SECRET AGENDA: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA by Jim Hougan
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SECRET AGENDA: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Hougan (Decadence, Spooks) is an imaginative scenarist with a computer memory for shady characters and suspicious details--but whatever his 1001 leads ultimately lead to, Watergate will never look quite the same. As you may have heard (there were no advance galleys for this book), Hougan has plausible reasons for thinking that E. Howard Hunt and James McCord never left CIA employ--they were CIA plants. He has FBI memos (obtained through the Freedom of Information Act) indicating that no phones were tapped at the Democratic National Committee--McCord's cohort Baldwin was listening in on another bug--and he presumes that the break-ins were solely to photograph documents. . . diverted to the CIA. As for the final break-in-it was (as Gordon Liddy wrote) ""to find out what O'Brien had of a derogatory nature about us, not for us to get something on the Democrats."" It was triggered, in Hougan's estimation, by arrest of the leader of a Washington call-girl ring involving White House personnel (a female EOB attorney, in particular) and implicating prominent Democrats and Republicans. Who ran the call-girl ring? The CIA, with DNC connivance. So McCord, with the aid of a no-good named Leu Russell (since deceased), was out to sabotage the break-in; but in the outcome, he as well as the Cuban fall-guys were caught. Inadvertently, the Nixon White House was entrapped--and nobody wanted the truth to come out. Who, then, was Bob Woodward's ""old friend,"" Deep Throat? Analyzing All the President's Men, Hougan decides it might have been Haig (but Haig doesn't ""feel"" right); looking into Woodward's Naval Intelligence stint, he surmises Deep Throat was a spook. . . perhaps acting for someone in the military opposed to Nixon's machinations. (The Woodward role is among the stickier questions here.) There are wheels within wheels within wheels and, as Hougan acknowledges, conjectures galore; at the very least, it's a fascinating series of puzzles--with all the detective work laid out (including footnotes--not endnotes--that could be subchapters).

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1984
Publisher: Random House