Silent Coup

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Silent Coup: The Removal of a President
Silent Coup.png
Author Len Colodny, Robert Gettlin
Country United States
Language English
Subject Watergate scandal
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Publication date
January 1992
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 580 pages

0-312-05156-5 (hardback)

ISBN 978-0-312-92763-9 (paper)
OCLC 22493143
364.1/32/0973 20
LC Class E860 .C635 1991

Silent Coup is a book written by Len Colodny and Robert Gettlin, in which they propose an alternate explanation for the Watergate scandal that led to the 1974 resignation of US President Richard Nixon. The first edition of Silent Coup was published in 1991, followed quickly by an expanded second edition in January 1992.

The prevailing narrative is that Nixon and his high-ranking associates covered up a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate Hotel which had been undertaken to obtain information to be used against Nixon's political rivals. In contrast, Colodny and Gettlin contend that former White House counsel John Dean orchestrated the 1972 Watergate burglary. His motive was argued to have been to protect his future wife Maureen Biner by removing information linking her to a call-girl ring that worked for the DNC. The authors also lay out a case that Nixon's Chief of Staff Alexander Haig was the identity of "Deep Throat", the nickname for an important and then-unidentified source for reporter Bob Woodward. Woodward, a Naval officer before becoming a reporter, had briefed Haig at the White House in 1969 and 1970 and the authors suggest that Haig was a source for the reporters. In 2005 it was revealed that FBI deputy director Mark Felt was the "Deep Throat" informant who had became Woodward's key source after his partner Carl Bernstein was able to locate hush money paid to the DNC burglars in Miami, Florida.[1]


The Washington Post described Silent Coup as one of "the most boring conspiracy books ever written," filled with "wild charges and vilifications." The New York Times Book Review attacked Silent Coup's argument that Nixon was "an innocent victim" and said it showed "a stunning ignorance of how the Government under Mr. Nixon operated."


In 1992 John and Maureen Dean sued Nixon "plumber" G. Gordon Liddy for libel, after Liddy supported the core claims in Silent Coup. Liddy's testimony was the first time he spoke publicly in detail about the Watergate break-in, as he had refused to cooperate with investigators during the Watergate scandal. The libel case was dismissed without prejudice and was later refiled. In 2001 a federal judge declared a mistrial after the jury was deadlocked, and dismissed the $5.1 million defamation lawsuit.[2]

The Deans also sued St. Martin's Press, publisher of Silent Coup. St. Martin's settled the case for an undisclosed sum.[2] Len Colodny also settled with John Dean. While both cases involved terms Dean cannot discuss, he has gone on record in the preface to his 2006 book, Conservatives Without Conscience, that he is "pleased" with the outcome.[3]

In 2001, former DNC secretary Ida Wells unsuccessfully sued Liddy in US District Court in Baltimore on the same basis as Dean had, the court declared a mistrial.


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