G. Gordon Liddy V. John Dean
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What does a pencil have to do with Watergate? Plenty. Well, okay, not plenty. But some. We'll let G.Gordon tell the tale of how he found himself alone in a room with John Dean, post Dean-turning rat (G. Gordon had a childhood fear of actual rats. To get over it, he killed a wharf rat, then roasted and ate it.).
"Oh, it was just a fleeting thought, now one of those sweet memories that one loves to treasure. God knows, he would have been no loss. What happened, actually, was that in October of 1974, Federal marshals escorted me to the offices of Watergate special prosecutor James Neal for an interview and told me to wait in Neal's office, as he was expected shortly. I went in and shut the door behind me and, lo and behold, there was Dean sitting behind the desk. He looked up and I could have sworn he was about to wet himself. His eyes darted all around the room, but I was between him and the door and I could see that he was absolutely terror-stricken. My first thought was that here was the ideal opportunity to kill the bastard. I saw a pencil on the desk and all it would take was a quick thrust through the underside of his jaw, up through the soft palate and deep inside the brain. And simultaneously, I wondered if this were a setup, if someone had arranged for me to be alone with Dean, anticipating exactly such a denouement. But then, on more somber reflection, I ruled that out. Nixon had been out of office for two months, I had received no instructions from my old superiors and, in any case, his killing could only damage the chances of Mitchell, Mardian and others in their forthcoming trials. No, revenge might be a dish best supped cold, but this was positively stale. The whole thing had just been a weird, stupid error. So I exchanged a few inconsequential remarks with Dean, he stammered a reply and I stepped aside so he could gather his papers and scurry out the door. I think he aged considerably in those three of four minutes."
Dean actually recommended Liddy be hired to replace Jack Caulfield, a decision he surely regrets to this very day. When the Watergate story first broke, GGL announced to Dean that if the Nixon administration wanted to kill him, to just say which street corner to stand on. Dean was not the only person GGL wondered if he should kill, either- he thought about taking out a hit on E. Howard Hunt in prison as well, but didn't receive the order to do so then, either. We can't imagine why not.
However, when asked if he ever killed anyone, Liddy said "The big "S" you see up here is not for simple. There's no statute of limitations on that kind of activity."
Dean and Liddy's rift continues to this day, showing up not only in lawsuits but in op-ed pieces in the NYT. When the flap over the aside in Renata Adler's Gone: The Last Days of the New Yorker, that Judge Sirica had mafia connections, arose (no evidence linking to this has ever shown up, and it seems implausible to most), John Dean wrote a piece which stated there was only one man who hated Sirica enough, and was either crazy or dishonest enough to do so: G. Gordon Liddy. However, should the two ever meet again, our money's on Liddy.