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Thompson connected to Watergate


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As a mole!

 

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washingt...watergate_role/

 

Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role

 

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | July 4, 2007

 

WASHINGTON -- The day before Senate Watergate Committee minority counsel Fred Thompson made the inquiry that launched him into the national spotlight -- asking an aide to President Nixon whether there was a White House taping system -- he telephoned Nixon's lawyer.

 

Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, "At That Point in Time," Thompson said he acted with "no authority" in divulging the committee's knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon's resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson's actions.

 

"Thompson was a mole for the White House," Armstrong said in an interview. "Fred was working hammer and tong to defeat the investigation of finding out what happened to authorize Watergate and find out what the role of the president was."

 

Asked about the matter this week, Thompson -- who is preparing to run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination -- responded via e-mail without addressing the specific charge of being a Nixon mole: "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over thirty years."

 

The view of Thompson as a Nixon mole is strikingly at odds with the former Tennessee senator's longtime image as an independent-minded prosecutor who helped bring down the president he admired. Indeed, the website of Thompson's presidential exploratory committee boasts that he "gained national attention for leading the line of inquiry that revealed the audio-taping system in the White House Oval Office." It is an image that has been solidified by Thompson's portrayal of a tough-talking prosecutor in the television series "Law and Order."

 

But the story of his role in the Nixon case helps put in perspective Thompson's recent stance as one of the most outspoken proponents of pardoning I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Just as Thompson once staunchly defended Nixon, Thompson urged a pardon for Libby, who was convicted in March of obstructing justice in the investigation into who leaked a CIA operative's name.

 

Thompson declared in a June 6 radio commentary that Libby's conviction was a "shocking injustice . . . created and enabled by federal officials." Bush on Monday commuted Libby's 30-month sentence, stopping short of a pardon.

 

The intensity of Thompson's remarks about Libby is reminiscent of how he initially felt about Nixon. Few Republicans were stronger believers in Nixon during the early days of Watergate.

 

Thompson, in his 1975 memoir, wrote that he believed "there would be nothing incriminating" about Nixon on the tapes, a theory he said "proved totally wrong."

 

"In retrospect it is apparent that I was subconsciously looking for a way to justify my faith in the leader of my country and my party, a man who was undergoing a violent attack from the news media, which I thought had never given him fair treatment in the past," Thompson wrote. "I was looking for a reason to believe that Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, was not a crook."

 

Thompson was a little-known assistant US attorney in Tennessee when the Watergate investigation in Congress got underway. He had served as campaign manager for the successful 1972 reelection of Senator Howard Baker, a powerful Tennessee Republican.

 

When the Senate Watergate Committee was established in 1973, Baker became the ranking Republican member and brought Thompson to Washington to serve as minority counsel. Baker, who has been among those now urging Thompson to seek the presidency, did not return a call seeking comment.

 

John Dean , Nixon's former White House counsel, who was a central witness at the hearings, said he believed that Baker and Thompson were anything but impartial players. "I knew that Thompson would be Baker's man, trying to protect Nixon," Dean said in an interview.

 

The website of Thompson's presidential exploratory committee, imwithfred.com, suggests that Thompson helped reveal the taping system and expose Nixon's role in the Watergate coverup. And while Thompson's question to presidential aide Alexander Butterfield during a Watergate hearing unveiled the existence of the taping system to the outside world, it wasn't Thompson who discovered that Nixon was taping conversations. Nor was Thompson the first to question Butterfield about the possibility.

 

On July 13, 1973, Armstrong, the Democratic staffer, asked Butterfield a series of questions during a private session that led up to the revelation. He then turned the questioning over to a Republican staffer, Don Sanders, who asked Butterfield the question that led to the mention of the taping system.

 

To the astonishment of everyone in the room, Butterfield admitted the taping system existed.

 

When Thompson learned of Butterfield's admission, he leaked the revelation to Nixon's counsel, J. Fred Buzhardt .

 

"Even though I had no authority to act for the committee, I decided to call Fred Buzhardt at home" to tell him that the committee had learned about the taping system, Thompson wrote. "I wanted to be sure that the White House was fully aware of what was to be disclosed so that it could take appropriate action."

 

Armstrong said he and other Democratic staffers had long been convinced that Thompson was leaking information about the investigation to the White House. The committee, for example, had obtained a memo written by Buzhardt that Democratic staffers believed was based on information leaked by Thompson.

 

Armstrong said he thought the leaks would lead to Thompson's firing. "Any prosecutor would be upset if another member of the prosecution team was orchestrating a defense for Nixon," said Armstrong, who later became a Washington Post reporter and currently is executive director of Information Trust, a nonprofit organization specializing in open government issues.

 

Baker, meanwhile, insisted that Thompson be allowed to ask Butterfield the question about the taping system in a public session on July 16, 1973, three days after the committee had learned about the system.

 

The choice of Thompson irked Samuel Dash , the Democratic chief counsel on the committee, who preferred that a Democrat be allowed to ask the question. "I personally resented it and felt cheated," Dash wrote in his memoirs. But he said he felt he had "no choice but to let Fred Thompson develop the Butterfield material" because the question initially had been posed by Sanders, a Republican staffer.

 

When Dash told Thompson on the day of the hearing that he had agreed to let Thompson ask the question that would change US history, Thompson replied: "That's right generous of you, Sam."

 

So it was, at the hearing, that Thompson leapt into the national spotlight:

 

"Are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?" he asked Butterfield during the national televised hearings.

 

"I was aware of listening devices, yes, sir," Butterfield responded.

 

Even as he quizzed Butterfield during the hearing, Thompson said later, he believed the tapes would exonerate Nixon, so he saw no problem in pressing for their release. It was after Thompson heard Nixon incriminate himself on the tapes that Thompson finally decided that Nixon was a crook -- and stopped be ing a Nixon apologist.

 

"Looking back, I wonder how I could have failed to realize at once . . . the significance of the tapes," Thompson wrote. "I realized that I would probably be thinking about the implications of Watergate for the rest of my life."

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I'm more angry at him for his inane support of Libby.

.....and what does it matter? As if you were going to vote for him, who cares.

 

Good, so you agree he has no chance of winning then? B/c what if the unthinkable happens and he does? How do I justify having a President who has two standards of justice from Day One?

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Move out of the country.

 

CHEERLEADER. GO ON CHEERLEADER.

 

lawls.

 

Seriously I lol @ these e-smear campaign from some guy sitting behind his computer who gets off to posting sexy anti-'party I don't like' articles blowing up these fringe back page newspaper stories as if they are remarkable, groundbreaking, or some huge scandal or skeleton. I can't believe there was actually enough to that 'story' to generate that much text.

 

What if Obama gets elected president because he is cute, paints a pretty picture of uniting the world, and gets votes based on the color of his skin and then doesn't really have any plan and never had the resume for him assuming that position from Day One? /same rationale

 

I could post articles about opposing candidates and how they have views and policies I find appalling. But what the hell would the point be?

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Fox cannot accept the fact that his candidate has some flaws. Don't blow these allegations off just because you happen to support him.

 

I am supporting Obama and Hilary, but I agree that they both have flaws. Obama's flaw is that he's relatively inexperienced. Hilary has numerous flaws that are well known to the public. I still support them.

 

By the way, Fox is wrong when he says it's the same rationale.

 

What's wrong with posting articles pointing out the flaws of a candidate you don't support? It stirs debate. That's a good thing in a democracy.

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As far as flaws go, here's a ranking:

 

1. Hillary

2. Rudy

3. Thompson

4. McCain

5. Romney

 

That is both personal and political flaws. I give a slight edge of Hillary over Rudy, but it's close. Rudy has more personal problems.

 

I found Thompson interesting before I knew all that much about him. I had been looking for a moderate Republican to vote for in case Hillary gets the nomination, but I have yet to find one outside of Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican.

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Fox cannot accept the fact that his candidate has some flaws. Don't blow these allegations off just because you happen to support him.

 

I am supporting Obama and Hilary, but I agree that they both have flaws. Obama's flaw is that he's relatively inexperienced. Hilary has numerous flaws that are well known to the public. I still support them.

 

By the way, Fox is wrong when he says it's the same rationale.

 

What's wrong with posting articles pointing out the flaws of a candidate you don't support? It stirs debate. That's a good thing in a democracy.

debate is unamerican and unpatriotic if it goes against a republican controlled democracy though :mischief

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As far as flaws go, here's a ranking:

 

1. Hillary

2. Rudy

3. Thompson

4. McCain

5. Romney

 

That is both personal and political flaws. I give a slight edge of Hillary over Rudy, but it's close. Rudy has more personal problems.

 

I found Thompson interesting before I knew all that much about him. I had been looking for a moderate Republican to vote for in case Hillary gets the nomination, but I have yet to find one outside of Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican.

 

i think obama's admitted cocaine use and inexperience will be major political and personal flaws that will be used against him

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As far as flaws go, here's a ranking:

 

1. Hillary

2. Rudy

3. Thompson

4. McCain

5. Romney

 

That is both personal and political flaws. I give a slight edge of Hillary over Rudy, but it's close. Rudy has more personal problems.

 

I found Thompson interesting before I knew all that much about him. I had been looking for a moderate Republican to vote for in case Hillary gets the nomination, but I have yet to find one outside of Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican.

 

i think obama's admitted cocaine use and inexperience will be major political and personal flaws that will be used against him

 

Just like Bush's cocaine use, draft dodging, and drunk-driving arrest?

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I agree that a lot of this stuff is nitpicking, but it will challenge Thompson's ability to rapiidly react. Obama was the golden boy early on, and then stuff started getting pulled out of thin air, like the Madrasa and his church. He was, at least I think, able to fight back and knock them down. Kerry didnt do this for the Swift Boats.

 

So Thompson has to be prepared that anything, whether baseless or not, is going to be pulled out in hopes that something sticks and he has to be able to fight it back, which I think he has done so far.

 

His work as a lobbyist is going to pull some random stuff out. Unlike Obama, he has more stuff that opponents can work with. I think there is a chance that Fred Thompson pulls off a Gary Hart. He is basically challenging the press to find something on him, whether it is legitimate or not.

 

He came out and denied the LATimes report that he helped lobby for an abortion rights group. But there could be more there than he is leading on. I also think his work with Jean-Bertrand Aristide is going to start up press investigations.

 

Of course all of this could turn out to be baseless crap. But he has to be ready that it is going to be pulled out.

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Fox cannot accept the fact that his candidate has some flaws. Don't blow these allegations off just because you happen to support him.

Talk out of your ass much? Seriously stop bringing anything personal about me when you have no clue who you are talking about or what you are talking about.

 

Please explain to me what are these 'allegations' and what if any fallout there is or significance to them.

 

I didn't see this on any major news networks nor Drudge. None. I find posting stuff like this and pursuing an ongoing personal jihad against a candidate with like I said, 'fringe back page newspaper articles' is retarded. Sue me. The amount of articles here which are posted as if they are groundbreaking and earth shattering but in the reality of the national newsscape, are really non-existent and unimportant.

 

Typical, standard, board clich? posts from FutureGM and jimmyjack are always entertaining though, insinuating that I said no discussion or debate was allowed when I said nothing of the sort. Their posts are almost becoming parodies of themselves.

 

F_M, as usual, has the best post in the thread so far.

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As far as flaws go, here's a ranking:

 

1. Hillary

2. Rudy

3. Thompson

4. McCain

5. Romney

 

That is both personal and political flaws. I give a slight edge of Hillary over Rudy, but it's close. Rudy has more personal problems.

 

I found Thompson interesting before I knew all that much about him. I had been looking for a moderate Republican to vote for in case Hillary gets the nomination, but I have yet to find one outside of Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican.

 

 

 

I would call Rudy Giuliani a moderate republican.

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Fox cannot accept the fact that his candidate has some flaws. Don't blow these allegations off just because you happen to support him.

Talk out of your ass much? Seriously stop bringing anything personal about me when you have no clue who you are talking about or what you are talking about.

 

Please explain to me what are these 'allegations' and what if any fallout there is or significance to them.

 

I didn't see this on any major news networks nor Drudge. None. I find posting stuff like this and pursuing an ongoing personal jihad against a candidate with like I said, 'fringe back page newspaper articles' is retarded. Sue me. The amount of articles here which are posted as if they are groundbreaking and earth shattering but in the reality of the national newsscape, are really non-existent and unimportant.

 

Typical, standard, board clich? posts from FutureGM and jimmyjack are always entertaining though, insinuating that I said no discussion or debate was allowed when I said nothing of the sort. Their posts are almost becoming parodies of themselves.

 

F_M, as usual, has the best post in the thread so far.

hey foxy, leave me out of this how about it? do i make gross generalizations about your ability to slob republican knob? no...so dont make gross generalizations about me? fair enough?

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As far as flaws go, here's a ranking:

 

1. Hillary

2. Rudy

3. Thompson

4. McCain

5. Romney

 

That is both personal and political flaws. I give a slight edge of Hillary over Rudy, but it's close. Rudy has more personal problems.

 

I found Thompson interesting before I knew all that much about him. I had been looking for a moderate Republican to vote for in case Hillary gets the nomination, but I have yet to find one outside of Ron Paul, who isn't really a Republican.

 

i think obama's admitted cocaine use and inexperience will be major political and personal flaws that will be used against him

 

Just like Bush's cocaine use, draft dodging, and drunk-driving arrest?

 

all those issues have dogged bush , obama in my eyes is the democratic version of bush , i dont think america needs another inexperienced politican learning on the job.

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Fox cannot accept the fact that his candidate has some flaws. Don't blow these allegations off just because you happen to support him.

Talk out of your ass much? Seriously stop bringing anything personal about me when you have no clue who you are talking about or what you are talking about.

 

Please explain to me what are these 'allegations' and what if any fallout there is or significance to them.

 

I didn't see this on any major news networks nor Drudge. None. I find posting stuff like this and pursuing an ongoing personal jihad against a candidate with like I said, 'fringe back page newspaper articles' is retarded. Sue me. The amount of articles here which are posted as if they are groundbreaking and earth shattering but in the reality of the national newsscape, are really non-existent and unimportant.

 

Typical, standard, board clich? posts from FutureGM and jimmyjack are always entertaining though, insinuating that I said no discussion or debate was allowed when I said nothing of the sort. Their posts are almost becoming parodies of themselves.

 

F_M, as usual, has the best post in the thread so far.

 

People have a right to post what they please. It isn't right to try to stifle them. You can certainly disagree with it, but to say they shouldn't post it at all is absurd.

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