New book: Liddy's talk of killing journalist went well beyond talk

Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

In 2008, Media Matters often noted the disparity in coverage of Barack Obama's purported ties to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and that of John McCain's association with right-wing radio host G. Gordon Liddy, whom Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman has described as McCain's "own Bill Ayers."

You'll recall:

Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in "if necessary"; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a "gangland figure" to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap "leftist guerillas" at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The murder, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.)

Now, a new book by Mark Feldstein -- Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 9/28/2010) -- appears aimed at pulling the lid off Liddy's sordid past. As Politico's Keach Hagey reports (emphasis added):

But a new book by Mark Feldstein, "Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington's Scandal Culture" (FSG), reveals that the plot to assassinate [columnist Jack] Anderson went well beyond talk.

Liddy and another Nixon operative, former CIA agent Howard Hunt, tailed the columnist and examined his Maryland home for "vulnerabilities," Hunt recalled. And later, they met at the Hay Adams Hotel with a CIA physician involved in a plot to poison Fidel Castro and plotted the poisoning of Jack Anderson.

They discussed painting the steering wheel of his car with enough LSD to make him have a car crash, or perhaps dropping a poisoned pill into his aspirin bottle. Liddy eventually suggested Anderson "should just become a fatal victim of the notorious Washington street-crime rate."

Liddy and Hunt eventually called off the plan because they had something more important to do: bug the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate.

G. Gordon Liddy
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