Did Lee Harvey Oswald really act alone? Where is the body of Jimmy Hoffa? Why did the professional spooks make such amateur mistakes while conducting a simple break-in of the Democrat Headquarters in June of 1972? And, most telling, why did they go in there in the first place? These are questions that intrigue our era.
Even the seven men who were indicted for burglarizing the National Democrat Headquarters in the Watergate complex in 1972 could not agree on why they did it. Watergate specialists have offered dubious motives from discovering evidence of a prostitution ring to finding proof that Castro was aiding the Democrats.
Alfred Baldwin, the man who eavesdropped on the Democrat calls via a listening device planted by Nixon's security people and who also acted as lookout for the covert operation that June night, alleges a different and shocking reason.
Details that government prosecutors of the burglars would have given much to have known are brought to light in The Puzzle of Watergate, which is Baldwin's story. He also reveals how one of his lawyers flaunted attorney/client privilege to secretly funnel to the Democratic leadership the details of what he knew. Unwittingly, Baldwin was the source providing the basis for the Democrat's suit against the Republicans.
Al Baldwin was the only participant in the "dirty tricks" campaign mounted by the Committee to Re-elect the President who was not indicted. And it was because he could put some of the president's men into the picture that he could make the deal and avoid jail time.
The books that tell the story of Watergate, the various accounts by individuals involved in the scandal like John Dean, Gordon Liddy, Howard Hunt, Anthony Sirica, James McCord, and others, supply background and personality to the transcripts of the trials of the culprits and Congressional investigations of the partisan activities that led to the resignation of Richard Milhous Nixon. Each actor's story is like one more piece of a complicated set of fragments in the bewildering tale of pride, ambition, madness and arrogance that is Watergate the tragedy.
Alfred C. Baldwin has waited almost a half century to add his fragment, the scene of May and June of 1972 from his point of view. The death of James McCord, the man who hired him to work for the Committee to Re-elect the President in 1972, the man who was his mentor, released Al from the obligation to keep certain confidences. That, plus his own cancer diagnosis, provided the impetus to share his story.
The addition of his account to the Watergate archive is important to history in the revelations of new information and the filling in, as it were, certain gaps in the story.
Baldwin's memories, suspicions, and convictions, as harvested from the record of his interviews and conveyed in this book, deserve a place in the overall narrative of Watergate and its ramifications.