AT THAT POINT IN TIME: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee by Fred D. Thompson

AT THAT POINT IN TIME: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee

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A very different perspective of Watergate by the chief counsel to the Republican Minority headed by Senator Howard Baker. Acting as Sam Dash's counterpart, Thompson saw leads traced and leads blocked. The most important among the latter, he concludes, was ""a mountain of inexplicable CIA entanglement with the Watergate matter."" The intricate activities of various journalists are a close second. After Jack Anderson revealed in July 1973 that he and plumber Sturgis ""were friends of long standing,"" Thompson says, ""although we had tried consistently to avoid developing a 'conspiracy mentality' about Watergate, we were intrigued by the fact that Anderson had kept this incident to himself for more than a year,"" and surprised when Anderson asked to have Baker's information on the link turned over to him. Thompson also had a ""fencing match"" with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, whom he told that the press ""appeared oblivious to any possible wrongdoing on the part of the CIA but spent a great deal of time questioning the motives of the minority staff."" As for the CIA itself, Thompson describes its abrupt refusal to cooperate further with the Baker investigation; the unexplained destruction of CIA tapes, supposedly in 1973; and CIA-operative Lee Pennington's burning of the ""insurance"" records kept by plumber McCord. Thompson also reproduces a memo written by Number Three director Sullivan of the FBI on the pre-Nixon use of that agency for political spying; and points to links between Manhattan Tribune editor William Haddad and a British intelligence operative turned private eye named Woolston-Smith, with cross-links back to Anderson and the plumbers. . . . The reader may become as weary as Thompson seems at book's end--he has no strong opinions on Nixon while his sketches of congressmen and fellow investigators are unmemorable. For those inclined to pursue the subject, a puzzling contribution: it would be a shame if it were ignored in a backlash of Watergate ennui.

Pub Date: Nov. 28th, 1975
Publisher: Quadrangle/New York Times