I don't know about you, but I find it ironic in the extreme that an unrepentant convicted felon, who saved his own sorry butt by ratting out his co-conspirators, is accusing anyone of lacking conscience. But was Dean just another conspirator? One school of thought has it that he was the driving force behind the watergate break-in.
Secret Agenda , by Jim Hougan, and Silent Coup , by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, make a compelling case for the theory that Watergate didn't necessarily proceed from the top of the organization chart down.
According to Silent Coup, the key to the Watergate mystery was presidential counsel John Dean, a sort of conspiracy of one. This is a controversial recasting of Dean, whom history records as a peripheral player who turned whistle-blower and fingered the ostensible ringmasters in the scandal: ex-attorney general John Mitchell, chief of staff H. R. Haldeman, domestic affairs adviser John Erlichman and, of course, Nixon.
So what was Dean's agenda? Nothing so dull as tapping phones or scouring files for political dirt. For, according to Silent Coup and Secret Agenda, the Holy Grail of Watergate was sex! In Secret Agenda, Hougan suggests that the real target of the break-ins was a secret file featuring names, phone numbers, and perhaps even glossy pictures of prostitutes. At the time of the break-ins, a high-priced call-girl ring had been operating out of the posh Columbia Plaza apartment building a few blocks away from the Watergate complex.
According to Phillip Bailley, a young lawyer-pimp connected to that prostitution ring, a staffer at DNC headquarters had been arranging liaisons between the prostitutes and Democratic bigwigs. Apparently, at the DNC offices there was a file containing pictures and vital stats of the prostitutes, for marketing purposes.
It may have been Bailley's arrest for sexual pandering that triggered the fateful second Watergate break-in. As Colodny and Gettlin reveal, John Dean took a special interest in Bailley's well-publicized arrest. In a highly irregular and apparently unauthorized move, the presidential counsel took it upon himself to summon the federal prosecutor on the Bailley case to his office for a personal debriefing. It was then that Dean got a peek at important evidence: Bailley's address books.
According to Colodny and Gettlin, who build on Hougan's case, Dean's then-fiancée, Maureen Biner, was a friend and roommate of the prostitution ring's madam. What's more, Colodny and Gellin confirmed that Maurren "Mo" Biner's name, phone number, and nickname, "Clout" (after all, she was about to marry the president's counsel), appeared in Bailley's confiscated address books. But Bailley's little black books also listed the girls from the Columbia Plaza ring.
Silent Coup's hypothesis? That with the press and FBI sniffing at the exposed call-girl ring, Dean had his own embarrassing, albeit tangential, connection to the D.C. strumpets. Consequently, he took it upon himself to dispatch the burglars to the Watergate on a fishing expedition. (Silent Coup is oddly silent on whether or not the DNC kept a dossier on "Clout.")
According to Colodny and Gettlin, then, the real motive behind the Watergate break-ins was considerably less conspiratorial (but a lot more steamy) than presidentially authorized blackmail or political counterintelligence. Dean wanted to know what was in the DNC's secret hooker files.
I've read Silent Coup. It's an interesting theory, and the authors have unearthed some facts that went ignored by the lamestream media. If their theory is right, the left has been fawning over the man who is really the kingpin of the mac-daddy of all "right-wing conspiracies." More irony. Truth is stranger than fiction.