This book is based on the view that the American president under ordinary circumstances reigns rather than rules over the government of the United States. To be sure, the president is nominally in command of the executive branch of the government, and he has the authority to fire the officials that in fact control such critical agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the criminal division of the Department of Justice, etc. (though he does not in many cases have the authority unilaterally to appoint a replacement). In practice, however, this presidential power is severely mitigated, if not entirely counterbalanced, by the ability of officials in these key agencies to disclose secrets and private evaluations to the public that could severely damage the image of the president.
For example, in theory, six presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, had the power to fire J. Edgar Hoover as head of the FBI, but in each case he had the power to retaliate by revealing illicit activities that occurred during their administrations (as well as information about the private lives of the presidents). This potential for retribution by government officials is compounded by the fact that in the vast complexity of the executive branch a president cannot be sure where embarrassing secrets exist, and he must assume that most officials have developed subterranean channels to journalists, who will both conceal their sources and give wide circulation to the "leak." A president could seize control over the various parts of the government only if he first nullified the threat of disclosures by severing the conduits through which dissidents might leak scandalous information to the press. This prerequisite for power is in fact exactly what President Nixon attempted when he set up a series of special units which, it was hoped, would conduct clandestine surveillance of both government officials and newsmen during his first administration. If he had succeeded in establishing such an investigative force, he would have so radically changed the balance of power within the government that it would have been tantamount to an American coup d'etat.
A coup d'etat is not the same as a revolution, where power is seized by those outside the government, or even necessarily a military putsch, whereby the military government takes over from the civilian government; it is, as Edward Luttwak points out in his book Coup d'Etat, "a seizure of power within the present system." The technique of the coup involves the use of one part of the government to disrupt communications between other parts of the government, confounding and paralyzing noncooperating agencies while displacing the dissident cliques from power. If successful, the organizers of the coup can gain control over all the levers of real power in the government, then legitimize the new configuration under the name of eliminating some great evil in society. Though it is hard to conceive of the technique of the coup being applied to American politics, Nixon, realizing that he securely controlled only the office of the president, methodically moved to destroy the informal system of leaks and independent fiefdoms. Under the aegis of a "war on heroin," a series of new offices were set up, by executive order, such as the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement and the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence,- which, it was hoped, would provide the president with investigative agencies having the potential and the wherewithal and personnel to assume the functions of "the Plumbers" on a far grander scale. According to the White House scenario, these new investigative functions would be legitimized by the need to eradicate the evil of drug addiction.
Prologue The Secret Police
I've argued in my book Between Fact and Fiction that journalist cannot hope to approach an accurate rendering of an event without revealing their sources. Every source who has supplied a journalist with a part of a story has selected that bit of information, whether it is true or false, for a particular purpose. That purpose may be to advance his own career, to advance the interests of the agency he works for, to discredit an enemy, or simply to assist a reporter. The bits of information thus supplied can be properly evaluated only in light of the circumstances and context in which it was given. It is not enough simply to present the assertion of an interested party— even if it can be shown that it is "accurate," in the trivial sense of "accuracy" (which simply means correctly specifying the details touching on the event). One must know who made the disclosure and, ideally, why he made it to that particular individual at that particular moment in history. Concealing such information from the reader amounts to a deliberate disguising of the event itself, since such a process hides all the interests that selected, shape and possibly distorted the disclosures. To be sure, concealing the interests behind the disclosures of sources is often in the interest of the journalist, since it assures that his sources will continue to provide him with information for public disclosure. This makes his job much easier, but at the same time it prevents any independent evaluation of his work.
In describing the efforts of the Nixon administration to organize fear and develop an instrument for political control, I shall identify all my sources in these end notes, and attempt, as far is possible, to give the circumstances and interests behind the dis closures. Since the interviews, documents, and material given to mc constitute only a small part of the total amount of information on this subject, I shall also try to specify what I do not know: the individuals I was unable to interview, the documents I was unable to obtain, and the issues I was unable to resolve. What we do not know is. unfortunately, an important, and perhaps critical, part of the story.
Legend of the Living Dead
In March, 1973, as time drew near for the publication of my book on television news, News from Nowhere, in The Nee Yorker magazine, I began looking for a project that would take me on an adventure to some of the more remote places of the world. At that time, the United States' effort to suppress opium production in Turkey appeared to be successful, and, as I assumed everyone agreed on the worth of this effort, it seemed a straightforward reporting vehicle for The New Yorker. I had accepted the conventional wisdom that heroin caused crime, and that by reducing the supply of heroin, crime would be reduced. James Q. Wilson, the professor at Harvard under whom I had done my doctoral dissertation in political science, had just been appointed chairman of the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention, which was supposed to chart the strategy of the war on drugs. In January, 1973, 1 traveled to Cambridge to discuss how I might report on this "war." Professor Wilson explained to me that the presumed link between heroin and crime had not yet been established by either the government or social science. He said that he was reviewing studies done on the putative link between heroin and crime and suggested that, so far, they were inconclusive that if I went to his office in Washington— a town house in the new Executive Office Building— I could start my project by reading a secret report the White House had commissioned from the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), which is a Rand type think tank.
I flew to Washington and read the IDA report which, to my surprise, found that there was no logical relation between the statistics that the government gave to the public and the actual knowledge of drug abuse. It concluded that estimates of the number of crimes committed by drug addicts might well be exaggerated by 500 times or more, and that the number of drug addicts was not known. It indicated,, moreover, that most addicts were not addicted to a single drug such as heroin, but could change their dependency at will from (it the price was too high) to barbiturates or to alcohol. I realized while reading this that if these conclusions were justified, the entire program of curtailing a single drug, such as heroin, would not necessarily affect the crime problem, since addicts could just as easily switch to narcotics manufactured in the United States, such as barbiturates.
At this point, I reviewed the history of drug in America-especially, about the origins of the generally accepted theories about drugs and crime. Wilson's executive assistant in Washington, Roger Degilio, gave me access to the nearby library of the Drug Abuse Council, a private foundation Here I met Dr. Jerry Mandel, an offbeat sociologist who had been a fellow at the Drug Abuse Council. When I explained to him that I was looking for some possible sources linking \ drugs and crime, he suggested I read the private papers of Richmond Pearson Hobson. Mandel also recommended me for a Drug Abuse fellowship, and in 1974 1 received approximately $30,000 to research the subject for a book.
the same time, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse was attempting to compile all the systematic studies of drug abuse, to place the problem in perspective. One member of the commission, Joan Ganz Cooney, also became interested in my research, and allowed me to read most of the internal reports of the commission. It became apparent to me that none of the available data systematically gathered over a period of fifty years conformed to Captain Hobson's theories about "heroin fiends." By that time I had reviewed the literature on the subject and knew that a complete analysis of the way politicians had used and abused the drug problem would be the subject of my book.
My account of the ways and means in which the rhetoric of fear was ingeniously employed by Rockefeller and his staff was heavily based on the working papers of Rockefeller's staff. These were provided to me by Rayburne Hesse, who was a member of Rockefeller's Narcotics Commission and subsequently Rockefeller's lobbyist in Washington for New York State's drug program. As I read through these speeches, press releases, and staff memos, it became manifestly clear that the heroin issue was more or less rolled out at election time to excite the public and bait the liberal opposition, and was then quietly forgotten until the next time such rhetoric was necessary. Jerry Mandel, then my associate at the Drug Abuse Council, provided me with his analysis of the "vocabulary of fear" which Rockefeller employed. Finally, I developed the general framework for examining Rockefeller as a master in psychological warfare by reading through old State Department files from World War 11, when Rockefeller was coordinator of information for Latin America. Originally, research was undertaken for an article on the Rockefeller family for the Sunday Times of London. Information about Hudson Institute reports and other private information available through Rockefeller was provided to me by Mark Moore, whom I met earlier, when he was studying at Harvard. Later he became a consultant for the Hudson Institute, and then for the Drug Enforcement Administration, in Washington, D.C.
G. Gordon Liddy: The Will to Power
For two years I tried without success to interview G. Gordon Liddy.
Many of those who had worked with him in various undercover enterprises of the Nixon administration, such as the Fielding or Watergate break-ins, had attributed their participation to Liddy's all-persuasive influence. After discussing Liddy with his employer, Eugene Rossides, and with Charls R. Walker, the deputy secretary of the treasury, I realized that Liddy had taken "the drug menace" to its logical conclusion in terms of law enforcement. If an epidemic was allegedly threatening to destroy the nation, a national police force was necessary. I also spoke to those who worked with Liddy on the working committee of the Ad Hoc Committee on Narcotics Enforcement, including Jim Ludlum, of the CIA, and Arthur Downey, of the National Security Council. Again I was told of Liddy's precise articulation of the drug issue and his powers of persuasion.
I was not able to interview Liddy. I arranged with Liddy's law partner, Peter Maouroulis, for Playboy magazine to pay Liddy for an interview, which I would conduct. In preparing the interview I hoped to answer a number of questions that were still outstanding as to Liddy's articulation of the drug issue. Playboy offered Liddy $3,000 for the interview, and his lawyer asked for $5,000. Before the negotiations could be completed, however, Liddy decided to put the matter in the hands of a literary agent, Sterling Lord. Apparently in the hopes of obtaining a much larger contract from a book publisher, Lord then terminated the negotiations with Playboy.
Finally, I've quoted from a very impressive letter that Liddy wrote to his wife from prison, and which Harper's magazine published in 1974; a television interview with Liddy, which Mike Wallace did on CBS in 1974; and an article that Liddy wrote describing his capture of Timothy Leary.
The Education of Richard Nixon
The definitive biography of Richard Nixon has yet to be written. Although commentators have focused on either his alleged misdeeds or his presumed breakthroughs in foreign policy, no one has explained, at least to my satisfaction, how Nixon rose from being a penniless naval officer in 1946 to vice-president of the United States six years later. Although his meteoric career as congressman, senator, and vice-presidential nominee may be accounted for simply by the Cold War rhetoric against the "enemy within" which he articulated so brilliantly in this period, I do not find this conventional explanation entirely persuasive. His ascendancy might also be related to people and factors that have managed to remain in the background. For example, as a negotiator for the Navy, he dealt with defense manufacturers and received early support from Howard Hughes and other defense suppliers in Southern California. The role these men and their resources played in his rise has not yet been fully clarified.
In discussing Nixon's childhood, I relied very heavily on Theodore H. White's Breach of Faith. White, an extraordinary historian in his own right who masquerades in journalist's clothing, has shown how Nixon was shaped by childhood poverty in a way perhaps no other modern president has been, and how one of his main drives in life was to escape that condition.
I also found useful Joe McGinniss's The Selling of the President and Evert Clark and Nicholas Horrock's book Contrabandista!
I never had the opportunity to interview Nixon himself, but I interviewed three of his chief speech writers, Patrick J. Buchanan, Raymond Price, and William Safire. Ray Price, a soft-spoken man who provided me with some of the more trenchant analyses of the Nixon administration, had serious doubts about the practicality of playing with popular fears for political purposes. Safire, who did not involve himself in the disputes over how to present law-and-order issues, argues convincingly that Nixon himself was in firm control of the rhetoric surrounding the various domestic issues and used whichever speech writer best fit his purpose at the moment.
Safire insists that although Nixon admired Rockefeller's political tactics and skill in New York State, he didn't entirely trust his judgment as a politician. (According to Safire, this antipathy was reflected in Rockefeller's failure to reply to letters that Nixon personally wrote him.) Yet, Buchanan suggests that Nixon modeled much of his rhetoric on Rockefeller's. A comparison of' speeches bears this out.
Nixon also appointed a number of men who were highly active in the Rockefeller campaign to superintend his narcotics program in 1969. Most of the metaphors used by Nixon, such as "growing cancer," were, in any case, used earlier by Rockefeller.
The Bete-Noire Strategy
I first encountered the bete-noire strategy" by accident in 1970. William Shawn, the editor of The New Yorker, had asked me to investigate the deaths of twenty-eight Black Panthers, allegedly at the hands of police officials. I hired one of my students, Gary Rosenthal, as my research assistant, and asked him to collect as much information as he could about each of the twenty-eight cases. Less than a week later he called me and seemed very distressed. He explained that although the number twenty-eight had been repeated in the press for more than a year, even a superficial investigation showed that no more than ten or twelve Panthers had died, and even then the circumstances were fairly ambiguous. We thus wrote a story about reporting rather than about murder. Later Pat Moynihan explained to me that for the better part of a year he had attempted to convince the Justice Department to defend itself against charges of genocide, but that he was turned down because Mitchell "didn't see the dangers in being labeled repressive." In Washington, Moynihan introduced me to Richard Moore, an advisor to Nixon who had been reassigned to the Department of Justice to assist Mitchell in gaining more favorable public relations. Moore explained to me that his problem was that what was deemed favorable public relations depended on "what public you were trying to relate to." And the public that Nixon and Mitchell were seeking to relate to was the ,'more conservative [element]." If Attorney General Mitchell appeared to be repressive, in the sense that he was "repressing" criminals, the Nixon speech writers considered it to be favorable public relations. Moore himself disagreed with this bete-noire strategy and tried to reverse it, although there was little hope of succeeding.
Much of the history and analysis that I present on the Justice Department's traditional war on crime is based on the writings of Victor Navasky, who spent three years examining the Justice Department for his book Kennedy Justice. The view I present of the Justice Department under Nixon is based on interviews I've had with various members of the department over a three-year period, including former Attorney General Richard Kleindienst; Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen; Assistant Attorney General for Administration Leo Pellerzi; Donald Santarelli, former director of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; John Ingersoll, director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, and his deputy, Richard Callahan; U.S. Attorney Myles Ambrose; U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Malley; William Ryan, a prosecutor in the criminal division; and U.S. Attorney Earl Silbert, who prosecuted the case involving the original Watergate burglary. Even though some of these men were Democrats and opposed the Nixon administration, they all showed an extraordinary amount of respect and affection for John Mitchell. Ingersoll, for example, who was appointed by Ramsey Clark said that he found Mitchell so "enlightened" when he discussed legal issues that "at times, when John Mitchell was talking about the administration of justice, and I closed my eyes, I thought it was Ramsey Clark talking."
Egil Krogh and Jeffrey Donfeld were also extremely helpful in reviewing memoranda they wrote. Pat Moynihan also provided me with a general overview of what took place in the struggle to fulfill the politics of law and order. When I first presented some of these arguments in The Public Interest magazine, James Q. Wilson raised some objections to my characterization of the law-and-order issue. He suggested that it wasn't all " politics" or "image making," but there were serious men sincerely interested in diminishing crime.
The Krogh File
When files are provided to a journalist, it must be asked why they were made available. Since the meaning of files can be altered by excluding certain documents or including bogus ones, they have historic value only if one can evaluate the circumstances in which they were provided. Is the donor attempting to advance a bureaucratic interest? Is he trying to glorify his own historical role? Or is he attempting to denigrate the reputations of others Although journalists rarely, if ever, identify their sources, or explain the motives of their sources in providing them with information, such contextual information is vital if anyone is to make a reasonable evaluation of the truthfulness or value of the source.
This chapter is based heavily on files provided to me by Egil Krogh, Jr. I first attempted to interview Krogh before his role in the break-in of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office was revealed, but Krogh refused to see me, saying, "I'm writing a book myself." After he was indicted, pleaded guilty, and served six months in prison, I called him again. His fortunes had changed drastically: in less than a year he had gone from being undersecretary of transportation to an unemployed former convict. Any of those whom he had known in government, and who had deferred to his judgment, now shunned him. Although he worked at home, he was desperately trying to get back into public life and agreed to appear on any talk show or give any lecture available. I was then affiliated with the Drug Abuse Council, with whom I discussed the possibility of obtaining a grant or possibly a fellowship for Krogh to write his intended book on drug policies. He said that although he thought it was extremely important to make public his experiences in drug policy, he was too exhausted by his recent experiences to write a book. I then suggested doing a long interview with him for The Public Interest magazine in which he could discuss fully his role in formulating the drug policy of the Nixon administration. Since he was flat broke, and had little prospect of earning any money to support himself or his family, I mentioned that perhaps I could arrange a grant from The Public Interest for his cooperation in this interview. I spoke to the editor, Irving Kristol, who made $2,000 available to Krogh for cooperating in the interview.
Krogh's motive was only partly mercenary. He was genuinely elated at the prospect of working with Irving Kristol, whom he greatly admired, as well as at the prospect of earning the money.
We began meeting for breakfast on a regular basis in the fall of 1974 and prepared the general outlines of the interview. To help familiarize me with his role in the drug program, he gave me ten cases of files, internal documents, notes written for the president's attention, analyses of the drug problem, Domestic Council issue papers, and correspondence. The "Krogh File," as I called it, was not complete. These were only the files that he had brought home to use in working on the book that was never completed, and the files of his assistant, Jeffrey Donfeld, who had sent him material to help in his research. The rest of his files had been seized by the government when he became involved in the Watergate affair and were not available, even to him. I thus worked for several weeks attempting to fill in the files and note the gaps. I cannot be sure, of course, how honest he was in recollecting information that would damage his reputation or that of his associates, though he did not seem to hesitate in providing me with embarrassing documents and insights. In any case, this was supposed to be Krogh's version of the event, and I intended to do a great deal of research on other versions.
The article for The Public Interest never turned out to be an interview with Egil Krogh. Irving Kristol's co-editor, Daniel Bell, was concerned that a straight interview might appear to be a defense of the Nixon administration, and we were all concerned about the serious gaps in the Krogh file. I therefore agreed to write an article which would be heavily based on the Krogh interview, but not limited to it. The article, "The Krogh File-The Politics of 'Law and Order,' " finally published in the spring, 1975, issue of The Public Interest. It understandably disappointed Krogh, since it was my point of view on the issue rather than his.
By basing research on the available files of one person, or even of a group of persons, one naturally tends to focus and perhaps exaggerate that person's role to the neglect of the roles played by others (whose files are not available). Certainly the administration's law-and-order policy did not spring full grown from the head of a small cabal of Nixon strategists; like most other government programs, it gradually emerged from a series of proposals, critiques, counterproposals, and reformulations drafted and redrafted by a multitude of hands representing diverse interests
. One level of ideas came from scholars, both inside and outside the administration, who had a non-political interest in the substantive problem of controlling crime. Another level of suggestions (and objections) came from the heads of bureaus within the executive branch interested in expanding their activity in the realm of law enforcement. Finally, as might be expected in the wake of any successful presidential campaign, a third layer of ideas came from political advisors to the president interested in maintaining a favorable image of him in the public mind. Krogh, however, became the funnel through which these ideas passed to the Domestic Council and then to the president, and eventually, through his analysis and his choice of staff, Krogh played a heavy role in the formulation of the drug policy.
One interesting way of studying an event, at least one that takes place in the American media, is to study the various press briefings (which are available under the Freedom of Information Act) and the resulting stories. In this case the disparity between the briefings coming from the Departments of Justice and the Treasury (Task Force One) and those from the State Department illuminated the sharp bureaucratic conflict of interest and the resulting battle of the leaks. Further information about the State Department's effort to counterbalance the favorable publicity which Operation Intercept was receiving came from Juan DeOnis, a resourceful New York Times reporter whom I met in Ankara, Turkey, while we were both stranded by the war in Cyprus in July, 1974.
Egil Krogh's files were again useful for reviewing Operation Intercept memoranda. Arthur Downey, who was with the National Security Council and worked as a staff person on the ad hoc committee, described the internal conflicts to me after he left government service. Pat Moynihan described the earlier heroin crusades from a different point of view.
In February, 1975, 1 interviewed a number of the Mexican officials in Mexico City on the diplomatic ramifications of Operation Intercept.
They were all grateful to the State Department for reversing the direction of favorable publicity which Task Force One was then providing for Operation Intercept.
The War of the Poppies
In June, 1974, 1 met with Arthur Downey and Ambassador William Handley in the restaurant of the Mayflower Hotel. Four years earlier, Downey had been on the ad hoc working group for suppressing the Turkish opium supply, and Handley was ambassador to Turkey. After the initial victory in the Turkish heroin crusade, Handley was transferred to Washington, where he replaced Nelson Gross (who was on the verge of being indicted for criminal offenses) as senior advisor to the secretary of state on narcotics control. Downey returned to private law practice in Washington. Less than a month before our meeting, Handley had been abruptly fired from his position because he opposed a White House plan to begin the cultivation of poppies in the United States. The White House, under increasing pressure from pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide them with a source of codeine, decided that the most feasible source for future codeine would be American poppies. Handley, who had persuaded the Turks to stop growing poppies in their country, believed that the Turks would never stand for Americans' replacing Turkish poppies with American poppies, and would return to cultivating opium themselves. He brought the issue to Melvin Laird, who was then advising President Nixon. Laird decided in favor of the White House decision, and Handley retired from government.
Under these circumstances, Handley was willing to talk about the pressures brought upon him when he was ambassador to Turkey. He understood the Turks better than most of the newcomers such as Egil Krogh, Gordon Liddy and Eugene Rossides, who had been issuing curt and often ridiculous negotiating instructions to his embassy. As Downey was at the time in the White House, he was able to add some details which even Handley didn't know.
After that meeting I decided to go to Turkey, to see how American aid and diplomatic pressure were being put to use. Esquire magazine agreed to pay for the trip in return for an article (which it later published under the title "The Incredible War Against the Poppies" [December, 19741). Soon after I reached Ankara, Handley's prediction came true, and the Turks suspended the ban on opium production. I thus was able to hear the Turkish account of the diplomatic pressure from various foreign-ministry officials who were anxious to explain the reasons for the Turkish decision. The new American ambassador, William Macomber, and the director of the United States Information Agency bureau in Ankara, Edward Harper, also briefed me on this situation, and pointed out the strategic importance of American radar bases in Turkey.
The French Connection
Arthur Watson was not a diplomat by profession: his father had founded the IBM Corporation and was one of its largest stockholders. He had always sought a public purpose in life. While he was ambassador to France, unfortunately, he developed a drinking problem, which was widely reported after an incident with a stewardess on a transatlantic flight. As it turned out, a number of the leading crusaders in the heroin war were themselves victims of alcohol but, like Watson, steadfastly refused to recognize it as drug addiction.
My meeting with Ambassador Watson in June, 1974, was arranged by Thomas P. Murphy, who still served Watson as aide-de-camp and friend. The three of us drove from the offices of Watson's investment company in Connecticut to a roadhouse for lunch. I offered to pay on my expense account, but Watson answered wryly, "One of the few ways I have of spending my wealth is buying others lunch." It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. Murphy, a clever and amusing journalist, described many of the adventures that he and the ambassador had during their drug crusade in France. Watson had then piloted his own private plane, and together, a curious team, they had flown back and forth between Marseilles and Paris. Watson recalled one embarrassing moment, when a French official in Marseilles gave them a packet of heroin to fly back to police officials in Paris. During the flight Ambassador Watson realized-and joked about the predicament that might arise if the plane crashed on the return flight, and heroin was discovered on their persons. During this lunch Ambassador Watson also described with great humor and insight the episode of the "sniffer" and the descent into the Marseilles sewers.
Two weeks later I went to Paris and visited the science attache, Edgar Piret, in the United States embassy. Piret, a former university professor, gave me the usual briefing that officials give to the press, describing the routes from Turkey to Marseilles and then to America. When I told him that I was more interested in the sniffer that he had invented, he looked at me with horror. "That's highly classified information.... Only about twenty people in the world know about the sniffer." Then he warned me that if I published information about it, I would destroy the entire "sniffing operation." I told him that I had heard that the sniffer had already been dismantled and returned to the United States. He looked sad for a moment, as if recollecting a deceased pet, then told me that someday it might be revived, and that it was best not to give out the modus operandi. He then reached into his desk and produced photographic albums, with hundreds of nostalgic pictures of himself, Thomas Murphy, and Ambassador Watson in Marseilles. He had gone there every weekend with the "team" to chart out the smoke plumes and the wind directions that various odors might take. He suggested that designing the sniffer had been "an unusual adventure."
Just as I was leaving, I mentioned the efforts to detect heroin in the sewers of Marseilles. The look of horror returned in his face, and he said, "No one knows about that ... perhaps only three people in the world." To reassure him, I told him that Ambassador Watson had mentioned it to me. As I walked him to his car in the embassy parking lot, he again tried to swear me to secrecy.
I next saw Paul Knight, the director of the regional office of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in France. He was one of the few BNDD agents who graduated from Harvard, and I found in general that those who viewed themselves as part of an "Ivy League network" were more prone to talk to journalists. When I mentioned the secret sewers of Marseilles to Knight he described the adventure as "completely ridiculous." He then offered to allow me to interview his agents, who, he said, would provide me with "some exciting gangbuster stories."
The Panama Canal
One of the most enjoyable parts of this investigation was interviewing American ambassadors in a trip around the world. I spoke to Moynihan in India, William Cargo in Nepal, William Macomber in Turkey, Richard Helms in Iran, and, when I returned to the United States, Ambassadors Arthur Watson, Robert Sayre, William Handley, and Loy Henderson. These men all gave precise and extremely perceptive descriptions of the effects of White House narcotics policy on foreign policy. They could not help but be persuasive since they were extremely well briefed on the countries in which they represented the United States, and because they had no political interest at stake. They also seemed to have a healthy detachment from the situations they described. However, the ability of ambassadors to present a skillful case may in itself obscure the fact that they see the world from one particular vantage point, which may tend to diminish the importance of domestic trends and policies
. Consider, for example, the case of Moynihan. When he served in the White House as an assistant to the president for domestic affairs he pressed relentlessly to implement a narcotics-control program in Turkey, and when our ambassador there, William Handley, seemed to be moving too slowly in implementing the president's policy, Moynihan suggested that the White House take a more direct role in the treaty negotiations in Turkey, even if it meant superseding or recalling the ambassador. After Moynihan resigned from the White House in 1971, he was appointed ambassador to India. When, however, the White House pressed him for immediate action in controlling the production of opium in India (in this case they wanted to expand it, not contract it), Moynihan objected to such White House interference, and pointed out in telegrams that the authority of the embassy should not be undermined for purposes of carrying out a domestic policy at home. As one White House staff assistant noted, "What we have here is a case of role reversal." The effect of the location of ambassadors on their perspectives of problems obviously cannot be discounted. Later, as ambassador to the UN, Moynihan espoused an entirely different position.
The description of the episode in Panama is based mainly on interviews with John Ingersoll and Robert Sayre (who was then an inspector general in the State Department). I also relied heavily on Evert Clark and Nicholas Horrock's book Contrabandista! and John Finlator's book The Drugged Nation. The White House pressures were described for me by Egil Krogh.
The Narcotics Business: John Ingersoll's Version
One serious problem in reporting an event is that witnesses tend to see it, Rashomen-like, from their own vantage point. This is especially true when dealing with government officials, each of whom tends to reconstruct an event or policy from the perspective of the agency with which he has, or has had, an involvement. Even if one interviews all the actors concerned in a particular drama, their versions of it do not necessarily fit together; nor do the parts equal the whole. It is not a question of who is telling the truth and who is lying; it is a question of what one tends to emphasize or de-emphasize in rendering an explanation. John Ingersoll, Eugene Rossides, and Egil Krogh spent considerable time with me attempting an account of the "narcotics business" that was consistent with their particular hierarchy of values. There were no glaring discrepancies or contradictions in the three accounts; nevertheless, each blamed the others for the continuing bureaucratic strife in the early days of the drug program. When I discussed this problem early in my research with James Q. Wilson, he suggested that the only way one could give an honest rendering of the event was to tell in sequence the various stories without attempting to pass judgment. Readers, however, expect some narrative guidance or resolution.
I had over the course of writing this book fifteen interviews with John Ingersoll, and nine lunches with him. I first met him in the spring of 1973 after he was abruptly and cruelly fired from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs by President Nixon. We first had lunch at the Italian Pavilion in New York City, and we discussed his ideas for writing a book about his experiences in the "narcotics business." Unlike Egil Krogh, Ingersoll was a discreet man__ a professional policeman who knew what to say and what not to say. He was willing to relate his ideas about narcotics and some opinions about the Nixon administration and his tenure in it, but for a long time-our first five lunches- he resisted revealing any specific information to me. After Egil Krogh gave me his memoranda and files, the situation changed with Ingersoll. I now had information he wanted, and as I began revealing it piecemeal, he began to explain the intricacies of the "business" he was involved in for six formative years. When we began our interviews, Ingersoll believed that he had been fired simply because he was not helping the Nixon administration in its efforts in the 1972 election. As I revealed more and more of the Krogh file, and especially how the White House intended to infiltrate and use Ingersoll's BNDD, he began theorizing that there may have been a more sinister motive in his removal. He suggested an attempt to set up a White House investigative agency which would do the bidding of John Ehrlichman and Richard Nixon. He referred to Egil Krogh and his young assistants as the "Boy Scouts," and had little respect for them because they knew almost nothing about narcotics or crime. On the other hand, he respected those in the Department of Justice-especially John Mitchell.
After he left Washington, Ingersoll went to work for IBM in New York, in charge of security, and I occasionally met with him in the offices of that corporation. As I would go over documents with him from the Krogh file, he would often break out in laughter-shocked or amused at what the "Boy Scouts" were planning for him. I never believed that Ingersoll gave me the full story. He usually gave me as little information as he could, but whatever be told me was never controverted by other evidence I found.
Most of the books written about the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, or about its predecessor, the Bureau of Narcotics, tend to be a string of anecdotes of the adventures of gang-busting drug agents. In this genre are the books The Protectors and The Murderers, by Harry J. Anslinger, written mainly to glorify the work of agents and possibly to build their morale. The only account to date that I am aware of which deals with the inner workings of the drug bureaucracies is John Finlator's book The Drugged Nation. For the history of the narcotics program I relied heavily on Dr. David Musto's book The American Disease.
The Border War: Eugene Rossides's Version
A large portion of the news about law enforcement is authored by agencies within the government, whose agents intentionally leak (or perhaps, more accurately, plant) their stories to newsmen in order to advance an interest of their particular agency or block that of a competing agency. Such news planting may be done in "seminars," in which newsmen are briefed about the exciting exploits of an agency; in news releases, which usually single out one event; or in the private briefing of a newsman. Eugene Rossides was a master in the last of these techniques.
Even after he left the government to join former Secretary of State William Rogers in private law practice, he continued his skirmishes on behalf of the Treasury Department. When he briefed me on the narcotics policies of the Nixon administration, I was impressed with his precision and shrewdness. I knew that as a Greek-Cypriot American, and as former public-relations advisor to Prime Minister Makarios, of Cyprus, Rossides had been waging a campaign to penalize Turkey. I, of course, also knew from my interviews with John Ingersoll that Rossides was an "enemy" of Ingersoll and the BNDD. Nevertheless, I was impressed with his arguments for not centralizing the law-enforcement agencies of the government under the Department of Justice, and admired the skills with which he mobilized support in Congress and the press for his position. At one point in early 1974, after I had prepared an article for The New Yorker magazine which he (wrongly) assumed was favorable to the Treasury Department, he called me at my office at The New Yorker to persuade me to rush the article into publication. He said, "Ed, you're a key man on my team, but I have to call the plays, and we have to get the story out." When I replied that I had no power over the publication schedule of The New Yorker, he suggested that he might himself speak to the editor and warn him of the "impending dangers to civil liberties" that he argued would arise unless the Treasury Department maintained its role in the war on drugs. While I dissuaded him from speaking to the editor, I appreciated his manipulative skills: he knew which levers to press with The New Yorker, such as endangered civil liberties.
Rossides also arranged for me to see Vernon "Mike" Acree, who replaced Myles Ambrose as commissioner of customs. Acree in turn arranged at Rossides's suggestion for me to interview some former employees of the BNDD who are now working for the Customs Bureau. The former employees, no doubt under instructions from Commissioner Acree, provided me with vivid and dramatic details of the inefficiency of the BNDD (which I listened to but reserved judgment on).
In order to pierce the party line at the Treasury Department, I also interviewed several civil servants who participated in the "border war" with Customs, including Mort Bach and Robert Esterland. Like Rossides, these men did not deviate from the perspective of the Treasury Department.
Conflict of Interests :Egil Krogh's Version
One serious problem with the technique of interviewing participants in the government process-or in any other event, for that matter-is that in retrospect they tend to assign rational motives to their actions. They know what resulted from their deeds, and they reconstruct the chain of happenings so that all connects logically. Motives that might be deemed in hindsight to be irrational are often neglected. Krogh thus reconstructed the struggle against the bureaucracy so that it all seemed to proceed from a logical motive of putting into effect a more efficient and unified program.
Yet, in reading over Krogh's own file, it appears that there were many instances of irrationality. Members of the White House staff showed anger at outsiders and at moments became preoccupied with demonstrating their power-apparently for no other sake than the demonstration. For example, at one point Krogh told a Chicago psychiatrist, Daniel Freedman, that he would "destroy him" if he stood in the way of one of his programs. Jeffrey Donfeld threatened to "put away" in an insane asylum one prominent New York psychiatrist, Dr. Judianne Densen-Gerber, for advocating drug-free therapy. Such displays of anger and power are all too human and occur in almost any administration; they are not the moments, however, that one remembers, or considers relevant, when being interviewed by a journalist.
The White House staff saw all other members of the government outside their circle as bureaucrats who usually failed to respond, or who responded too slowly, to their orders. In such circumstances many of the actions later attributed by the participants to a struggle against a recalcitrant bureaucracy might well have been instances of the exertion of personal power, or even misunderstandings revolving around such exertions of power by men in their late twenties or early thirties (most of the "bureaucrats" were in their early fifties).
In relating the versions of this struggle rendered by John Ingersoll, Eugene Rossides, and Egil Krogh, it is important to keep in mind that each focused on the more logical explanations of his actions and neglected others. Such a defect in reconstructing an event cannot be remedied by collating one interview with another, since each participant is biased in the same direction of "rational explanation."
As far as I know, only one periodical covered this particular war within the Nixon administration, and that was the National Journal, which reports on federal-policy-making. In presenting Krogh's version I relied on the series of interviews I did with him in the fall of 1974 ( end note for Chapter 6).
The Magic-bullet Solution
In reporting on any medical or scientific controversy, one is confounded by the tendencies of scientists to produce simultaneously both a "hard" and a "soft" explanation for their experiments or programs. In the case of methadone the hard claim was that the drug reduced crime. Doctors operating methadone clinics thus told politicians and journalists that each program was saving the city millions of dollars, since without the programs their patients would be stealing that amount (Dr. Dole actually put the total saved in the billions of dollars). Journalists reported, as in Look magazine, that methadone was a "Cinderella drug" that once swallowed by a criminal addict transformed him into a decent, law-abiding citizen.
However, when some methadone programs began to show that when addicts substituted methadone for heroin they actually increased the amount of violent crime they committed-since methadone made them more "effective" and gave them more time to pursue their "business" (for example, muggings, robberies, etc.)-methadone doctors redefined their explanations in "soft" terms. The soft claim of methadone treatment was that it brought isolated individuals into a social context. By forcing them to report several times a week for their daily dosages of methadone, to which they were now addicted, it maintained them on a sort of "chemical parole." And once on this chemical parole, they could be counseled, guided, and rehabilitated by doctors and other employees of the treatment centers. In the soft explanation methadone did not have any sort of blockade effect to prevent the addict from using heroin. Rather, since his urine was examined daily, there were strong incentives for him to use the addictive drug provided by the government-methadone-rather than the illicit drug provided by the pushers-heroin. Since heroin addicts were commonly arrested for crimes against persons or property. When other doctors attempted to replicate the methadone experiments, they found that the great majority of their patients used heroin as well as methadone, and that there was no blockade effect.
Finally, it turned out that most of the doctors involved in the methadone program did not themselves believe in the Dole-Nyswander definition of heroin addiction as a "metabolic disease," and the evidence seemed far stronger that addicts returned to heroin not because of any irreversible change in their chemistry but because their environment (poverty, discrimination, etc.) stayed essentially the same when they returned from their treatment program. When the article in The Public Interest, now entitled "Methadone: The Forlorn Hope," was finally published in the summer issue in 1974, almost all the serious critics of the article, such as Dr. DuPont, readily admitted that these three findings were correct-i.e., that methadone by itself did not reduce crime, that it did not blockade addicts against heroin, and that heroin addiction was not a "metabolic disease"-but they then resorted to the soft defense. They stated that all the responsible doctors and social scientists involved in the program viewed methadone simply as a lure to entice addicts into treatment programs, where the real "rehabilitation effort" would take place. They also suggested that I had reviewed only the early results of Dole and Nyswander, which they acknowledged were seriously flawed, and argued that the newer programs had better statistical methods of evaluation. In any case, other programs had made their data less vulnerable to investigations by outsiders.
Eventually, the doctors operating methadone programs became far more sophisticated and hired public-relations firms to answer criticisms and to work behind the scenes to prevent the publication of critical analyses. At one point, Dinitia McCarthy, a young NBC television producer who had won an Emmy award, produced a half hour documentary criticizing methadone clinics in New York for various reasons, pointing to the disparity between their hard claims of crime reduction and the actual crime statistics, which were rising in New York. The public-relations firm representing several methadone clinics hired private investigators to find out about her private life, and wrote intimidating letters to her executive producers at NBC.
The documents I quote from in reviewing how the Nixon administration became involved in methadone all come from Egil Krogh's file. After I obtained this file, which was the year after I had written my original article on methadone, I went to California to interview Jeffrey Donfeld.
At the time of Watergate, Donfeld was the deputy director of the special-action office, and in line for a very high position in the Department of the Interior. After Krogh and Ehrlichman fell from power, however, the Civil Service Commission held up his appointment, and he took a long trip to Israel to "rethink" his service in government. He then resigned from the special-action office and returned to Los Angeles, where he took a job with a law firm in Century City.
As we reviewed the documents, which included handwritten notes that he had taken at cabinet-level meetings, he recalled with great enthusiasm his days of power in the White House. For one thing, he had been earning three times as much as he was now earning as a junior lawyer in California. For another, people had deferred to his judgments. Because of his change in station, I think he was a good deal more open in reviewing these documents, and he himself still believed in the efficacy of the methadone program. After our final meeting I arranged with a friend of mine who was a professor at UCLA to have a graduate seminar, with Jeffrey Donfeld, in the political-science department. Upon reflection, I believe that Donfeld had more insights about the real nature of White House politics than most professors.
The June Scenario
I found the June, 1971, scenario for the creation of a heroin crusade among the thousands of memoranda that Egil Krogh gave me for preparing an interview with him in The Public Interest magazine. The actual scenario was scribbled in pen on legal-size yellow pages by his staff assistant, Jeffrey Donfeld.
Some of the most interesting documents in the Krogh file were the various drafts of President Nixon's June 17, 1971, speech, and the comments on it by various staff assistants. The speech writers had tried to specify the number of addicts in America (300,000), the nature of heroin addiction (a fatal, irreversible disease), and the amount of crime which could be attributed to heroin addiction ($10 billion per year). As the war of memos and counter-memos proceeded in the drafting of the speech, it became painfully clear that the government had not really established any of these facts. Various estimates had put the number of addicts between 50,000 and 600,000 but without any consensus as to the correct number; there was considerable doubt about the nature of heroin addiction (whether addicts could be detoxified or had to be maintained on heroin for the rest of their lives); and no agency had any firm idea of how much crime was committed by addicts (although $10 billion was an obvious exaggeration).
One early draft of the speech claimed that all organized crime in the world was based on the heroin traffic, but that again proved to be a completely unsubstantiated claim which was deleted from the final draft. As non-facts were winnowed out of the final draft, and as speech writers glossed over the glaring gaps in the state of the knowledge about drugs, it became clear that the crusade was based on very little hard information on drugs.
The strategists at the White House were primarily concerned that the president, and not Congress, receive credit for these "initiatives." In pasting together the vampire metaphors from old speeches of Rockefeller's and Nixon's, the speech writers tried not to make it appear that the "epidemic" began in the Nixon administration. A good deal of rewriting was necessary to collapse periods of time and numbers.
The embarrassment of John Ingersoll, the director of the BNDD, over his inability to pin down statistics for the president was a vital part of this scenario. Ingersoll recalls that his isolation from the White House began after the president publicly humiliated him, at the cabinet meeting televised by ABC, by asking him "hard questions." Donfeld acknowledged that he had briefed the president on these "gaps" in what was known about narcotics addicts. Meanwhile, Krogh had complained to Ehrlichman that Ingersoll was avoiding the "difficult tasks" and not cooperating with the White House.
My main sources for this chapter, other than the Krogh file and Jeffrey Donfeld's elaboration of it, were interviews with Egil Krogh, Donald Santarelli (who told me about the showing of Triumph of the Will), and John Ingersoll.
Bureau of Assassinations
The assassination bureau was not a subject that any of the former employees of BNDD or the White House desired to discuss. The mention of a "$100 million clandestine law enforcement fund" came quite unexpectedly from the files provided by Egil Krogh. Until then, I doubted the various stories I had heard circulating about assassinations. Krogh, when I called his attention to these documents, was at first abashed, and then explained that most of the activities had taken place in the ungovernable regions of Southeast Asia.
Jeffrey Donfeld admitted sheepishly, when I pressed him as to what type of law enforcement could possibly be clandestine, that its main purpose was "assassinations." Walter Minnick, who supervised the international activities of the narcotics program for Krogh, said that although the program was then not Put into effect, the plan involved assassinations. And Nelson Gross's administrative assistant, Roger Degilio, also confirmed that "clandestine law enforcement" was a euphemism for assassination, but he could add no details of the specific program. Arthur Downey, Kissinger's National Security Council aide assigned to the drug program, said that the "black stuff" had been discussed and even expedited, but he refused to be specific. I then went back to John Ingersoll, who had been extremely cooperative and candid with me, and showed him the outline of the discussion with the president. Ingersoll asserted that his agency had never received $ 100 million, but he suggested that perhaps it was retained under White House control for their own purposes. Mark Moore, who was director of planning for the drug agency in 1973-74, told me that there had been an appropriation of discretionary money which wasn't "accountable," but he had no idea what it was supposed to be used for.
I was first told about Howard Hunt's attempt to recruit a team of Cuban hit men by Martin Dardis, the assistant state's attorney in Miami. He had an affidavit from Eugenio R. Martinez describing Hunt's request. I was unfortunately not able to identify the Cubans whom Hunt was trying to recruit for this program.
The briefing on the possibility of assassinations which the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse received on its "heroin trip" was provided to me by Joan Cooney, a member of the commission, who was extremely helpful in providing all the files Of the commission for my original study of the link between heroin and crime.
Colonel Conein's dealings in assassination equipment were brought to light by Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., Republican senator from Connecticut, who had been conducting an investigation of CIA involvement with other government agencies, and had obtained a catalogue of the equipment described to Colonel Conein (see the New York Times, January 23, 1975).
Missing pieces still remained to be found in the puzzle. Although I attempted to trace the 1972 supplemental appropriation for the assassination fund, it seemed literally to disappear somewhere in the Office of Management and Budget. About $50 million was given to the BNDD, but this supposedly was for recruiting new agents and buying equipment. Since this money was to be "unaccountable," it Is possible that a portion of the $50 million was in fact the first payment into the assassination fund.
The Screw Worm
The "screw worm- never surfaced in the press and proved an elusive research project. The first hint of biological warfare came from Myles J. Ambrose, the burly former consultant to the president and head of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement. In the course of our discussing various unorthodox proposals that came up in the ad hoc cabinet committee, he mentioned that at one time it was contemplated that some sort of "bug" might be dropped on Turkey. I next asked Arthur Downey, who recalled some talk of developing a poppy weevil and was familiar with the plan for surveillance from U2s, Phantom reconnaissance planes, and the outer space satellite. He pointed out to me the tension that existed between the Department of Agriculture and the National Security Council over Henry Kissinger's attempt to achieve detente with China. He suggested that Nelson Gross would be the person most familiar with the poppy- eradication program. Gross, however, had just been convicted of tax evasion and was unavailable.
I consulted his executive assistant, Roger Degilio, a former Pentagon analyst who understood the bureaucracy in Washington perhaps better than anyone else I had interviewed, Degilio explained to me the Department of Agriculture's role in developing the weevil, but thought I should also speak directly with Quentin Jones, Agriculture's man in charge of the weevil. I visited Dr. Jones at the Department of Agriculture's vast complex— hundreds of buildings identified by number only. Although he refused to show me pictures of the weevil, he told me why the crash program had been rejected by the National Security Council.
I found the memo in which Dr. Jaffe suggested the "insect" to President Nixon, and thus the origins of the screw-worm program, in Krogh's files.. This memorandum was drafted on July 2 by Jeffrey Donfeld, who attended the June meeting along with H. R. Haldeman; Arnold Weber, from the Office of Management and Budget; John Ehrlichman; Jaffe; and, of course, President Nixon. Krogh and Donfeld also supplied handwritten verbatim notes of the meeting. Donfeld recalled the president's continually using the term, "Screw Worm" and that he was hysterically funny, whether he intended to be or not.
The Celebrity File
The "celebrity file" was begun by Jeb Stuart Magruder, who, before he went on to engineer the Watergate "intelligence operation," had been a public-relations advisor to the president. His main accomplishment had been suggesting the idea of a Drug Abuse Prevention Week, which President Nixon proclaimed on April 28,1970.
Jeffrey Donfeld inherited the task of recruiting celebrities, and succeeded in putting together an impressive roster of sports figures who endorsed President Nixon's stance against drugs.
The memoranda on which this chapter is based-the outlines of discussions with the president; the option paper on the creation of a National Drug Foundation; memoranda of the meeting , with Sammy Davis, Jr.,.and the president; the memoranda on Sammy Davis, Jr.'s Programming-all come from the files of Egil Krogh.
Krogh and Donfeld took great delight in explaining this public-relations side of the drug issue to me.
World War III
Nelson Gross was responsible for originally interesting me in the "heroin crusade." Soon after Nixon won reelection, in 1972, 1 was in search of an investigative topic for The New Yorker. Hearing about Nelson Gross's adventures on the opium trail, I arranged to interview Gross at his New Jersey estate to see if he would make a suitable Profile for The New Yorker. Not mentioning his impending indictment, he said that he was about to resign, but would arrange for his secretary and former assistant to provide me with his public papers and statements. I next went to the State Department, where his successors, Harvey Wellington and William Handley, gave me some insight into the disruptive nature of Gross's brief crusade. Later, at the encouragement of Pat Moynihan, I visited a number of embassies around the world, where ambassadors further clarified the unorthodox tactics employed by Gross. The briefing papers I quote from are part of the Egil Krogh file, and they gave me some appreciation of the national-security considerations. Finally, Gross's executive assistant, Roger Degilio, a man I came to admire for his shrewd wit, completed the record of the global war.
Manipulation of the Media
The intentions that political actors have at any moment in history cannot be ascertained by journalists and are subject to a form of Journalistic indeterminacy. It works so that the closer a journalist comes to a political actor, the more the political actor tends to fashion retrospectively his version to win the approval of the journalist. Since any action can be justified in terms of a public rather than a private interest, it is not surprising that actions often tend to be explained in terms of the former rather than the latter. Jeb Stuart Magruder, Egil Krogh, and Jeffrey Donfeld all explained the staging of these media events in terms of the greater good accomplished in warning American youth of the evils drugs. Ronald Howard Glass, a student of mine in at UCLA, found that ten of the eleven participants at the television conference assumed that Nixon, Ehrlichman, and Magruder had no political motive in staging the conference and that their intentions were selfless and sincere. That was a functional assumption. If they had assume these participants had a political motive, they would have had to admit to themselves, and to their colleagues, that they had been the objects of purposeful-and successful-manipulation.
My conclusion was that they had a political motive on their part comes not from my interviews with the White House staff but from documents in the Krogh's files, especially a hundred pages of scenarios, plans, interoffice notes, and memoranda providing step-by-step outlines of the conferences and "media hype," which had been executed with the precision of a military maneuver.
Of course, in the search for motives, even such profuse and specific documentation can be discounted. For example, as Jeffrey Donfeld explained to me, "To get anything past Haldeman and Ehrlichman, we had to describe whatever we were doing in the most cynical political terms." According to this rationale, "cynical" documents could be part of a deception used to accomplish altruistic aims. As it not possible to prove the intent in reporting an event, I can only adopt a tone that dovetails with both my evaluation of the interviews and the prevailing themes that appear in the documents written contemporaneously with the events.
In reconstructing the manipulation of the media I attempted to match the press releases from the White House or from federal agencies with the stories that appeared in the nation's press. In the preponderance of cases, the news that Americans read-or saw on television-had been manufactured by government officials interested in intensifying fear and concern in the American public. In most instances the press release was printed almost verbatim-or at least in an abridged form.
In this chapter I relied heavily on the files of Krogh and Donfeld, and in their retrospective analyses of the "media hype," as Donfeld called it. I also quoted from \ Magruder's autobiography, An American Life: One Man's Road to Watergate (written in collaboration with Patrick Anderson), which provides some perspective on the public-relations operations of the Nixon administration.
The Tagged Fish Epidemic
Journalists are often themselves responsible for much of the statistical exaggeration and hyperbole produced by federal agencies. John Ingersoll explained to me that it was not only the White House that wanted to manufacture a crisis but also journalists who covered narcotics. Whenever he presented reporters with a "reasonable" estimate of the number of addicts or of the value of seized narcotics, they would invariably press him as to whether a more "dramatic" figure could be given in the press. Ingersoll would accommodate them to assure that his bureau was favorably covered in newspaper accounts. Added to this consideration, congressmen on key appropriations subcommittees always wanted the narcotics problem to be presented on a grand scale, so that they could justify appropriations. Other agencies of the federal government were under similar pressure to produce dramatic numbers.
The fault was not entirely with the government statisticians. In order to make assumptions about the number of addicts in the United States, it was first necessary to establish some definition of what constituted an addict as opposed to an occasional or even moderate user of heroin If a addict was simply defined as someone who regularly used a drug that was injurious to his health and suffered withdrawal pain if he ceased using that drug, then not only heroin users but cigarette users could be classified as addicts. On the other hand, if addicts were defined as individuals who could not voluntarily stop using a given drug, then only a small percentage of heroin users even of those classified as addicts by local police departments, would qualify as addicts. The Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs statisticians, lacking any real definition of addiction, simply lumped both categories together in an "addict-user' category. However, the fundamental assumption they used in projecting "unknown addicts" was that once an individual was addicted to heroin, he would continue his addiction for life. While this assumption fit the latter group of addicts, it did not fit the former group, who had occasional "runs" on heroin, "matured out" or simply used heroin when it was in fashionable or available. The statistician who applied the "tagged-fish" formula, Dr. Joseph Greenwood, was not engaged in any statistical flim flam game; he was simply working on assumptions given to him by the BNDD. That his projections of 559,000 addicts were used in political speeches by figures in the Nixon administration to increase the atmosphere of fear were reported as fact suggested a weakness in journalists for dramatic numbers.
I relied here on data provided to me mainly by John Ingersoll on the methods the BNDD used to project estimates. The briefings of President Nixon and Myles Ambrose were supplied to me by Richard Harkness, the press officer of the special- action office.
The Crime Nexus
One of the most deleterious effects that social science has had on journalism come from substituting "rational" models of behavior for descriptive reporting of what has been known to happen. Such models tend to focus attention on logical explanations and, in doing so, often neglects irrational factors.
Crime in America is transformed by the application of such models from a complex picture of law breaking into an economically logical one. Although such models may provide interesting results when they rely on well-established data (for example, when economists examine the relation between taxation and inflation), they do not work where the data are problematic. The crime nexus that was applied to heroin users blurred many important distinctions, such as the between heroin users and addicts.
Journalists were not entirely unwilling dupes in reporting the crime-nexus. They could have pressed government officials on the method they used for estimating the number of addicts in America, or the cost of their daily habit. They then would have quickly found out that the government had no way of knowing the number of addicts, had made no distinction between addicts and occasional users of heroin, and had deduced the cost of their daily habit from stories told by ex-addicts-stories which were not necessarily even believable. But since the multibillion-dollar numbers provided dramatic news, and the paucity of statistical data was impossible to write about, journalists usually avoided asking embarrassing questions of their government briefing officer.
I first became interested in the credibility of the crime estimates reported in the press when William Whitworth, an editor at The New Yorker magazine, suggested that ex-addicts in treatment centers had a strong incentive to exaggerate , and that the operators of these treatment centers had no incentive to dispute their claims. If an addict claimed that he had to steal $100 or $200 a day before he came in for treatment, society was presumably being saved that amount by paying for the treatment of this addict. Most of the conventional wisdom on drugs was supplied either by ex-addicts or by treatment centers, and as the. Domestic Council staff paper quoted in the chapter points out, treatment centers themselves frequently exaggerate, or even quintuple, the amount of reported crime, to justify their expansion. The first question I asked of government officials in drug-abuse programs was, What systematic surveys have been made of the number of addicts or of the relation between addiction and crime? Few such studies existed. Mark Moore developed a typology of heroin users, in New York State for the Hudson Institute study on the economics of heroin distribution. Heather L. Ruth also wrote a thesis, "The Street-level Economics of Heroin Addiction in New York City," which explored the modes in which addicts earn their living. The Department of compiled a study correlating drug usage and arrest charges in six metropolitan areas in December, 1971, but this study dealt only with the group of addicts who were arrested by the police. In exploring the types of crimes which addicts did and did not tend to commit, I relied heavily on materials supplied to me by Joseph D. McNamara, who was then a captain in the New York City police department in charge of the analysis of crime records. The profile that McNamara provided me of the "robbery offender" and "muggers" did not conform to that of the heroin addicts— for example, most muggings were the work of teenagers returning home from school.
The Uniform Crime Reports that I cite present a problem. They are compilations of local crime reports, and generally underestimate the number of crimes, especially in poorer areas.
The Domestic Council staff papers cited were all given to me by Krogh. The "briefing book" and other press handouts were given to me by Richard Harkness, the information coordinator for the drug-abuse program.
The ability of individuals to discount information that contradicts their beliefs cannot be underestimated. When they receive such dissonant information, they often make ad hoc assumption that allows that information to be integrated with their beliefs. For example, if a study contradicts a theory that one particularly believes in, one can simply assume that the sample was inadequate, that the techniques for evaluating the sample were flawed, or that the evaluator was biased or dishonest. Moreover, since most evidence is incomplete, it can be interpreted in a number of ways to dovetail with the longer-held, more cherished beliefs.
When the White House strategists on the Domestic Council realized that most of the theories they were publicly promoting about drug addiction were not supported by evidence, they made such ad hoc assumptions. When I discussed the IDA report with Krogh, he said, "To say that they Institute for Defense Analysis could not prove that there was a connection between drugs and crime does not mean that there isn't a link." Even though Krogh readily admitted that most of the assumptions were shaken by these studies-that it was impossible to say that most heroin users were heroin addicts; that addicts were compelled to steal a given amount of goods every day, or for that matter consume a given amount of heroin-he was still able to cling to the belief that drug addiction was a major factor in crime.
Because of this ability to dismiss dissonant evidence, the policy implications of the IDA report were never fully articulated to President Nixon, according to Egil Krogh. If indeed other drugs could be substituted for heroin, then the policy of destroying poppy crops in Turkey and other places in the world made little sense without first confronting the question of which drug was the most socially desirable to have consumed by American drug users. A study of drug enforcement by the New York police actually suggested that "some of the alternate drugs (especially barbiturates and amphetamines] may actually be more socially damaging than heroin, since they induce violent behavior. Moreover, if heroin was not as totally addictive as it had been presumed, then the massive methadone programs, where addicts would be given large dosages of a heroin substitute, would have to be reconsidered or at least rationalized in different terms. Similarly, the expansion of the drug-police agencies would have to be explained in terms other than crime reduction-none of which White House strategists were interested in doing.
I was given access to the IDA report by James Q. Wilson, who a the time was chairman of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse Prevention, a unit of the federal government established by Congress to evaluate the various federal strategies on drug abuse When I discussed it with several officials in the drug-enforcement field, including John Ingersoll and Myles Ambrose, they said they had no knowledge of the report. Evidently. it had not been immediately circulated to the bureaus of government.
The ARTC study that I cite was given to me by Professor Irving F. Luckoff, of Columbia University, who was co-director of the evaluation team, and I discussed the implications and reasons for the high crime rate in this project in my article on methadone in The Public Interest magazine (Summer, 1974). Richard Wilbur, then an assistant Secretary of the Army, provided me with data on the findings of the Department of Defense on drug addiction when I interviewed him in 1973.
The Liddy Plan
In some journalistic investigations the tracks of one project (or plot) crosses those of another. At that point it becomes unclear whether one is following two separate undertakings that converge by coincidence or a single conspiracy. Thus, while I began by tracking the efforts to deal with a drug emergency, I found a new conspiracy developing concerning the Watergate cover- up in 1973. The Administration's much publicized heroin crusade now took on new dimensions. John Caulfield, who had been working as a liaison on drugs, and who had proposed the privately financed White House detective agency, was identified as a White House wiretapper, Egil Krogh, who superintended the drug program, admitted to heading the "special investigative unit," or Plumbers, who broke into a psychiatrist's office on behalf of the White House. Meanwhile, it also turned out that G. Gordon Liddy, the convicted leader of the Watergate break-in, had drawn up the plan which evolved into ODALE; E. Howard Hunt, Liddy's partner in the Watergate crime, turned out to be a consultant to the Domestic Council on the drug program; and Vernon Acree, who replaced Myles Ambrose as commissioner of customs had been offered the job as a vice-president of the proposed agency. In short, the same names kept reappearing. While Liddy, Krogh, and Caulfield prepared to take over the drug program, they were also included in covert operations on behalf of the White House. This seemed like possibly more than a simple coincidence. On the other hand, it is not clear to what extent these converging investigative operations were planned with a single objective.
The Watergate investigations have produced documents that otherwise would be unavailable to journalists writing about an event. Almost all of the account I give of the attempt of the Nixon administration to gain some control over the Internal Revenue Service comes from the investigations of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities (the Ervin Committee). (The balance comes from Victor Navasky's book Kennedy Justice and from a research paper by Michael Himmel on the Internal Revenue Service done at UCLA in 1975.) My account of how Caulfield attempted to set up a privately financed detective agency comes mainly from Caulfield's testimony before an executive session of the Senate committee on March 23, 1974, and documents he supplied to the committee. I interviewed Ambrose and Krogh on the subject, but not Caulfield.
My account of Nixon's long-standing antagonism with the Central Intelligence Agency comes mainly from my conversations with Richard Helms, the former director of the agency, when I visited Iran in 1974. My description of the White House strategists' views of recalcitrant "bureaucrats" is derived mainly from interviews I had with Egil Krogh,Walter Minnick, Geoffrey Sheppard, Jeffrey Donfeld, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, William Safire, Patrick Buchanan, and Ray Price. I also got perspective from "enemies," such as John Ingersoll and Eugene Rossides.
I also drew from two insightful books about the Nixon administration: William Safire's Before the Fall (which I quote from), and Theodore H. White's Breach of Faith.
The Secret -Room 16
Though few admit it, journalists do not have the requisite power to uncover crimes in high places (or even in low places). They of course cannot subpoena witnesses or their records. They cannot force individuals to be truthful, or, for that matter, even to grant them an interview. Under such circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect anyone voluntarily to divulge his or her criminal liability to a newsman. It is prosecutors who produce evidence of criminal conspiracies, since they have the power to compel testimony, penalize perjury with prison sentences, and offer inducements to reluctant witnesses to testify. The revelations of the operations of the Plumbers and the break-in of Dr. Fielding's office did not come from enterprising newsmen (although this is commonly misstated in the press); they came from John Dean, the counsel to President Nixon, who provided this information to federal prosecutors in 1973 in return for a promise of lenient treatment. The prosecutors provided this information to Attorney General Elliot Richardson, who transmitted it to Judge Matt Byrne, then presiding over the Ellsberg trial, who in turn revealed it to the press.
The account I give of the Plumbers similarly comes from the prosecutors, although I also had extensive interviews with Egil Krogh after he was released from prison, and I incorporate part of his version with that of the prosecutors. The arrest of the narcotics addict for the crime of the White House crew came from Steve Trott, a district attorney in Los Angeles I knew from an earlier reporting assignment on the Black Panthers.
For the backgrounds of E. Howard Hunt and Bernard Barker I relied on Hunt's autobiography, Undercover, and Tad Szulc's book, Compulsive Spy. Since Hunt and Liddy are still in prison, I was not able to interviews them.
In 1973 1 had discussed the creation of the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement with John Ingersoll, Eugene Rossides, and Myles Ambrose (Egil Krogh at that time refused to see me). Each had seen the creation of this office from his own bureaucratic perspective, and had described it only in terms of how it injured or advanced his particular agency. I had more or less given up on the possibility of finding an overall perspective on ODALE when by chance I asked Ingersoll if the creation of this office had some sort of code name (like "Clean Sweep") which might be useful in describing it in the article I was then writing for The New Yorker. Ingersoll was unable to recall such a code name, but he suggested that the only person who would know was Leo Pellerzi, who had just been dismissed as the assistant attorney general for administration in the Department of Justice. When I called Pellerzi to find out the code name, he told me that he himself had fought the implementation of this particular White House program-unsuccessfully-and would be glad to describe all the stages through which it evolved. I flew to Washington and had lunch with him at the Ramada Inn, and he described to me the attempts to insert "CIA liaisons" and "granting authorities" in the original plan. Armed with this information, I used the journalistic equivalent of the camel's nose- under-the-tent technique: I called upon Henry Petersen at the Department of Justice, Richard Kleindienst, and Richard Helms and asked for their comments on this attempt to use the CIA for domestic intelligence purposes. Since I had already been informed of the development by Pellerzi, all three had reason to comment on what had happened in the establishing of this office. At this time I was also able to speak to Egil Krogh, who had just got out of jail. Krogh then explained that the White House wanted "to do everything in that final year prior to the election that would support a presidential platform of accomplishment in drug abuse and crime control. The Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement [ODALE] was presented in that context, that this could enable us to show so me direct successes and seizures and arrests that otherwise could not be made. This gets into a political dimension as well.... There was a great deal of interest that an ODALE program could provide an awareness at the local level of a direct federal activity in narcotics law enforcement."
When I told Krogh that Petersen claimed there was a political motive behind the formation of this office, Krogh replied, "Mr. Petersen's right in saying that there was a political motive behind it, as there is a political motive behind practically everything that was undertaken, in addition to a substantive desire to reduce a problem area." Some of the participants thus agreed that ODALE was not strictly for law enforcement-but each put a different emphasis on the importance of the political motive. One problem I was not able to resolve was Attorney General John Mitchell's role in the formation of ODALE. Ingersoll had told me that Mitchell did not know of the plan. Walter Minnick, one of Krogh's staff assistants, also said that the White House staff was instructed not to tell either Mitchell or Secretary of the Treasury Connally about the development of this plan, at least in its early stages. Krogh, however, insisted that Mitchell was directly told about the plan by Ehrlichman. Although the information was kept away from Mitchell's staff, and of course from Ingersoll and Rossides, Krogh subsequently explained, "In fact, the Attorney General knew why the president wanted ODALE-and supported his decision." When I told Ingersoll about what Krogh had said, Ingersoll still doubted that Mitchell ever really realized the extent of the plan. Since I was not able to interview John Mitchell, I was never satisfied with an explanation of exactly what role he was playing in the administration in late 1971.
Walter Minnick was one of the many young and highly intelligent analysts who were more interested in rational policies than power politics. He had left Harvard in 1969, after his commission as a reserve officer in the Army had been activated, and served in the Pentagon as a systems analyst in the office of the secretary of defense. His work had brought him in contact with the new "White House Whiz Kids," and he became especially close friends with Geoffrey Sheppard, an assistant to Krogh whom he had known earlier. When Minnick's two-year tour of active duty was completed, in July, 1971, Krogh offered him a position on the Domestic Council, working in the area of international narcotics control. Minnick thus joined Sheppard, Donfeld, Liddy, and three others on the Domestic Council staff. His first assignment was to travel to Southeast Asia with Nelson Gross', the newly appointed State Department coordinator for international narcotics matters. Afterward, he worked briefly with E. Howard Hunt on the creation of the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, and was then assigned assistant to Krogh for coordinating the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control.
I had known Minnick through mutual friends at Harvard, and when I interviewed him in 1974 on the creation of these new White House offices, he was unusually candid on most issues. For example, when I asked him why the White House had created ODALE, he replied without hesitation, "It was an election-year stunt." When I asked him about ONNI, he explained its origins, as well as the real problem of "coordinating intelligence "-that despite some good intentions, the office had gone astray under the ambitions of William Sullivan. In the months that followed I always found him both accurate and lucid; he seemed much more interested in carefully and rationally explaining the considerations of a decision than in protecting any of the individuals involved in making that decision. In 1972, after Watergate, Minnick was appointed director of a unit in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which superintended all the drug policies of the various federal agencies. A year later Minnick resigned and took a job with a construction company in Idaho. The fact that so many young analysts like Minnick were part of the Nixon administration (as well as of preceding administrations, no doubt), made it extremely difficult for the political operators in the administration to accomplish their purposes with complete secrecy.
The Heroin Hotline
It is often easier to obtain information from government agencies than it is from private agencies. Though Grey Advertising steadfastly refused to allow me to see the commercials it prepared for the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement, claiming a "privileged relation" between its client and itself, the Government Accounting Office, a congressional agency which monitors the expenditures of the executive branch, provided me with the audits of the heroin hotline. Eugene Abston, who was then working for this agency, helped in locating this material for my study. Public-relations officers of the Department of Justice Robert Feldtkamp and Con Dougherty, provided me all the political speeches and briefings of Myles Ambrose. Geoffrey Sheppard, who joined EgIl Krogh's staff after graduating from Harvard Law School, gave me a hilarious description of the location of the hotline's intelligence center in the fortified mine shaft in Virginia.
Even though everyone I spoke to who was involved in the heroin hotline-Egil Krogh, John Ingersoll, his deputy, Richard Callahan Myles Ambrose, his successor, John Bartels, and Walter Minnick agreed that the heroin hotline yielded few results other than the publicity campaign for the Nixon administration, the press, including the New York Times, continued to report about it as if it were a major and successful law enforcement mechanism. As Krogh pointed out to me, this was further proof that a government briefing officer could create the sort of news his agency desired, no matter what the obvious facts of the situation were. Finally, after three years of reporting its successes, the Associated Press carried the story on September 27, 1975, which noted:
Posters may still be found here and around the nation urging calls to a toll- free number to turn in a drug pusher. But quietly, the national heroin hotline has turned cold. It went out of service two weeks ago and with it went the $123,000 hotline advertising campaign that started in 1972 in the Nixon Administration's anti-crime drive. There were posters inside buses and subways. Radio and television granted free time to promote it.... Today if a call is made to that number a recording suggests calling another number. At the second number a second recording says that the number is out of service.
Justice in Philadelphia
In discussing the Nixon administration journalists tend to add to the fiction that many of the political actions undertaken by it were an abrupt departure from American politics. Because more documents are available from the Nixon administration than from any other, and in a sense more "defectors" (like John Dean) are willing to dramatize the excesses of this administration (in return for book rights or to keep out of prison), it is easy to create the illusion that the actions of the Nixon administration were not replicated by a previous administration. There were simply more sources available during this Nixon administration, not to mention extraordinary discovery processes, such as the work of the Senate committees and special prosecutors. There is no way of saying that previous administrations could not be similarly indicted for giving federal funds to local politicians to aid with re-election campaigns; the fallout of the Watergate investigations is that it is fairly easy to document dramatic examples such as what happened in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia story was told mainly by Egil Krogh in the tape-recorded interviews I did with him for The Public Interest. Jeffrey Donfeld also told me of his part in the story. Donald J. Santarelli gave me a perspective on LEAA after he resigned, in 1974; and Thomas Whitehead, who also worked at LEAA during this period, told me of some of the internal debates when he became a fellow of the Drug Abuse Council.
The Consolidation of Power
One of the most important areas of the government which is not covered by journalists is the constant effort of those in power to "reorganize" the bureaucracy, and the equally constant resistance of those in the agencies of the government toward such actions. While this constant struggle generates the embarrassing leaks about individual politicians and bureau heads and provides much of the grist for its rumor mill, the actual interests which are at stake in these struggles are usually neglected by cooperative journalists (who depend on the leaks for their titillating news stories about the individuals involved). For its part, the administration uses the rhetoric of efficiency. It represented reorganization in terms of concentrating its resources more effectively to accomplish its purpose.
The bureaucracy uses the rhetoric of "integrity" to resist these changes. It depicts each reorganization in terms of abolishing checks and balances or restraints which had previously existed. Whereas the administration represents fragmentation as being an unmitigated evil that diffuses responsibility, the bureaucracy represents it as a safeguard that diffuses power. The same reorganization can thus be represented in two different rhetorical manners. At the same time, the real interest that is at stake can be concealed by both forms of rhetoric. In attempting to reconstruct any reorganization in the government by interviewing the participants concerned, the journalist inevitably runs into this dual rhetoric.
Reorganization Plan Number Two was thus depicted to me by Krogh, Minnick, Donfeld, and other members of the Domestic Council as an attempt to achieve efficiency in the narcotics program and the consolidation of agencies would certainly be more efficient in terms of using the available resources. At the same time, Ingersoll, in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Rossides, in the Treasury Department, and other members of the bureaucracy with interests at stake represented the reorganization as an attempt to set Lip a "national police force," as Rossides put it-an attack on the integrity or autonomy of individual agencies. With two sets of participants using different vocabularies to describe the same phenomenon there is no simple way to resolve conflicts. One simply has to decide on a standard rhetoric that will be used in interviewing participants. In this case, in the context of my investigation of the entire narcotics program, I decided that the quest for power, and especially the desire of the White House strategists to control an investigative agency, was the dominant purpose (even though a subsidiary purpose may well have been increased efficiency). I therefore chose to represent the struggle to consolidate agencies in the White House in terms of power rather than efficiency.
The Revolt of the Bureaucrats
A novel can often approach a major truth about a subject which journalism, restrained by certain conventions, may miss entirely. John Ehrlichman's book, The Company, although it is fictive illuminates a major part of the so-called Watergate affair that had been almost totally neglected by the press: the power struggle between Nixon and the agencies of his own government. Ehrlichman begins his novel by showing the Machiavellian amorality of presidents: one president is involved in assassination plots, while another assists in the cover-ups and uses the investigative agencies of his government for surveillance in the 1968 convention; ind a third president attempts to usurp power within the government.
When journalists hide their sources, they often also hide the power struggle within the American government in which the participants use the journalists to embarrass their opponents.
Consider, for example, the problem of Woodward and Bernstein, of the Washington Post. Woodward was receiving information from Robert Foster Bennett, of Robert R. Mullen and Company, that focused the blame for Watergate on Charles Colson. If he had assumed that Bennett was providing him with this information for anything more than a disinterested purpose, he would have had to ask whom Bennett worked for, what the true business of Mullen and Company was, and why Bennett wanted him to steer his investigation away from the CIA and toward Charles Colson. He then would have found that Mullen and Company was a CIA front organization and was aware that Bennett was giving information to Woodward; and that the CIA was trying to divert attention from itself (and succeeding, in the Washington Post) because a number of the conspirators involved in the Watergate burglary had also been involved in operations that the CIA had directly supported, such as the Plumbers. Moreover, the very fact that a CIA front group was providing information that was undermining the Nixon administration pointed to a conflict between Nixon and the CIA. Woodward and Bernstein, however, could not have reported these implications and thus could not have depicted the power struggle between the president and the CIA without revealing one of their prime sources.
For the same reason, the reporters who received Nixon's tax returns from officials of the Internal Revenue Service could not have revealed this as evidence of a struggle between disgruntled members of the Treasury Department and the president without also revealing that they were no more than messengers for insurgents struggling against the president. By not revealing their sources, they received the Pulitzer Prize.
In terms of sources, this section on the CIA is based mainly on interviews I had with Richard Helms, Egil Krogh, and Charles Colson. I also depended heavily on the book At That Point in Time by Fred D. Thompson, the chief minority counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee, which clarified the "CIA connection" better than any other book I know of on the subject. Richard P. Nathan, the assistant director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1969 to 1971, offers the same theme in his book The Plot that Failed.- Nixon and the Administrative Presidency.
The section on the FBI is heavily based on interviews with Cartha D. DeLoach, the ormer associate director of the FBI. Seymour Glanzer and Earl Silbert, of the Department of Justice. Eugene Rossides and John Ingersoll traced out the leaks between the Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, respectively. All he quotes from President Nixon are taken from the White House transcripts, as republished by the New York Times.
The Coughing Crisis Walter Minnick explained in his testimony before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in March, 1975, that the White House engineered ban on opium cultivation in Turkey was never intended to be the final solution to the heroin problem in the United States. Furthermore, the White House knew that the Turkish opium would be replaced by opium from other corners of the world. Senator Birch Bayh, who chaired the hearings, replied that he had been misled by the press into believing that the Turkish opium ban, if it had been maintained, would have significantly diminished the drug problem in the United States. He was in fact quite right: the press, in the summer of 1971, had readily reported that most American addicts were supplied with Turkish opium, and that if this supply were suppressed, they would be forced into giving up their addictive habit or undergoing treatment. The press, in turn, had been misled by the White House strategists, who in numerous private briefings had persuaded journalists that the crime problem in America could be greatly alleviated if Turkey took action against its opium growers. For example, Egil Krogh intensively briefed Stewart Alsop, who then wrote three columns in Newsweek magazine on this subject. Krogh also spent the better part of a month priming an ABC television crew that was doing a program on international narcotics, stressing the importance of the Turkish connection. Literally scores of reporters were taken along the "trail of heroin," which led from Istanbul to Marseilles to New York, by agents and public-relations men from the BNDD. The White House strategists, in turn, misled themselves by wishful thinking: they realized it was possible to put enough pressure on Turkey to have it at least temporarily suspend opium production. They then hoped that such a concerted effort would have some effect. But the press reports which they generated no doubt reinforced this hope.
This chapter is largely based on interviews with Walter C. Minnick after he had left the government and gone to work with a construction firm in Boise, Idaho. Raymond M. Asher, the general counsel of Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, which manufactures a large amount of the codeine base in America, provided me with a good deal of material on the "opium shortage." He, of course, was attempting to stimulate interest in the "coughing crisis" so that the government would take action to provide his company with more opium for its products. Ambassador William Macomber provided me with background information on the importance of the surveillance bases in Turkey maintained by the United States (and I subsequently used this information for an article I wrote in the Wall Street Journal on this subject on August 29, 1975).
Herman Kirby, the State Department desk officer for Turkey, also provided me with a background briefing. While I was in India, Daniel Patrick Moynihan provided me with his telegrams on the narcotics problem.
The Drugging of America
There is no practical way in which a journalist can penetrate by himself the mask of statistics which organizations generate to protect their interests. And, as the methadone program proves, if organizations are given enough time, they will sometimes develop statistical systems to produce the results which are acceptable to the federal agencies. For example, a number of programs originally used ex-addicts from their programs as paid counselors to determine whether the patients were also using illicit drugs, such as heroin. These counselors, of course, had an interest in showing that methadone was effective, thereby protecting their jobs. In examining one such reporting system in Philadelphia, Chambers and Taylor analyzed the urine of patients in that program for illicit drugs without telling the counselors. It was found that almost 80 percent of those in the program were taking heroin.
Since doctors administer these programs, they can themselves decide what sort of data should be considered evidence of "cheating" or "antisocial behavior," and what sort of data should be excluded. The computer programs they used for their data reflected these original decisions, and therefore it is not unexpected that the computer print-outs which they sent to their evaluators eventually showed that they were achieving their stated objectives. In a sense, the computer print-out cannot be questioned.
This ability to control statistics through computer print-outs explains the discrepancy between crime statistics on a societal scale and those generated by the treatment centers. Most treatment centers now show that their patients have greatly diminished their criminal activity; yet, the cities in which they are located showed a marked increase in crime between 1972 and 1975. What are generally considered to be addict-related crimes, such as minor burglaries, have increased by more than 40 percent. Since methadone is now available io any addict who wants it at no cost, and since most addicts are presumably enrolled in methadone programs, why has crime increased? One answer obviously is that the only addicts who enroll in programs with serious controls are those who are not interested in committing crimes. Dr. Avram Goldstein, the highly respected director of the Addiction Research Laboratory at Stanford, demonstrated through "double blind" tests that "the dose of methadone is largely irrelevant," and concluded, "Methadone cannot magically prevent heroin use in a patient who wants to use heroin; it can only facilitate a behavioral change in people who have made a conscious decision to change."
This chapter is based on interviews with Dr. Jerome Jaffe, Egil Krogh, Jeffrey Donfeld, and Robert DuPont (who replaced Jaffe as the director of the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention). The best analysis to date of the effect of methadone treatment on crime and criminal narcotics addicts is the mimeographed report by Irving F. Luckoff and Paula Holzman Kleinman entitled "Methadone Maintenance- Modest Help for a Few" (1975). The Drug Enforcement Agency report that I quote on the extent of leakage of methadone in 1973 was given to me by Con Dougherty, a public-relations officer at that agency. Before it could be released, however, officials of the special-action office proposed to the White House that it be suppressed. Paul Perito, a former official of the Special-action office, also provided some information for this chapter. The footnote on the methadone-treatment center in Washington ,D.C., comes from a memorandum (October 16, 197 1) provided to me by Egil Krogh. The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse has included in the appendixes of its 1973 report the best analysis of why the evaluations done by the various treatment programs have been deficient.
A number of alternative ways of describing the activities of a government agency are available to a journalist. In the most conventional model of reporting on the government the journalist simply describes the changes in the top executives of the agency, changes in its performance as reported by these executives, or charges of misbehavior on the part of members of this agency. This form of reporting mainly involves rewriting press releases from the bureau itself- or possibly from other bureaus in the position to criticize it. Most newspaper reporting of the BNDD and its successors falls into his category.
A second model of government reporting involves chronicling the exploits of a particular agency. In this model the journalist reconstructs a particular operation-the seizure of a large quantity of heroin, the arrest of top figures in a crime ring, or even an adventure story on the part of agents. Journalists who wish to use this form simply report the excesses of drug agents and the way that they violated the rights of citizens, such as in the Collinsville raid. Public-relations officials at the drug agency would spend considerable time reconstructing the exploits of drug agents for the benefit of reporters interested in publicizing them (the more critical reports came from rival agencies interested in discrediting ODALE). Such reporting was found in Time and Newsweek, and in such books as The Heroin Trail, an extensive leak by the BNDD and its agents to reporters for Newsday,- Contrabandista!, a leak to Evert Clark and Nicholas Horrock by inspectors in the Bureau of Customs; The Secret War Against Dope, a leak to Andrew Tully, again by the Bureau; and Heroes and Heroin, a leak directly provided to NBC News by Egil Krogh and the White House staff. An article on DEA by Frank Browning in Playboy magazine, and some excellent ,porting in Rolling Stone magazine on the world of "narks," provide ne examples of "negative" adventures or exploits in this style of reporting.
A third way of organizing information about a government agency is the power-struggle model, and involves the reporter's delineating the various bureaucratic interests which were at stake. This is the model that I use in this book. It assumes that much of the activity of government agencies results from the actions of those in the organization attempting to maintain their position or power. As is necessary in this mode of reporting, I relied heavily on disgruntled officials in the various drug agencies and their rivals in the government. For example, Vernon Acree, then the commissioner of customs, provided me with names of a number of customs agents who had then transferred to DEA and then, because they were dissatisfied, transferred back to the Customs Bureau. Acree knew that these repatriated agents would provide me with negative anecdotes of how the Drug Enforcement Agency went about hyping statistics-and possibly with accounts of corruption within that agency. The sources also included John Ingersoll, after he was rudely fired from his directorship of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs; Myles Ambrose; Eugene Rossides; John Bartels; Mark Moore, who became a staff assistant to Bartels and was a former colleague of mine at Harvard; Colonel Thomas Fox; Jim Ludlum; Mort Bach, of the Treasury Department; Richard Callahan, an executive in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs; Roger Degilio, who was executive director of the National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention; Egil Krogh and his staff at the White House; Bob Esterland, of the Treasury Department; Thomas O'Malley and William Ryan, of the Justice Department's enforcement division; and field agents of DEA in England, France, Turkey, India, Lebanon, and Iran. (The funds to interview these agents abroad came in part from a grant from the Drug Abuse Council)
Other examples of this power-struggle model as applied to the drug agencies can be found in Ron Rosenbaum's article "The Decline and Fall of Nixon's Drug Czar," in New Times magazine (September, 1975), and John Finlator's book The Drugged Nation.
Finally, there is a model of reporting which is more difficult to employ in the time frame available to a journalist and which would attempt to correlate the actions of an agency with the changes in the environment in which it exists. This is the natural-history model. It might be possible, for example, to understand the evolution of what began as the unit in the Alcohol Tax Division and turned into the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs in the Justice Department, and so on, if one could also chart the psychological and political changes in the population to which the government was reacting.
Decline and Fall
A journalist acts either as a messenger or as a spy in acquiring information. In either case, when reporting on the government, he is almost totally dependent on his sources within the administration. Yet the very fact that his sources have disclosed information to him may be an integral part of the story. In this case, over a four-year period I dealt with a number of high officials in the White House and in the executive branch of the government. See Personal Sources for a complete listing. In many cases it was obvious to me that these officials were not completely disinterested in the information they gave to me and, to be more specific, were trying to use me as a messenger to deliver a bombshell that would embarrass their opponents. To conceal this would be to conceal the power struggle which is the subject of this book.
One problem in reporting on an event over an extended period of time (and spies everywhere must have the same problem) is that one often accepts the involved individuals as likable human beings. I found Egil Krogh to be intelligent, shrewd, thoughtful, humorous, ironic, and a model family man. I enjoyed the analytic minds of Walter Minnick, Jeff Donfeld, and Geoff Sheppard, and found that many of their skeptical insights about government paralleled my own. I have no doubt that Jerry Jaffe, Nelson Gross, and many others were sincerely motivated in their personal wars against heroin. I also admired Gene Rossides, John Ingersoll, Leo Pellerzi, and Richard Kleindienst for resisting White House pressures. Richard Helms was extremely articulate, insightful, and, I believe, frank in his description of events. I also enjoyed the colorful metaphors Myles Ambrose used in describing the various aspects of his career as a narcotics fighter. John Bartels always seemed to me to be a thoughtful, candid, and thoroughly decent administrator. It is of course difficult not to like those involved in a long-term reportage, if only because they are providing one with the needed information.
The journalist is thus faced with a dilemma: how can likable and presumably decent individuals be coordinated with such disastrous policies? The only answer I can suggest is that many individual characteristics are lost in an organization. When Liddy and Hunt joined together, they had a certain binary effect on each other: both became more daring and more ambitious. To a lesser degree, I suspect that members of the in-group in the White House affected each other in such a way that their actions were not restrained by the reservations of the individuals involved. The defining characteristic of the White House strategists was ambition. When they thought they had power within their grasp, they acted so as to gain it. When I interviewed them after Watergate, when power was no longer within reach, other traits no doubt surfaced. Dr. Jaffe later suggested in his article in Psychiatric News that the White House strategists were flawed in other ways:
Dissent and disloyalty were concepts that were never sufficiently differentiated in their minds.... [They] admired people who could be cold and dispassionate in making personal decisions.... They deeply distrusted the motives of other people and weren't able to believe that people could rise above selfish motives.
Whether or not this is a fair characterization of the White House strategists, they were young and inexperienced in the ways of either government or private organizations, and seemed to suspect anyone who tried to dilute or diffuse their claim of power. I am not sure, however, that even if one started with a completely different cast of characters (as long as they were of the same general age and inexperience), and if they worked for a president who sought control over an investigative agency of the government in order to plug leaks and control the bureaucracy, that they would have acted very differently. In short, I believe that "personalities" can be overestimated as a factor in explaining policy. In this case the quest for power by the president and his principal advisors simply overwhelmed all those young men serving him-at least, that is the way that I resolved this particular dilemma.
In describing the operations of the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence, I also relied on interviews with Russell Asch, the deputy director, and Sybil Cline, who served as an assistant to William Sullivan in the ' new agency. I found Col. Thomas Fox, who put the intelligence operations in perspective, totally by accident. In January, 1976, 1 was reinvestigating the Kennedy assassination for the Reader's Digest and wanted to discuss Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union with someone from the Defense Intelligence Agency. Thomas Fox was recommended to me by John Barron, an editor at the Digest. When I finally had lunch with him, he told me, by way of his personal history, of his involvement with the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence.
The research for this book was financed in large part by the Drug Abuse Council, Inc., a privately financed foundation which was established to provide another perspective on problems of drug abuse. Assistance was also provided by National Affairs, Inc., the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Police Foundation. Esquire helped subsidize my reportage of poppy-growing in Turkey, and The Public Interest magazine supported my investigation of methadone clinics and helped me obtain the Krogh file.
Research on various parts of the book was done for me by Hillary Mayer, Suzanna Duncan, Elizabeth Guthrie, and Deborah Gieringer, to all of whom I am grateful.
I am also indebted to Edward Banfield, Daniel Bell, Allan Bloom, Edward Chase, Nathan Glazer, Erving Goffman, Andrew Hacker, William Haddad, Paul Halpern, Bruce Kovner, Irving Kristol, Edward Luttwak, Jerry Mandel, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Victor Navasky, Bruce Page, Norman Podhoretz, Mark Platner, John Rubenstein, William Shawn, Jonathan Shell, Leslie Steinau, Edward Thompson, Lionel Tiger, Paul Weaver, William Whitworth, and James Q. Wilson.
The original book was published in 1978 by Putnam. The cyberbook was designed by June Eng, to whom I am also indebted.