Hunt was a member of the White House "plumbers," the secret team assembled to stop government leaks after defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press. A former CIA operative, Hunt organized the bugging of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate -- as well as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Hunt's phone number in address books belonging to the Watergate burglars helped investigators -- and reporters -- connect the break-in to the president and his reelection campaign. Convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping, Hunt served 33 months in prison.
|E. Howard Hunt|
By the time of the Watergate burglary, Hunt was already moonlighting as a spy novelist. He has since penned dozens of books, including a memoir and "Dragon Teeth," a thriller published this May.
In 1981, Hunt won $650,000 in a libel suit against the Liberty Lobby for a 1978 article that appeared in the right-wing group's conspiracy-minded newspaper, The Spotlight. The article linked Hunt to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, suggesting the CIA man was in Dallas on the day of the 1963 shooting. Mark Lane, author of the best-selling "Rush to Judgment," successfully defended Liberty Lobby in a second trial in 1985, overturning the original libel award. Lane outlined his theory about Hunt's and the CIA's role in Kennedy's murder in a 1991 book, "Plausible Denial."
Hunt filed for bankruptcy protection from his creditors in June 1995. He died at a Miami hospital after a lengthy bout with pneumonia Jan. 23, 2007.