Watergate 'burglar' dies

Bernard Leon Barker, an unrepentant Watergate ‘burglar’ whose arrest at the Democratic National Committee headquarters led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, has died of lung cancer. He was 92.

Barker, who was born in Cuba, was arrested on June 17, 1972, and this led to a chain of events that resulted in the resignation of Nixon in 1974.

Barker was a onetime undercover operative for the CIA and helped organise the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, an ill-fated attempt to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro. During the planning for the Bay of Pigs, he met Howard Hunt, a CIA officer who later became a central figure in the Watergate conspiracy.

In 1971, Hunt hired Barker and others to break into the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, a military analyst who released documents known as the Pentagon Papers, divulging secrets about the US involvement in Vietnam.

Barker served 13 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to wiretapping and theft, Washington Times reported.

After his release, the investigators learned that Barker had deposited over $ 100,000 in his bank account from Nixon fundraisers. He spent 33 days in a Florida jail for misusing his notary public’s seal in cashing one of the cheques.

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