Excerpts from

"All the President's Men"

by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Chapter 13, p. 262-5 (1974)


Quaker Vigil

AFTER [BOB] WOODWARD RETURNED from the Caribbean later that week, a short, heavy-set young man with a thin beard ringing his face and wearing small, thick glasses arrived in front of his desk. "Tim Butz," he said conspiratorially. He had once worked in Army intelligence, he said. Now he worked with a volunteer group of ex-intelligence types that was investigating people involved in domestic spying activities.

"I think we've found a George Washington University student who spied for CRP [The Committee to Re-elect the President]," Butz said. "It will take some more work." He told Woodward a rather disjointed tale. Woodward urged him to continue his researches and received almost a dozen telephoned progress reports in the next several days. After about a week Butz called and said he had found a fraternity brother of the student spy who was willing to tell all. A dinner meeting was set that night, in the coffee shop of the Madison Hotel. When Woodward arrived, Butz was pacing the lobby with a young man he introduced as his "source" - a tall, nervous student named Craig Hillegass. The three went to a booth.

Hillegass described in vivid detail how Theodore F. Brill, his Kappa Sigma fraternity brother, had told him about being paid $150 a week by CRP to infiltrate the group of Quakers who had maintained a 24-hour-a-day vigil in front of the White House for several months. Brill's assignment had been to make regular reports to CRP on the personal lives and plans of the demonstrators, he said, and then to assist in setting them up for arrests on drug charges. Eventually, the Washington police railed the vigil, but found nothing.

Brill, 20, was chairman of the Young Republicans at George Washington University. His job at CRP was terminated two days after the Watergate arrests. "The idea," Hillegass said, thumping his water glass excitedly on the table, "was to create an embarrassment to the Democrats, because any embarrassment to radical groups would be considered an embarrassment to liberal politics and Senator McGovern."

With unrestrained gusto, he went on to describe the James Bond way in which Brill was paid. "Ted said he once was told to meet a woman in a red dress with a white carnation, carrying a newspaper. He exchanged his written report for an envelope containing his pay. Another time, Ted told me, he went to a bookstore on the corner of 17th Street and Pennsylvania {Avenue} and was handed a book by someone with his pay in the book.

"But it was part of a larger network. Ted said there were at least twenty-five others - and the information went to some pretty high-up people at CRP."

Woodward was mindful of Harry Rosenfeld's continuing pleas to find more of the 50 spies mentioned in the October 10 Segretti story. "Where are the other 49?" Rosenfeld would ask every week or two, though perhaps 25 had surfaced by that time. Theodore Brill did not seem exactly like a big-time operator, but - if his fraternity brother was telling the truth - he was part of the pattern.

George Washington University, five blocks from the White House, was on spring vacation. The next night, Woodward reached Theodore Brill at his home in River Edge, New Jersey. Playing the heavy with a 20-year-old history major made Woodward uneasy, but Brill might be one of those unexpected openings to something bigger. Eventually, Brill confirmed his fraternity brother's story and added a few details. He had been hired and paid by George K. Gorton, 25, CRP's national college director. "I was paid five weeks in May and June, once in cash and four times with Gorton's personal check. I learned later that it was a mistake that I got paid in check because there were supposed to be no records kept. I got the impression from Gorton that there were a couple of others elsewhere doing the same work . . . and Gorton said there was someone higher up who knew. I was supposed to go to the convention in Miami to do the same thing there with radical groups."

Why didn't you go? Woodward asked.

"My job was terminated two days after the Watergate bugging broke. Gorton took me to lunch and said I had to stop because of Watergate. He said the operation was to be considered super-secret. People at the White House were upset," said Brill, neatly undercutting the CRP-White House contention that nobody in either place had divined a relationship between Watergate and other spying and sabotage.

Did Brill have any thoughts about the ethics of his work?

"Ethics?" Brill repeated. He sounded astonished at the question. "Well, not illegal but maybe a little unethical."

Woodward, feeling a bit too pious, thanked him and hung up. He found George Gorton's home number and called. Rock music was blaring in the background and a young man's voice said Gorton was out. After Woodward returned home he tried again. It was nearly one A.M. More rock music. Gorton came to the phone and Woodward explained the story.

"Are you crazy?" Gorton shouted. "No Post reporter would call at one A.M."

Woodward felt slightly wounded. Why didn't people ever say that to Bernstein when he called at all hours of the morning? Woodward spelled his name and gave Gorton his home and office phone numbers.

"We'll see," Gorton shouted. "I've got a date here." He slammed down the phone.

Woodward sat at his desk looking out the ninth-floor window at the lights of the capital city. "Creepsters," Nicholas von Hoffman, the Post's iconoclastic columnist, had called them. He stared out the window until he felt his anger subside.

The next morning, he was awakened by the phone ringing. "George Gorton," the voice said. "I just couldn't believe it was you calling in the middle of the night."

Woodward asked him some questions.

"Oh, yeah, Ted Brill did a little work for me.... Spying is a funny way to put it. My direction to Brill was only to find out what radicals were doing. It was part of my job to know what all of youth was thinking."

That, said Woodward, was a quaint way to conduct sociological research - planting an undercover agent, essentially an agent provocateur.

Gorton denied that Brill had helped arrange the raid on the Quakers and insisted that Brill's termination had "coincidentally" occurred two days after the Watergate break-in. Then Gorton, who had been director of the Youth Ball for the President's inaugural, declared proudly that he had people gathering information on radicals in 38 states.

"It was my idea," Gorton said not too convincingly. He had reported to Kenneth Rietz, director of CRP's Youth Vote Division. "Rietz knew that I could supply them with information on what radicals were thinking. I supplied the information, but Rietz didn't ask where I got it." Then he changed the story, claiming that Brill had been his lone operative.

Ken Rietz, 32, was Halderman's choice as the next Republican national chairman. He had left CRP for the National Committee to head the 1974 Republican congressional campaigns.

Brill's $150 weekly salary had not been reported under the new campaign disclosure law. After the Brill story appeared, the General Accounting Office audited the CRP books again. The audit helped establish that Rietz had headed a "Kiddie Corps" of young spies for the President.