Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #253 Rewind — The Watergate Tapes Revisited

Gordon Novel

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)


MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

NB: Years after this program was recorded, Gordon Novel’s actual raison d’etre for being on Garrison’s staff came to light:

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government by David Talbot; Harper [HC]; 2015; Copyright 2015 by The Talbot Players LLC; ISBN 978-0-06-227616-2; p. 597.

. . . . Even the private investigator Garrison hired to sweep his office for electronic bugs turned out to be a CIA operative. After Dulles was subpoenaed by Garrison, the security specialist–Gordon Novel–phoned the spymaster to slip him inside information about the DA’s strategy. . . .

1. This broadcast highlights the controversy surrounding Richard Nixon’s White House tapes. These tape recordings were, ultimately, the vehicle for forcing his exit from the White House. That event was the culmination of the Watergate affair. There has been recent discussion among electronics experts concerning the possibility of utilizing advanced, high-tech equipment to recover material from a famous 18 ½ minute erasure on one of the tapes.
(The San Francisco Examiner; 9/22/2000; p. A2.)

2. The subject of whether or not the erasure had been deliberate was a significant element of controversy during the Watergate affair. (Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, claimed that she “accidentally” erased the tape. Most experts rejected her version of events. Interestingly, the tape that was erased was a recording of a conversation between White House aide H.R. Haldeman and Nixon. In an autobiography about the Watergate affair, Haldeman wrote that “the whole Bay of Pigs thing” was a code word within the Nixon White House for the JFK assassination. Nixon refused to release the Watergate tapes for fear that release would lead to exposure of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing.”

3. Much of the program consists of excerpts from other broadcasts. In an excerpt from G-3, the broadcast highlights a veteran covert intelligence operative and private investigator named Gordon Novel. Among Novel’s many talents is electronic counterintelligence. His name crops up in the context of both the JFK case and the Watergate scandal. Novel was the source for an important piece of information that figured in the Jim Garrison investigation. That report concerned a raid on a munitions cache to obtain arms for anti-Castro activities, the CIA’s Bay of Pigs invasion, in particular.
(Coincidence or Conspiracy?; Bernard Fensterwald and the Committee to Investigate Assassinations; copyright 1976 by Zebra Books, a division of Kensington Publishers.)

4. This operation allegedly involved David Ferrie and Guy Bannister, two of the key figures in Garrison’s investigation. Novel was later consulted by White House aide Charles Colson concerning the feasibility of electronically erasing the tapes.
(Coincidence or Conspiracy?)

5. Novel’s tangential involvement in the Watergate investigation surfaced in a magazine called Technology Illustrated. In 1983, the magazine ran an article about Novel’s presence at a gathering of veteran covert intelligence operatives, including convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy.
(Technology Illustrated; 4/83.)

6. In a letter to the editor, Mr. Novel took issue to some of the comments about him in the April issue.
(Technology Illustrated; 7/83.)

7. In that letter, Novel made reference to his ultra high technology role in Watergate. (Idem.)

8. In 1984, Mr. Emory was a guest on a late-night commercial talk show and Mr. Novel phoned in, taking issue with Mr. Emory’s description of his position in Garrison’s investigation.
(The Express Way show with Larry Johnson on KOME-FM in San Jose, California; 10/29/1984.)

9. Most of the second side of this program consists of an excerpting of M-3. In his conversation with Mr. Emory, Novel denied any involvement in Kennedy’s assassination and criticized Garrison’s investigation. (Idem.)

10. When the subject of Watergate came up, Mr. Emory asked Mr. Novel if he denied actually having erased the Watergate tapes. Novel replied “only because they didn’t pay me.” (Idem.)

11. When pressed further, Novel clarified his statement, saying he didn’t erase any portions of the Watergate tapes. He did state that he was one of a panel of experts who analyzed the 18 ½-minute gap and stated that it could have been made accidentally. (Idem.)


2 comments for “FTR #253 Rewind — The Watergate Tapes Revisited”

  1. Dave;
    I listened to “The Expressway Show” about a year ago, it was some suprising and excellent radio.
    As you questioned him and determined that you had the real deal on line he seemed to become more frank and expressive. Unbelievably good radio.
    Reports are that Novel died in October 2012.

    On a side note; is anybody else having trouble with the links to real audio on WFMU audio files?
    I am reading Trento’s book “Prelude to Terror” and tried to get the “Safari Club” and other WFMU shows up but they have not been working for me.
    For instance, I clicked on the audio link for this show and got about a minute-thirty seconds of what sounded like studio background noise. Others have played music.
    Perhaps my internet connection is too slow for the Real audio format, but all the other mp-3’s work great on the computer or downloaded to an I-pod.

    Posted by Swamp | May 6, 2013, 7:56 am
  2. @SWAMP–All of the For The Record Shows have the MP3 files at the top of the description.

    Also: At the top of the front page, there is an “Audio” category. All of the shows have MP3 files in there.

    Just do an end run around the Real Audio.

    WFMU’s RA files are air checks. They are off-the-air recordings and frequently include the end of the preceding show and/or other ambient noise.

    Stick with the Spitfirelist.com page and its audio and you’ll be fine.



    Posted by Dave Emory | May 6, 2013, 3:58 pm

Post a comment