John William Middendorf
A Glorious Disaster
Johnson always seemed to have ready 'responses' to points Barry would make in a campaign speech—but before Barry made the speech. In fact, a couple of such responses made it into newspapers printed before Barry was even in town. Once, during a private meeting in Grenier's RNC office, someone suggested that there was an opening in Barry's schedule for a stop in East St. Louis, who had heard that Goldwater was coming to town and wanted to know the details.
Although we were not aware of it at the time, we would learn long after the fact that Johnson had enlisted the assistance of both the FBI and the CIA to spy on the campaign. Barry had his suspicions, but never any solid evidence. In 1971, FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover admitted to Bob Mardian, then serving as an assistant attorney general, that the Goldwater campaign plane was bugged. 'You do what the president of the United States orders you to do,' he said. The chief of covert action for CIA domestic operations—Howard Hunt, later of Watergate fame—operated out of a phony news bureau in the National Press Building under the rubric 'Continental Press,' collecting whatever he could about our operations and receiving daily deliveries of materials purloined from our headquarters. When he complained to a superior that he was uneasy with the assignment, he was told that it was at the direction of the president. And some years later, former White House Press Secretary George Reedy confirmed that at least one hired spy had been planted at our headquarters.
It may have been mere coincidence, but might the president also have enlisted the aid of the Post Office Department? This agency, which Barry had suggested should be privatized, issued a most timely postcard in September with the stamp: 'By the People—For the People—Social Security.'