The victory of Richard Nixon in the US presidential election of 1968 swung on an “October Surprise”— a treasonous plot engineered by key figures in the Republican Party to keep the South Vietnamese government away from peace talks in Paris, costing thousands of American lives. Dirty Tricks provides compelling new evidence of Anna Chennault’s Nixon-approved role in sabotaging the peace talks and ensuring a Nixon White House.
Dirty Tricks also provides the first detailed analysis of the CIA’s recently-released internal history of Watergate, documenting the backgrounds of the burglars and their associations with the Agency in unprecedented detail, and how the Nixon White House sought to implicate the CIA in the emerging scandal. CIA Director Richard Helms’ relationship with Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt was much closer than previously disclosed and the CIA agent inside the plot was sent on a double agent mission by American intelligence after he got out of prison.
The alleged target of the Watergate break-ins was DNC chairman Larry O’Brien’s phone. Dirty Tricks reveals that the burglars didn't know where O’Brien’s office was and tapped the wrong phone with a bug that didn't work while O’Brien was in Miami preparing for the 1972 convention. Prosecutor Earl Silbert could "never determine the precise motivation for the burglary” but Dirty Tricks explains the political and sexual nature of the calls overheard on DNC official Spencer Oliver’s phone, and why no bug was found at the DNC until three months after the Watergate arrests.
Drawing on newly-declassified files and previously-unpublished documents, Dirty Tricks debunks the myths around Watergate and deepens our understanding of the “dirty tricks” that undermined democracy during the Nixon years. These scandals turn on the covert action of two powerful interest groups—the senior CIA officers around Helms, and the key advisers around Nixon – in this chilling story of political espionage and deception.
“While we have fundamental disagreements about 'Watergate' and the Deep State agenda that shaped it, O’Sullivan is to be congratulated on an impeccably researched work of investigative reporting that adds greatly to our understanding of the affair and its mysteries" - Jim Hougan (author, Secret Agenda).
“Dirty Tricks goes well beyond anything yet published, in revealing the mysterious links between the Watergate scandal and the CIA. Was the bungled burglary part of an internecine effort to topple President Nixon? Was the cover-up for fear of secrets being divulged, from a Washington call-girl ring to the Kennedy assassination? This meticulously-researched book draws upon never-before-seen documents in addressing such questions, in a spy-versus-spy story that fills in major gaps in our recent history" - Dick Russell (author, The Man Who Knew Too Much).
“Shane O’Sullivan’s new book on Watergate, Dirty Tricks, draws on the millions of records that have become available since 2016, chiefly from the CIA. Anyone interested in comparing that crisis with the present needs to consult the fresh information and perspectives in this well-researched and timely book" - Peter Dale Scott (author, The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy).
“This brilliantly researched book will bring back fond memories to those of us who, as was said at the time, wallowed in Watergate. It provides a new generation with the opportunity to relive this intense experience" - Alan Galbraith (attorney for the Democratic National Committee, 1972).
"Shane O’Sullivan lays bare a scandalously under-covered story: the role of CIA personnel in the Watergate scandal and its aftermath…O’Sullivan’s book is well worth reading because it illuminates the milieu in which both JFK’s assassination and the Watergate burglary took place, the milieu of CIA covert operations" - Jefferson Morley (author, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton)
"Richard Nixon. Watergate. The CIA. Cuban burglars. Put them all together, and you have the makings of a story that still resists easy explanation...O’Sullivan’s theories aren’t exactly definitive, but he offers intriguing possibilities in this consistently surprising book" - Kirkus Reviews
"Provocative, investigative, journalistic, and muck-raking in style…Dirty Tricks is an intriguing study with some new and interesting insights that offer the reader help in the effort to better understand the past and this most critical moment in the history of our nation. O'Sullivan’s investigative zeal is laudable…[and his] remarkable catalog of primary and secondary sources provide an invaluable contribution to the literature that addresses intelligence–policy relationships…O’Sullivan’s volume…[is] a valuable addition to the libraries of intelligence practitioners and scholars, and U.S. history enthusiasts...[It enriches] the existing scholarly works on the FBI…[and is] a necessary reference for intelligence history aficionados— professionals and academics alike" - FBI historian Raymond Batvinis, International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence