WATERGATE
Key Players
E. Howard Hunt

A former CIA operations officer, Hunt helped organize the break-in at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate June 1972 on behalf of the Nixon White House. The discovery of Hunt's White House office phone number in an address book belonging to one of the burglars helped investigators -- and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward -- connect the break-in to the president and his reelection campaign.

Hunt, a prolific novelist, began working for the CIA in 1949, serving until 1970. In 1971, he became one of the so-called White House "plumbers," a secret team assembled to stop press leaks and sabotage the president's political opponents. In 1971, he helped break into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the Defense Department analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers to reporters. Hunt also sought to forge State Department cables purporting to implicate President Kennedy in the November 1963 assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

When Hunt's wife Dorothy was killed in a plane crash in Chicago in December 1972, she was carrying $15,000 in cash, fueling suspicions about whether Hunt had been paid to keep his silence. He had. While awaiting trial on Watergate-related charges, Hunt insisted the White House pay his legal and living expenses, a demand that John Dean and others described as blackmail. Hunt was convicted of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping in connection with the Watergate burglary. He served 33 months in prison. After his release, Hunt resumed his writing career, producing a number of spy novels and non-fiction books about his CIA exploits.

Hunt died at a Miami hospital on Jan. 23, 2007, at age 88.
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