and Big Dickie Knicks himself are all sleeping comfy. Liddy and Hunt are unguarded and unwatched as they send their Cubans into the DNC HQ at
Starting point is 01:27:38 the Watergate Hotel on June 17th, 1972. Bugs are installed in the telephones of several staffers, and there are some fuckups, hunt. And I think one other guy gets stuck in the watergate overnight, and like a closet with like all the liquor and like hunt winds up pissing in a whiskey bottle. But in the end, they get out and, you know, escape with the job done and nobody gets caught, right? That's the first watergate break in.
Starting point is 01:28:03 Unfortunately, it's a shit job because all of these people are buffoons. And like McCord, the bugging expert, doesn't, like, they pick the wrong bugs, the bugs aren't put in, right? Whatever the case, it's kind of unclear as to why, but like most of the taps don't work. And the ones that do, they just kind of have
Starting point is 01:28:21 some random secretaries and shit bugged, and it's mostly them like talking about who they're fucking, right? It's like normal shit, right? Nothing that's going to swing in election. So after all this goes down, Lydia's superiors are disappointed. One of the bugs he'd spent 30 grand on did not even function at all. Jeb McGruder described it as James Bond had been exposed as a dumbling clown. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:28:47 Yeah. Yeah. That should have been the end of it, right? But in spite of this, there's still this need to provide some sort of intel thing. So Litty gets even more money to go back to fix the broken bugs. And this time, like, you know what? So we know we get something. Have your guys take photos of every document in D&C HQ,
Starting point is 01:29:07 hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages of shit. So this necessitates number one, not just a quick break in, but spending four hours in the office. Hi, odds, you're gonna get caught doing that. And that even comes convinced because how everything fucks up the last time, I need to put my bug expert, McCord, in the room. He needs to be in there to fix and set up these new bugs, right?
Starting point is 01:29:29 And the only absolute direct guidance that he's gotten is, do not let this get tied back to Nixon, right? McCord is running security for Nixon's reelection campaign. He is also a former CIA man and a sitting lieutenant colonel in the Army reserve with a public history as a spy. Like, there's no way this guy gets arrested and it does not immediately expose the president to unacceptable risk. But as Liddy sees it, he has to break back in. Not because it's likely to work, but because he and a hunt will look like dummies if they don't. Right? They won't be taken seriously.
Starting point is 01:30:05 They'll be exposed as buffoons and he'll probably stop getting money, right? This will probably be the end of his career if they don't go and get something in his book. Liddy bitches inlessly about how his funding had gotten slashed and how, you know, I couldn't afford to put anyone but McCord in there, right? Because they weren't paying me enough to get a really good criminal who'd be impressed with my hand burning. Um, so he sends McCord in,
Starting point is 01:30:29 and our boy, Liddy, is responsible for that, and he's also responsible for the main tactical error that the break-in team makes on the ground, which is that they're trying, they don't want this door to lock after them when they break in, because it's gonna make it hard to do everything they need to do. So they put a piece of tape across the lock, right, which is like a thing you can do. You know, it'll stop a door from auto-latching.
Starting point is 01:30:50 They place the tape horizontally, rather than vertically. So part of the tape is sticking out, which makes it easy for say a security guard to spot. Now, that is in fact what happened. A security guard notices the tape and bust them, right? Or calls the cops and they bust them. But like, Liddy makes the call to place it horizontally. And he does this because of his perceived expertise as a spy. He has like a whole defense for why this is necessary.
Starting point is 01:31:18 Here's what he says. Quote, taping was a common, if disapproved practice of maintenance personnel in large buildings. They should not have alarmed the guard who could have been expected to remove it. I saw no reason to the guard should think of anything other than that the maintenance people would have to be lectured. And he's like, maintenance staff always tape locks horizontally. Burglers do it vertically.
Starting point is 01:31:37 Therefore, if he finds it vertically taped, then he's going to call the cops, but he won't call the cops if it's horizontal. This is totally reasonable. And the only way things should have gone. It's like, well, that's not how it went. Like you immediately got caught for doing this. So like, why are you defending this that way? Like, where are you acting as if like, this is the way things should have gone? When it's like, yeah, but it didn't, it didn't work. It was like, you failed. He's, I mean, it's, it is just like so childish to like, like justification of everything in
Starting point is 01:32:08 a way that is genuinely impressive. I'm just like, how, yeah, again, this is like fascists are some of the least competent people on earth and some hide yet. And yet, we're barely keeping them all at bay We're not gonna belabor this point Cute the Cubans in McCord get busted, right? Liddy and hunt escape and Liddy he seems to have immediately known. I'm going to prison, right? Like he that that night he tells his wife like
Starting point is 01:32:39 Something went wrong. They got busted. I'm gonna go to jail, right? And the way he describes it He immediately recognizes as soon as this happens, I am the highest up person in the Nixon campaign involved in this. None of the others know the full story or know who else approved this. So I'm the turnik it, right? If I keep my mouth shut, this can't go any higher than me. You know, and this gets us to the last thing and the only thing that's exceptional about Liddy, right? The only is good at, right? Because he is a believer.
Starting point is 01:33:08 He's a believer in the way no one else in politics is really. And every other member of the conspiracy, save the Cubans, will immediately roll on their fellows, right? They start making deals with the DOJ, McGruder, and Dean, like they all immediately, like, turn a fuck job on their own buddies, right? John Mitchell, like they all, they all roll right away, right? Litty from the jump says, I will not testify. I will not say a word.
Starting point is 01:33:33 I don't speak. You know, I don't testify. I don't talk to the feds. I don't do nothing. And he doesn't. Like he does understand on that degree, that is the, he's a loyal henchman, right? Yeah. He does not fucking say anything. Now, does that make any good henchman?
Starting point is 01:33:49 Well, he's the reason why Nixon resigns, right? He is the, he is the whole cause of Watergate, right? So I don't know if he's a good henchman, but he is loyal, right? Nixon seems to have recognized this in recorded conversations. He starts talking about how Liddy has a screw loose. He's not all there mentally. How did we let this guy be in charge with this? He's clearly not like not like he's not doing well. And this is especially the case when the CIA because like once this all blows up and it becomes clear that like the Nixon Whitehouse
Starting point is 01:34:19 is fucked. The CIA turns over photos. The photos that they'd had to develop like that show Liddy there and like, yeah, because he had sent participation, evidence of his participation in a B&E to the Central Intelligence Agency. Oh my God. But he doesn't say shit. He keeps his mouth shut. His refusal to help the investigation gets him this gnarly 20-year prison sentence. Now, Liddy gets off after like four years, four years in change, something like that,
Starting point is 01:34:50 and it's because, and part because he's just the guy who doesn't roll. He earns a lot of sympathy in weird places. The New York Times eventually writes an article talking about how he needs to be pardoned, and like, it's Carter who pardons him, right? Like, it's this gross, that's also classic, classic, Democrats, classic Democrats.
Starting point is 01:35:12 Like, well, you know, he did the wrong thing, but he wasn't a bad man. He's like, no, he's a bad man, he did a bad thing. And like, like, yes, there is, I will say, you know, as again, as a guy who's been shady for a chunk of his life, there's a thing that's respectable about refusing to roll, right? I'll give that. I will give that.
Starting point is 01:35:31 Especially when you compare it to these descendants of his, like the Jan 6 people, all of whom immediately rolled on their bodies, immediately disavowed publicly, said, oh, you know, even if they were like going on podcasts to talk about how I was just lying when I said that I'm ashamed of my behavior, they all claimed publicly, I did the wrong thing, this was bad, it shouldn't have happened. Liddy never apologizes, never pretends he's anything but proud of what he did and he never rolls. And compared to a lot of, like, that is, there's a thing you have to respect in that.
Starting point is 01:36:01 Even if it's not, it's not good, but you respect it, right? Which I do. Like there is, there was one honest legitimate thing about G. Gordon Litty. Because he had always, and I think you get the feeling part of why he behaves so consistently in this regard as that he sees this finally as his chance to prove that he's, he's not courage. These are warrior, right? Never got to fight. never got to pull my gun on anyone really, but I can refuse to talk and be willing to do 20 years in prison. And he was, you know.
Starting point is 01:36:33 I can be a good soldier, finally. He is, and he is, in this one, right? He's bad up to that point. Yeah. He is the reason all of this happens, but that's the one thing about him that's real, you know? Yeah. Yeah.
Starting point is 01:36:48 I listen, I still, going back to what we said earlier, I still think having heard more of this story, there's a real chance this is probably even for humanity's sake, the best case version of the G-Gorded Litty story. I think so, right? I think that may actually still be the case. Now, he's going to be more toxic actually later in life, you know, we'll talk about one of these. We'll come back later. I don't want to do more than two weeks in a row on lady. His time in prison is a fascinating story. He's
Starting point is 01:37:17 a really interesting guy there. His time after prison, his, you know, this speaking tour he goes on with Tim Leary and his, he helps to invent talk radio. He actually gets his job in radio in part because of a Rush Limbaugh. Yeah. All that is interesting. It's more toxic, certainly it's valuable. But this should let you know who the man was
Starting point is 01:37:39 and why he matters. Yeah, Jesus Christ. Yeah. It's fucking, oh, I mean, again, it's the, I guess you can't say sniffling, but whatever the fuck was wrong with him, just what a, what a little weiner. Yeah, that's the main. He is a weiner. He is a weirdo. He is also somehow more honorable and respectable than every living member of the Republican establishment today. Yes. Yes.
Starting point is 01:38:06 All those things are true. Unobjectively, because again, there is some degree to which he was willing to sacrifice for something greater than himself. Yeah. That was Richard Nixon, but because again, the man had terrible judgment, but that is something, right? It's more than like in Rike Fuk fucking Tariya, ever able to manage, you know? Right, right.
Starting point is 01:38:26 Like all these folks, like it's not, it's not cynical. He's a very like, you know, 50s version of this fucking, he's not at all fucking cynical, yeah, cause he does, and it's one of those things where he's like, he's told at the time, like, you know, there's a chance you'll never even get a pardon, right? That that won't be possible, and that's fine. If I got to spend the rest of my life in prison for this, the time, like, you know, there's a chance you'll never even get a pardon, right? That that won't be possible. And that's fine.
Starting point is 01:38:46 If I got to spend the rest of my life in prison for this, I'll do it, you know? Yeah. So there you go. The G Gordon Litty story. Oh, I mean, it's fucking bonkers. That's not even the whole of it, but yeah. No, certainly plenty, Jesus.
Starting point is 01:39:04 I, you know, I didn't think, I thought we would do an episode on his life before getting into the White House. And then an episode that's the White House in Watergate, right? And what do you cut out? Really, what do you cut out of this man's story? Should I have not given every single time he brings up the SS?
Starting point is 01:39:25 It was too many times to not talk about like. And truly, this is just in his book. That means he did it constantly more times. Yeah. God, because an editor for sure was like, I got a, I'm holding you to a tenth of the SS stories. G. Yeah. There's no fucking way. No fucking way. So funny. All right. Well, that's going to be, it's going to be it for us to buy in the bastards. Andrew, you got anything to plug? Yeah. Same old. Thanks for having me. Yo, this racist is my podcast, the entertainment community fund.
Starting point is 01:40:09 I don't know. That's it. Maybe maybe by the time this comes out, we'll have stuff, you know, we'll be done striking asterisk almost certainly not. It's possible. And it's possible, but not probable. Yeah. Look, if you want to make the strike end, find the most dangerous and irrational person
Starting point is 01:40:30 you know and give them a quarter of a million dollars to try something. You know, I don't. I don't. I realize there's a real chance I'm the writer's guilds, G-Gorded ladies. You think you're going to be the G-Gorded? That's a, hey, look, Andrew, that's the whole reason behind Super Soaker full of piss. Right, that's, that's our dream. You and I can be the Howard Hunt and G Gordon Liddy
Starting point is 01:40:52 of the WGA. Oh, we're the crazies. Yeah, we're the crazies. Yeah, you know what, say what you will, we are loyal as fuck. That's right, we'll be loyal to the end even as we destroy the entire guild with our incompetence For now wow
Starting point is 01:41:13 Wow, you can tell we've been here for three hours because that's not normally a Sophie Joe It was really necessary It's done. It's done. But it was really necessary. What do we say? Go to hell. Go to hell. I love you. Behind the bastards is a production of Cool Zone Media. From more from Cool Zone Media, visit our website, or check us out on the iHeart radio app, pop a podcast, or wherever you get your podcast. The system's broken, I said, something's wrong here, you know.
Starting point is 01:41:57 Whenever a woman is allowed to kill my two kids. Unrestorable is a new true crime podcast that investigates the case of Catherine Hoggel, a mother accused of murder. Despite signs that Catherine Hoggel took her tiny children one by one into the night, never to come home again, she has yet to stand trial. Listen to Unrestorable on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. I'm Mo'Raka, and I'm excited to announce season four of my podcast, Mo'Bituary's. I've got a whole new bunch of stories to share with you about the most fascinating people
Starting point is 01:42:37 and things who are no longer with us, from famous figures who died on the very same day. To the things I wish would die. Like buffets. Listen to MoPituaries with MoRaka on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Sometimes the pop culture we love just teens hits differently in retrospect. Maybe it's a tabloid story we couldn't get enough of or an illicit student-te teacher relationship on our favorite show. We're Suzy Bannock-Harem and Jessica Bennett, posts of the new podcast in retrospect.
Starting point is 01:43:11 Where each week we'll revisit a cultural moment from the past that shaped us, and probably you, to try to understand what it taught us about the world and our place in it. You're the first person that I've talked to about this for years and years. Listen to In Retrospect on the iHeartRadio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your favorite shows. I've talked to you about this for years and years. Listen to InRetrospect on the iHeart Radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your favorite shows.

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