Lee R. Pennington

Lee R. Pennington was a senior FBI agent who worked closely with J. Edgar Hoover. He claimed to have "70,000 confidential contacts" throughout the United States. Pennington, who specialized in identifying left-wing activists, supplied a great deal of information to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HCUA). It was during this period that he met Lou Russell and James W. McCord.

By the time Pennington retired from the FBI in 1953 he was the third highest ranking agent in the organization. He then went to work compiling files on domestic "subversives" for the American Legion's National Americanism Commission". Later he became director of the Washington office of the right-wing group, the American Security Council.

Lee R. Pennington with J. Edgar Hoover
Lee R. Pennington with J. Edgar Hoover

Pennington also worked for the CIA who paid him $250 a month by "sterile" check, which could not be traced back to the government. It was such a secret relationship that even the director of the CIA was not informed about it. According to David Wise (The American Police State): "once a month Pennington would report to his case officer, Louis W. Vasaly at the Burgundy Room, a restaurant in Chevy Chase." Over a fifteen year period Pennington also provided information to Paul Gaynor, the chief of CIA's Security Research Staff (CRS) and Howard Osborn, director of the Office of Security.

Pennington continued to keep in contact with James W. McCord. Pennington's secretary, Donald Sweany, a former staff member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, married McCord's secretary, Lucille.

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. Two days later Pennington went to McCord's house where he met Donald and Lucille Sweany. While there he watched as the Sweanys and Ruth McCord destroyed a large number of documents linked to the Watergate break-in. Pennington later claimed he informed his CIA case officer, Louis W. Vasaly, about the burning of McCord's files.

The FBI received information that McCord's files had been destroyed by a former CIA agent called "Pennington". They also discovered that a man named Pennington had driven James W. McCord to his Rockville home following his release on bail. FBI agent, Donald L. Parham, asked the CIA to produce a report on Pennington.

According to the author, Jim Hougan Secret Agenda (1984): "The CIA's response to the FBI's inquiry was to give the bureau the name of a different Pennington - not Lee R., Jr., but Cecil H. The latter was a retired employee of the Office of Security. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the Watergate affair and had not, of course, driven McCord anywhere at any time. Grilled by the FBI for reasons that he could not comprehend, his alibi was quickly verified, with the result that the Pennington lead turned into a dead end for the bureau, just as the CIA had intended."

An unnamed CIA official told the Senate Committee chaired by Lucien Nedzi that: "He (Edward F. Saye) told me at the time... that Mr. Lee Pennington had entered Mr. McCord's office at home, destroying any indication of connections between the Agency and Mr. McCord." The head of the Security Research Staff said that "Pennington was too sensitive and the decision had been made to sacrifice Cecil Pennington instead".

In August, 1972, Richard Helms told Stephen L. Kuhn, the deputy director of the Office of Security, to "Remove the (Pennington) materials from the (Watergate) files and maintain them separately." This message was passed to another CIA officer who refused to comply with the order. He remarked to another officer that the "Agency did not need its own L. Patrick Gray". This was a reference to L. Patrick Gray, the director of the FBI who destroyed the documents in the White House safe of E. Howard Hunt. The two officers placed the Pennington materials in a sealed envelope and marked it for the director's "Eyes Only". In August, 1973, the new CIA director, William Colby, asked to see all files related to the Watergate Scandal. Kuhn instructed the CIA official given this responsibility to collect these documents together, that he was not to include the Pennington envelope in the materials given to Colby.

When interviewed by the Lucien Nedzi and his Senate Committee Richard Helms admitted that during the Watergate investigation he ordered the erasure of all tapes and transcripts of conversations secretly recorded in his office and the French Room (a conference room used by senior officials of the CIA). More than four thousand pages of recorded conversations over a six year period were destroyed.

Helms had been instructed by Mike Mansfield that all documents relating to Watergate had to be preserved. Helms told Nedzi that the destroyed materials had nothing to do with Watergate: "When I heard about tapes and destruction of Watergate-related tapes, the thing that immediately struck me was: "who knows what was on those tapes except me or my secretary? Who in the public can make an allegation that there were any tapes that were Watergate-related?" Lucien Nedzi replied: "The problem is... how can you prove they weren't Watergate-related."

In his book Secret Agenda, Jim Hougan alleges that Pennington was providing Lou Russell and James W. McCord with CIA reports on people like Jack Anderson that were being targeted by those involved in Operation Sandwedge. Hougan claims that "Lee R. Pennington was McCord's cut-out to the Security Research Staff."

William Colby was eventually given the Pennington file. On 28th June, 1974, he reported to Howard Baker: "The results of our investigation clearly show that the CIA had in its possession, as early as June, 1972, information that one of its paid operatives, Lee R. Pennington, Jr., had entered the James McCord residence shortly after the Watergate break-in and destroyed documents which might show a link between McCord and the CIA."

Lee R Pennington died of an apparent heart attack in October, 1974.

Primary Sources

(1) Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA (1984)

Pennington was a close friend of McCord's, having been recruited by the younger man in the early 1950s while serving as director of the American Legion's National Americanism Commission. In that capacity he helped McCord to identify those members of the CIA who, for one reason or another, might be regarded as politically suspect. He was able to do this because one of his principal duties with the Legion was to compile and maintain a watch list of Americans who had attended the wrong rallies, signed the wrong petitions, or joined the wrong political party. Pennington's secretary, Donald Sweany, himself a veteran of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, had married McCord's secretary, Lucille. It was something of a reunion, then, when Pennington "just happened" to drop by McCord's house a few days after the break-in. There Pennington says that he found the Sweanys and Mrs. McCord standing before the fireplace, destroying every shred of paper that was to be found in McCord's office-books, magazines, files, photographs, everything. (Apparently, because the fire had been lighted in some haste and perhaps the flue had not been opened beforehand, the house was engulfed in smoke, and later would require repainting; the walls were blackened with soot, and the furniture was smoke-damaged as well.) Eager to be of help, Pennington sat down before the fire and began tossing folders into the flames. Asked later about the contents of these folders, Pennington could not be of much help: as he said, it was not as if a selection process had taken place-if it was paper, it got burned.

This, at least, is what Pennington claims occurred and, lest anyone jump to the conclusion that they were destroying evidence, Mrs. McCord has stated that this summer fire was set at her husband's direction. According to Mrs. McCord, she had received a telephone call from Houston, Texas, on June 19, two days after the arrests, in which a bomb threat had been made. In a telephone conversation with her jailed husband, Mrs. McCord informed him of the threat. He, in turn, recalled that his office at home was filled with papers of every kind. Should a bomb go off in the house, these papers might catch fire, and so Mr. McCord told Mrs. McCord to burn every piece of paper in his study. In effect, it was a preemptive strike, and, surely, some important personal papers must have gone up in flames. However odd this must seem, so also must Mrs. McCord's information that the alleged telephone threat came from Houston, Texas. How could she have known that? Was the threat made collect?

What is most astonishing about this conflagration, however, is not the fatuous explanation put forward to justify it but the Ervin committee's failure to question McCord about the matter. Clearly, there was every reason to suspect that the committee's principal witness had ordered the destruction of potentially valuable evidence, and yet, because the committee found McCord's testimony so convenient to its own biases, Senator Ervin and his colleagues were loath to ask questions of McCord that might impugn his credibility as a witness or complicate the morality play that the committee had chosen to put on.

(2) David Wise, The American Police State (1976)

Perhaps the most blatant example of the CIA's suppression of evidence occurred in what became known as "the Pennington affair." In August of 1972 the FBI's patient agent Parham in Alexandria asked the CIA for information about a man named Pennington who had once been McCord's supervisor. The CIA cheerfully forwarded a file on a former employee named Cecil H. Pennington who had no connection with McCord. It was some time, almost a year and a half, in fact, before the FBI learned that the man they wanted was one Lee Pennington, a close friend of McCord's.

And there was good reason for the CIA's throwing sand in the eyes of agent Parham. Lee Pennington, who had been a paid informant for the CIA's Office of Security for years, had gone to McCord's home shortly after the Watergate burglary and helped to burn documents linking McCord to the CIA. In the panic to destroy the documents someone forgot to open the flue, causing extensive smoke damage to McCord's home; one CIA witness said that "three rooms had to be repainted" afterward.

Pennington was an unlikely figure to be on a CIA retainer. Then close to eighty, but presumably still spry, he had retired from the FBI in 1953. He then went to work compiling files on domestic "subversives" for the American Legion's "National Americanism Commission," later moving to a job with the American Security Council. While with the American Legion, Pennington claimed to have "developed contacts throughout the United States who would feed information in to me:" He said he had "70,000 confidential contacts" across the country, and often passed information along to the House Un-American Activities Committee. He was receiving $250 a month from the CIA, by "sterile" check, which could not be traced back to the government, apparently to pick up congressional hearings, press releases, and other openly available material, which was a very strange arrangement. Once a month Pennington would report to his case officer, Louis W. Vasaly, at the Burgundy Room, a restaurant in Chevy Chase.

While helping Mrs. McCord burn the documents, Pennington saw at least one that said "CIA" on the cover. When he returned to his own home, Pennington later claimed, he immediately telephoned the CIA to report what he had seen.

In January 1974 John Richards of the CIA inspector general's office was reviewing Watergate files in the Office of Security. Sooner or later he was bound to come across the Pennington file. So Osborn, according to subsequent testimony, issued instructions to remove the Pennington file. Two subordinates on Osborn's staff objected strenuously, and the decision was reversed. The files were made available to Richards.

(3) Carl Oglesby, The Yankee and Cowboy War (1976)

Baker details his discovery that CIA Director of Security Osborn ordered Pennington material removed from CIA Watergate files before the files were handed over to Congressional investigating committees, and points out that the information on Pennington came to light in the first place "only as a result of the position taken by a staff employee of the Personnel Security Division." This staff employee "was so concerned that the documentary evidence - of the Pennington information would be destroyed by others in the CIA that he and a co-employee copied the relevant memoranda and placed them in their respective personal safes:" An unsung Ellsberg, this staff employee. The "relevant memoranda" referred to appear to be a single internal CIA report by Paul Gaynor on the results of agent Pennington's trip to the McCord house several hours after the Watergate arrest. As we shall see, Gaynor remained in close contact with the McCord operation from then on, at least up to the March 19 letter and the opening of the Sirica phase.

One or both of these anonymous CIA "staff employees" ( intelligence analysts?) balked at going along with a CIA letter notifying the Ervin Committee that it had seen everything the CIA had to show on the question. According a Jim Squires story appearing in the Boston Globe, March 26, 1974, Gaynor's report had been kept secret over a year by Security Director Osborn, who "took an early retirement last month." Paul Gaynor also "retired from the Agency last year." Heads falling in the forest-do they make any sound.

(4) Howard Baker, responding to the CIA's investigation into Lee R. Pennington (1974)

Our investigation clearly shows that the CIA had in its possession, as early as June of 1972, information that one of their paid operatives, Lee R. Pennington, Jr., had entered the James McCord residence shortly after the Watergate break-in and destroyed documents which might show a link between McCord and the CIA. This information was not made available to this committee or anyone else outside the CIA until February 22, 1974, when a memorandum by (Howard Osborn) the then Director of Security (McCord's old job) was furnished to this committee.

The evidence further shows that in August of 1972, when the FBI made inquiry about a "Pennington" the Agency response was to furnish information about a former employee with a similar name.

(5) Jim Hougan, Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat and the CIA (1984)

The Pennington matter is significant for several reasons. To begin with, an informational memorandum prepared over the signature of Howard Osborn specifically states that Pennington helped to destroy McCord's files in order to eradicate any evidence of a connection between McCord and the CIA. What is most meaningful about this is the fact that McCord's past connection to the CIA was already a matter of public record-indeed, the front page of the public record-at the time that Pennington fed the flames in McCord's home. The inference, then, is obvious and unavoidable: since McCord's past connection to the CIA was well known at the time, the only purpose to be served by destroying McCord's files in June 1972 was to eliminate evidence of an ongoing clandestine relationship between the CIA and the recently jailed spook.

The cover-up of the Pennington incident is important, also, for what it suggests, either in its own right or in conjunction with other evidence. Internal CIA documents make reference to the fact that Pennington repeatedly briefed his case officer on McCord's situation vis-a-vis Watergate, and that Pennington provided the Security Research Staff with investigative reports about Jack Anderson that McCord had prepared on the basis of Lou Russell's information. It appears, then, that Lee R. Pennington was McCord's cut-out to the Security Research Staff. So, too, as evidenced by the deliberate concealment of the Pennington incident from the CIA's own director and inspector general, it is clear that a secret agenda was at work within the CIA-a "second track" or "runaway operation" to which only a select few (e.g., General Gaynor) were privy.

(6) Malcolm Abrahams, 30 Watergate Witnesses Have Met Violent Deaths (July 12, 1976)

The CIA is behind it all. That's the conclusion of Mae Brussell - one of America's foremost assassination experts - a researcher who has collected every pertinent newspaper story, every book, every document since the Watergate break-in four years ago on the night of June 17, 1972.

Miss Brussell is the only person in America who perceived the gruesome string of deaths that stretches from Watergate to now.

She believes that a faction within the Central Intelligence Agency is responsible not only for Watergate, but for the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy.

She believes, as President Nixon stated on the Watergate tapes, that everything horrible that's happened in American politics is connected, starting with the Bay of Pigs.

Some of the 30 people who died, she says, knew only about CIA involvement in Watergate. Some of them knew much, much more.

A few of the dead, like Martha Mitchell, Lyndon Johnson, Congressman Hale Boggs and Mafia hoodlum Sam Giancana, are well-known. Others might have been - if they had lived and told their stories. But 30 are dead. And there's no reason to believe that there won't be more.

1. Beverly Kaye, 42, died of a "massive stroke" in December, 1973, while riding in the White House elevator. She was Secret Service agent John Bull's secretary and her job included the actual storing and preservation of the White House tapes. It is almost without question, says Mae Brussell, that she knew what was on those tapes, including the 18 minutes of recorded conversations which were mysteriously erased. As reported in the West Coast news service, "Earth News," on June 5, 1974, from the stories she told her friends and neighbors, she was convinced that the president and his aides were involved in the Watergate bugging and cover-up.

2. Murray Chotiner, a long-time friend of Nixon's was killed when a government truck ran into his car on January 23, 1974. At first it was reported that Chotiner suffered only a broken leg, but he died a week later. According to a March 31, 1973 article in the Los Angeles Times, Chotiner may have been one of the people who received the tape recordings made inside the Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate building.

3. William Mills, the Congressman from Maryland, was found shot to death - an apparent suicide - one day after it was disclosed that he failed to report a $25,000 campaign contribution given to him by President Nixon's re-election finance committee. Mills, 48, was discovered with a 12-gauge shotgun by his feet and an "alleged suicide note" pinned to his body. In all, seven such notes were found, apparently written by Mills, although this was never verified. According to Miss Brussell, the $25,000 came from the $1.7 million dollar secret fund for "dirty tricks" used by the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

4. and 5. James Webster and James Glover, key men in Congressman Mills' campaign, were killed in a car accident in February of 1972. Another campaign worker stated in the Washington Post on May 23, 1973, that the illegal $25,000 contribution was delivered to Mills' campaign manager James Webster.

6. Hale Boggs, the Congressman from Louisiana and a member of the Warren Commission, died in July of 1972, one month after the Watergate arrests. Boggs and two other men disappeared when the light aircraft in which they were flying crashed in Alaska. The Los Angeles Star, on November 22, 1973, reported that "Boggs had startling revelations on Watergate and the assassination of President Kennedy." Richard Nixon made some unintelligible remarks about Congressman Boggs which were recorded on the White House tapes, just seven days after the Watergate break-in.

7. Dorothy Hunt, the wife of convicted White House "plumber" E. Howard Hunt, was killed, along with 41 other people, when United Airlines Flight 553 crashed near Chicago's Midway Airport on Dec. 8, 1972. Mrs. Hunt, who, like her husband, had worked for the CIA, was allegedly carrying $100,000 in "hush" money so her husband would not implicate White House officials in Watergate. The day after the crash, White House aide Egil (Bud) 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 Butterfield was made the new head of the FAA, and five weeks later Dwight Chapin, the president's appointment secretary, was dispatched to Chicago to become a top executive with United Airlines.

The airplane crash was blamed on equipment malfunctions.

8. and 9. Ralph Blodgett and James Krueger, attorneys for Northern Natural Gas Co., were killed in the same airplane as Mrs. Hunt. The two men, Miss Brussell contends, had documents linking Attorney General John Mitchell to Watergate, and documents of a secret transfer of El Paso Natural Gas Co. stock made to Mitchell after the Justice Department dropped a $300 million anti-trust suit against the company. The money from these stocks may have been used for political espionage. Blodgett told friends before boarding the plane in Washington that he would "never live to get to Chicago."

10. and 11. Dr. and Mrs. Gary Morris died in March of 1972 when their boat mysteriously disappeared off the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. Their bodies were never found. But their names were on the dead body of Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, according to an article in the Oct. 3, 1975 Washington Post. "The plane crash that killed Mrs. Hunt in Chicago has now been officially ruled an accident," the story stated. "But there's one bizarre coincidence that may never be explained. "Her red wallet at the time of her death had a slip of paper with the name of a Washington psychiatrist, Dr. Gary Morris, on it." Neither Howard Hunt nor his wife were patients of the doctor, who was already dead at the time of the plane crash. It is interesting to note, Mae Brussell says, that Dr. Morris was an expert in hypnosis and that Mr. Hunt used "mind control" in his espionage work.

12. J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, died on May 1, 1972, a month before Watergate. There is considerable evidence that he may have known about the White House "dirty tricks." An article in the Harvard Crimson quotes Felipe De Diego, a Cuban exile who took part in the break-in at psychiatrist Daniel Ellsberg's office, as saying:

"Two burglaries took place at Hoover's Washington home. The first was in the winter of 1972 to retrieve documents that might be used for blackmail against the White House. "After the first burglary," according to Diego, "a second burglary was carried out; this time, whether by design or misunderstanding, a poison, thyonphosphate genre, was placed in Hoover's personal toilet articles. Hoover died shortly after that." Thyonphosphate genre is a drug that induces heart seizures. Its presence in a corpse is undetectable without an autopsy. No autopsy was ever performed on the body of J. Edgar Hoover.

13. Sam Giancana, the Mafia chief, was murdered on June 22, 1975, as he was about to testify before Sen. Frank Church's Senate Committee, investigating the use of underworld figures by the CIA, for the purpose of assassinating foreign leaders. Giancana had ties to E. Howard Hunt and the CIA. His murder is unsolved, although police say "it didn't look like a Mafia hit." His former girlfriend, Judith Campbell Exner recently revealed her secret romance with JFK.

14. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the former president, died on January 20, 1973, in a helicopter ambulance en route to San Antonio, Texas. Three months before his death, Johnson was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "We've been running a damn Murder Inc. in the Caribbean." This was two years before Sen. Church's committee revealed the plots to assassinate foreign leaders. "Coincidentally," Mae Brussell says, "Johnson died in the arms of a secret service agent Mike Howard, who in 1963 had been assigned to protect Marina Oswald after her husband was killed."

15. George Bell, assistant to Charles Colson, special counsel to the White House, died of unreported causes on June 30, 1973. When questioned about President Nixon's infamous "enemies list," Colson told the House Subcommittee Investigating Watergate that the "late George Bell" was responsible for the list of 200 celebrities and politicians whom the President considered dangerous.

16. Lee Pennington, Jr., a CIA agent, died of an apparent heart attack in October of 1974. Immediately after the Watergate arrests two years earlier, he had been sent to ransack burglar James McCord's home. Richard Helms, the CIA chief at the time, did not reveal this fact to any investigators. It was not until June 28, 1974, four months before Pennington's death, that the new CIA director, William Colby, reported to Sen. Howard Baker: "The results of our investigation clearly show that the CIA had in its possession, as early as June, 1972, information that one of its paid operatives, Lee R. Pennington, Jr., had entered the James McCord residence shortly after the Watergate break-in and destroyed documents which might show a link between McCord and the CIA."

17. J. Clifford Dieterich, a 28-year-old secret service agent assigned to Nixon, was killed when the president's helicopter crashed off the Bahamas in May of 1973. Dieterich was one of seven men in the helicopter, but the only one to die. Miss Brussell believes that in guarding Richard Nixon, he may have come to know too much.

18. Clay Shaw, who years earlier had been acquitted of conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, died of a heart attack, on August 16, 1974. His death came just weeks after Victor Marchetti, author of "The Cult of Intelligence," revealed that Shaw had worked for the CIA. He had been on assignment in Mexico in 1963 at the same time as CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and Lee Harvey Oswald. Shaw was cremated. There was no autopsy.

19. Merle D. Baumgart, an aide to Rep. Peter Rodino of the House Judiciary Committee on Impeachment, was killed in a traffic accident on May 20, 1975. Washington police described his death as "a routine traffic accident" - until they received an anonymous call to "look into it." According to the Portland Oregonian of June 30, 1975, U.S. agents joined the probe but kept it secret because of the "stature of some individuals who might be involved." Miss Brussell speculates that in his work to impeach Nixon, Baumgart may have come across some dangerous information.

20. Nikos J. Vardinoyiannis, a Greek ship owner who contributed funds to Nixon's presidential campaign, died of undisclosed causes in 1973. Watergate prosecutor Leon Jaworski was investigating Vardinoyiannis when the Justice Department declared that the Greek's contribution of $27,000 was not illegal. The Department reached this conclusion, Mae Brussell says, even though the contribution was made after one of Vardinoyiannis' companies was contracted to supply fuel for the U.S. 6th Fleet, and even though federal law bars foreign contractors from contributing to U.S. political campaigns.

21. Joseph Tomassi, the 24-year-old head of the American Nazi Party in California was shot to death on the front steps of his Los Angeles headquarters, on August 15, 1975. Two years earlier, the Los Angeles Times had reported that "the Committee to Re-Elect the President gave $10,000 in undisclosed funds to finance a surreptitious campaign to remove George Wallace's American Independent Party from the 1972 California ballot." The Times went on to say that "$1,200 of the fund found its way to Joe Tomassi, head of the Nazi Party in California."

22. Mrs. Louise Boyer, Nelson Rockefeller's assistant for 30 years, fell to her death from a 10th story New York apartment on July 3, 1974. At the time, as a consequence of Watergate, Rockefeller was being considered for the vice-presidency. Accusations had been made that he had been involved in the illegal removal of gold from Ft. Knox. It's believed that Mrs. Boyer supplied the investigators with this information.

23. Jose Joaquin Sangenis Perdimo, a Cuban exile who worked with the CIA at the Bay of Pigs, died mysteriously in 1974. Code-named "Felix," he had worked with Watergate plummers Hunt and Barker. In 1972 he was awarded a secret merit medal by the CIA.

24. Rolando Masferrer, another Cuban exile employed by the CIA, was blown blown to bits when his car exploded on October 5, 1975. Masferrer had worked with "plummers" Hunt, Sturgis and Barker. According to Miss Brussell, "He would have been investigated for his activities in connection with assassination attempts on foreign leaders, had he not been killed."

25. Lou Russell, an old friend of Nixon's from the "Red Scare" days, died of natural causes on July 31, 1973. In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, Nixon's secretary Rosemary Wood stated: "I met Lou Russell once when he came to the office. He said he worked on the old House Un-American Activity Committee and that he needed a job." Russell found a job alright, with "McCord Associates," a CIA front run by Watergater James McCord.

26. Jack Cleveland, a partner of the president's brother Donald Nixon, died in Canada in November of 1973. At the time he was wanted for questioning in connection with a possible government pay-off to Howard Hughes. Cleveland was suspected of being a go-between in a deal whereby Nixon's brother gained an interest in a large Nevada ranch allegedly in exchange for the president's clearing the way for the billionaire's takeover of Air West. "When Watergate came apart," Miss Brussell says, "this deal came under investigation."

27. Richard Lavoie, chief of security for International Telegraph and Telephone, died of a heart attack on December 27, 1972. At the time Lavoie was guarding Ditta Beard, an ITT secretary who claimed she had a memo that her company had contributed $400,000 to Nixon's campaign fund so that John Mitchell would not bust up some of ITT's holdings. When columnist Jack Anderson broke this story, Miss Beard was moved from Washington to Denver, Colo., where she was hospitalized for an apparent heart attack. She was whisked away, Anderson claimed, so that she couldn't testify. Miss Brussell suspects that Lovoie may have heard too much from Dita Beard.

28. Mrs. Andrew Topping, the wife of a man arrested for plotting to kill Nixon, died of gunshot wounds on April 6, 1972, two weeks after the Watergate break-in. Her death was declared a suicide. Andrew Topping told police that "pro-rightist forces" beyond his control caused his wife's death.

29. James Morton was President Gerald Ford's campaign treasurer. According to a New York Times report of November 2, 1973, Ford was being questioned by a senate committee prior to his appointment as vice president, and was asked about a secret sum of $38,000 used in his campaign for the House of Representatives. The Times story stated, "Ford confirmed under questioning that a committee organized in Washington raised $38,216 for his re-election in 1972... but Ford said he did not know the names of the donors because the committee treasurer, James G. Morton is now dead." Like so much of the Watergate money, Miss Brussell notes, no records were kept.

30. Martha Mitchell, estranged wife of the former attorney general, died on Memorial Day, 1976. A constant "pain in the side" of the Watergate conspirators, she was the first person to point the finger at Richard Nixon and suggest he resign.