Since we’ve been looking back on the era of Watergate lately, I thought I would start running some interviews with key players in the scandal to give you some idea of how the drama unfolded and how it started from a seemingly unimportant yet bungled breakin to one of the greatest and most damaging scandals ever to hit a U.S. President so far. E. Howard Hunt was a CIA Intelligence Officer and was active in the Nixon White House as a member of “The Plumbers”, a group which included G. Gordon Liddy whose job was first to break into the Los Angeles offices of The Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg’s Psychiatrists office, and later as a member of the Committee To Re-Elect The President, coordinate the breakin and bugging of the Democratic National Committees offices at the Watergate. Hunt, along with Attorney General John Mitchell and key Nixon figures Charles Colson, Herbert W. Kalmbach, Fred LaRue, and John Dean became entangled in the payoff schemes to ensure silence over the figures involved in the breakin when the seemingly innocuous reports came to the attention of the media, and an explosive story was in the making.
This interview with Hunt is conducted by William F. Buckley, who is sympathetic to Nixon, for the most part. Hunt would be implicated and indicted for his role in the break-in and sentenced to 33 months in prison on a conspiracy charge. He would be one of several key figures in the Nixon Administration to serve jail time and President Nixon would eventually be forced to resign his office.
It should be noted that the Watergate scandal didn’t break overnight and that the indictments, hearings and resignations would take place some two years after the initial break-ins and bugging were reported.
In the case of Watergate, justice moved slowly, and piece-by-piece a story began to be revealed, and that took time.
For a reminder, here is that interview between E. Howard Hunt and William F. Buckley from May 12, 1974 as broadcast on the Firing Line program.