Sunday, June 17, 2012

Schools Of Watergate

Richard Nixon's operatives -- especially Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Dwight Chapin, and Don Segretti -- are the southern California angle on Watergate, having learned their dirty tricks in their pretend politics at USC and UCLA. Clancy Segal, then a left-wing editor at UCLA's Daily Bruin, writes about a primitive era of gentile and Jewish fraternities; getting beaten up by frat boys for dating the wrong women, just like in "Animal House"; his jailhouse interview with Haldeman, when the disgraced former chief of staff candidly admitted his festering resentment of "Jewish liberals" on campus; and a fascinating moment when Alexander Butterfield, another Bruin, chose for whatever reason not to deny that he was a CIA plant in the White House, ordered to protect the agency from Nixon's interferences:

Tall, handsome and bronzed, Alex gave me that old Sigma Nu smile while refusing to deny, "Write it the way you see it, Clancy. Remember, there was nothing personal." Meaning, he played the game and Bob and John simply were collateral damage to a larger scheme.

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