The White House Plumbers
Formation of the Plumbers
The plumbers were formed by President Nixon after sensitive military information was leaked during his first term in office. The formation was an almost direct response to the release of the Pentagon papers in the New York Times.The group was headed by John Erlichman. Other members included E. Howard Hunt and CIA liason John Paisley.
The first task of the plumbers was to burglarize the office of Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers. Other plumber operations include Hunt's investigation into the Teddy Kennedy Chappequiddick affair and Liddy's investigation into reported Kennedy involvement in the assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.
The special investigations unit branched out by doing work for the Committee to Re-elect the President. After the burglary of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office, Liddy was recruited by White House Counsel John Dean to perform intelligence gathering for the CRP. Liddy then involved E. Howard Hunt, who orchestrated the Watergate break-in.
The mission of the plumbers under the CRP was, in a nutshell, to harass Nixon's opponents. They did this through various measures, such as wiretaps, burglaries and intercepted mail. The Watergate break-in was arranged by the CRP and carried out by the plumbers, under a project called Operation Gemstone. Funding for these "dirty tricks" was obtained by laundering money through Mexico.