In their first face-to-face meeting, G. Gordon Liddy, mastermind of the bungled Watergate burglary, told columnist Jack Anderson that the President’s men vetoed plans to silence the newsman.
“The rationale was to come up with a method of silencing you through killing you,” Liddy tells Anderson on “Real Story Update,” a news show to be shown tonight on cable TV’s CNBC.
Liddy, now a novelist, lecturer and sometime TV actor on the syndicated action drama “Super Force,” was counsel to the Committee to Reelect the President in 1972 when GOP-hired burglars broke into Democratic National Headquarters in Washington’s Watergate complex.
Liddy, who had planned the break-in, said he and other political operatives had a “full discussion” on how to silence Anderson.
“Given their record, I was in no danger,” said Anderson, a syndicated columnist who had been a thorn in the Administration’s side long before Watergate.
One suggestion, Liddy said, was to dose Anderson with LSD, but another operative, a former CIA officer, “shot that down, saying the agency didn’t find it reliable.”
“Finally they came up with striking your car on a turn and making it crash and burn,” Liddy said. “Something like that at any rate. It was written up in a memo and sent to the White House.”
The White House was unambiguous about the idea, Liddy said.
“They said no. It was too severe a sanction,” Liddy told Anderson in the interview. “Let him alone and no one does things without orders. No one proceeded against you. Thus, you and I are sitting here corresponding and chit-chatting, the war being over.”
“Actually, I’d known about it at the time,” said Anderson, who has written about Washington politics for more than four decades.
The columnist said his sources confirmed the plot in 1973, while he also was targeted by Operation Mudhen, an illegal CIA surveillance that at one point had 18 radio cars tracking him, as well as electronic and photo surveillance of his home and office.
“According to Liddy’s version, the reason for my liquidation was that my stories of classified documents had embarrassed the government, endangered national security and the life of an informant in the Soviet Union,” Anderson said.