30 Watergate Witnesses
Have Met Violent Deaths
(From Midnight, July 12, 1976)
By MALCOLM ABRAMS
are the odds of 30 people all involved in the same horrible
scandal dying within four years?
Because that's what happened with Watergate.
Since the break-in at the Democratic
National Headquarters on June 17, 1972, there have been 30 deaths
many of them violent all of people involved in
one way or another.
The odds are at least 100,000,000,000,000,000
to one. (One hundred million billion to one.)
An actuary of the London Sunday Times
worked out that figure after witnesses in the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy died within four years of his death.
Now Watergate has surpassed even that
MIDNIGHT Staff Writer
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
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
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
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
The airplane crash was blamed on equipment
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
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
"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
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
"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
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
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
14. Lyndon Baines Johnson, the
former president, died on January 20, 1973, in a helicopter ambulance
en route to San Antonio, Tex.
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
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
Miss Brussell speculates that in his
work to impeach Nixon, Baumgart may have come across some dangerous
20. Nikos J. Vardinoyiannis, a
Greek shipowner 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
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
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
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.
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.