.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
[00.07.19-GURNEY interrogates DEAN about sensitive documents given to FBI Director GRAY, trying to make DEAN appear to be the architect of the COVERUP]
Senator GURNEY. And what, was precisely the thing that was said to Mr. Gray about the documents?
Mr. DEAN. Was said to him? Well, I can recall that Ehrlichman told him that they were from Mr. Hunt's safe and that they were very politically sensitive. I then explained to him that we had turned the rest of the material over to the agents. However, these were political dynamite and if they ever leaked, it would just be a very serious problem for the President during the reelection year.
Senator GURNEY. Was there, not something about the light of day in that conversation?
Mr. DEAN. That is possible. I do not, recall it now, what particular language, I Used. I think I conveyed to the committee the--if I used that particular term at that time, that does -not necessarily strike me as one of my normal phrases.
Senator GURNEY. Well, to the best of your recollection, what did you say to Mr. Gray?
Mr. DEAN. As I say, to the best of my recollection, I cannot recall the precise words, but other than the fact that the material had Come from Hunt's safe, to the best of my knowledge, it, did not, relate to the Watergate; if it leaked, that these documents were political dynamite, that if they leaked or became public, it would cause great embarrassment and great, problems.
[00.08.42-GURNEY continues to interrogate DEAN about giving documents to the FBI director to hold]
Senator GURNEY. Did you ever call Mr. Gray about these documents after that meeting?
Mr. DEAN. I cannot recall calling him. I recall, as I testified, I believe yesterday, I had discussed this with counsel, that I had a conversation at some time with Mr. Gray in his office, in which he told me that he had taken the documents to Connecticut. He said he was either going to read them or had read them. I just cannot recall -which it was that he said, because it was a Passing
Senator GURNEY. You do not recall two conversations with Mr. Gray, either meeting with him in his office or he in your office or over the phone, asking him what he had done with the documents?
Mr. DEAN. The first time--well, as I say, this one occasion, as I recall, was in his office, when he, indicated to me that, he had taken them to Connecticut.
Senator GURNEY. That was the result, of your question asking him what he had done with them; is that right?
Mr. DEAN-. No; as I recall, he volunteered that, that he had taken them to Connecticut.
Senator GURNEY. Well, what were you discussing at, that meeting with him? What, was the purpose of the meeting?
Mr. DEAN. I do not recall. It could have been on the, leak problems, that, we were having---
Senator GURNEY. But, you do recall in the meeting that he said, I have taken the documents to Connecticut?
Mr. DEAN. If you gave me a specific date on what meeting you might be referring to.
Senator GURNEY. I do not really know myself I am trying to find out.
Mr. DEAN. As I say, if I have dates, I can generally put them in the Sequence of -what I was doing at, a given time or what a given concern was. I do recall a, meeting in Gray's office that this came up, he told me, that he had taken them to Connecticut, I am not clear whether he said he had read them or was going to read them or anything of this nature.
Senator GURNEY. Did you ever ask him again on any occasion what he had done with the documents?
[00.10.33-DEAN asserts that the decision to keep the documents quiet came from GRAY, not from him-GURNEY'S objective is frustrated]
Mr. DEAN. Yes, I did. After I had disclosed this matter to Mr. Petersen, I recall that I was at luncheon at the Justice Department. This was probably in early January. At that time, Mr. Gray came up to me and sort of took Me by, the arm and said, John, you have got to hang tight on not disclosing these documents. And I said nothing to him.
I said, I understand, and that was--but at the time, I had been questioned by the prosecutors. I felt I had to tell Mr. Petersen because if I was going to come forward, that very fact was going to come out.
Senator GURNEY. 'But, you never asked him on any other occasion what he did with the documents; is that right?
Mr. DEAN. Not to my recollection; no. In fact, I was quite surprised at that same, time that he, had destroyed the documents.
Senator GURNEY. Why did that surprise you ?
Mr. DEAN. Well, I thought it was totally unnecessary, a rather unwise move,
Senator GURNEY. I thought that was the whole subject of the conversation in Ehrlichman's office, when you turned over the documents to him?
[00.11.40-DEAN and GURNEY butt heads again, DEAN calmly responding to the inferences drawn by GURNEY]
Mr. DEAN. To the, contrary. He, was told that they should just never be leaked or made public. That to me, is far different from telling a man to destroy documents. There are a host of things, I am sure, in everybody's files that, if they were leaked, you know, if you told a staff man not to leak this, that is one thing. If you told him to destroy it, that, is quite, another situation.
Senator GURNEY. Hoping that, they might never see the light of day again might be interpreted as wanting them to be destroyed, might it not have?
Mr. DEAN. Not necessarily. I am sure there are a lot of things in the Bureau that, Probably should never see the light of day, but to destroy them is something else. I see a great distinction, Senator, in the two.