As time rolls on, new evidence about the Watergate case seeps from the bowels of archives and witnesses revealing previously unreported information. One of these revelations is that Watergate was really about a call girl operation run by the Democratic National Committee. Although it is part of the puzzle, we don’t think it tells the whole story.
Although Phil Stanford has recently written a book, White House Call Girl, laying out the details of the prostitution ring serving Washington's high and mighty, the story has been around since as early as 1976, and gained stature with G Gordon Liddy’s legal encounter with Maxie Wells, one of the prominent figures in the ring. However, Standford’s book is dedicated to the details of the subject, and is more accessible to casual students of Watergate than some other treatments of the topic.
The call girl ring is certainly a verifiable aspect to Watergate about which Stanford reveals important details, some of which we admit are necessary inferences for which we would like meatier substantiation. He identifies 3 important characters who were the motivation for the break-in, namely John Dean, White House Special Counsel to Richard Nixon, Carl Shoffler, the arresting officer of the Watergate burglars, and Heidi Rikan, the madame running the escort service.
Rikan ( c. 1940 – 1990 ), also known as Cathy Deiter, was a German immigrant who became involved with the underworld as a stripper. Mob boss Joe Nesline thought that her talents would be better used as a whore to spy on his pimps’ big name clients in football and politics. She had developed an exclusive clientele in the Johnson and Nixon administrations when she came to the attention of John Dean.
John Dean’s girl friend and future wife Mo Biner and Rikan were roommates at the Columbia Plaza Apartments before Biner moved in with Dean. Dean and Rikan knew each other well as attested by Rikan’s black book which contained Dean’s direct White House number. Stanford believes that the ambitious Dean wanted the information Rikan had on politicians in order to blackmail them for personal political advantage. Consequently he ordered the Watergate break where Rikan’s business originated at the DNC headquarters.
The target of the break in was Ida “Maxie” Wells’ desk, the secretary to Spencer Oliver, Jr. Wells was the front woman for Rikan’s prostitution service for which Wells arranged hook-ups for out of town visitors. The operation is confirmed by attorney Phillip Bailey whose credibility was so high that he was sent to St Elizabeth’s Hospital for psychiatric tests where after some considerable time he was certified sane. When he was released from the hospital he was forced to plead guilty to a felony and sent to federal prison. The purpose for railroading Bailey into the hospital and prison was to discredit him. Clearly he touched a nerve.
The Washington Post’s version – ie the CIA’s – of Watergate is that the burglars broke into DNC chairman Larry O’Brien’s office to tap his telephone to gather political information. They burglarized the Watergate on May 28 and June 17, with the former deemed to be a failure requiring the second break in. No bugs were ever found in the offices but the CIA story claims that Alfred Baldwin was eavesdropping across the street in the Howard Johnson motel. The most likely story is that he was listening to conversations at the Columbia apartments down the street since O’Brien had been out of town for about a month prior to the last break in.
At some point, perhaps as early as June 1, Carl Shoffler of the Washington DC police department, and concurrently a military intelligence agent, got a tip about the second break in. On the night of the burglary, he volunteered to work without pay, waiting in an unmarked car for a call to come in reporting the burglary. This version of events is supported by testimony of the Senate Watergate committee from a certain Army LTC whose name we don’t recall.
This version of the story contradicts the CIA story which alleges that an alert diligent police officer just happened to stumble upon the burglars as he was making his rounds. This story is a complete lie.
Two interesting points stand out about the arrest. The 5 burglars were wearing surgical gloves and had mounted photography equipment on Wells’ desk, and one of them, Eugenio Martinez had a key which Shoffler took, but which the FBI later determined fit Wells’ desk. So the evidence points strongly to the burglars breaking into Wells’ desk to photograph her black book with its rich data.
As Stanford puts it, the arrest looks like one intelligence operation stepping on the toes of another. But we don’t see it quite that way. The absolute most important fact of the entire Watergate saga is that the 5 burglars were not ordinary street hoods. They were hardened top level CIA agents and operatives who were involved with Bay of Pigs and the murder of John Kennedy, something which Nixon immediately recognized when he found out about the break in. Without understanding who they were, it is utterly impossible to understand Watergate. Even if proper cognition is made of this salient fact, it is no guarantee that one will understand the purpose of the break-in, but clearly the CIA was behind it and was the reason Nixon wanted Haldeman to contact Richard Helms, CIA DCI, to thwart the investigation. After all, it was their operation.
Unfortunately for Nixon, the CIA was the sponsor of the break-in and they were not about to call off the investigation, especially when Nixon threatened them with the unraveling of the “whole Bay of Pigs thing.”
Our view is that Dean instigated the cover-up into which he drew Nixon who thought he could twist the whole affair to his political advantage. Unfortunately he was going up against the entire intelligence establishment which included the press – a fact which he never understood.
He also did not realize that Dean started the cover-up, knowing full well that it would end badly, thus accomplishing the agency’s goal of removing a president.
While we agree that Stanford has uncovered a significant dimension to the Watergate story, we don’t think that it was the true ultimate aim of the CIA operation. Certainly Dean threatened to expose an explosive sex scandal, but the Democrats fought mightily by turning it into a story about abuses of the imperial presidency in order to keep the salacious aspects under wraps, and for which the FBI obliged by suppressing the evidence of the key which Shoffler obtained during the arrests.
We could be mistaken about the grand purpose of Watergate, so will hedge our bets with continued research into the 20th century’s great American political scandal. But for now, it was not all about sex.
Jim Hougan, Hougan, Liddy, the Post and Watergate, jimhougan.com, June 22, 2011, accessed 3/26/2014
Phil Stanford, interview on Oppenheimer Report, no date, accessed 3/26/2014, YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MedT1FkaR0
Copyright 2014 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.