The exposé that reveals “a prostitution ring, heavy CIA involvement, spying on the White House as well as on the Democrats, and plots within plots” (The Washington Post)
Ten years after the infamous Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon presidency, Jim Hougan—then the Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine—set out to write a profile of Lou Russell, a boozy private-eye who plied his trade in the vice-driven underbelly of the nation’s capital. Hougan soon discovered that Russell was “the sixth man, the one who got away” when his boss, veteran CIA officer Jim McCord, led a break-in team into a trap at the Watergate.
Using the Freedom of Information Act to win the release of the FBI’s Watergate investigation—some thirty-thousand pages of documents that neither the Washington Post nor the Senate had seen—Hougan refuted the orthodox narrative of the affair.
Armed with evidence hidden from the public for more than a decade, Hougan proves that McCord deliberately sabotaged the June 17, 1972, burglary. None of the Democrats’ phones had been bugged, and the spy-team’s ostensible leader, Gordon Liddy, was himself a pawn—at once, guilty and oblivious.
The power struggle that unfolded saw E. Howard Hunt and Jim McCord using the White House as a cover for an illicit domestic intelligence operation involving call-girls at the nearby Columbia Plaza Apartments.
A New York Times Notable Book, Secret Agenda “present[s] some valuable new evidence and explored many murky corners of our recent past . . . The questions [Hougan] has posed here—and some he hasn’t—certainly deserve an answer” (The New York Times Book Review). Kirkus Reviews declared the book “a fascinating series of puzzles—with all the detective work laid out.”