Jefferson Morley | May 9, 2019
Watergate Burglar Sought Information on a Left Wing Mole Who Didn’t Exist
James McCord, the Watergate burglar who died two years ago, told his family he had a political motive for participating in the botched break-in that lead to the scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.
McCord claimed he sought to gather intelligence on an alleged antiwar militant working in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.
“My motivations were different than those of the others involved,” McCord told Sirica, but his ulterior motive for the break-in was never fully explained until his final PowerPoint presentation. Titled “Watergate and the Gainesville 8,” it reveals the conservative political ideology that drove his involvement in Watergate.”
Except there was no such militant, writes Shane O’Sullivan in the Washington Post.
Toward the end of his life, McCord continued to make the case to his family that a terrorist threat by anarchist revolutionaries justified his illegal entry into and bugging of DNC headquarters. His message to his family is clear: his role in the Watergate break-in was a matter of national security — to stop the assassination of three U.S. senators by radical antiwar protesters who threatened the safety of the country.
But McCord, a retired CIA security officer had other motivations which he did not necessarily share with his family: his loyalty to the CIA. After the burglary, notes Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, he kept some of the CIA’s most sensitive secrets.
McCord’s secret motivation for the break-in was based on false information and doesn’t absolve him of responsibility for his crimes. Those crimes, along with his willingness to expose the White House coverup of Watergate through his letter to [Judge John] Sirica, remain his legacy.