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G. Gordon Liddy (1930–2021), former FBI agent who orchestrated Watergate break-in

by Linnea Crowther

G. Gordon Liddy was a former FBI agent best known for his pivotal role in the Watergate scandal that led to the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency.


Liddy joined Nixon’s 1972 reelection campaign as part of the “Plumbers” unit, tasked to contain leaks of potentially damaging information to the press. It was in that capacity that he was told to break into the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate complex, where he led the team and supervised from a nearby room. Caught and convicted of conspiracy, burglary, and illegal wiretapping, Liddy was sentenced to 20 years in prison, a sentence that was commuted to eight years by President Jimmy Carter.

Later life

After serving seven years in prison, Liddy rebounded from the scandal that once looked like it would break him. He published his autobiography and began traveling on the lecture circuit, including a series of debates in tandem with psychologist and writer Timothy Leary. Liddy took guest spots on TV shows including “Miami Vice,” “MacGyver,” and “Airwolf,” and he hosted a radio talk show on Radio America and Sirius and XM satellite radio from 1992 to 2012.


Notable quote

“Obviously, crime pays, or there’d be no crime.” –As quoted in “Does Crime Pay” in “The Scandal Annual”

Full obituary: The New York Times

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