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G. Gordon Liddy

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Picture of G. Gordon Liddy

George Gordon Battle Liddy (born November 30, 1930) was the chief operative for President Richard Nixon's White House Plumbers unit that broke into the Watergate complex in 1972 and led to Nixon's resignation in 1974. Liddy later became an American radio talk show host, actor and political strategist. Liddy's radio talk show is syndicated in 160 markets and XM Satellite Radio in the United States.

Liddy was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and educated at Fordham University.

Liddy graduated in 1952 and joined the United States Army, serving for two years as an artillery officer during the Korean War. He returned home in 1954 to study law at Fordham. Graduating in 1957, he went to work for the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. That same year he married Frances Ann Purcell.

Liddy left the FBI in 1962 and worked as a lawyer in New York City and Dutchess County, New York. In 1966 he organized the arrest and unsuccessful trial of Timothy Leary. He ran unsuccessfully for the post of District Attorney and then for the House of Representatives in 1968, but used his political profile to run the presidential campaign of Richard Nixon in the 28th district of New York.

In 1971, after serving unsuccessfully in several positions in the Nixon administration, Liddy was moved to Nixon's 1972 campaign, the Committee to Re-elect the President, officially known as CRP but to opponents as CREEP, in order to extend the scope and reach of the White House Plumbers unit. At CRP, Liddy concocted several far-fetched plots intended to embarrass the Democratic opposition. Most were rejected, but one caught the eye of Nixon operatives in the White House, and Liddy organized the ill-conceived break-in of the Democratic National Campaign headquarters in the Watergate complex. Liddy and E. Howard Hunt also broke into Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. Ellsberg had leaked the Pentagon Papers and the Plumbers were hoping to find information they could use to discredit him.

For Liddy's role in the Watergate scandal, which he coordinated with Hunt, Liddy was convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wiretapping and served four and a half years in prison before having his 20 year sentence commuted by President Jimmy Carter.

In 1982, Liddy published an autobiography, titled Will, which sold more than a million copies and was made into a television movie. Here and elsewhere, he states that he once made plans with Hunt to kill journalist Jack Anderson.

Liddy joined the talk circuit, eventually landing a syndicated radio program that espouses extremely conservative views and is characterized by Liddy's provocative style.

Liddy first appeared as an actor on a made-for-TV movie called The Highwayman. He also appeared on the TV series Miami Vice and in the movies When Nature Calls (1985), Super Force (1990), Street Asylum (1990) and Adventures in Spying (1992).

Liddy is noted for certain unusual events in his childhood. For example: catching, cooking and eating a rat (in order to overcome a phobia to rats) and climbing a tree during a thunderstorm (in order to overcome a phobia to lightning).

One of Liddy's most famous feats of endurance would have to be where he would hold his hand on a candle flame until the flesh on his hand was burnt. According to the book "All The President's Men", he did this once at a dinner party and afterwards somebody asked, "What's the trick?" He replied, "The trick is not minding."

For many years Liddy was an outspoken atheist, but he now says he is a Roman Catholic.

Recent Controversy

During Liddy's tenure as a radio talk-show host, many controversial statements have been attributed to him, some of which would eventually lead to condemnation by then-President Bill Clinton.

  • August 26, 1994 - Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests." ... "They've got a big target on there, ATF. Don't shoot at that, because they've got a vest on underneath that. Head shots, head shots.... Kill the sons of bitches.
  • September 15, 1994 - If the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms insists upon a firefight, give them a firefight. Just remember, they're wearing flak jackets and you're better off shooting for the head.

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