January 21, 1961:
Robert McNamara is appointed Secretary of Defense by President Kennedy.
William Merrill, later to head WSPF’s Plumbers Task Force, makes unsuccessful run for Congress in a Detroit suburb. Robert Kennedy makes a campaign appearance on his behalf. Prior to that, Merrill was chief assistant U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Michigan. Losing, he goes into private practice in Detroit.
Paul Warnke becomes DOD general counsel and then Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, a position he holds until a month into the Nixon administration, remaining a DOD consultant until July, 1969. He becomes the highest ranking official to openly criticize conduct of the Vietnam War.
Leslie Gelb, Executive Ass’t to Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY) becomes director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at DOD, where he is soon appointed director of the Pentagon Papers project.
June 17, 1967:
McNamara authorizes creation of the Vietnam Study Task Force to write “an encyclopedic history of the Vietnam War”. Morton Halperin is given general supervisory responsibilities, with day-to-day direction assigned to Leslie Gelb. Existence of study is not shared with the Johnson White House or with Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
Late Summer, 1967:
Daniel Ellsberg, now working at Rand, is invited by Halperin and Gelb to help staff the project. By December, he completes a 350 page draft report of JFK’s Vietnam Policy during 1961.
February 29, 1968:
Clark Clifford is appointed Secretary of Defense by President Johnson, replacing McNamara.
Merrill serves as Michigan state director of the campaign to elect Robert Kennedy as president. RFK announced his campaign on March 16th and it ended with his June 5th assassination.
Nixon beats Humphrey and is elected President, but Republicans fail to gain control of either House of Congress. He ran on a law and order platform, along with his promise to end the Vietnam War.
Henry Rowan, Rand’s President, is contacted by Halperin and asked if Rand would be willing to store a large number of documents utilized in a DOD study of the Vietnam War.
December 18, 1968:
Gelb, Halperin and Warnke prepare a memo which governs the arrangements and access to the papers to be stored at Rand. Importantly, it requires two of them to consent before anyone else is to be given access.
December 25, 1968:
Ellsberg and Kissinger spend four days at the Hotel Pierre as part of the Nixon transition, reviewing A-to-Z options for Vietnam. Ellsberg’s recommendation about withdrawal is omitted from the final report sent to the President.
January 15, 1969:
Gelb submits Report transmittal letter to McNamara. Historians incorrectly conclude from this act that all 47 volumes of the Pentagon Papers were completed by this date. Gelb only referenced 43 in his transmittal, and it appears only the first 37 had been finalized. The last nine volumes continued to be worked on, with copies made and distributed at various times, such that (presumably after the first 37 volumes), no two copies are the same. Ultimately, there were 2 million words, 3,000 pages of analysis and 4,000 pages of referenced documents. The public statements and internal documents from Roosevelt to Kennedy constitute the 13 volumes of Part V. Only 15 copies were originally made (according to a 6/16/71 newspaper article, which Laird confirmed): 2 copies held by RAND; 2 in the National Archives; 2 at the State Department; 1 for new Defense Secretary Clark Clifford; 1 for Sec. McNamara; and 7 others at the Department of Defense. [TK: need to document when these were distributed.]
January 20, 1969:
President Nixon is inaugurated as 37th U.S. President. The US has 536,000 troops in Vietnam.
January 21, 1969:
Melvin Laird is appointed Secretary of Defense by President Nixon, replacing Clifford.
38 volumes of the papers are deposited with RAND Corporation in Washington D.C. by Gelb and Warnke. These are not entered into the Rand-DC security system.
Kissinger announces that Halperin, his former colleague at Harvard in the 1960s, will join the NSC staff.
February 15, 1969:
Warnke resigns as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, joining Clifford’s law firm. He stays as DOD consultant through July 7, 1971.
Ellsberg, now working at Rand, requests and receives a copy of the Papers. [TK Who from?].
March 4, 1969:
Ellsberg transports eight of the 37 volumes from Rand-DC to RAND-West Coast offices in Santa Monica, California. They are not entered into Rand’s security system.
April 18, 1969:
Gelb resigns from DOD to become Senior Fellow at Brookings, but remains as DOD consultant until June 30th.
May 9, 1969:
FBI places wiretap on Halperin’s phone at Kissinger request. Although Halperin left the NSC in September, 1969, the tap was not removed until February, 1971.
A copy of the Papers is distributed to Laird [Atta, p. 370]. It is possible that this copy is one that remained in the SecDef’s library, but that Laird was not aware of its existence. It is also possible that this was a finalized copy, containing all 48 volumes.
July 14, 1969:
Gelb writes Rowan, on Brookings letterhead, suggesting that Rand store two full 47 volume sets of the Report.
August 29, 1969:
Ellsberg transports ten more of the 37 volumes from Rand-DC to Rand-West Coast. Again, they are not entered into Rand’s security system.
Halperin resigns from the NSC and joins the Brookings Institution.
September 19, 1969:
The first full 47 volume study given to Rand-DC. It is not entered into their security system.
September, October, and November, 1969:
Ellsberg and his RAND colleague Anthony Russo copy the Papers in offices of Lynda Sinay. Ellsberg’s children often aid in the copying. Ellsberg leaves RAND offices at 11:30 p.m. with a briefcase full of documents, photocopies them, and replaces them in the RAND security safe early each morning.
October 3, 1969:
A second full 47 volume set is delivered to Rand-West Coast. It also is not entered into their security system.
October 12, 1969:
Ellsberg and several RAND colleagues write a letter to the Washington Post opposing the administration’s Vietnam policies and statements.
Ellsberg delivers a portion of the copied Papers to Senator William Fulbright, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he refrains from using them unless they are officially released to him by DOD. Fulbright writes to Laird several times, requesting these documents.
December 1, 1969:
Selective Service institutes first lottery for draft.
December 20, 1969:
Laird refuses to release the Papers to Fulbright.
Ellsberg leaves RAND for MIT, and is assigned to an office directly across from war architect William McGeorge Bundy, formerly of the CIA. Ellsberg befriends Professors Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, with whom he shares the Papers and who will eventually compose a volume of analytical essays to accompany their publication.
April 27, 1970:
Rand (Rowen) is told by the FBI that Ellsberg is copying classified materials.
During this tumultuous month, the U.S. bombs Cambodia, prompting resignations of key government officials; the Kent State shooting stirs campus unrest.
18 volumes of the Papers, which Ellsberg had transported to Rand-West Coast, are entered into its security system following his departure for MIT.
May 13, 1970:
Ellsberg testifies before the Fulbright and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but does not disclose information in or the existence of the Papers.
Ellsberg discloses his analysis, in light of his information, in an essay “Escalating in a Quagmire” presented at a conference of the Political Science Association.
Ellsberg meets with Kissinger to discuss his concerns. Kissinger offers him a position as an NSC advisor, which he refuses.
Ellsberg publicly confronts Kissinger at an MIT conference about casualty reports.
March 2, 1971:
Ellsberg meets with New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan at Sheehan’s home in DC to discuss making a copy available.
March 7, 1971:
Boston Globe carries Washington correspondent Thomas Oliphant’s story headlined “Only 3 Have Read Secret Indochina Report; All Urge Pullout,” referring to Halperin, Gelb and Ellsberg. This is first public reporting that the Report exists.
March 12, 1971:
Ellsberg meets again with Sheehan and is insistent that the Times commit to printing substantial portions of the Report.
March 21, 1971:
Sheehan checks into the Treadway Motel in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. Ellsberg leads him to an apartment where he is given access to a copy of the Papers. Sheehan has them photocopied in Boston and returns to Washington.
March 28, 1971:
Sheehan’s essay about the possibility of war crimes trials for American officials is published in the edition of the Times Book Review.
March 31, 1971:
Ellsberg again visits Fulbright, urging use of documents, which Fulbright again declines without their receipt through official channels.
April 5, 1971:
Sheehan and Times editor Gerald Gold rent rooms at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, five blocks from the White House, and begin reading the documents and planning their release by the Times.
The headquarters for Times “Project X” move to five rooms on the 11th Floor of the New York Hilton, near Times Square. Sheehan is joined by Hedrick Smith, Ned Kenworthy and Fox Butterfield.
Ellsberg gives copies of a portion of the Papers to Rep. Pete McCloskey, but they are never used.
Times General Counsel James Goodale presses for publication against the advice of its outside counsel Lord, Day & Lord, whose senior partner had written the classification regulation that the Times would be violating. Goodale pushed for a one-day special supplement, publishing all they had so as to avoid any prior restraint on subsequent publication, but this approach was rejected by Times editors.
Top Times editor James Reston, who had regretted the soft coverage of the Bay of Pigs invasion, promised that if the Times refused to print, he would do so in the small newspaper he owned, the Vineyard Gazette.
Egil Krogh hires Gordon Liddy onto White House staff (from Treasury), where he soon is assigned to the newly established Plumbers Unit.
June 11, 1971:
Times Publisher Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger gives final approval for the Papers article and leaves for a London vacation.
June 12, 1971:
Tricia Nixon marries Edward Cox in a White House ceremony
James Reston dictates his Sunday column, “The McNamara Papers,” over the phone for publication from his mountain home in Vermont.
June 13, 1971:
The first story appears in the Sunday Times, with a 24-point type headline “Vietnam Archive: Pentagon Study Traces 3 Decades of Growing U.S. Involvement,” under Sheehan’s by-line. Ellsberg is not informed in advance of this proposed publication.
This first article focused on the Tonkin Gulf incident of August 1964. It describes how the U.S. conducted extensive actions, causing the South Vietnamese to raid Northern targets with the express purpose of provoking a response that would be used to justify greater U.S. participation in the war.
June 14, 1971:
The second installment of the Papers series is published by the Times.
It focused on the February 1965 decision to bomb North Vietnam, describing how the last stage of planning was initiated on the day Johnson was elected despite is campaign promises not to escalate the military action. The story revealed how some aides felt that a strong show of force would be necessary to prevent South Vietnam from collapsing, but also feared that a strong retaliation would be equally dangerous. To prevent collapse, they committed to support Saigon. The article describes the decision process that led to the bombing campaign.
Attorney General John Mitchell telegrams Times publisher Sulzberger, threatening Espionage Act prosecution if the Times does not stop publication on the ground that it would cause “irreparable injury to the United States.”
James Goodale (as counsel to the Times) seeks the aid of Yale Law Professor Alex Bickel and First Amendment litigator Floyd Abrams.
Murray Marder, diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post receives a 200-page excerpt from the Papers from an unknown source in Boston, but the Times publishes the same content in the next day’s installment.
June 15, 1971:
The third installment is published by the Times.
It describes the decision to commit ground troops, which was made on April 1, 1965, two months after the bombing campaign. It began with 3,500 Marines, and then 18,000-20,000 ground troops; the report describes how by June, 200,000 troops had been requested by General Westmoreland over Ambassador Maxwell Taylor’s objections. Johnson approved their deployment on July 17.
Bickel argues the case against injunction in the federal district court in Manhattan before Judge Murray Gurfein. Gurfein, who is hearing his first case as a judge, grants a temporary restraining order barring any future publication.
DOJ announces that it will investigate criminal penalties in association with the leak and the publication.
Secretary of State William Rogers blames the Times’ disclosures for harming U.S. relations with its allies.
Wikipedia entry for Gravel v U.S. states that Post Editor Ben Bagdikian gave Senator Gravel (D-Alaska) a copy on this date. Entry below says Bagdikian didn’t get his copy until the following day.
June 16, 1971:
The Times ceases publication, running instead the headline: “Judge, at Request of U.S., Halts Times Vietnam Series Four Days Pending Injunction.”
Ellsberg offers the Papers to the three television networks, but all refuse, citing FCC license vulnerability.
Ben Bagdikian, assistant managing editor of the Post, who had been studying media at RAND during the same time Ellsberg was there, contacted him and arranged to pick up copies of the Papers.
A Post article lists the locations of all 15 copies of Papers, “FBI Checking All Having Access to Known 15 Copies of Viet Study.” Laird privately confirms the articles’ accuracy.
June 17, 1971:
Bagdikian arrives at the home of Ben Bradlee, and with a gathered team of reporters and editors, dissects the papers, seeking to write a story the following day. Teams of reporters work feverishly. Publisher Katharine Graham approves publication over the telephone during a party being held at her home, despite strong objection by counsel (Bill Roger’s law firm). In the midst of the discussions, Bradlee called his best friend, Edward Bennett Williams, who gave the opposite advice (and whose firm soon replaced Roger’s as Post counsel).
The Times releases to the Justice Department a list of documents in its possession, but not the documents themselves. Judge Gurfein rejects the government’s request for the actual copies.
The FBI later reports to the WH that a copy of the Papers was delivered to the Soviet Embassy on this date. The importance is not whether this turned out to be true or not; it’s that this is what the WH was told.
June 18, 1971:
The Post publishes its story “Documents Reveal U.S. Effort In ‘54 to Delay Viet Election” by Chalmers Roberts. Roberts, who had personally attended the 1954 Geneva Conference, was able to report that the decision to cancel the elections in South Vietnam scheduled for 1956 was entirely the decision of Diem, though the U.S. had pushed for delay. The story also showed that a 1954 defense estimate suggested that the war could be won with seven divisions, but that by 1969 the total troop commitment was more than half a million troops (nine divisions).
DOJ immediately sought a restraining order and permanent injunction against the Post. Judge Gerhard Gesell, who had himself been a reporter before becoming a judge, refused to grant even a temporary restraining order (becoming the only one of 29 judges to so refuse).
Bickel argues before Judge Gurfein that the Post‘s decision to publish is an undue hardship on the Times. The restraining order is not lifted.
June 19, 1971:
Gurfein rules in favor of the newspapers against the government and denies the publication injunction.
Judge Irving Kaufman of the Second Circuit immediately blocks publication during judicial review of Gurfein’s decision.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals orders Judge Gesell to hold a hearing on the government’s motion against the Post, and restrained publishing until that hearing.
June 20, 1971:
Boston Globe reporter Thomas Oliphant contacts Ellsberg and, in consultation with editor Thomas Winship from his Vermont vacation home, agrees to publish the Papers.
June 21, 1971:
In the Times’ case, the Second Circuit extends the restraining order and rules for an en banc hearing.
In the Post case, Judge Gesell still refuses the restraining order after holding the hearing. The Circuit Court granted a stay for an en banc appeal. Solicitor General Griswold is scheduled to argue the case before the D.C. Circuit.
The Globe receives the Papers, and has six hours to prepare them for publication. Matt Storin (who would later become editor of the paper), leads the team of staff members who are processing the documents and writing the story.
June 22, 1971:
The Globe publishes “Secret Pentagon Documents Bare JFK Role in Vietnam War,” which details Kennedy’s direct approval for covert military operations, and Johnson’s turn to Vietnamization.
DOJ immediately seeks a restraining order against the Globe, which is granted, and the documents are ordered to be impounded by the court. In response, Winship moves the document to a locker in Logan Airport.
June 23, 1971:
In Washington, the D.C. Circuit court rules in favor of the Post‘s right to publish, but continues the temporary restraining order to give leave for appeal to the Supreme Court.
In New York, the Second Circuit rules that the Times could resume publication only of materials determined by the Government not to be dangerous to national security, and orders Gurfein to hold hearings to determine which parts were publishable. Both parties appeal. In Boston, Judge Anthony Julian amends his order and allows the papers to be locked in a safe at the First National Bank of Boston with access only by the Globe‘s attorney.
In Los Angeles, a federal grand jury is convened to hear charges on the criminal aspect of the leak.
The Chicago Sun-Times begins publishing its own account of the Papers, but DOJ does not move to prevent it.
June 24, 1971:
Several other newspapers across the country begin publication, but no DOJ action follows.
June 25, 1971:
The Supreme Court grants certiorari on both Times and Post cases, on a 5-4 vote. Justices Hugo Black, William Brennan, William Douglas, and Thurgood Marshall dissent.
The FBI informs White House of report that a copy of the Papers had been delivered to the Soviet Embassy on June 17th.
June 26, 1971:
In a rare Saturday hearing, oral Arguments are held in the Supreme Court. The government’s proposal for in camera arguments is rejected by a vote of 6-3. Alexander Bickel, James Goodale, and Floyd Abrams represent the Times; William Glendon of Bill Rogers’ firm represents the Post, and Solicitor General Erwin Griswold represents the Government. [NB: Atta says Laird privately assured Griswold (his frequent tennis partner) that there were only minimal national security risks, so Griswold’s heart was not in the case. Thomas’ book about Edward Bennett Williams says Roger’s firm’s arguments were weak and the firm was soon replaced by Williams, Connolly and Califano. Thomas, pp. 264-267.]
In Los Angeles, a warrant is issued for Ellsberg’s arrest. Ellsberg’s attorneys announce he will surrender on Monday in Boston.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes under a restraining order for its publication of the Papers.
June 28, 1971:
Ellsberg surrenders to the U.S. Attorney in Boston, and is charged with theft and unauthorized possession of classified documents. [NB: Not for leaking them to the Times.] He is released on $500,000 bail. A superseding indictment is issued in December
Congress receives its copies of the Papers, which are immediately locked away.
June 29, 1971:
Anti-war activist, Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, attempts to read the Papers into the Senate record, beginning at 5pm, as part of his filibuster of the draft, but is denied by a parliamentary procedure calling for a quorum (which could not be assembled). Later that evening, he calls a hearing of his Public Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee and begins to read them into the record, eventually breaking down. He submits the remaining portion into the record as part of the proceeding. He subsequently arranges for publication by Beacon Press, a non-profit book publisher owned by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Gravel’s aide, Leonard Rodberg, was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury convened to investigate the release of the report. Gravel intervened to suppress the subpoena on the basis of the Constitution’s speech and debate clause. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court upheld the subpoena [Gravel v U.S. 408 U.S. 606 (1972), decided June 29, 1972], but the grand jury did not take further action. See also “How the Pentagon Papers Came to be Published by the Beacon Press: A Remarkable Story Told by Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Dem Presidential Candidate Mike Gravel and Unitarian Leader Robert West.” Democracy Now, July 2, 2007 (http://www.democracynow.org/2007/7/2/how_the_pentagon_papers_came_to )
June 30, 1971:
The Supreme Court allows publication on a 6-3 vote. In a per curiam opinion, it upholds the Times’ and Post’s right to publish. The Globe and Post-Dispatch‘s restraining orders are dissolved. [New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713)]
Senator Gravel (D-Alaska) passes out copies in response to press requests.
Ellsberg is formally indicted in Los Angeles on two counts of theft and espionage. [TK: Check allegation that DOJ official had to fly from DC to sign indictment, since LA’s U.S. Attorney refused, Merrill, p. 65]
July 6, 1971:
Buchanan meets with Ehrlichman, Haldeman and Colson to discuss possible his assignment to combat the effect of Ellsberg’s leaking of the Papers.
July 7, 1971:
Warnke resigns as consultant to DOD.
Colson introduces Hunt to Ehrlichman (at meeting in E’s office) and urges that Hunt be hired as a part of the effort to react to the Ellsberg leak. Immediately afterwards, Hunt is hired as a consultant. Colson later says it was Ehrlichman’s decision; Ehrlichman says Colson did the hiring.
July 8, 1971:
Buchanan writes a memo, shortly after turning down the job of going after Ellsberg, advising against that strategy. [Letter will be in Appendix]
CIA prepares damage assessment from leak. [TK: obtain copy]
July 15, 1971:
Krogh meets with Ehrlichman in San Clemente and is informed that the President would like him to join David Young in forming a WH Special investigations Unit. Young will work full time; Krogh only part-time. Both get sensitive security clearances requiring that they agree to be polygraphed on future occasions.
Week of July 19, 1971:
Krogh assigns Gordon Liddy, who is already on his Domestic Council staff, to work full time with the Plumbers and is informed by Colson that Hunt also is joining the unit. Liddy does not change payrolls; Hunt remains a paid consultant.
July 20, 1971:
The FBI seeks to interview Dr. Lewis Fielding about Ellsberg, his client, but he declines. [TK: duplicate entry at 7/28]
DOD General Counsel Fred Buzhardt briefs the Plumbers’ team on results of their investigation of Papers and of how Rand came into possession of copies. [The reports from this meeting, which illustrate the scramble that followed the Papers’ release, will be considered for inclusion in Appendix]. It is clear the Plumbers unit is leaning very hard on Buzhardt, which may have influenced the extent of his concern for their welfare when he later becomes Special Counsel to Nixon during Watergate.
July 23, 1971:
The Times publishes the U.S. fallback position in the SALT negotiations then underway in Helsinki, which is a hugely damaging leak.
July 24, 1971:
The White House Special Investigations Unit, later known as the Plumbers, is established under co-directors, Krogh (representing Ehrlichman) and Young (representing Kissinger).
Krogh meets personally with Nixon (along with Ehrlichman) and is charged with stopping future leaks. Krogh reacts with vigor; he is now a man on a mission for the President himself.
July 28, 1971:
The FBI seeks to interview Dr. Lewis Fielding, Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, who declines.
The FBI submits a report noting that Ellsberg had been consulting a psychiatrist on a daily basis during 1968 and 1969.
Hunt writes memo to Colson, “Neutralization of Ellsberg,” which itemizes ways to destroy Ellsberg’s public image and includes the suggestion, “Obtain Ellsberg’s files from his psychiatric analyst.”
July 29, 1971:
Nixon writes Hoover asking for his assistance in Krogh’s investigation of Ellsberg.
The federal grand jury in Los Angeles subpoenas Russo, who refuses to testify. He still refuses after being granted immunity, is cited for contempt on August 16, and jailed for six weeks.
Beacon Press, a non-profit book publisher owned by the Unitarian Universalist Association announces they will publish the Papers, which have been given to them by Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska)
August 3, 1971:
Krogh and Young author a memo which states, “We will look into the [other] suggestions with Hunt made [in his July 28 memo]
Krogh receives FBI materials from Hoover, which he later claims is evidence that Hoover was aware of and was cooperating with the Plumber investigations. [TK: get cite from first book, where Hoover told a reporter, shortly before his death, that the WH was going to get itself into trouble by going operational.]
August 5, 1971:
Young and Krogh meet with Ehrlichman to discuss possible initiatives. They later cannot recall specifically using the word “break-in” to describe how they would about reviewing Dr. Fielding’s files.
August 11, 1971:
Young and Krogh send memo to Ehrlichman seeking approval of a covert operation to examine Fielding’s files. Approval is granted, “If done under your assurance that it is not traceable.” [Document will be in the Appendix]
August __, 1971:
Krogh informs Liddy/Hunt of approval of plan to review Ellsberg files in Fielding’s office, but with one change: Neither Hunt nor Liddy can go into the office themselves. It is a this point that Hunt first raises the idea of using Cuban/Americans from his Bay of Pigs experience, “trained by the CIA in clandestine work” [Liddy, p. 164]
August 24-25, 1971:
Liddy and Hunt make recognizance visit to Fielding’s office in LA. Pictures are developed by CIA, who cuts off further assistance. Liddy seeks to impress waitress with his candle trick. [Include Shepard reaction upon his return]
August 26, 1971:
Young sends memo to Ehrlichman, with copy to Krogh, discussing how to influence Congressional investigations on the Papers affair, and attaching the memo mentioned next. [TK: Obtain copy]
August 27, 1971:
Ehrlichman signs attached memo, drafted by Krogh, asking Colson for a plan for using any adverse materials obtained in “Hunt/Liddy Special Project #1”.
After August 27, 1971:
Krogh and Young meet with Liddy and Hunt to go over specific details of their planned entry into Dr. Fielding’s office.
August 30, 1971:
Krogh and Young make confirming call to Ehrlichman, who is on vacation in a Forest Service cabin on Martha’s Vineyard. Because this is an open phone line, they speak obliquely, but believe they have received the final go-ahead for their illicit entry.
September 4, 1971 (Labor Day weekend):
Liddy and Hunt supervise the break-in into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Dr. Fielding, by Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez and Felipe Diego. When the doors are unexpectedly locked, Liddy (hovering nearby) instructs them to break-in through the glass and then make it look like someone was looking for drugs. Unlike the planned surreptitious entry, this assured a police report and no doubt as to when the break-in occurred. [Sources differ on whether they found anything of value. Fielding later testifies that he found Ellsberg’s file on the floor and that it had been gone through. Hougan later claims this proves the Cubans were working for the CIA and not for Liddy.]
Liddy and Hunt, reporting failure, recommend breaking into Dr. Fielding’s home, but this idea is squelched by Ehrlichman, who also instructs that no other initiatives be undertaken.
Ehrlichman alludes to the break-in in a meeting with Nixon: “We had one little operation. It’s been aborted out in Los Angeles which, I think, is better that you don’t know about.”
September 30, 1971:
Date of subsequent DOD briefing regarding the Papers leak to Rand, which Liddy memorializes in an October 7th memo to Krogh and Young. [Possible inclusion in Appendix]
Krogh’s involvement with the Plumbers ends for all practical purposes. His only peripheral involvement in special projects occurred in December, when he refused to authorize a wiretap in the Yeoman Radford affair and was relieved by Ehrlichman.
Beacon Press publishes its four volume set of the Pentagon Papers, which has already been made a part of the record due to the actions by Senator Mike Gravel. Nonetheless, their action resulted in an FBI investigation of all of their records and their being subpoenaed to testify in the Ellsberg prosecution in Los Angeles.
December 8, 1971:
Liddy leaves White House staff to become CRP general counsel, with added responsibility for developing a “perfectly legitimate campaign intelligence plan” [Dean’s description to Nixon on March 21, 1973].
December 20, 1971:
Krogh is summoned to Ehrlichman’s office to explain why he has not approved a wiretap in connection with the Yeoman Radford affair. Saying he feared the taps would become known, he is removed from any further involvement in the Plumber operations. Young institutes the taps and proceeds with the investigation, which is why he is such a good source on that separate matter.
December 29, 1971:
A second superseding indictment is issued in Los Angeles naming Russo and Ellsberg as co-defendants and co-conspirators on 15 counts: Ellsberg, with five counts of theft, six counts of espionage, faces a total of 105 years. Russo, with one count of theft and two counts of espionage, faces 25 years.
March 1, 1972:
Mitchell resigns as attorney general to assume leadership of President Nixon’s re-election committee, and is succeeded by his deputy, Richard Kleindienst.
March 30, 1972:
Mitchell, LaRue and Magruder meet in Miami, after which Magruder claims Mitchell approved Liddy’s campaign intelligence plan.
May 2, 1972:
J. Edgar Hoover is found dead in his home of an apparent heart attack.
June 15, 1972:
Five men are caught red-handed after breaking in to DNC campaign offices at the Watergate office building. Hunt and Liddy are later indicted as instigators. As their involvement becomes known to WH operatives, their earlier break-in into Dr. Fielding’s office becomes of paramount concern.
June 19, 1972:
The Supreme Court holds 8-0 in the Keith case that there is no national security rationale for wiretapping of domestic groups. United States v. U.S. District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972). [NB: Court’s decision comes after the Fielding break-in, which was deemed national security in any event, but severely limits the discretion seemingly allowed under the Katz decision.]
June 20, 1972:
All NSC wiretaps are removed at DOJ behest in light of Keith decision.
July 3, 1972:
Young is questioned by the FBI regarding Hunt and Liddy, with Dean being present. [FBI’s 501 in Young file]
July 5 or 6, 1972:
Dean calls Krogh, who is in the mid-west, to inform him that the U.S. Attorney would want to question him about the work Hunt and Liddy had done [both being under investigation with regard to the Watergate break-in]. Krogh claims to have met with Dean “as many as six times to prepare for the type of questions which might be asked.” [WSPF interview of 4/3/74, in Krogh file] Krogh later describes Dean’s advice quite differently to Shepard.
July 29, 1972:
The Ellsberg defense team appeals to the Supreme Court, alleging violations committed against them of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
August 25, 1972 (Friday):
Young is questioned for one hour under oath by U.S. Attorneys in Petersen’s office at DOJ, for the purposes of having his answers read to the grand jury investigating the Watergate burglary. Dean accompanies him to the interview, but does not stay for the actual questioning. [Young does not get formal grant of immunity until May 10, 1973 – after the cover-up’s collapse]
August 28, 1972 (Monday):
Krogh is questioned under oath, under same circumstances as Young. Fred Fielding, Dean’s deputy, accompanies him to the interview and receives assurance that it will not cover national security matters, and then departs. However, Krogh is asked about any knowledge of Hunt and Liddy trips to California, which he denies — thus, perjuring himself, which was quite clear to his questioners at the time, since they had deposed Young the Friday before. Krogh returns to his WH offices and expresses his pride at having kept a national security secret.
September 15, 1972:
Liddy and Hunt, along with James McCord and the Cubans (Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis) are indicted for the Watergate break-in.
November (September?), 1972:
David Halberstam’s book about how we got into the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest, is published [Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_and_the_Brightest ]
November 12, 1972:
Victor Navasky reviews Halberstam’s book for the Times. http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/15/home/halberstam-best.html
November 13, 1972:
The Supreme Court denies certiorari on for Ellsberg’s wiretap appeal, 7 to 2.
December 12, 1972:
A mistrial is declared in the Ellsberg case on grounds of delay and Judge Byrne orders a new jury empaneled.
January 11, 1973:
Hunt pleads guilty to six counts at the beginning of the Watergate burglary trial before Judge Sirica.
Krogh testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee. Excerpts in Krogh file.
January 15, 1973:
The Cuban-Americans (Barker, Gonzalez, Martinez and Sturgis) plead guilty to all counts in the Watergate burglary trial. [NB: Diego was involved in the Fielding break-in, but not the Watergate break-in; visa versa for Gonzalez and Sturgis.]
January 17, 1973:
Opening statements are delivered in the Ellsberg prosecution in LA.
January 27, 1973:
The Paris Peace Accords are signed, formally ending the Vietnam War.
January 30, 1973:
Watergate break-in trial concludes before Judge Sirica with Liddy and McCord’s conviction. All parties begin serving jail terms, since Sirica refuses to grant bail pending appeal.
February 2, 1973:
James Schlesinger is named CIA Director, succeeding Richard Helms, who becomes Ambassador to Iran (apparently destroying all of his Watergate files before departing).
February 14, 1973:
The first of the Vietnam POWs return home. Through April, 591 POWs are returned home from North Vietnam.
March 20, 1973:
Krogh meets with Dean following another meeting at the WH:
“Dean told Krogh that Hunt had threatened to disclose “all the seamy things Hunt did for Ehrlichman.” Hunt was trying to blackmail the White House for as much as $100,000. Dean and Krogh agreed that blackmail was intolerable. It was in this conversation that Krogh told Dean that his authority for the Fielding break-in came from the “Oval Office.” [from Krogh WSPF interview]
[NB: Krogh is almost certain of this date, due to keying off the other meeting; Dean placed this conversation on March 28 or 29]
Later that same day, Ehrlichman calls Krogh and repeats the same news about Hunt’s blackmail demand.
March 21, 1973:
Dean meets with Nixon, says there is “a cancer on the presidency” and describes Hunt’s blackmail attempt.
Krogh goes to Ehrlichman’s office in the late afternoon and offers to tell DOJ about the Fielding operation. Ehrlichman responds that Dean is looking into some sort of national security immunity.
March 22, 1973:
Krogh calls Dean and offers to tell DOJ about Fielding operation, but is dissuaded by Dean, who says it is not the time to do anything rash.
Later that afternoon, Ehrlichman calls Krogh to say that Mitchell says everything is OK with Hunt and that Krogh should hang tough.
March 26, 1973:
At Ehrlichman’s request, Young sends his Plumbers files for review. He separates out the four most sensitive ones in a separate envelope (after making copies for himself).
March 27, 1973:
Young meets with Ehrlichman to discuss Fielding break-in, becomes worried about divergent memories and Ehrlichman’s removal of the sensitive memos. Later (on May 4th), Young dictates a CYA memo of their conversation to his spouse, Susan.
March 28, 1973:
Dean, who has been running the cover-up for the Watergate break-in, retains criminal defense counsel, Charles Shaffer.
April 2, 1973:
Shaffer approaches principal assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert and his assistant, Seymour Glanzer, on Dean’s behalf in an attempt to negotiate a plea bargain in exchange for Dean’s testimony against his WH superiors, Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman. This is first of almost a dozen meetings or phone calls over the next thirty days between Shaffer and/or Dean and prosecutors.
April 3, 1973:
Krogh is interviewed by prosecutors [WSPF notes in file]
April 5, 1973:
Ehrlichman meets secretly with Judge Mathew Byrne (who is presiding over the Ellsberg prosecution) to discuss possible appointment as FBI Director. [TK: Shepard has sent memo to E, saying Byrne is DOJ’s lead candidate to replace Acting Director Gray as head of the FBI.]
April 7, 1973:
Ehrlichman has second meeting with Judge Byrne, this time at Western White House compound in San Clemente, where Byrne briefly speaks to Nixon.
April 8, 1973 (Sunday) [?]:
Dean vacates his White House office, boxing up many counsel files for later negotiation with career prosecutors in attempt to bargain for personal immunity. Files, having nothing to do with Watergate itself, include ones on the Plumbers break-in, Kissinger’s NSC wiretaps, the Houston Plan and Milk Price Supports. They later become known as “the White House horrors. A van driven by Roy Sheppard is used to remove these files. Later, some of these files are given to Sirica, who orders copies distributed to prosecutors and to the Ervin Committee.
April 15, 1973 (Sunday):
Kleindienst and Henry Petersen, Assistant AG of the Criminal Division, demand a face-to-face meeting with Nixon, where they present their “brief statement” describing the Magruder and Dean allegations and urge immediate discharge of Haldeman and Ehrlichman. Kleindienst then recuses himself from further involvement due to his closeness with Mitchell.
Dean and Shaffer meet with Silbert and Glanzer at Shaffer’s office, Silbert announces he has informed Petersen of Dean’s allegations. Dean discloses confidential information regarding Plumbers break-in obtained in his role as counsel to the President.
April 16, 1973:
Silbert informs Petersen of Fielding break-in.
April 18, 1973:
Nixon telephones Petersen, who discloses his own knowledge of Plumbers break-in and urges Nixon to approve disclosure of these details to Judge Byrne, then trying the Ellsberg case in California. (RN rejects idea at this time).
April 19, 1973:
Nixon meets with Petersen for an hour, who again urges disclosure of the Fielding break-in to Judge Byrne. Kleindienst calls to concur and Nixon concedes.
April 20, 1973:
Ehrlichman tells Krogh that the President has instructed that the Fielding break-in was a matter of national security and not to be discussed with anyone.
April 25, 1973:
Shepard gets call from Oval Office, concerning Peter Wolf and his representation of Roy Sheppard, who has been called before the grand jury. Apparently, Sheppard took possession of boxes of Hunt’s files from Dorothy Hunt after the Watergate break-in arrests and secreted them in an abandoned car before destroying them.
Ehrlichman calls Krogh to inform him that the President has approved the disclosure of the Fielding break-in to Judge Byrne.
April __, 1973:
Petersen takes Shepard to lunch to warn him away from getting involved in the scandal and later reports this conversation to Nixon. Also instructs DOJ officials that they can talk to no one at the WH, except Shepard.
April 27, 1973:
Judge Byrne receives Silbert memo saying Hunt and Liddy had burglarized Ellsberg’s doctor’s office.
Ehrlichman is questioned by the FBI about the Fielding break-in, results of which are later released to Judge Byrne. [Text at CQ, p. 34] Later, Ehrlichman will be charged with lying to the FBI during this interview.
Ehrlichman calls Krogh, says he was questioned by the FBI, and says Krogh should get a lawyer, recommending one William Treadwell.
April 30, 1973 (Monday):
Around mid-morning, the WH announces the resignations of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Kleindienst, as well as Dean’s termination. [Text of E’s resignation letter at CQ, p. 37]
Krogh takes a leave of absence as Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Young resigns from NSC. [Krogh and Young profiled at CQ, p. 52]
Young meets with Ehrlichman and Garment to discuss issues, is informed of Ehrlichman resignation. Later that day, dictates a CYA memo to Susan Young [Copy in Young file]
Byrne discloses that he had met privately with Ehrlichman to discuss a high administration post, but emphasized he had not discussed the Papers prosecution.
In address to the nation that evening, Nixon announced his intent to appoint Elliot Richardson as Attorney General, with authority to name a “special supervising prosecutor.”
May 1, 1973:
Summary of the FBI’s April 27th Ehrlichman interview is given to Ellsberg’s counsel by Judge Byrne, who then make it public.
Krogh has lunch with Elliot Richardson, arranged by Ehrlichman, to explain his plight regarding the Fielding break-in and his untruthful responses in his deposition.
May 2, 1973:
Judge Byrne acknowledges having had a second meeting with Ehrlichman and confirms their discussion centered on his possible appointment as FBI Director.
Ehrlichman has second FBI interview concerning Fielding break-in.
Ehrlichman has three phone conversations with Krogh, which Ehrlichman taped, transcripts of which are in Krogh file.
May 3, 1973:
Ehrlichman and Haldeman, having resigned three days prior, testify before Watergate Grand Jury I.
Silbert and Glanzer again meet with Dean at Shaffer’s Rockville office. Shaffer says Dean has highly classified documents that were in his possession when he was terminated.
Krogh is told by Garment, who has replaced Dean as Counsel to the President, that the standards currently being revised for assertion of executive privilege prevent any disclosures to Judge Byrne and that Ehrlichman has no authority to assert otherwise.
May 4, 1973:
Dean files document with Sirica containing keys to a safe deposit box, which he says contains nine Watergate-related documents (but are really counsel files he purloined from the White House on April 8 (?).
Ervin Committee staff interviews Ehrlichman in executive session, prepares a 33-page summary, which is leaked on July 11.
Young dictates CYA memo to Susan regarding his March 27th meeting with Ehrlichman. [Copy in Young file]
Krogh prepares affidavit for Judge Byrne, taking full responsibility for Fielding break-in. [CQ, p. 51] Portion reads that, “general authorization to engage in covert activity to obtain a psychological history or ascertain associates of Dr. Ellsberg was [thereafter] given to the special unit by John D. Ehrlichman.” [WSPF excerpts in Krogh file]
May 5, 1973:
Krogh files affidavit with Judge Byrne.
Krogh receives finalized executive privilege standards from Garment, which Garment claims would preclude the filing of his affidavit.
May 7, 1973:
Krogh affidavit is made public at Ellsberg trial, stating the FBI officials told him that the Soviet embassy had copies of the Papers before they were published in the Times. [NB: WSPF investigation later concludes that this was not true, but it’s clear the FBI did so inform the Plumbers unit of this occurrence.]
Richardson announces his decision to appoint a special prosecutor, offering the Senate Judiciary Committee the opportunity to evaluate and informally confirm his choice.
May 8, 1973:
Colson is questioned by the FBI about the Fielding break-in.
CIA memos regarding assistance they provided to the Plumbers are made public by Ellsberg’s attorneys. [Text at CQ, p. 59]
May 9, 1973:
Ehrlichman again testifies before Watergate Grand Jury I.
Krogh officially resigns as Undersecretary of DOT (following revelations about Fielding break-in). His resignation letter, which is addressed to the President, takes full responsibility for that break-in. [CQ, p.54]. “In this letter, Mr. Krogh stated that the break-in was his responsibility, “ . . a step taken in excess of instructions, and without the knowledge or permission of any superior” [WSPF Sentencing Letter of 12/17/73]
Post reports Garment has begun legal effort to retrieve sensitive WH files taken by Dean.
May 10, 1973:
Summary of Colson’s May 8 FBI interview is given to Ellsberg defense counsel by Judge Byrne, who then make it public.
Young is questioned by Silbert and Glanzer for three hours, under grant of immunity, which is formalized by letter of May 15th. [Copy in Young file] [NB: Young has retained counsel and is offering to testify that Ehrlichman removed sensitive files that suggest he authorized the Fielding break-in, which is the basis for their grant of immunity.]
May 11, 1973:
Judge Byrne dismisses all charges against Ellsberg and Russo after revealing he has received Silbert memo stating: “On Sunday, April 15, 1973, I received information that on a date unspecified, Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt burglarized the offices of a psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg to obtain the psychiatrists’ filings.” [Partial text at CQ, pp. 70-71]
Sirica grants partial immunity from further prosecution to the four Cubans (Barker, Martinez, Sturgis, and Gonzalez), so they can testify before the Ervin Committee.
May 14, 1973:
Sirica takes possession of offered portion of Dean’s WH counsel papers, orders copies given to prosecutors and to Ervin Committee.
Ehrlichman and Haldeman again testify before Watergate Grand Jury I. [Bakes 10/1/73 memo, in Ehrlichman file, details their basis for charging Ehrlichman with perjury during this appearance]
May 16, 1973:
Young is formally granted immunity by Judge Sirica, appears before Watergate Grand Jury I for 2-3 hours.
Ellsberg testifies before Senate subcommittees investigating government secrecy, claiming that his prosecution was part of a WH scheme to influence the Democrat’s selection of a presidential candidate in 1972.
May 17, 1973:
Richardson offers special prosecutor position to Archibald Cox.
Schlesinger signs directive ordering complete report of past actions that may have exceeded CIA charter. Responses, which ultimately leak, are known as “the family jewels”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Jewels_(Central_Intelligence_Agency)
May 18, 1973:
Cox informs Richardson he will accept the position; Richardson announces proposed appointment to Senate Judiciary Committee, who is reported by Boston Globe to have been Kennedy’s choice all along.
May 22-23 1973:
Nixon issues 4,000 word statement acknowledging cover-up by others, but claiming his own involvement was only “to protect national security by preventing disclosure of intelligence operations.” [Text at CQ, pp. 90-94]
Ehrlichman gives a 187 page deposition in DNC v McCord civil suit, which is made public on June 5.
May 25, 1973:
Richardson is sworn in as attorney general in a WH ceremony. He immediately appoints Cox as special prosecutor in subsequent DOJ ceremony, which is attended by Ethel Kennedy, Ted Kennedy and the Senator’s top assistant, James Flug.
May 27, 1973:
The Times reports that prosecutors have evidence directly linking Ehrlichman to the Fielding break-in, due to Young’s May 16 grand jury testimony.
Ehrlichman denial is carried on ABC, but later claims this triggered a search of his files, which revealed his August 11th memo approving a covert operation.
May 29, 1973:
AG Richardson meets with Cox, Heymann and Vorenberg and reveals all he has learned about Plumbers operations from his meetings with Krogh and Garment. This is not violation of attorney-client privilege (since there is no such thing in government), but does show a misplaced confidence in Richardson’s interests in protecting his President.
Former CIA Deputy Director Robert Cushman is the first witness to appear before a Los Angeles grand jury and testifies about CIA involvement with Hunt.
May 30, 1973:
Ehrlichman testifies before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Intelligence Operations regarding CIA and the Plumbers. This testimony acknowledges the August 11 memo, differing from his earlier GJ testimony. Ehrlichman will later claim that this retracted his GJ testimony error (thus recanting before he was charged with perjury). [Excepts at CQ, p. 101]
June 3, 1973:
Times and Post stories report that Soviet embassy had received a copy of the Papers after they were carried in their newspapers. Krogh’s earlier statement had said before, which appears to be mistaken.
June 5, 1973:
Ellsberg testifies before LA county grand jury in investigation brought by District Attorney Joseph Busch. This leads to a separate prosecution for the Fielding break by LA County. Normally, federal prosecutions under the civil rights statutes are instituted only after local officials have declined to punish offenders. It’s the opposite in this case.
Ehrlichman DNC deposition is made public. [Excerpts at CQ, pp. 125-26]
June 6, 1973:
DOJ announces it will not appeal Judge Byrne’s dismissal of their prosecution against Ellsberg and Russo.
June 7, 1973:
The Times publishes excerpts from the Huston Plan, one of the documents taken by Dean when leaving the WH. [Text at CQ, pp. 122-125]
Krogh refuses to testify before the LA County grand jury on grounds of self-incrimination.
June 8, 1973:
Ehrlichman and Colson testify before LA County grand jury.
June 9, 1973:
Senator Ervin announces that his committee will expand its investigation to include the Plumbers’ actions.
June 12, 1973:
On his own initiative, Merrill flies to DC and arranges to meet with Cox top assistants, Harvard Law professors James Vorenberg and Philip Heymann, asking to join their special prosecution team. Later he meets with Special Prosecutor Cox.
June 19, 1973:
Merrill is hired and reports for work with the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF).
June 25, 1973:
Dean begins testimony before Ervin Committee, saying Nixon knew as early as September 15, 1972 of cover-up. Essentially, he accuses Nixon, Haldeman and Ehrlichman of knowing participation. He also testified that Krogh had told him that the orders for the Ellsberg break-in came, not from Ehrlichman, but right out of the Oval Office. [Summarized at CQ, p. 155]
June 29, 1973:
Merrill is offered the opportunity to head of the WSPF Plumbers Task Force, relieving Heymann, who will return to Harvard in the fall (where he teaches Criminal Law and Procedure).
June 30, 1973:
Silbert and Glanzer formally withdraw from Watergate investigation, ceding full control to WSPF prosecutors.
US Troop strength in Vietnam falls below 200 and remains so for remainder of the Nixon Presidency.
July 2, 1973:
After reviewing its potential, Merrill accepts assignment to become head of the WSPF Plumbers Task Force.
Schlesinger named Secretary of Defense, succeeding Elliot Richardson, who has been nominated to be Attorney General. Schlesinger is succeeded at CIA by William Colby.
July 5, 1973:
Judge Sirica approves the Ervin Committee’s grant of limited immunity to Young.
July 6, 1973:
Heymann writes letter to Young’s counsel, confirming their interview of that date will be done under an immunity grant.
Young, in the presence of his attorney, Anthony Lapham, is then questioned for five hours by WSPF prosecutors, Heymann, Merrill and Phil Bakes. [Extensive notes in Young file, one says: “3rd concern: How does it relate to everyone else & what everything else was going on – part of confusion. Examination of files was not to affect trial but to see who else was involved.” Also, lists why they thought Ellsberg was a foreign agent (see crossed out sections, pp. 3-4). This seemingly conflicts with Merrill’s gleeful assertion that Young had admitted that adverse publicity about Ellsberg would affect LA County jurors.] A complete record of this meeting is formalized in a Bakes memo to the file, dated July 10th, which frequently uses the phrase, “when pressed” to describe their interview. [Copy in Young file]. This is the first of what becomes over 50 hours of WSPF questioning of Young. Merrill’s book brags about how he was able to get Krogh and Young to see that the Fielding break-in was not their fault, but that of their superiors [TK: cite].
July 10, 1973:
Date of Heymann memo to Cox concluding civil rights statutes are best way to pursue Plumbers for Fielding break-in
July 12, 1973:
Date of Ackerman memo to Merrill, concluding it will be difficult to charge Plumbers with obstruction of justice for Fielding break-in.
July 16, 1973:
Young again questioned by WSPF prosecutors, particularly regarding decision-making process for Fielding break-in.
July 17, 1973:
Krogh refuses to testify before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence on grounds of self-incrimination. Young does likewise the next day.
July 19, 1973:
Date of Ackerman memo to Merrill discussing national security defense to Fielding break-in.
July 20, 1973:
Lacovara memo criticizing Ackerman memo, saying it did not address criminal charges.
July 24, 1973:
Ehrlichman begins five days of testimony before the Ervin Committee, claiming that Fielding break-in was legal and undertaken for national security purposes. [Summary at CQ, pp. 212-215; Opening Statement at pp. 221-224]
July 26, 1973:
Lacovara memo to LEGAL STAFF saying he has “complete set of all of the Presidential, Justice Department, and FBI memoranda establishing and discussing the Government’s policy concerning electronic surveillance since 1941” in his office, which is available for consultation as needed. This is hugely important memo, since it establishes full WSPF knowledge of prior national security break-ins, which would subsequently be made public by the Church Committee’s Book II. [TK: add to Appendix]
August 3, 1973:
The Times publishes the CIA profile of Ellsberg, noting they said that he was motivated by “what he deemed a higher order of patriotism.”
August 8, 1973:
Young again questioned by WSPF prosecutors, for one hour.
August 13, 1973:
Watergate Grand Jury II is empaneled to investigate campaign contributions, political espionage, Plumbers and ITT. Virtually all appearances from now on, with regard to the Plumbers, will occur before this second grand jury.
Plumbers Task Force questions thirty witnesses before Grand Jury II, including Dr. Fielding (who confirms that his Ellsberg files were found on the floor following the break-in and must have been reviewed).
August 15, 1973:
In a televised address to the nation, Nixon explained his reluctance to expose the Plumbers’ actions to Judge Byrne. [Text at CQ, pp. 279-280]
August 20, 1973:
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for 5½ hours. Bakes memo in file.
August 22, 1973:
Young testifies before Grand Jury II.
At press conference, Nixon has testy exchange with Dan Rather about his brief meeting with Judge Byrne in San Clemente. [CQ, p. 289]
August 23, 1973:
Young continues to testify before Grand Jury II
Sept. 5, 1973:
LA county grand jury indicts four men involved in burglary of psychiatrist Lewis Fielding’s office; Ehrlichman, Krogh, Young and Liddy. Hunt and the Cubans were listed as co-conspirators, but not indicted. All were arraigned the following week and entered pleas of not guilty. [Description at CQ, p. 314]. It is significant to note that local prosecutors were determinedly prosecuting for the break-in itself: they had jurisdiction and an applicable burglary statute.
September 10, 1973:
Ehrlichman testifies before Grand Jury II. This is his first appearance before WSPF attorneys.
September 11, 1973:
Ehrlichman, in this grand jury testimony, recants his earlier testimony regarding advance knowledge of Fielding initiative. [Query why this testimony is not acknowledged in Bakes memo of 10/1/73 identifying problems with perjury charges against Ehrlichman, particularly in light of footnote 1 at p. 5 of his undated memo to Cox on John Ehrlichman.]
September 13, 1973:
Ehrlichman continues to testify before grand jury.
September 14, 1973:
Task Force meeting with Cox, resulting in decision to develop more facts before the grand jury and to analyze possible violations, which meant putting off Fielding break-in indictments.
September 19, 1973:
Colson refuses to testify before Ervin Committee, while under indictment by the LA grand jury, on grounds of self-incrimination.
September 24, 1973:
Hunt, who has been given immunity after his guilty plea in the Watergate burglary trial, testifies before the Ervin Committee on Fielding break-in. [Summarized at CQ, p. 322; Opening Statement, pp. 325-26]
October 1, 1973:
The portion of LA county grand jury transcript is released, where Ehrlichman had testified that Nixon had authorized covert tactics by the Plumbers.
October 11, 1973:
Krogh is indicted on two counts of false testimony under oath [18 USC 1623] during his August 28, 1972 deposition. This is the first indictment obtained by WSPF prosecutors. See Merrill’s discussion of their intent to separate Krogh (who had clearly perjured himself) from his former colleagues. Judge Sirica assigns the case to Judge Gesell. Gesell is something of a surprising choice due to his prior involvement: He twice declined to enjoin the Post from Pentagon Papers publication and was the only judge in all of the cases who refused to issue a temporary injunction pending appeal.
October 18, 1973:
Krogh is arraigned before Gesell on perjury charges and enters not guilty plea, saying he was under White House secrecy orders. Gesell talks about an early trial (which he ultimately sets for December 1).
October 20, 1973:
Saturday Night Massacre: President orders Richardson to fire Cox; Richardson resigns instead. Ruckelshaus also refuses, and is terminated. In late afternoon, Robert Bork, then solicitor general, agrees to fire Cox. A “firestorm of protest” follows.
November 1, 1973:
Acting AG Bork announces Leon Jaworski as new special prosecutor, who is sworn in on November 5.
November 7, 1973:
Plumbers Task Force meets with Jaworski to review case and get approval to continue its work.
November 8, 1973:
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for four hours in connection with Krogh prosecution.
November 13, 1973: [Merrill, in error, says October]
Gesell holds hearing on Krogh’s motion that any perjury was permitted in the interest of national security and expresses great skepticism regarding this claim.
November 15, 1973:
Gesell rules against Krogh’s motion, finding (i) there is no national security defense to a perjury charge, (ii) as a matter of law, Krogh’s perjury was substantial, (iii) he cannot have access to Young or Colson grand jury testimony, (iv) there is no specific intent requirement (“Motive is simply not an issue”, and (v) there will be no change in venue. [NB: Order in Krogh file.] It is no wonder that Merrill wanted Ehrlichman’s case assigned to the same judge. [Consider including article about how Silberman declined to lunch with Gesell because the discussions became too political.]
November 17, 1973:
At a news conference, Nixon responds to a question of why he ordered Peterson to stay away from the Plumber investigations. He alludes to Radford-Welander affair, but without providing any specifics. He also denies specifically approving the Fielding break-in. [CQ, pp. 438-39]
November 19, 1973:
Krogh meets with Jaworski to discuss possible plea bargain. WSPF prosecutors offer opportunity to plead to civil rights violation, rather than to perjury for which he was indicted and which he’d clearly committed. Merrill says it was a better deal for Krogh, even though subject to longer imprisonment, because it didn’t include moral turpitude (which might have been a permanent bar to practice of law).
November 30, 1973:
Krogh pleads guilty before Gesell to conspiracy to violate Fielding’s civil rights, [18 USC 241] rather than to the perjury. In 2 page statement released at the time he said, “I cannot in conscience assert national security as a defense.” He issues 12 page statement on January 3rd. [NB: it was important to WSPF prosecutors to have Krogh plead to this charge, since this was to be their main charge against Ehrlichman. This switcheroo was another violation of Ehrlichman’s due process rights.]
Krogh’s LA country indictment is dismissed.
December 7, 1973:
Jaworski and Merrill meet with Colson and his counsel, David Shapiro, to discuss his involvement in the Plumbers and Watergate affairs.
December 13-14, 1973:
Krogh reviews his files in the Old EOB to refresh his recollections.
December 14, 1973:
WSPF prosecutors Jaworski, Ruth, Lacovara and Ben-Veniste meet privately with Judges Sirica and Gesell to discuss the Watergate cases. This occurs just days after Sirica turned over tape of March 21, 1973 (Dean’s Cancer on the Presidency speech). This ex parte contact is a flagrant violation of defendants’ due process rights.
December 17, 1973:
Merrill sends sentencing letter to District Court in connection with Krogh’s plea. Interestingly, it is not a particularly positive letter. [Copy in Krogh file]
December 19, 1973:
Vorenberg’s notes indicate full review sessions with each of the five Task Forces (other than the one on Watergate), probably in response to Sirica’s request at their 12/14 meeting for a list (and timing) of expected indictments.
December 27, 1973:
Jaworski sends letter to Sirica itemizing anticipated WSPF indictments and predicting when they will be handed down. Aside from the cover-up trial, it is difficult to ascertain the timing of particular indictments.
January 3, 1974:
Krogh issues a 12 page statement in connection with his guilty plea. It asserts that the CIA and FBI had told them that the Soviet embassy had received a full set of the Papers, but the Times had only a partial set. Krogh also stated:
“I would simply say that I considered that a break-in was within the authority of the unit and that I did not act to foreclose one from occurring despite the opportunity to do so. Indeed, I was under the clear impression that such operations were by no means extraordinary by the CIA abroad and, until 1966, by the FBI in this country – an impression confirmed by former members of both agencies on the unit’s staff.
The break-in came about because the unit felt it could leave no stone unturned in the investigation of Dr. Ellsberg. The aims of the operations were many:
to ascertain if Dr. Ellsberg acted alone or with collaborators;
to ascertain if Dr. Ellsberg in fact had any involvement with the Soviets or other foreign power;
to ascertain if Dr. Ellsberg had any characteristics that would cause him to make further disclosures,
to ascertain if prosecution of Dr. Ellsberg would induce him to make further disclosures that he otherwise would not.”
[Some paragraphs later] “While I early concluded that the operation had been a mistake, it is only recently that I have come to regard it as unlawful.”
[This declaration is important, because it suggests they had every reason to suspect Ellsberg might be working with a foreign power and certainly was not working alone.]
January 10, 1974:
Ehrlichman meets with Jaworski and Merrill to discuss possible resolution of the Plumbers case. Ehrlichman “railed against what he described as ‘selective prosecution’” (Merrill, p. 59). Ehrlichman is right, as the Church Committee reports would show: this sort of thing had been going on for decades.
January 15, 1974:
Colson and Shapiro again meet with Merrill to discuss case against him. Merrill says they believe Colson’s story, but imply they’d like to see a lie detector test. Colson complies with a private one, but prosecutors then demand one done by the FBI, which is declined.
January 24, 1974:
Krogh is sentenced to 2-6 years in prison by Gesell, all but six months of which are suspended. [Profile at CQ, p. 493; Krogh’s statement in file]
January 29-30, 1974:
Nixon is subpoenaed to appear as a material witness in the LA County Plumbers’ trial. [CQ, p. 511]
January 30, 1974:
Ehrlichman’s counsel is offered opportunity to plead to two felony counts, which is declined. It’s later reduced to one, which is declined on 2/22.
Hunt and Krogh continue to testify before grand jury
February 4, 1974:
Krogh begins serving six month prison term at Allenwood minimum security facility, near Lewisburg, PA.
February 6, 1974:
Young is questioned by WSPF prosecutors for 3½ hours and then testifies before Grand Jury III. This is his fourth appearance, prior ones being 8/25/72, 5/16/73, and [Some of the Q&A is in Sally’s compilation in Young file]
February 7, 1974:
Young is questioned for 3½ hours by WSPF prosecutors
February 13, 1974:
Young is questioned by WSPF prosecutors about FBI interview for five hours.
February 22, 1974:
Ehrlichman’s counsel turns down possible plea bargain on potential Plumbers and cover-up charges.
Vorenberg staff notes seem to suggest substantial resistance to bringing Plumbers case at all, fear is that it’s a close call and a loss might affect subsequent prosecutions [TK: cite]
March 1, 1974:
Grand Jury I indicts Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Robert Mardian, Gordon Strachan and Ken Parkinson for cover-up, along with eighteen unindicted co-conspirators, including Nixon, but these names are kept sealed until provided to defense counsel on June 5, who then make them public.
Separately, grand jury asks Judge Sirica that its Report (the “Road Map”) be transmitted to the House Judiciary Committee (HJC).
Later that day, Sirica assigns himself to preside over the cover-up trial.
March 4, 1974:
Merrill opens internal WSPF discussions on how to get Plumbers case assigned to Gesell, who has already ruled against any national security defense with regard to Krogh’s perjury counts.
March 7, 1974:
Grand Jury II indicts Colson, Ehrlichman, Liddy and Cubans (Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martinez and Felipe De Diego) for conspiracy to violate the rights of Dr. Fielding in violation of 18 USC 241. [TK: Get copy. This is the conspiracy part of the civil rights act. 242 is the substantive section. Query why one and not the other. This approach shows why Marcus’ criticisms of prosecutorial use of conspiracy statutes is so on point.]
Ehrlichman is also indicted for lying to the FBI on May 1, 1973 under 18 USC 1001, and three times before the grand jury on May 14 under 18 USC 1623. [Descriptions at CQ, p. 555]
March 8, 1974:
At the behest of the Special Prosecutor, Sirica assigns the Plumber case to Judge Gesell. Jaworski’s ex parte contact with Sirica and Sirica’s subsequent assignment to Gesell, who had already ruled against any national security defense in Krogh’s case, was a flagrant violation of defendants’ due process rights.
March 11, 1974:
Gesell telephones Merrill to discuss WSPF views on the order of the Watergate trials and on whether the Plumbers trial could be completed prior to the already scheduled September start date of the cover-up trial. Merrill assures him the case can be completed in less than two weeks if they don’t get bogged down on national security issues. This ex parte conversation is a flagrant violation of defendants’ due process rights. Merrill then discusses this call with Jaworski and they decide not to take a public position on when the trial should occur.
LA County District Attorney agrees to drop criminal charges against Ehrlichman, Liddy and Young in light of WSPF indictment, but reserves the right to prosecute Ehrlichman on perjury charges. Former charges are officially dropped on March 13. As noted before, this is a reversal of the usual use of civil rights statutes to only try those who haven’t been tried first under local ordinances.
March 14, 1974:
Defendants in Fielding break-in are arraigned before Gesell and all enter pleas of not guilty.
March 19, 1974:
Judge Sirica turns seventy and is required to step down as Chief Judge, thereby losing the ability to assign cases to specific judges (including himself). His assignment of the Plumbers case to Gesell, advocated by Merrill, came less than two weeks before he lost this power to so assign.
April 3, 1974:
Plumber Task Force interviews Krogh about his Plumbers’ role. [Summary in Krogh file]. Says he cannot recall whether one of the reasons for the Plumbers formation was the Hoover/Marx relationship. [Ellsberg’s father-in-law was Louis Marx, an ultra-conservative toy manufacturer, who gave Hoover lots of toys at Christmas, which Hoover would then distribute to friends and charities. This was why WH folks felt Hoover was not investigating the Papers leak with the full FBI resources. [See Gentry, Hoover, the Man and the Secrets, pp. 684-85
April 11, 1974:
Gesell sets trial date for June 17, 1974
April 28, 1974:
Mitchell and Stans are acquitted in the Vesco trial in NYC.
April 29, 1974:
Nixon writes letter to Gesell declaring Plumbers were acting under a general delegation of his presidential authority when doing the Fielding break-in and saying he believed he had conveyed to his subordinates the fullest authority under the Constitution to bring a halt to the series of newspaper disclosures. Letter made public by Gesell on May 20. [TK: try to get copy]
April 30, 1974:
Ehrlichman files court affidavit saying Nixon had described the Fielding break-in as “in furtherance of national security and fully justified by the circumstances.”
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for seven hours.
May 2, 1974:
Colson charges the CIA with planting derogatory stories about him in the press to divert attention from one of its cover agencies under scrutiny by Watergate investigators and asked that his indictment be dismissed. He submitted 39 bound volumes containing more than 5,000 newspaper and magazine clippings seeking to prove his point.
Ehrlichman’s LA County perjury trial, scheduled to begin June 17, is postponed until the conclusion of the WSPF prosecution.
Week Ending May 8, 1874:
Vorenberg staff notes indicate concern over whether to move to have entire national security defense barred from trial. Issue seems to be that Merrill and Heymann want to establish precedent that there is no national security defense to a Fourth Amendment violation – hence to prosecute for a civil rights violation.
May 8, 1974:
The Post reports that Gesell had asked on April 19 for all evidence bearing on whether Nixon had approved the Fielding break-in, in order to determine whether defendants were entitled to claim they were acting for national security reasons.
May 10, 1974:
HJC begins public hearings concerning Nixon’s impeachment.
May 13, 1974:
The Times runs a story on Nixon’s confidential April 30 letter to Gesell.
May 16, 1974:
Jaworski files brief with Gesell urging him to reject any national security defense for the Fielding break-in. This is Heymann’s issue. [TK: Get copy]
May 20, 1974:
Colson argues national security defense before Gesell, who then makes Nixon’s letter public.
May 21, 1974:
Gesell rules that he will allow the Plumber defendants to attempt to subpoena national security documents they believe are relevant to their defense, and issues subpoenas on behalf of Colson and Ehrlichman. [CQ, pp. 642-43]
May 22, 1974:
Gesell threatens to dismiss Fielding break-in charges against Colson and Ehrlichman if Nixon does not turn over evidence they claim would be helpful to their defense.
Gesell dismisses single count against Diego, due to immunity grant by Miami grand jury.
May 23, 1974:
Shapiro calls Merrill and says Colson has decided to plead guilty to obstruction of justice and not to civil rights violation. Colson’s feeling is that his leaking of derogatory information about Ellsberg was a criminal act, rather than having anything to do with the Fielding break-in. Query if this was Merrill’s issue from the outset.
May 24, 1974:
After four days of hearings and with professor Heymann returning from Harvard to argue the national security motions, Gesell rules in prosecutor’s favor, thereby eliminating national security as a possible defense. [Excerpts at CQ, p. 651]
May 30, 1974:
Nixon agrees to allow Colson and Ehrlichman to review their files, but reserves the right to refuse to release them, even if that leads to dismissal of the charges against them.
May 31, 1974:
Jaworski asks Gesell not to enforce the subpoenas that Gesell had signed on behalf of Colson and Ehrlichman, saying they were overly broad.
End of May, 1974:
Merrill meets with Krogh, who says he’s been thinking it over and does not believe that he ever told Ehrlichman about the proposed break-in. Merrill blows up, shouts at Krogh, and claims he is changing his testimony. (Merrill, p. 73) Yet, this is perfectly consistent with what Krogh had said when he resigned from DOT and was sentenced by Gesell.
June 3, 1974:
Buzhardt predicts to Shepard that Gesell will dismiss charges against Colson, as he has threatened to do, since the White House will announce in court that morning that it will not turn over certain subpoenaed documents.
In a surprising public development, Colson pleads guilty to single count in Plumbers case – of conspiracy to obstruct justice and not to violating the Civil Rights Act, for which he was indicted. This was Merrill’s view of the case (obstruction of justice in releasing adverse information about Ellsberg to influence the LA jury, rather than Heymann and Cox’s ideas about the Civil Rights Act. One condition of his plea was that Colson be sentenced by Gesell and not by Sirica. [Sirica responds in ex parte meeting with Jaworski, announcing that henceforth he alone will accept all guilty pleas. As part of the plea bargain, Colson’s indictment in the cover-up case is also dismissed. [Described at CQ, pp. 653-55]
Gesell accepts St. Clair’s suggestion that they allow Ehrlichman’s counsel to review documents and assemble a list of what they want.
June 5, 1974:
The Times reports that the White House is not complying with its agreement to allow Ehrlichman to examine his files.
June 6, 1974:
Gesell warns that Nixon’s rejection of a court-approved procedure for producing White House documents in the Plumbers case was “offensive” and “borders on obstruction of justice.”
June 8, 1974:
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for four hours.
June 10, 1974:
Nixon writes Gesell, insisting that only he has the right to determine which White House documents will be made available for Ehrlichman’s defense.
WSPF prosecutors file Supplemental Memorandum with Gesell on the issue of Brady v Maryland, no doubt in response to Ehrlichman’s document requests. [Copy in Ehrlichman file]
June 11, 1974:
Gesell, citing White House refusal to comply with his order that Ehrlichman be allowed to review his files, severs Ehrlichman from the pending trial.
June 12, 1974:
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for 1½ hours.
Merrill presents Buzhardt affidavit to Gesell, which states that Ehrlichman’s subpoena did not uncover anything significant. [Contrast this with what Buzhardt told Shepard on June 3 about Colson’s subpoenas, who went after CIA documents]
Gesell reverses himself and reinstates Ehrlichman as a defendant in the Plumbers case.
That night, Buzhardt suffers a massive heart attack, but survives.
June 17, 1974:
WSPF prosecutors file papers requesting Gesell to issue new immunity grant to Young for his requested testimony in the Plumbers prosecution.
June 18, 1974:
The Times reports on Buchanan memo of July, 1971, that urges others not to over-react to Ellsberg’s Papers leak.
Young questioned by WSPF prosecutors for 1¼ hours.
June 21, 1974:
Colson is sentenced to 1 to 3 years at the Maxwell Correctional Facility in Alabama and fined $5,000 by Judge Gesell for his role in the Fielding break-in.
Krogh is released from Allenwood minimum security prison, having served six months.
June 24, 1974:
WSPF prosecutors file a brief with Gesell saying that they are changing their tactics and will no longer maintain that Ehrlichman attempted to conceal his involvement in the Plumbers break-in, thus abandoning Young’s primary promised value. They will only attempt to prove that he and others conspired to enter and search Fielding’s office in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This is seen an attempt to end the wrangling over Ehrlichman’s access to his personal notes, which the White House is still resisting.
June 25, 1974:
WSPF prosecutors said they had tried to reach plea bargains with Martinez and Barker, but were unsuccessful.
Internal WSPF analysis by Sally (Willis?) details 52 hours of meetings with Young, during which Merrill tried to convince him to agree that there was no basis for Fielding break-in. Such prosecutorial brow-beating of witnesses is violation of due process. She also seems to conclude that Young changed his testimony during the course of these sessions (which would constitute a Brady violation unless this was disclosed to defense counsel).
June 26, 1974:
Plumbers’ break-in trial begins before Judge Gesell.
June 27, 1974:
Plumbers trial jury is seated.
June 28, 1974:
Opening arguments in Plumbers trial [Described at CQ, p. 673]
June 30, 1974:
Young is questioned by WSPF prosecutors for 4½ hours. [Variances from Young’s 52 hours (!) of questioning are itemized by WSPF memo in Young file. One noted potential problem is the number of hours of his questioning. TK: Need to see Brady disclosures regarding Young]
July 1-2, 1974:
Young testifies at Plumbers trial, admits he removed and destroyed evidence that might incriminate himself. Merrill writes about what a difficult witness he was – in that he declined to testify in the manner they wanted.
July 2-3, 1974:
Krogh testifies at Plumbers trial, followed by Colson and Hunt. Merrill is quite pleased with Krogh’s performance. NB: Krogh has already completed his own sentence by this time. [Query if Ehrlichman did not make a mistake in attacking Young, who really felt the break-in was justified, as opposed to Krogh, who became more than eager to admit the Plumbers’ wrongdoing – and essentially threw Ehrlichman under the bus.]
July 6, 1974:
CQ runs long article on meaning of “covert” and analyzes trial testimony at pp. 685-86.
July __, 1974:
Shepard testifies as a chain of custody witness for the government.
July 8-9, 1974:
Ehrlichman testifies in his own defense at Plumbers trial.
July 9, 1974:
Treadwell, former attorney for Krogh, testifies that Krogh and Young once said that Ehrlichman did not authorize the break-in or know of it in advance. On cross-examination he somewhat recants with regard to Young.
Judge Gesell orders Henry Petersen’s grand jury testimony released to HJC Impeachment Inquiry.
July 11, 1974:
Closing arguments are made in the Plumbers trial.
July 12, 1974:
At the conclusion of trial, Gesell instructs the jury that any covert action by the government is a per se Fourth Amendment violation, for which there is no national security defense – guaranteeing Ehrlichman’s guilty verdict.
Ehrlichman, Liddy and two Cubans are found guilty in Plumber break-in trial. Ehrlichman also found guilty on three of the four perjury counts.
July 13, 1974:
CQ runs long article on Plumbers case [CQ, pp. 693-94]
July 22, 1974:
Gesell dismisses Ehrlichman count of lying to the FBI, saying “The FBI interview may occur, as it did here, under extremely informal circumstances which did not sufficiently alert the person questioned to the danger that false statements may lead to a felony.” [Order in Ehrlichman file]. [NB: Both Gesell and Sirica rule this way, but only after the damage has been done: a super-straight FBI agent has taken the stand and testified that he was lied to by the defendant. Tossing this out at the end of trial does little to repair the damage to the defendant’s credibility.]
July 25, 1974:
Ehrlichman files motion for new trial based on Gesell’s facial expressions during his testimony (which were commented upon by PBS’s Bob Zelnick). [Motion in Ehrlichman file]
July 31, 1974:
Gesell sentences the convicted defendants in Fielding break-in case. Ehrlichman is sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 months to five years on each of his three convictions. Liddy gets 1-3 years, to run concurrently with his existing sentence of 6 years and eight months to 20 years for the Watergate break-in. Barker and Martinez are placed on three years of probation (having already served their Watergate break-in sentences). The only one with a real sentence is Ehrlichman, since others are already sentenced anyway – and everyone knows Ehrlichman is a key defendant in the upcoming cover-up trial.
August 15, 1974:
Ehrlichman moves to dismiss the Los Angeles County perjury indictment on grounds of double jeopardy.
October 1, 1974:
Cover-up trial begins before Judge Sirica with five defendants (Mitchell Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mardian and Parkinson). Colson had already pleaded guilty in the Plumbers case and Strachan’s case had been severed (and was later dismissed).
November 7, 1974:
WSPF prosecutors move for admission of 26 additional White House tapes, obviating the need for Shepard to testify as a chain-of-custody witness, for which he had been subpoenaed in the cover-up trial.
November 22, 1974:
Krogh and others begin three days of testimony about Fielding break-in, under WSPF theory that his motive for participating in the cover-up was to prevent disclosure of Fielding break-in. Ehrlichman later claims this testimony was prejudicial and amounted to double-jeopardy.
December 22, 1974:
Times reporter Seymour Hersh reveals CIA’s “family jewels” in front page article, accusing the Nixon administration of ordering the CIA to conduct massive illegal domestic intelligence operations against the anti-war movement and other dissident groups. Disclosures lead to creation of Church Committee when Senate reconvenes the following month.
January 1, 1975:
Cover-up trial concludes with guilty verdicts for Mitchell, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman on all counts. Parkinson is acquitted; Mardian’s conviction will be overturned on appeal.
January 21, 1975:
Sen. Pastore (D-RI) introduces Senate Resolution 21 (described below), one of the many post-Watergate reforms.
January 27, 1975:
Senate passes S. Res. 21, on a vote of 82-4, which establishes a select committee to conduct an investigation and study of governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities. The panel is chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) and becomes known as the Church Committee. Mansfield’s first choice was Phil Hart, but he was too ill. Church had never before chaired a substantive committee.
February 21, 1975:
Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell are sentenced by Judge Sirica to terms of 2½ to 8 years.
March 10, 1975:
At WSPF request, all charges against Strachan are dropped.
Ehrlichman files appellate brief seeking to overturn his Plumbers conviction.
April 16, 1975:
DC Circuit Court overturns Gesell’s dismissal of Diego indictment, but he is never actually tried.
May 2, 1975:
WSPF files its reply briefs in the appeals of the convictions in the Plumbers case, fully supporting Gesell’s decision that there is no national security defense to a Fourth Amendment violation.
May __, 1975:
DOJ also files an amicus brief TK
May 9, 1975:
Career Deputy Attorney General of the Criminal Division (and Acting AAG) Keeney submits formal letter to the clerk of the DC Circuit laying out DOJ’s case for national security exceptions to the Fourth Amendment. He also characterizes Plumbers break-in as clearly illegal. Representations, particularly with regard to “black bag jobs”, are directly contradicted by later Church Committee disclosures. [Appendix document]
May 15, 1975:
Church Committee holds first hearing, a closed-door session with CIA Director William Colby, devoted to assassination plots against foreign leaders. Democrats push “rogue elephant” theory: JFK’s administration could not have authorized such attempts, so the CIA must have been off on a toot of its own. Republicans want to name names. The Rogue elephant theory was found completely untenable in Plumbers case, when shoe is on the other foot.
June 11, 1975:
WSPF prosecutors file reply brief in response to Ehrlichman appeal.
June 18, 1975:
DC Circuit Court hears Ehrlichman’s appeal in Plumbers case, along with those of Liddy, Barker and Martinez. Three judge panel consists of Circuit Court judges Levanthal and Wilkey, plus VA District Court judge Merhige.
September 16-18, 1975:
Church Committee holds first public hearings, which are devoted to shellfish toxins (replete with delivery gun, although never used)
September 23-25, 1975:
Church Committee holds second set of public hearings, devoted to Huston Plan.
November 6, 1975:
Church Committee holds third set of public hearings, devoted to NSA’s SHAMROCK program (1947-1975) wherein RCA, Global and ITT World Communications made records of international telegrams involving people on watch lists available to NSA. Professor Philip Heymann testifies against the practice as a violation of the Fourth Amendment.
November 18-19, 1975:
Church Committee holds public hearings on FBI’s COINTELPRO program (1956-1971), including testimony from Courtney Evans and Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, who were, respectively, FBI liaison to JFK and LBJ administrations. Their testimony confirms dozens of instances of Fourth Amendment abuses.
December 13, 1975:
Church for President Committee formed, as he announces end to investigative portion of his select committee.
March 18, 1976:
Church formally declares his presidential bid. From here on, his attention is devoted almost exclusively to his campaign.
April 26, 1976:
Church Committee issues Book II, Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, which details extensive government intrusions between 1936 and 1976 (ie: warrantless searches and seizures), in the name of national security. Senators Tower and Goldwater refuse to sign the Report. The Report leads to the creation of the FISA Courts under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
May 17, 1976:
DC Circuit Court upholds convictions of Ehrlichman and Liddy. but reverses and remands convictions of Barker and Martinez in the Plumbers case, on grounds that they were not allowed to raise “good faith” defense. Wilkey, who had Assistant AG, first of OLC and then of the criminal division from 1958 to 1961, wrote the opinion and held that, Ehrlichman could not claim a national security defense because there had been no specific approval by either the President or the Attorney General. See paragraphs 49-61 in opinion at: https://law.resource.org/pub/us/case/reporter/F2/546/546.F2d.910.74-1882.html
Levanthal’s concurring opinion, joined by Merhige, went further and upheld Gesell’s opinion rejecting any national security defense whatsoever for a Fourth Amendment violation, as well as the “good faith reliance” defense.
Missed by everyone, the Church Committee’s Book II, issued three weeks prior, specifically found that no Presidential or Attorney General approval had ever been required for “black bag jobs” undertaken by the FBI at an average of 125 per year, stretching back to 1936.
May 23, 1976:
Church wins Oregon and Idaho primaries
June 8, 1976:
Church loses California, Ohio and New Jersey primaries – effectively ending his presidential bid.
July 15, 1976:
Jimmy Carter announces his choice of Walter Mondale as his VP, rather than Church, after his representatives interview Hill Democrats about their respective influence.
Ehrlichman petitions Supreme Court for Writ of Certiorari, appealing the DC Circuit’s upholding of his Plumbers conviction.
October 28, 1976:
Ehrlichman begins serving his prison terms for both convictions at a low security prison in Safford, Arizona.
November 10, 1976:
Barker and Martinez indictments are dismissed, following remand by Circuit Court.
Ehrlichman’s sentence (along with those of Mitchell and Haldeman) is commuted by Judge Sirica to 1-4 years.
February 22, 1977:
Supreme Court denies Ehrlichman’s appeal (97 S. Ct. 1156)
April 12, 1977:
Liddy’s sentence is commuted by President Carter to eight years, making him first eligible for parole as of July 9, 1977.
May 18, 1977:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Edward Kennedy with bi-partisan co-sponsorship. The Act sets up special courts to approve electronic surveillance. It allows surveillance, without court order, within the US for up to one year unless the “surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. If a US person is involved, judicial authorization is required within 72 hours after surveillance begins.
September 7, 1977:
Liddy is released on parole from prison.
April 10, 1978:
Mark Felt is indicted for violation of 18 USC 241 for authorizing nine black bag jobs against the Weather Underground, a purely domestic terrorist group.
Ehrlichman is released from prison on parole, after serving 18 months.
September 18, 1980:
Felt trial begins in DC. Nixon and five former AGs testify in his defense.
November 4, 1980:
Reagan is elected President, winning twelve seats and 53-47 control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 1952.
Swept from office are:
–Mike Gravel (D-AK), who had attempted to filibuster and read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record.
–Frank Church D-ID), who had chaired the Church Committee.
–Robert Morgan (D-NC), a Church Committee member.
–Other losing liberals: Birch Bayh (D-IN), John Culver (D-IO), John Durkin (D-NJ), George McGovern (D-SD), Warren Magnuson D-WA), Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), Richard Stone D-FL), Jake Javits (R-NY, in primary).
–Other liberals retired: Adlai Stevenson (D-IL), Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT) and Richard Schweiker (R-PA and Church Committee member) who becomes Reagan’s HEW Secretary’
November 6, 1980:
Felt is convicted of violating the Civil Rights Act and fined $5,000.
March 26, 1981:
President Reagan signs Felt pardon, which is publicly announced on April 15th, the delay occurring as a result of President Reagan being shot by John Hinckley on March 30 when exiting the Connecticut Avenue Hilton Hotel.
April 7, 1984:
Church dies of cancer at age 59.
University of Kentucky Press publishes Church aide Loch Johnson’s personal account of serving on the Church Committee, A Season of Inquiry, the Senate Intelligence Investigation, which is surprisingly critical of the Committee’s conduct and particularly of Church’s leadership.
February 14, 1999:
Ehrlichman dies at age 74.
The FISA Act is amended by the USA PATRIOT Act after the 9/11 attacks.
Ellsberg publishes a book about the Pentagon Papers case, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.
June 25, 2007:
CIA Director Michael Hayden posts full “family jewel” report on CIA website.
August 5, 2007:
The USA PATRIOT Act is amended by the Protect America Act of 2007.
Watergate Prosecutor is published by Michigan State University as a tribute to its disabled author, William Merrill. It’s based on Merrill’s notes, but done by his colleague. The book’s disclosures, no doubt inadvertently, detail massive violations of due process by Plumbers Task Force prosecutors in general and by Merrill in particular.
February 17, 2008:
The Protect America Act of 2007 expires by its own terms.
February 22, 2008:
Judge Gesell dies at age 82.
July 9, 2008:
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 is passed by Congress.
June 13, 2011:
The National Archives declassifies and releases a full copy of Pentagon Papers, which is now available on its website.
July 17, 2011:
Merrill dies at Veterans Home in Grand Rapids, after being totally disabled by a stroke in 1992.