Everette Howard Hunt, Jr., better known as E. Howard Hunt, was an American intelligence officer, writer, and CIA agent best known for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. He was one of the men behind the initial Watergate burglary.
E. Howard Hunt was born Everette Howard Hunt Jr. on October 9th, 1918, in Hamburg, New York, United States. He’s the son of Everette Howard Hunt, Sr., an attorney and Republican Party official and Ethel Jean (Totterdale).
A graduate of Brown University, Hunt served in the U.S. Naval Reserves in the early 1940s before joining the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943. Also around this time, he worked on a documentary film for TIME magazine and served as a war correspondent for LIFE magazine.
Skilled with words, Hunt won a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship in 1946 and worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood for a time.
From 1949 to 1970, Hunt served as an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Along with Gordon Liddy and others, Hunt was one of the Nixon administration “plumbers”, a secret team of operatives charged with fixing “leaks”—real or perceived causes of confidential administration information being leaked to outside parties.
As an officer with the CIA, E. Howard Hunt was involved in the Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961. In 1970, Hunt joined the Nixon administration as a PR consultant and, along with G. Gordon Liddy, plotted a break-in of the Watergate Hotel to gain information for Nixon’s re-election campaign.
Hunt and Liddy plotted the Watergate burglaries and other undercover operations for the Nixon administration. In the ensuing Watergate scandal, Hunt was convicted of burglary, conspiracy, and wiretapping, eventually serving 33 months in prison.
Throughout his career, Hunt also wrote spy novels and memoirs like American Spy. Below are more interesting facts about Everette Howard Hunt, Jr:
1. Although the White House denied any involvement in the Watergate Scandal, the plot began to unravel as Hunt’s telephone number was found in the address books of some of the burglars. Three months after the burglars’ arrest, he and Liddy were indicted charges related to the crime.
2. Hunt’s wife, Dorothy, was killed in the December 8th, 1972 plane crash of United Airlines Flight 553 in Chicago. Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the crash, and found it to be an accident caused by crew error. Over $10,000 in cash was found in Dorothy Hunt’s handbag in the wreckage.
3. Initially sentenced to 35 years in jail, Hunt’s sentence was later reduced to two and a half to eight years in prison and he was fined $10,000. He served more than 32 months in prison before being paroled in 1977.
All the while, Hunt continued with his writing career. He published such novels as The Gaza Intercept (1981), Cozumel (1986), Ixtapa (1994), Dragon Teeth (1997) and Sonora (2002).
4. It’s believed that Hunt started working for the CIA around 1949, which was a fairly new organization then. Over the years, he worked on a number of operations around the world, including the failed attempt to unseat Cuban dictator Fidel Castro known as the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 during the Kennedy administration.
Outside of his duties as a CIA operative, Hunt found time to write a number of thrillers and spy novels, including The Violent Ones (1950), Return from Vorkuta (1965) and Diabolus (1968).
5. Hunt’s first assignment for the White House was a covert operation to break into the Los Angeles office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, Lewis J. Fielding. In July 1971, Fielding had refused a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for psychiatric data on Ellsberg. Hunt and Liddy cased the building in late August. The burglary, on September 3, 1971, was not detected, but no Ellsberg files were found.