FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover told Richard Nixon that Lyndon Johnson had ordered that Nixon’s campaign plane be bugged in the final two weeks of the 1968 election.
“For example, Nixon believed he had been bugged in each of his three previous campaigns. As the Watergate scandal grew in intensity, the Republican National Committee released sworn affidavits showing that the hotel suite in which Nixon prepared for the opening debate with John Kennedy in 1960 had been bugged. His opponent’s ability to anticipate every point he made in their first encounter, Nixon believed, had cost him the debate, and losing that first debate had cost him the presidency.
Nixon’s grand jury testimony from July 1975 which was released in 2010, revealed the barely controlled anger at having been bugged again in 1962 during his California gubernatorial campaign against Edmund G. “Pat” Brown. No one in authority had cared or done anything about it. He also pointed out, with equal bitterness, that his tax returns had somehow been leaked from the IRS in that same race.
Finally J. Edgar Hoover himself told Nixon that he had been ordered by President Johnson to bug Nixon’s plane during the final two weeks of the 1968 campaign, to monitor Nixon’s possible response to Johnson’s announced bombing halt, and telephone numbers dialed during the campaign by Nixon’s running mate, Spiro Agnew, were reconstructed. Scholars disagree about the nature of the surveillance that was actually carried out, but Nixon was nevertheless personally assured by the head of the FBI that President Johnson had ordered such bugging. Nor was the harassment of Nixon by his enemies limited to spying. The IRS had audited his income tax returns every year of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
[Geoff Shepard, The Real Watergate Scandal: Collusion, Conspiracy, and the Plot That Brought Down Nixon, p. xx-xxi]
Question for author Evan Thomas: how the hell do you know Lyndon Johnson/Hoover did not bug Nixon’s campaign plane? FBI chief Hoover told Nixon that he did and it was completely in LBJ’s character to do this. Deke DeLoach, as you admit, was an LBJ hack.
FBI Hoover’s meeting with Nixon was on November 12, 1968 at the Nixon transition HQ at the Pierre Hotel in NYC.
[Evan Thomas, Being Nixon: A Man Divided, pp. 189-190]:
Hoover “quickly got down to business,” Haldeman wrote. He told Nixon that, on Johnson’s orders, the FBI had bugged Nixon’s plane. The request had been based on “national security.” “This angered Nixon, but he remained still as Hoover poured out more information,” wrote Haldeman, who quoted the FBI director as warning Nixon: “’When you get into the White House, don’t make calls through the switchboard. Johnson has it rigged, and little men you don’t know will be listening.’” In fact, said Hoover, LBJ had the whole White House bugged.
Hoover was exaggerating, though not carelessly. LBJ had wired the White House. But it was not true that the FBI had bugged Nixon’s plane. Johnson had not made the request, and even if he had, the FBI never would have gotten past the Secret Service, according to Cartha “Deke” DeLoach, Hoover’s number three and his official “bagman” to LBJ.
Hoover was playing his great game of bureaucratic blackmail. He was making Nixon think that the all-powerful FBI knew his darkest secrets. Nixon would always believe that LBJ had bugged his plane, even after his own aides informed him to the contrary.”
[Evan Thomas, Being Nixon: A Man Divided, pp. 189-190]