Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council Co-Vice President Christa Westerberg reflects on 40 years of transparency
In light of the groups 40th anniversary celebration at the end of this month, Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council Co-Vice President Christa Westerberg sat down with MuckRock to talk about the group’s decades promoting transparency in the Badger State.
A previously classified document that the Central Intelligence Agency provided to Congress during the investigation of the Watergate affair shows that G. Gordon Liddy used papers that the Agency had provided - without authorization - while traveling to California to break into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. This newly released document shows that CIA’s Inspector General report on Watergate left out key details, and exposes CIA’s Deputy Director Vernon Walters’ claim that the assistance was provided in response to a “duly authorized extra-Agency request” as false.
Files recently released to MuckRock include the transcripts of phone calls the Central Intelligence Agency received from Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department in the immediate aftermath of the Watergate arrests. Previously unavailable, the only apparent reference to the tape is Congress’ request for a copy of it. According to the request, “it is not known what is contained in the tape, but its importance is obvious.”
One of the more persistent, but less well-known, conspiracy theories surrounding Watergate is the crash of United Airlines flight 553 that killed Dorothy Hunt, a former government employee who was transporting $10,000 in hush money on behalf of her husband and Watergate burglar, E. Howard Hunt. Recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation files, however, tell a different story - one of pilot error, unfortunate coincidence, and an utter lack of foul play.
A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file, which the Bureau previously said they couldn’t find any record of, sheds a sliver of light on an enduring Watergate mystery: the contents of E. Howard Hunt’s White House safe, which was cracked open and its contents eventually given to the FBI after the Watergate arrests. In typical fashion for matters that touch on the Central Intelligence Agency (including anything involving Hunt), the answers offered up by the FBI file raise additional questions when they’re interrogated.