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Jack Anderson's Nixonian tactics

There was a time in Washington when Jack Anderson was a hero, the columnist who kept unearthing Richard Nixon's dark secrets, a Pulitzer winner who revealed the administration's secret tilt toward Pakistan in its war against India.

Jack-Anderson-2.jpgBut Anderson's reputation would have been shredded had anyone learned that he paid off the source who slipped him the classified documents on Pakistan. Here's how it went down: Anderson bought some undeveloped California land from Navy yeoman Charles Radford, using an old high school friend as a middleman to disguise the transaction. "It was really a payoff," Anderson acknowledged a few months before his death.

Anderson made the admission to author Mark Feldstein, an associate professor at George Washington University. When Feldstein worked as an Anderson intern in the 1970s, he says, "I looked up to him and admired him. He certainly had his warts, God knows. I certainly realized that his later career turned embarrassing. Any of us who worked for him knew the tactics he used were not the ones I teach in journalism school."

But, he says, "the blackmail and bribery came as a shock."

Feldstein's new book "Poisoning the Press"stunned me, another former Anderson reporter from that era, and may transform the muckraker's image as well. While detailing Nixon's utter obsession with Anderson -- to the point that 16 CIA operatives once kept him under surveillance and Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy plotted to kill him -- the author makes the case that each side employed equally ruthless methods against the other.

Anderson, who died in 2005, may seem a remote figure today, but in the pre-Watergate days he was the capital's leading investigative journalist and self-promoting showman, churning out a remarkable series of scoops with his small staff. Nixon called him an S.O.B. and worse.

height
Nixon at a news conference on April 30, 1971. (Ellsworth Davis/Post)

Their mutual hostility was a harbinger of the escalating frictions between presidents and the press, although no subsequent administration has matched Nixon's in terms of venality and criminality toward journalists. But the accumulated evidence of Anderson's unclean hands soils what otherwise would be a media morality tale.

Not everyone buys this thesis, of course, including Anderson's longtime deputy Les Whitten. "Jack had a lot of things wrong with him, but when he was good he was very good, and he was good most of the time," Whitten says. "Jack was not underhanded so much as he was clever. ..... He was from the school, if you're right 75 percent of the time, that's a pretty good average."

Brit Hume, the former Anderson reporter who became a Fox News anchor, praises the book's portrayal. "I think by and large it was fair to Jack," he says.

Questionable tactics
Feldstein, an easygoing former correspondent for ABC, NBC and CNN, began the project as a doctoral dissertation a decade ago. He conducted 200 interviews, reviewed tens of thousands of pages of documents, including Anderson's FBI file, and time spent listening to the scratchy White House tapes. On Tuesday, GW will unveil the archives donated by Anderson -- 200 boxes of personal papers that the Bush-era FBI tried to seize after his death, claiming the possibility of national security secrets, before backing off months later.

Anderson's questionable tactics were visible as early as 1958, when he and a Democratic congressional investigator were caught with bugging equipment in the old Sheraton-Carlton Hotel, surreptitiously recording the businessman who bribed Sherman Adams, later forced to resign as President Dwight Eisenhower's chief of staff. This was a big break for Anderson, who was then the chief legman for columnist Drew Pearson.

During the 1960 campaign, Anderson worked with an operative for John F. Kennedy's campaign to uncover a secret $205,000 loan -- actually a gift that was never repaid -- from reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes to Vice President Nixon's brother, Donald. Pearson was reluctant to run the story on the eve of the election, so Anderson set a trap by letting a top Nixon aide know he was investigating the matter. That prompted the GOP campaign to leak a sanitized version to a conservative Scripps-Howard reporter, creating the opening for the columnists to "correct the record" with the seamy details.

Anderson and Pearson quickly took a partisan side, drafting a statement for their friend Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy's running mate, to demand Senate hearings on Nixon's finances. They even sent a telegram to Democratic congressman Jack Brooks -- headlined SUGGEST PRESS STATEMENT SOMEWHAT ALONG THESE LINES -- which Brooks faithfully followed.

Anderson sometimes hit Democrats, too. Weeks after Martin Luther King's assassination, he reported that Robert Kennedy had authorized FBI spying on the civil rights leader -- and later acknowledged that the leak had been timed by RFK's rival, President Johnson, who had given the story to Pearson. The bureau confirmed it to Anderson even though J. Edgar Hoover had called him "a flea-ridden dog" who was "lower than the regurgitated filth of vultures."

Homophobic surveillance
One of the book's most striking themes is the blatant homophobia of that era, as revealed by Feldstein's archival sleuthing. Weeks after Nixon took office, a White House aide gave Anderson a ludicrously false tip that the president's top assistants, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, were gay lovers. Anderson had a staffer conduct surveillance outside Haldeman's Watergate residence and later told the FBI's No. 2 man that he had learned of a gay sex ring in the White House.

That performance was matched by the administration's response to the leak of the India-Pakistan papers by Radford, the Navy yeoman. Nixon, according to Ehrlichman's notes, called him to ask, "Is yeoman deviate?" The president later told his staff he wanted investigators to find out if the relationship between Anderson and Radford was "sexual." Ehrlichman later recommended "keeping [Radford] under surveillance in the hope of catching him...with Jack Anderson sometime." Nixon approved the plan. It was absurd on its face: Anderson had nine children and, like Radford, was a Mormon.

As it turned out, the administration brought no charges. "I'd love to take that bastard Anderson" and prosecute him, Nixon told his attorney general, John Mitchell, who agreed. But Anderson countered by threatening to reveal an even more embarrassing story than the leaks themselves: that Radford had been spying on the White House on behalf of the Pentagon (as he would eventually acknowledge in congessional testimony).

During another controversy, White House aides muttered about a young Anderson staffer. "Do we have anything on Hume?. ..... It'd be great if we could get him on a homosexual thing," Haldeman said.

"Is he married?" Nixon asked.

They should check because "he sure looks it," said top aide Chuck Colson.

The president then speculated that Pearson and Anderson were gay, too, which was inaccurate. They all shared a fierce anti-gay prejudice in an era when the discovery of homosexuality was a career-ender.

Hume now laughs off such talk, saying, "I thought that stuff was hilarious."

Cat-and-mouse game
Hume came under White House scrutiny after breaking a blockbuster story, that ITT had promised to put up $400,000 for the Republican National Convention in exchange for a Justice Department antitrust ruling allowing the conglomerate to acquire an insurance company. Hume had confirmed with ITT lobbyist Dita Beard that she had written a memo outlining the deal (saying Mitchell "is definitely helping us, but cannot let it be known. ..... Please destroy this, huh?"). The White House tried to prove the memo was a fake. When FBI tests essentially authenticated it, Nixon's counsel, John Dean, pressed the bureau to modify that finding. Hoover, though he despised Anderson, rejected the request as improper.

anderson
Anderson in Washington March 31, 1972. (Associated Press)

Like two bruised prizefighters, Anderson and Nixon continued to swing away -- the difference, of course, being that the president wielded the power of the government. The CIA, though barred from domestic spying, had already tried having its agents tail Anderson, a tactic he mocked by having his kids dress up like their father and drive off in different directions. Later in 1972, the president's men tried feeding negative material about Anderson to the press, then sent him a forged White House letter in an unsuccessful attempt to get him to bite on a bogus scoop.

The cat-and-mouse game turned more serious when two Nixon campaign operatives, Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, began plotting to murder Anderson. They considered breaking into his Bethesda home and slipping poison into one of his medicines, putting LSD on his steering wheel or ramming into his car. Finally, Liddy decided on knifing or strangling Anderson, which he called "justifiable homicide." Feldstein questions how serious the plots were, but notes that Liddy and Hunt both admitted their involvement; Liddy wrote about the plot in his autobiography.

Playing dirty
But just when one sympathizes with Anderson as the target of thugs and loons, the book serves up reminders that he could also play dirty -- even when that meant consorting with his nominal enemies. When George Wallace was gearing up for his 1972 campaign challenge to Nixon, Anderson asked for -- and received -- Internal Revenue Service files on the Alabama governor. White House aide Murray Chotiner provided the confidential tax records, which is a felony. The story damaged Wallace, and Feldstein concludes Anderson was being "disingenuous at best" by praising Nixon in his column for refusing to kill the investigation.

As a younger reporter, Anderson admitted in an unpublished manuscript obtained by Feldstein, "I would have regarded such dealings as evidence of a deplorable cynicism." In the end Anderson double-crossed the Nixon team by burning his source, reporting that the White House had "use[d] our column" to leak Wallace's records, bringing "pressure on him through a tax investigation" to "eliminate" the "threat to President Nixon's reelection."

In 1973, the columnist went after acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray, determined to derail his nomination after the bureau arrested Anderson's partner Whitten on trumped-up charges of receiving classified documents that were thrown out by a grand jury. After testifying at Gray's confirmation hearings, Feldstein reports, Anderson "blackmailed a key legislator." He pushed Senate Majority Whip Robert Byrd to oppose Gray, saying, "Bobby, I've got more newspapers in West Virginia than Pat Gray has." The message, Anderson admitted, was "if I ever found any dirt on him, I had an audience in his home state." Byrd wound up leading the opposition to Gray and used questions supplied by Anderson.

Anderson played only a minor role in the Watergate scandal that toppled Nixon, and his influence gradually declined over the years. In 1992, as Feldstein, who interviewed me, notes in the book, I reported that a $10,000 Exxon check wound up in Anderson's bank account for a television program he was making after the Exxon Valdez oil spill; he claimed he didn't realize Exxon's role and pulled out of the project.

The interviews with Anderson in the last years of his life, as he struggled with Parkinson's disease and was succumbing to cancer, had a poignant air. "He was so forgotten by the time I got to him that he was glad to be remembered," Feldstein says. The lesson, in his view, is "how corrupting power is, no matter how idealistic you start out."

On the other hand, Feldstein says of his onetime boss, "I think he was incredibly brave and was doing it when no one else was and broke some stories of enormous consequence. He's both heroic and arguably corrupt. He's not a simple villain or hero."

By Howard Kurtz  |  September 13, 2010; 10:00 PM ET
Categories:  Latest stories , Newspapers , Top story  | Tags: Brit Hume, Jack Anderson, Les Whitten, Mark Feldstein, Nixon, Poisoning the Press, Watergate, columnist, investigative reporter, muckraker  
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Comments

This article states that the $205,000 loan made by Hughes to Donald Nixon was a "gift" because it was not repaid. That is incorrect. The loan was secured by a valuable piece of real estate on Whittier Boulevard in Whittier, California, and there was a foreclosure on the property. I personally took to the Los Angeles County Recorders office the deed conveying the property to the Hughes Tool Company. I worked for many years as personal secretary to Mr. Hughes and I had just graduated from USC Law School, so I was given the assignment of having the deed recorded. It must have been 1969 or 1970.

Posted by: imzgr81 | September 13, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Howie, I do believe your cut-and-paste got the better of you.

Posted by: Rob_ | September 13, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy...Howie shilling again for his corporate bosses and friends. Even using a cover of Time (trade mark) magazine.

He (or some one else) even double posts this turgid book review.

You and Jack Anderson were soul brothers, two little men gossiping like two old ladies.

Anything in the book about how much he payed you for this fluffery?

Posted by: adamnescot1 | September 13, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

This article needs editing--after the Feldstein quote (not a simple villain or hero) it goes back and repeats a huge section (from the plot to kill Anderson to the end of the story). Hopefully you will correct that!

Posted by: tbeall1 | September 13, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

The premise of this essay--that Anderson was as evil as his targets--is not even remotely supported by the details. There is no evidence here of Anderson doing anything for the purpose of enriching himself or undermining democracy. Threatening a target that any of their improper actions will be disclosed by his newspapers does not qualify as bribery and blackmail. This essay smacks of an ulterior motive on the part of the author.

Posted by: rjoff | September 14, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

There are no liberals, just a damaged troubled crippled formed loyal opposition by the Military-Industrial Complex. Zealots say a liberal is a conservative who hasn't been roughed up mugged and troubled till trouble is all they know. The John Boorman film Zardoz showed 007 furiry Sean Connery terroristically bursting the bubble of Ivory Tower liberals and dragging them into barbarism. Militarism is directed destruction so between the carrot and the stick, conservatives don't spare the rod. Damage destruction and death are necessarily more decisive and determinate than general good. Right wing zealots are the worst criminals in the history of humanity with every method and means of villany ever devised or concieved of added to their all options on the table arsenal to use against enemies foreign and domestic. Zealots are believers who live by myths legends lies and fabrications so the conscience of a conservative isn't troubled. As long as no one believes power mad American right wing zealots are the most heinous vile despicable criminals in the untold history of humanity it don't bother them none. Jeckyl and Hyde is a masterful disguise. Don Corleone is a rich businessman.

Posted by: Uoughtano | September 14, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

More shoddy work, or more accurately more superficial sensationalizing. Their is only ONE, count 'em one question that has to be asked, "Were the stories as written grounded in fact?"

The source of information, or the manner that it is acquired are separate issues from the issue they are used to address. But this author, like almost all media workers today care only for the surface, the superficial, the emotional...Why? I suspect that fundamentally it is because they are so ill educated that they really, honestly are incapable of dealing with complexities.

Posted by: didereaux | September 14, 2010 2:27 AM | Report abuse

"Anderson had a staffer conduct surveillance outside Haldeman's Watergate residence and later told the FBI's No. 2 man that he had learned of a gay sex ring in the White House."

FBI #2 Would that be Mark Feld, aka Deep Throat?

Posted by: edlharris | September 14, 2010 4:44 AM | Report abuse

If Anderson broke the news of the Howard Hughes-Donald Nixon loan, then he may have been smack in the middle of Watergate. Some speculate that the burglars bugged Democratic Headquarters to learn what the Dems knew about another funny deal between Hughes and Donald Nixon (who may still be alive).

The film "Hoax" implies it as such. It shows that when a struggling author's fabrication of a Hughes autobiography collides with Nixon's super-paranoia, the result was the Watergate break-ins.

Posted by: blasmaic | September 14, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that the Washington Post runs a story about the Nixon era right before an important election season. I guess punching the straw man of George W. Bush isn't working so they pull out the venerable straw man of Nixon to and taint any current Republican politicians. Personally, I think both parties and the mass media of that era were all hypocritical and disgusting, but that was 40 years ago. I think you must look at current candidates, current incumbents, and the current mass media's treatment (including bias) of each to make a judgement of who should get your vote.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 14, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Uoughtano, I've saved your comment to memorize whenever I need to sound like a crazy person.

And didereaux the phrase you're looking for is "The ends justify the means!" Hardly an ethical position in any profession.

Posted by: ronjaboy | September 14, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

"I find it interesting that the Washington Post runs a story about the Nixon era right before an important election season. I guess punching the straw man of George W. Bush isn't working so they pull out the venerable straw man of Nixon to and taint any current Republican politicians. Personally, I think both parties and the mass media of that era were all hypocritical and disgusting, but that was 40 years ago. I think you must look at current candidates, current incumbents, and the current mass media's treatment (including bias) of each to make a judgement of who should get your vote.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | September 14, 2010 6:31 AM"

I have no dog in this hunt; with that said, there are still some Republicans who are running against Jimmy Carter. All's fair in politics, I suppose.

Posted by: 74umgrad1 | September 14, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

As the joke goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you. Maybe his "enemies list" wasn't completely paranoid.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | September 14, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

News Of The World? Hacking into cell phones? Rupert Murdoch? Piers Morgan?

Posted by: bs2004 | September 14, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

What jumped out at me:

"Anderson double-crossed the Nixon team by burning his source, reporting that the White House had "use[d] our column" to leak Wallace's records, bringing "pressure on him through a tax investigation" to "eliminate" the "threat to President Nixon's reelection."

How many times has the Post (and others) printed a story from a "highly placed official", to whom they have covered with a promise of anonymity, only to have that story later proved to be an outright lie after the damage was done? Yeah, I'm looking at you Cheney.

Sources that lie to the media should be immediately burned. That they are not, for the dubious need for "access", shows a lot about our press and a yearning for people like Anderson again.

Posted by: Islander5 | September 14, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Why can't we have aggressive reporting of Washington like we had in the days of Jack Anderson? So his reporting efforts were sometimes underhanded. So what? No one elected him, and he didn't violate an oath of office. He was a reporter who used underhanded techniques sometime to get a story for his column. What he uncovered was the undercover techiques used by government and elected officials who are paid by the taxpayers for their work. Anderson didn't get a dime from taxpayers. Who is today the new Jack Anderson? There is none. All we have is an echo chamber of the Obama regime, and journalists who join together in liberal groups like Journolist to bend the news to favor Obama. At least Anderson had few favorites and went after both Republicans and Democrats with equal vigor and didn't pick sides. His death signaled the beginning of the slide in newspaper circulation and if newspapers are going to have any future they are going to need to find some new Jack Anderson somewhere.

Posted by: edwardallen54 | September 14, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

So the most famous "reporter" of the 60's and 70's was an independent Democratic party operative masquerading as a journalist. Millions of people swallowed his tripe. Nixon, more than anyone else, knew that just because you're paranoid doesn't mean everyone is not out to get you. WaPo can stand up and be counted on this one as well. Ben Bradlee, Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, et al. All of them hated Nixon and all of them used their jobs to carry out their personal vendettas.

To paraphrase Captain Renault in "Casa Blanca": I'm shocked!. Shocked that there was advocacy journalism going on in the MSM. Like Charles Foster Kane, Anderson was consumed by his own ego and hatred. Now the other shoe can drop. The hatred of Nixon and love of Kennedy in the 60s and 70s was on the order of a serious clinical mental illness. All the couches in all the whorehouses of America couldn't hold the journalists who needed serious psychiatric help. Now they are dying off and so too is their way of doing things. That's what I call progress.

The Press is dead. Long live the Internet.

Posted by: maxtel1910 | September 14, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I assume that since Nixon left office, we've had nothing but ethical behavior.

Posted by: EliPeyton | September 14, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

There are a number of issues here--are Anderson's ethical lapses equivalent to Nixon's? Doubt it. Will Howie also unmask how a great many WaPo reporters have been Republican operatives? Doubt it. Ceci Connolly's stenography for Ken Starr. her obvious use of story lines from GOP staffers for articles on health care reform (ditto Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray).

This is the same Kurtz who recently was surprised at what a nsaty boy Newt Gingrich was. And he'll never tell you that his wife is a right wing pr-spreader.

Posted by: thebuckguy | September 14, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Jack Anderson may have had his warts, but he's head and shoulders above what we have these days. "Journalists" whose biggest scoop is what? A nutcase preacher threatening to burn a Quran? Hysterical mobs following around Natalie Holloway's mother? Investigative reporting that goes no deeper than the tea kettle of the Tea Party? Face it, today's "journalists" are a bunch of lazy wannabees. They don't refrain from dirty tricks out of ethics; they're just too lazy to make the effort.

Posted by: gasmonkey | September 14, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

My hometown paper ran Jack Anderson on the same page as Evans & Novak: the op-ed.

Posted by: mattintx | September 14, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Outstanding investigative reporter, questionable tactics, government malfeasance. Nothing new really or surprising. If book contains info that "would have shredded" his reputation, ain't in column. Sloppy work, Mr. Kurtz.

Posted by: wiggyone87 | September 14, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Anderson may not have been perfect, but he was working in an incredibly corrupt town. I only wish we had members of the media today who were tough and sought the truth. Instead, we have a club-like environment. Media socialize with politicians and power brokers. They are all afraid to step on the toes of their friends. The result is that the American people are being poorly served, both by the politicians and power brokers, and by the media who are supposed to be watch dogs. The D.C. culture is sickening.

Posted by: clarkesq | September 14, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse


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Posted by: sportsellshop | September 14, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@tbeall1, @Rob_

thanks for pointing out the error. it's fixed now.

Posted by: Mike McPhate | September 14, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone really believe that the Press doesn't do this today? Today, the press is even more challenged to scoop competitors than before. If anyone really does believe the Press wears white hats and marches on the moral high ground, go try to find a Republican on today's Post Endorsements.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | September 14, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone really believe that the Press doesn't do this today? Today, the press is even more challenged to scoop competitors than before. If anyone really does believe the Press wears white hats and marches on the moral high ground, go try to find a Republican on today's Post Endorsements.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | September 14, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Have no liking for Nixon, God knows, but Anderson sounds pretty corrupt to me. The things he did run counter to what the press is supposed to be all about, and totally undermines its credibility, in other words, its entire existence in a democracy.

Technical point: "Anderson worked with an operative for John F. Kennedy's campaign to uncover a secret $205,000 loan -- actually a gift that was never repaid ..." Are gifts supposed to be repaid?
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Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.

Posted by: tma_sierrahills | September 14, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Anderson was a propagandist and an idealogue, plain and simple.

The press hated Nixon from the beginning for exposing communist spy Alger Hiss.

They used to joke about Nixon's paranoia. What this shows is that just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't trying to get you.

Posted by: theduke89 | September 14, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"...questionable tactics, government malfeasance, shady, slanted reporting"? Sounds like FOX Skews, to me.
If Liberal or mainstream reporters decide to use the same tactics, they'll get played by the masters. That's how Dan Rather took a tumble.

Posted by: kbtoledo | September 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

This is priceless:

---------------

"Do we have anything on Hume?. ..... It'd be great if we could get him on a homosexual thing," Haldeman said.

"Is he married?" Nixon asked.

They should check because "he sure looks it," said top aide Chuck Colson.

-------------

That's the prison boy calling Brit Hume gay.

hilarious!

Posted by: vigor | September 14, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Georgetowner: He wrote this column because a book about Anderson just came out. Jeez, does everything have to be a big conspiracy?

Posted by: rj2835a | September 14, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Well, if Chuck Colson smeared him, he must not have been all bad.

Posted by: Ralphinjersey | September 14, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"...stunned me, another former Anderson reporter from that era,...

Pulleeze Howard, you are not and never have been in a league with these men...except perhaps in your own press releases!

Pathetic!

Posted by: SoCali | September 14, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Howard Kurtz can't find any investigative journalists around today, so he has to go back 40 years to find one to smear.

The article has a number of contradictory statements, such as this one: " While detailing Nixon's utter obsession with Anderson -- to the point that 16 CIA operatives once kept him under surveillance and Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy plotted to kill him -- the author makes the case that each side employed equally ruthless methods against the other."

Equally ruthless?

Posted by: dougd1 | September 14, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet the K.G.B was laughing it A@@ off.

Posted by: jjgrah | September 14, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Jack Anderson revealed that Nixon was supporting Pakistan at a time when Pakistan was ruled by the army and was involved in the slaughter of millions of unarmed Bangladeshis who had just voted for independence. I remember the incident very well and morality was firmly on Anderson's side.
Henry Kissinger would attempt to give Nixon a moral cover by saying Bangladesh would be a basket case and could not last, hence opposing its creation was the moral thing to do. Well, today Bangladesh is a vibrant democracy and perhaps the moderate moslem country in the world. And about being a 'basket case', it just bought $400 million of gold from the IMF to boost its reserves.
Jack Anderson was my hero then and is still so.

Posted by: goldhatresearch | September 14, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Jack Anderson revealed that Nixon was supporting Pakistan at a time when Pakistan was ruled by the army and was involved in the slaughter of millions of unarmed Bangladeshis who had just voted for independence. I remember the incident very well and morality was firmly on Anderson's side.
Henry Kissinger would attempt to give Nixon a moral cover by saying Bangladesh would be a basket case and could not last, hence opposing its creation was the moral thing to do. Well, today Bangladesh is a vibrant democracy and perhaps the moderate moslem country in the world. And about being a 'basket case', it just bought $400 million of gold from the IMF to boost its reserves.
Jack Anderson was my hero then and is still so.

Posted by: goldhatresearch | September 14, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I knew Jack, Les, Grady, Opal, Howard and his partner in the building - Stu Bloch and provided over thirty + stories from the White House and the Intelligence Community from 1971-76. I observed Mr. Anderson and associates as I lived across the street for several years...and knew the "Agency" operatives surveiling he and his crew. I never found him to be anything but ethical and appropriate with the stories I provided.

Posted by: wloucampbell | September 14, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I guess how you gathered the information is irrelevant.


Unless you're Linda Tripp.

Posted by: habari2 | September 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't the White House simply have J. Edgar Hoover check out who was and wasn't gay?

Oh yeah.

To quote another figure from the 1970s, Emily Latella, "Never mind."

Posted by: CapitalCat | September 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I knew all of the players including Jack, and never found this side of him apparent. I worked with him and the crew from 1973-1977. Good luck on your book Mark....as I knew you and when you and Ira Rosen were interns. Congrats

Posted by: wloucampbell | September 14, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The venality of the Nixon administration is well worth remembering. In the constant battle to prevent government excesses, Anderson did more good than harm. As we know from Biblical stories such as Samson, even great men can have feet of clay, and men with feet of clay can do great things. I doubt that Washington political maneuvers are dramatically cleaner today than in the 1960's or 1970's, when surreptitious wiretapping and blackmail seemed to be pretty common. (My father held presidential appointments under Kennedy, Johnson, and Reagan, and on occasion we knew when our home phone was tapped.)

Posted by: edward1 | September 14, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Those were strange times. I always thought the cute and fair-haired buttoned down John Dean was a fellow gay although he was married. BTW, any gay man will tell you that just because guys are religious with several kids is no guarantee that they might not be interested in having a male companion. Some men are just more disciplined than others

Posted by: socaloralpleazer | September 14, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

As a "fan" of Richard Nixon, I still say long live Jack Anderson. My father put me on to his columns while I was in college. If there had been a Jack Anerson, there would not have been a President Obama. Now what the hell does that tell you about the sorry state of the so called "MSM." The useless media will get their just deserts, soon. They are already heading down the slippery slope.

Posted by: rchaa27aa | September 16, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The author of this article, Howard Kurtz, writes that Nixon's attempt to discover if Anderson was homosexual was "absurd on its face: Anderson had nine children and...was a Mormon."

This logic is laughable as it assumes that married men with children, or Mormons for that matter, are assuredly heterosexual. Me thinks this speaks to some of your own stereotypes, Kurtz.

Posted by: Nevergen | September 17, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Regarding my previous post, perhaps the author made the statement about the absurdity of Nixon's investigation on Anderson's sexual orientation because __at the time the incident took place__ most individuals like Nixon assumed gay men wouldn't be married, religious, etc. If that's the case, it probably should have been stated as such.

Posted by: Nevergen | September 17, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

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