G. Gordon Liddy, the Chief Operative Behind the Watergate Scandal, Has Passed Away At The Age Of 90.+
G. Gordon Liddy, a Republican adviser implicated in the Watergate case that took President Richard Nixon down, died on Tuesday.
The 90-year-old died at his daughter’s home in Virginia, according to his son Thomas P. Liddy. He didn’t offer a reason for his death.
Liddy was convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegally wiretapping the Democratic Party’s headquarters at the Watergate office complex in 1973 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. At the time, he was Nixon’s general counsel and a member of his reelection committee.
Liddy was part of a select group of agents known as the “White House plumbers,” whose goal was to track down anybody who had leaked damaging details about the Nixon administration.
Prior to the Watergate break-in, he assisted in the unlawful entry of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. The Pentagon Papers were leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, showing that the Johnson administration lied to the American people about the military’s position in the Vietnam War.
“I’d do it again for my president,” he later said, after serving more than four years in jail for his Watergate crimes, including more than 100 days in solitary confinement.
“My father didn’t raise a snitch or a rat,” he later told the Los Angeles Times, referring to his refusal to testify during the Watergate hearings and his own conviction.
Liddy’s sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and he was released after 52 months in jail.
Liddy was born on November 30, 1930, in Hoboken, New Jersey. He described himself as a weak child who was terrified of everything.
Liddy described his unusual efforts to transcend his fears as a child and into adulthood in a 1980 interview with NPR’s Fresh Air Host Terry Gross to promote his autobiography, Will.
To conquer his fear of rats, he said he modelled himself after Native American and Zulu tribes, who would “consume the heart, brains, and genitalia” of their foes.
“I cooked and ate a portion of the rodent. I had no fear of rats after that “He proclaimed.
Before joining the FBI, Liddy served in the Army and graduated from Fordham University Law School with a law degree. Liddy ran for a New York congressional seat but lost, so he went to work for the US Treasury Department and then the White House.
While he took great pride in staying quiet during the Watergate investigation and his own court trial, Liddy seemed to love the exposure the controversy gave him, and he relished the chance to speak about it.
When Liddy hosted one of the nation’s most influential conservative talk shows in the early 1990s, he publicly addressed the botched burglary that forced Nixon to resign in shame — with no regret other than the fact that he was caught.
He also appeared in a number of TV shows, including Miami Vice, where he played a villain. Along with LSD evangelist Timothy Leary, he became a regular on the college speaking circuit.
Liddy leaves five children behind.