On the day of the Mueller Report release, it was announced that the key figure in another major presidential scandal had passed away – in 2017.
James McCord, who was one of five men arrested in the infamous Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972 – whose arrest helped set into motion the scandal that led to the only presidential resignation in U.S. history – died in June of 2017. Yet for some reason, obituaries were never published for McCord until Thursday, nearly two years after his death.
McCord, according to The Washington Post, died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Pennsylvania. He was 93-years-old. McCord’s death was mentioned in a 2018 book called Dirty Tricks, and later a website called Kennedys and King looked at how exactly McCord’s death was kept out of the press. The New York Times and The Post published obituaries Thursday.
McCord’s family reportedly did not wish to publicize his death.
A multi-year veteran of the CIA who had recently resigned from that agency, McCord took a job in security with the Republican National Committee and the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP.) McCord was one of the five burglars in the Watergate break-in who were arrested, and upon appearing in court, he told the judge that he had previously been employed by the CIA. With Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in attendance in the courtroom that day, the episode kicked off the Watergate scandal.
McCord was convicted for his role in the break-in and later began cooperating with the government. He went on to tell the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973 that CRP chairman John Mitchell had approved the bugging, and that other higher-ups in the Nixon administration knew more about the crimes than had been previously acknowledged. McCord went on to serve four months in prison, which was less than those who did not cooperate.
After he was released from prison, McCord lived a mostly quiet life, later serving as founder of an alternative energy company based in Colorado.
McCord was one of the last major living Watergate figures. G. Gordon Liddy is still living, at age 88, while John Dean, who is 80, frequently appears on television to talk about Trump administration scandals. William Ruckelshaus, the deputy attorney general who resigned during the “Saturday Night Massacre” in 1973, is also still living, at age 86. Henry Kissinger and Patrick Buchanan, Nixon administration figures who were never implicated in Watergate misdeeds, are also both still alive.