Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activiti...

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.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.44.21] Senator MONTOYA. What information did you have with respect to the involvement of any officials in the White House on that initial stage of the coverup? Mr. DEAN. Well, it was on Monday the 19th that I Was gaining information. I think the first very revealing information was that Mr. Strachan had destroyed, at Mr. Haldeman's suggestion. I also--that morning I had had a call from Ehrlichman who asked me to find Out what Mr. Colson's involvement was in this matter. Senator MONTOYA. Did you advise the President or Mr. Haldeman or Mr. Ehrlichman about the authority that might exist under law for the covert activity that was to ensue as a result of the organization of the plumbers? Mr. DEAN. I wasn't involved in the establishment of the plumbers and it was somewhat by accident that I was talking about Bud Krogh who I had known quite well and was partially responsible for my coming to the White House as a matter of fact, when I realized that a plumbers unit or whatever the proper name was for it was being established. At that time he told me that they had an operation that was seeking to determine major leaks. He invited me down to see the unit. He said, "We have a new sensor security system, and you might be interested in seeing it," so I went down and looked at it, and saw their scrambler phone and that was about the extent of it. [00.45.58] Senator MONTOYA. Who devised the, shelter of executive privilege as part of the coverup? Mr. DEAN. Well, the--I wouldn't say there was a conscious decision at any point In time to use executive privilege as a part of the coverup. It was always in existence With regard to White House staff because no one, the President's policy was he didn't want the staff coming up. It began to take a very severe focus during the--first of all, during the Patman hearings that, if push had gotten to shove in those hearings that. privilege would have been declared on Timmons and myself. Senator MONTOYA. You mean to tell me that you and Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman didn't discuss the use of executive privilege? Mr. DEAN. Yes sir; I was getting to that. Senator MONTOYA. As a coverup? Mr. DEAN. That was the first time it had occurred when there was some discussion of it that, was with regard to the Patman hearings in late September or early October. That was the only congressional problem that, arose. It was, during the Gray hearings when my name Moved to the information front, that we began discussing using or litigating with Dean the issue of executive privilege possibly being the strongest, and these were the discussions I had with the President whereas if we were, litigating the matter with Mr. Dean there would be no other witnesses from the White House who would have to appear because he would have the perfect reason that this matter is under litigation. Senator Ervin. We will take a 5 minute recess to vote. [00.47.50-LEHRER v.o. states that MONTOYA has been interrupted for a Senate vote] [PBS network ID-title screen "SENATE HEARINGS ON CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES"] [00.50.19-LEHRER in studio] LEHRER states that MONTOYA will continue his interrogation of DEAN. [00.50.27]