Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

Scorpion’s Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate w/ Jefferson Morley

June 4, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, journalist Jefferson Morley returns to the show to discuss his new book Scorpion's Dance: The President, the Spymaster, and Watergate, which details the dual lives and "clandestine collaborative relationship" between CIA director Richard Helms and President Richard Nixon culminating in the Watergate break-in. Among the topics discussed:

- The contrasting backgrounds of Richard Nixon, a man from a humble background who hated the Eastern Establishment, and Richard Helms, an Ivy League-educated man who came to head the CIA during the Cold War

- The role of secrecy and power in the lives of Nixon and Helms

- Cuba, AMLASH, covert assassination programs, organized crime, the military dictatorship of General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, Fidel Castro, the Bay of Pigs, and America's Cold War ideology

- Examples of the Central Intelligence agency finding ways to set policy and go over the head of President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon Baines Johnson

- The CIA and the press

- Nixon's national security policy, the Vietnam War, the antiwar movement, and CIA spying on antiwar activists

- CIA officer and infamous Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt, his relationship with Helms, and Hunt's James Bond-like pulp spy fiction

- Watergate, Daniel Ellsberg, and dirty tricks like blackmail operations

- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's All the President's Men

- National security legislation and Presidential abuse of unchecked power

- The cultural revolution of the 60s/70s and Watergate as a crisis of the national security state

- The assassination of JFK, the CIA, pre-assassination knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald, Richard Helms and the Warren Commission, and James Jesus Angleton

- President Harry Truman's "abolish the CIA" op ed

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