ABC Evening News for Thursday, Aug 02, 1973
View other clips in this broadcast →
(Studio) Links between Watergate conspirators and CIA have floated about since Watergate break-in. Senate Watergate committee hears from former CIA director Richard Helms.
REPORTER: Howard K. Smith
(Capitol Hill) [HELMS - testifies he assured former FBI head Pat. Gray that CIA agents had nothing to do with Watergate break-in.] Helms states on June 17, 1972, he and deputy director Vernon Walters called to White House for mtg. with H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. [HELMS - says Haldeman asked Walters to request acting FBI director Gray to stop investigation in Mexico because CIA projects needing security might be uncovered. FBI probe should be reduced in Mexico. Helms says references to Mexico unclear.] Helms checked to see if CIA had Mexican connections that had anything to do with Nixon campaign money that ended up in Bernard Barker's bank account. Helms called Gray later to tell him no CIA connection with Watergate existed. Walters says John Dean suggested CIA help by providing bail money and salary for Watergate defendants. [HELMS - says he told Walters to be clear with Dean that CIA would have no part in Watergate affair.] Under questioning, Helms admits CIA supplied false documents, camera and wig to E. Howard Hunt before Ellsberg break-in. Also admits 5 Watergate burglars were ex-CIA employees. [Senator Howard BAKER - names ex-CIA employees Hunt, McCord, Barker, Sturgis and Martinez. Thinks any probe would have to ask how CIA might be involved with circumstantial evidence pointing to CIA.] [HELMS - states he didn't know everything that happened at actual time of events with regard to ex-CIA employees.] [Senator Joseph MONTOYA - asks if attempt made to manipulate CIA and its facilities.] [HELMS - agrees that someone wanted to use CIA.] Helm's CIA dep. Robert Cushman appears before Watergate committee after Helms. Cushman assures committee that man in White House who gave go-ahead for helping burglar Howard Hunt was John Ehrlichman. Helms reveals when he left CIA after resisting White House pressure, he didn't resign but was fired.
REPORTER: Sam Donaldson