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John Ehrlichman

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John D. Ehrlichman (March 20, 1925 - February 14, 1999) was counsel and Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon and a key figure in the Watergate scandal. Ehrlichman won the Distinguished Flying Cross in World War II. He graduated from UCLA in 1948, the Stanford University School of Law in 1951 and was a partner in a Seattle law firm until 1968. He worked on Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign, 1962 California gubernatorial campaign and was an advance man for Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign.

Following Nixon's victory, he became a member of the inner circle as one of the Nixon's closest advisors. He and close friend H. R. Haldeman, whom he met at UCLA, were referred to jointly as "The Berlin Wall" by White House staffers for their penchant to isolate Nixon from other advisors and command his attention. Ehrlichman created "The Plumbers", the group at the center of the scandal, and appointed his assistant Egil Krogh to oversee its covert operations to stop leaks of confidential information in response to the release of The Pentagon Papers in 1971.

After the start of the Watergate investigations Erlichman lobbied for the intentional delay of the embattled confirmation of L. Patrick Gray as Director of the F.B.I.. He posited the confirmation hearings were deflecting media attention from Watergate and that it would be better for Gray to be left "twisting, slowly, slowly in the wind." The quote served as the embodiment of Ehrlichman's function during his years in the White House, seek and destroy Nixon's enemies at virtually any cost, a function that would overshadow his domestic efforts in a White House consumed with foreign policy.

White House Counsel John Dean cited the "Berlin Wall" of Erlichman and Haldeman as one of the reasons for his growing sense of alienation in the White House. This alienation led him to believe he was to become the Watergate scapegoat and then eventually cooperate with Watergate prosecutors. After Dean's testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee Nixon fired Dean and demanded the resignations of both Ehrlichman and Haldeman on April 30,1973. Both men complied.

Ehrlichman was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and other charges in 1975 (along with John N. Mitchell and Haldeman), for which he served 18 months in prison.

Following his release, he held a number of jobs first for a quality control firm, then writer, artist and commentator. In a 1981 interview Ehrlichman referred to Nixon as "a very pathetic figure in American history." His experiences in the Nixon administration were published in his 1982 book, Witness To Power. The book portrays Nixon in a very negative light and is considered to be the culmination of his frustration at not being pardoned by Nixon prior to his own resignation. Ehrlichman died of complications from diabetes in Atlanta in 1999 after discontinuing dialysis treatments.

In 2005 a personal friend claimed Ehrlichman believed Henry Kissinger to be Deep Throat.

External Links

John Ehrlichman Believed Henry Kissinger was Deep Throat

Last updated: 05-15-2005 22:14:57