Egil Krogh

Egil Krogh

Egil Krogh, Jr., the son of a Norwegian immigrant, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 3rd August 1939.

Krogh served in the US Navy before going to law school. After graduating he went to work at Hullin, Ehrlichman, Roberts and Hodge, the Seattle law firm of family friend John Ehrlichman.

Krogh, a member of the Republican Party, supported Richard Nixon in his successful bid to become president in 1968. Nixon rewarded Krogh by appointing him as liaison to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. It was while carrying out these tasks that he met G. Gordon Liddy.

Richard Nixon became concerned about leaks to the press and on the advice of John Ehrlichman, Krogh was appointed as head of the "Special Investigation Unit" in the White House. Soon afterwards Krogh recruited G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt to what now became known as the "Plumbers".

In September 1971 Krogh approved the burglary of the office of Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist seeing Daniel Ellsberg. Liddy and Hunt carried out the actual break-in.

On 17th June, 1972, Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker and James W. McCord were arrested while in the Democratic Party headquarters in Watergate.

The day after the break-in, Richard Kleindienst was told by G. Gordon Liddy that the operation had originated in the White House and that he should arrange the release of the burglars. Kleindienst refused to free the men, but failed to report Liddy's confession.

The phone number of E. Howard Hunt was found in address books of the burglars. Reporters were now able to link the break-in to the White House. Bob Woodward, a reporter working for the Washington Post was told by a friend who was employed by the government, that senior aides of President Richard Nixon, had paid the burglars to obtain information about its political opponents.

In 1972 Richard Nixon was once again selected as the Republican presidential candidate. On 7th November, Nixon easily won the the election with 61 per cent of the popular vote. Soon after the election reports by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post, began to claim that some of Nixon's top officials were involved in organizing the Watergate break-in.

Frederick LaRue now decided that it would be necessary to pay the large sums of money to secure their silence. LaRue raised $300,000 in hush money. Anthony Ulasewicz, a former New York policeman, was given the task of arranging the payments. This money went to E. Howard Hunt and distributed by his wife Dorothy Hunt.

On 8th December, 1972, Michele Clark and Dorothy Hunt took Flight 533 from Washington to Chicago. The aircraft hit the branches of trees close to Midway Airport: "It then hit the roofs of a number of neighborhood bungalows before plowing into the home of Mrs. Veronica Kuculich at 3722 70th Place, demolishing the home and killing her and a daughter, Theresa. The plane burst into flames killing a total of 45 persons, 43 of them on the plane, including the pilot and first and second officers. Eighteen passengers survived." Clark and Hunt were both killed in the accident.

The airplane crash was blamed on equipment malfunctions. Carl Oglesby (The Yankee and Cowboy War) has pointed out that the day after the crash, Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation, supervising the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Association - the two agencies charged with investigating the airline crash. A week later, Nixon's deputy assistant Alexander P. Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA, and five weeks later Dwight L. Chapin, the president's appointment secretary, become a top executive with United Airlines.

Hugh Sloan later testified that Frederick LaRue told him that he would have to commit perjury in order to protect the conspirators. LaRue was arrested and eventually found guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice. He was sentenced to three years in jail but only served four months before being released.

In January, 1973, Frank Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord were convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping.

Richard Nixon continued to insist that he knew nothing about the case or the payment of "hush-money" to the burglars. However, in April 1973, Nixon forced two of his principal advisers H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign. Richard Kleindienst also resigned on the same day. A third adviser, John Dean, refused to go and was sacked. On 20th April, Dean issued a statement making it clear that he was unwilling to be a "scapegoat in the Watergate case".

On 7th February, 1973, the Senate voted to create a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Sam Ervin was appointed chairman of this committee. Inouyre, along with Howard Baker, Herman Talmadge, Edward Gurney, Joseph Montoya and Lowell Weicker. Hearings took place between 17th May to 7th August and 24th September to 15th November.

On 18th May, 1973, Attorney General Elliot Richardson appointed Archibald Cox as special prosecutor, with unprecedented authority and independence to investigate the alleged Watergate cover-up and illegal activity in the 1972 presidential campaign.

The following month John Dean testified that at a meeting with Richard Nixon on 15th April, the president had remarked that he had probably been foolish to have discussed his attempts to get clemency for E. Howard Hunt with Charles Colson. Dean concluded from this that Nixon's office might be bugged. On Friday, 13th July, Alexander P. Butterfield appeared before the committee and was asked about if he knew whether Nixon was recording meetings he was having in the White House. Butterfield reluctantly admitted details of the tape system which monitored Nixon's conversations.

Alexander P. Butterfield also said that he knew "it was probably the one thing that the President would not want revealed". This information did indeed interest Archibald Cox and he demanded that Richard Nixon hand over the White House tapes. Nixon refused and so Cox appealed to the Supreme Court.

On 20th October, 1973, Nixon ordered his Attorney-General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Archibald Cox. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered the deputy Attorney-General, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. Ruckelshaus also refused and he was sacked. Eventually, Robert Bork, the Solicitor-General, fired Cox.

An estimated 450,000 telegrams went sent to Richard Nixon protesting against his decision to remove Cox. The heads of 17 law colleges now called for Nixon's impeachment. Nixon was unable to resist the pressure and on 23rd October he agreed to comply with the subpoena and began releasing some of the tapes. The following month a gap of over 18 minutes was discovered on the tape of the conversation between Nixon and H. R. Haldemanon June 20, 1972. Nixon's secretary, Rose Mary Woods, denied deliberately erasing the tape. It was now clear that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up and members of the Senate began to call for his impeachment.

On November 30, 1973, Egil Krogh pled guilty to federal charges of conspiring to violate Lewis Fielding's civil rights and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. He was sentenced to two to six years in prison, though he served only four-and-a-half months.

Peter Rodino, who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, presided over the impeachment proceedings against Nixon. The hearings opened in May 1974. The committee had to vote on five articles of impeachment and it was thought that members would split on party lines. However, on the three main charges - obstructing justice, abuse of power and withholding evidence, the majority of Republicans voted with the Democrats.

Two weeks later three senior Republican congressmen, Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, John Rhodes visited Richard Nixon to tell him that they were going to vote for his impeachment. Nixon, convinced that he will lose the vote, decided to resign as president of the United States.

Krogh was disbarred by the Washington State Supreme Court in 1975. He successfully petitioned to be readmitted to the practice of law in 1980. He is now a partner at Krogh & Leonard in Seattle.

. Namebase: Egil Krogh

Primary Sources

(1) Taped conversation between Richard Nixon and John Dean (28th February, 1973)

John Dean: Kalmbach raised some cash.

Richard Nixon: They put that under the cover of a Cuban committee, I suppose?

John Dean: Well, they had a Cuban committee and they... some of it was given to Hunt's lawyer, who in turn passed it out. You know, when Hunt's wife was flying to Chicago with $10,000 she was actually, I understand after the fact now, was going to pass that money to one of the Cubans - to meet him in Chicago and pass it to, somebody there.... You've got then, an awful lot of the principals involved who know. Some people's wives know. Mrs. Hunt was the savviest woman in the world. She had the whole picture together.

Richard Nixon: Did she?

John Dean: Yes. Apparently, she was the pillar of strength in that family before the death.

Richard Nixon: Great sadness. As a matter of fact there was discussion with somebody about Hunt's problem on account of his wife and I said, of course commutation could be considered on the basis of his wife's death, and that is the only conversation I ever had in that light.

(2) Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Washington Post (13th June, 1973)

The Watergate prosecutors have a one-page memo addressed to former White house domestic affairs adviser John D. Ehrlichman that described in detail the plans to burglarize the office of Pentagon papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, according to government sources.

The memo sent to Ehrlichman by former White House aides David Young and Egil (Bud) Krogh, was dated before the Sept. 3, 1971 burglary of the office of the Beverly Hills psychiatrist, the sources said.

The memo was turned over to the prosecutors by Young, who has been granted immunity from prosecution, the sources said.

The sources confirmed earlier reports that Young will testify that Ehrlichman saw the memo and approved the burglary operation.

Ehrlichman could not be reached directly for comment yesterday, but Frank H. Strickler, one of his attorneys, said: "It has been his consistent position that he had no advance knowledge of the break-in and Mr. Ehrlichman stands by that position."

The burglary was supervised by Watergate conspirators E. Howard Hunt, Jr. and G. Gordon Liddy, who in 1971 were members of the White House special investigations unit called the "plumbers."

The group which was directed by Young and Krogh, was charged with investigating leaks to the news media and had been established in June, 1971, after the publication of the Pentagon Papers by several newspapers.

The memo from Krogh and Young directly contradicts a statement Ehrlichman made to the FBI on April 27. According to a summary of that interview made public May 2, Ehrlichman stated that he "was not told that these individuals (Hunt and Liddy) had broken into the premises of the psychiatrist for Ellsberg until after this incident had taken place. Such activity was not authorized by him, he did not know about this burglary until after it had happened."

In an affidavit released last month, Krogh had given "general authorization to engage in covert activity" to obtain information on Ellsberg.

Reliable sources said that Krogh prepared his affidavit by referring to an incomplete copy of the memo that he and Young sent to Ehrlichman before the burglary. Missing from that copy, the sources said, was the bottom portion in which plans for the burglary were described.

The top portion merely made a general reference to covert activity and Krogh based his affidavit on that, according to the sources.

The sources said the prosecutors have the entire memo and that Krogh, now reminded of its contents, is expected to change his statement, thus adding to the damaging testimony against Ehrlichman.

The sources said that the bottom portion of the memo was apparently removed late last year or early this year to sanitize Korgh's files before Senate confirmation hearings on his nomination as undersecretary of Transportation.

Krogh was confirmed without difficulty. He resigned last month after acknowledging that he approved the burglary operation on Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

(3) Alan J. Weberman, Coup D'Etat in America: The CIA and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy (1975)

After the plane carrying Hunt's wife Dorothy crashed under mysterious circumstances in December 1973, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board told the House Government Activities Subcommittee that he had sent a letter to the FBI which stated that over fifty agents came into the crash zone. The FBI denied everything until William Ruckleshaus became temporary Director, at which time they admitted that their agents were on the scene. The independent researcher Sherman Skolnick believes that Dorothy Hunt was carrying documents that linked Nixon to the Kennedy assassination. According to Skolnick these papers, which were being used to blackmail Nixon, were seized by the FBI. Skolnick's theory is corroborated by a conversation that allegedly took place between Charles Colson and Jack Caufield.

According to Caufield, Colson told him that there were many important papers the Administration needed in the Brookings Institution and that the FBI had recently adopted a policy of coming to the scene of any suspicious fires in Washington D.C. Caufield believed that Colson was subtly telling him to start a fire at Brookings and the FBI would then steal the desired documents.

Note at this point that one day after the plane crash, White House aide Egil Krogh was appointed Undersecretary of Transportation. This gave him direct control over the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration-the two agencies that would be in charge of investigating the crash. Soon Dwight Chapin, Nixon's Appointment Secretary, became a top executive at United Airlines. Dorothy Hunt was on a United carrier when she made her ill-fated journey.