The Weasels of Watergate: Phil Stanford’s White House Call Girl

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People get breathtakingly angry when they think they’ve gotten away with something … and then they don’t. The more time has passed between the deed and the discovery, the greater the shock to one’s system. And the fear you feel as the truth starts breathing down your neck converts to rage as easily as the gas in your getaway car turns to hot, dirty air.

It will be four decades next month since Richard Nixon became the first and only U.S. president to be convinced to fork over the Oval Office. And just in time for the big anniversary, a small rash of “revisionist” books about the Watergate burglaries is annoying the snot out of John Dean again.

John Dean is the hero of the official histories: a White House insider who had a change of heart, he became the star witness against Nixon administration, and was lionized by the press as a brave defender of truth and apple pie (and getting himself a nice reduced sentence despite his involvement).

But an alternate set of historians has him down for the guy who may have ordered the break-ins and wiretaps in the first place, who sold out to save his tail when the game went south—and whose wife was close friends with the madam who was supplying hookers to the Democratic National Committee office at the time of the events.

Phil Stanford, a true crime author, had been thinking about writing an off-the-reservation Watergate book for twenty years before he found his angle: What about those mysterious call girls and the DNC? The result of his inquiries became White House Call Girl, released in paperback last month by Adam Parfrey’s Feral House.

Conventional historians have never told us what, exactly, the Watergate phone taps and surveillance missions were supposed to be fishing for in the first place. The official answer is an unsatisfying “Political stuff about the Democrats that was bad.” According to Stanford’s narrative, the bad stuff was hookers. An ex-stripper and money runner for the mob named Heidi Rikan was running a call girl operation near the Watergate apartment and office complex, and these girls serviced the needs of the DNC headquarters located within. The wiretaps at the DNC were put in place to record Democratic politicians booking dates with these women, so as to create a dependable supply of smear and blackmail fodder.

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