Released document reveals CIA role in Watergate, James Angleton’s concerns about ‘Pentagon Papers’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 1, 2016

A newly obtained document reveals direct CIA involvement in the Watergate break in and that the deputy director of the CIA and the acting chief of the FBI advised President Richard Nixon to “get rid of the people involved in the cover-up, no matter how high.”

The document, obtained through litigation by Judicial Watch, also shows that the CIA had an agent “planted” on the team that broke in to Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.

President Richard Nixon is shown in the Oval Office in Oct. 13, 1973; at right, Eugenio R. Martinez.
President Richard Nixon is shown in the Oval Office in Oct. 13, 1973; at right, Eugenio Martinez.

The document – titled “Working Draft – CIA Watergate History” – was prepared by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General during the latter part of 1973 and in 1974. The introduction states: “Undertaken as an internal CIA review of the matter, it is incomplete and remains a working paper.” The CIA evidently never finalized the report, according to Judicial Watch.

“This CIA Watergate report is an extraordinary historical document … that discloses direct CIA involvement in Watergate,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The document includes a three-page summary of a Nov. 19, 1973, WSPF interview of James Jesus Angleton, the Associate Deputy Director of Operations for Counterintelligence at the CIA from 1954 to 1975.

Angleton turned the interview around asking who had suggested he be contacted and warning about widespread leaks to the media, Seymour Hersh in particular.

Angleton discussed the likelihood of copies of the “Pentagon Papers” being delivered to the Soviet Embassy; “Soviet methods of recruiting foreigners as agents and their use of leaks” and, the Soviet Disinformation Program.

The document shows that Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters, the Deputy Director of the CIA, met with Acting Director L. Patrick Gray of the FBI on July 12, 1972, to discuss assistance the CIA had provided to retired CIA officer E. Howard Hunt, of the White House Special Investigations Unit (“The Plumbers”).  CIA assistance to The Plumbers was terminated in August 1971.  The report states the CIA assistance had been at the request of the White House for the purported purpose of tracking down security leaks in the government.

During the July 12, 1972, meeting, Gray told Walters that he had received a call from President Nixon.  During the call, “He [Gray] told the President that he had talked to Walters and that both Walters and Gray felt the President should get rid of the people involved in the cover-up, no matter how high. Gray said he had also told this to Dean.”

The document also identifies Eugenio “Musculito” Martinez as the only one of the Watergate burglars still actively being paid by the CIA at the time of the arrests on June 17, 1972.  At one point, the report quoted a CIA attorney referring to Martinez, in discussions with lawyers from the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) on October 12, 1973, as “an agent.”

“Under no circumstances would the Agency give up all records relating to the Agency’s relationship with Martinez,” the CIA lawyer told WSPF, for to do so would represent “the breaking of trust of an agent.”

Judicial Watch noted: “This means the CIA, at the time of the Watergate break-in, had ‘an agent’ planted on the break-in team. (The FBI determined that when arrested, Martinez possessed a key to the desk of Maxie Wells, the secretary to Democratic Party official R. Spencer Oliver whose telephone was wiretapped in the Watergate break-in operation.) While Martinez’s dual role has been discussed in other Watergate histories, the declaration by CIA lawyers of Martinez’s status as “an agent” appears to add new information to the Watergate saga.”

The declassified CIA report, 155 pages long, also “discusses the national security environment in 1971, specifically the impact of the New York Times publication of the “Pentagon Papers,” unlawfully released by RAND Corporation military analyst Daniel Ellsberg,” Judicial Watch said. “The establishment of the Plumbers and the CIA support requests for assistance from E. Howard Hunt are also chronicled. Another section of the report details CIA involvement in preparing a psychological profile of Daniel Ellsberg.”

Judicial Watch continued: “With respect to the Watergate incident specifically, the report describes the interaction of senior CIA officials with the Department of Justice, the FBI and White House staff. Official memoranda of record and telephone call transcripts by key government officials such as Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms and Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray are quoted and excerpted at length.”