White House Plumbers


Security officer Frank Wills’ log of the Watergate Office Building. June 17, 1972.

“The White House Plumbers, sometimes simply called the Plumbers, the Room 16 Project, or more officially, the White House Special Investigations Unit, was a covert White House Special Investigations Unit, established within a week after the publication of the Pentagon Papers in June 1971, during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Its task was to stop and/or respond to the leaking of classified information, such as the Pentagon Papers, to the news media. The work of the unit ‘tapered off’ after the bungled ‘Ellsberg break-in’ but some of its former operatives branched into illegal activities while still employed at the White House together with managers of the Committee to Re-elect the President, including the Watergate break-in and the ensuing Watergate scandal. The group has been described as Nixon’s ‘fixers‘. …  [David] Young, E. Howard Hunt, and G. Gordon Liddy then put up a sign on their office with the title ‘The Plumbers’, but it was taken down as their operations were intended to be top secret. Still, the name stuck for the group. The Plumbers came to include several Watergate figures including Frank Sturgis. Hunt was recommended by Charles Colson, and Liddy was recommended by Egil Krogh. Liddy coined his own sensitivity indicator for the group in the form of ‘ODESSA’. Some authors believe Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer John Paisley was a member of the Plumbers. … After the California break-in, Liddy—who was general counsel, a member of the finance committee of the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP) and promoted from aide to Krogh and Young—worked with Campaign political-intelligence operations. Ehrlichman, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs and Special Investigations Unit, knew about Liddy’s goal to perform an intelligence-gathering operation for the CRP. Liddy involved Hunt in the operations which would later include the Watergate burglary. …”
W – White House Plumbers
How A Secret Unit In Richard Nixon’s White House Plotted Watergate — And Accidentally Toppled His Presidency
Washington Post: 5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats’ Office Here (Sunday, June 18, 1972)
CNN: 6 mistakes that led to the 1972 Watergate burglars being caught (Video)

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