Hougan’s Secret Agenda
Here is Jim Hougan’s summation on the Watergate scandal as it came to be seen:
“For the affair to be seen in black-and-white terms…there was room for only one victim and one villain. Accordingly, it was politically expedient for both the press and the prosecutors to gloss over or ignore any contradictions that arose. The case was to be treated as a moral fable: an open-and-shut case of political espionage carried out by the bad guys in the White House against the good guys in the Democratic Party.” 
But, as Hougan makes clear, James McCord sabotaged the burglary, and the question arises as to why he would do that. Obviously, Hougan dismisses the possibility that McCord was out to get Richard Nixon, for the simple reason that he, McCord, could not have known that the ensuring events would affect Nixon so dramatically.
But as Hougan argues, sabotaging the burglary “would put an end to any further assaults on the DNC.” McCord was, Hougan argues, “concerned that Magruder’s operation would jeopardize the DNC’s relationship to the Columbia Plaza [call girl operation]. [McCord’s] actions … had one common denominator: they preserved the Democrats’ secrets for the CIA’s exclusive consumption.”
As Hougan noted: “the DNC contained an explosive secret: its relationship to prostitutes at the Columbia Plaza Apartments. And … McCord was determined to preserve the monopoly that his secret principals held on that relationship. Neither he nor the agency wanted the Columbia Plaza operation exposed, and neither were they willing to share everything with the Nixon administration…. The conclusion is inescapable that McCord sabotaged the June 16 break-in to protect an ongoing CIA operation. In doing so, he cannot have acted spontaneously; sabotaging a break-in was a desperate action.” [211-212]
Of course, it’s obvious that the Democrats didn’t want the Columbia Plaza operation and its call girl ring exposed. But then neither did the Nixon administration because it couldn’t be certain of the revelations that might be forthcoming. As Hougan put is, the call girl ring was definitely “explosive.” So, not surprisingly, “the White House itself became a collaborator, acquiescing [that] the burglars [were] ‘bunglers’” and that the break in was “’a third-rate burglary’ unworthy of serious investigation.”  So, contra Hougan’s argument, while the White House’s response “discouraged scrutiny of the burglars’ own motives, and buried evidence that was at least mitigating,” that response wasn’t, as Hougan put it, a “reflexive pursuit of [a] cover-up.”
The White House collaborated in the construction of the “moral fable” that this as “an open-and-shut case of political espionage carried out by…bad guys…against…good guys” in order to conceal the sexual corruption of America’s elites. They didn’t realize or suspect that that collaboration would eventually lead to Nixon’s resignation. Portraying the burglars as bunglers wasn’t enough to save Nixon; it was just too easy to portray him as a real bad guy.
And it is important to understand the CIA, in overseeing and even perhaps creating operations like the one at the Columbia Plaza Apartments, didn’t create the sexually perverse character of America’s elites; rather, it was merely using the sexual proclivities of the elites for its own purposes. That is, if America’s elites did not have certain sexual proclivities or perversions, the CIA’s operations would not have borne fruit, so to speak. As with con men so often, the “conned” collaborate with the con men in order to profit in some way. Eliot Spitzer’s enemies, for example, brought him down, but it was Spitzer’s sexual proclivities that made this possible. Spitzer collaborated in his own downfall.
Hougan’s conclusions regarding McCord’s secret agenda put John Dean’s actions in an interesting light as well. Dean had to know of the Columbia Plaza call girl ring and of its connection with Phillip Bailley because his then girlfriend, Mo Biner, was close friends with the woman who oversaw that call girl operation. And, of course, even Dean does not deny that he knew Phillip Bailley or Heidi/Cathy of the call girl ring. Mo Biner, now, Mo Dean even has a picture of herself and Heidi/Cathy in her memoir. So, it might be fair to say that Dean got Magruder to get Hunt, et. al., to go back into the Watergate in June not to bug phones – and no bugs were found there - but to get documentary evidence of the call girl ring and its connection to the DNC. Hence, the key to Maxie Wells desk and the camera equipment on her desk, found when the burglars were arrested.
Dean might have been unaware of the ring’s connection to the CIA, as Bailley was unaware. That is, he might have been unaware as were Magruder and Liddy of the CIA’s involvement with the Columbia Plaza operation and its connection to the DNC. But however, that might be, Dean was after what he had been after in New York City when he sent functionaries to New York to gather intell on the “Happy Hooker’s” operation and her clientele, intell he couldn’t use because the sexual perversion was pervasive enough to encompass Republicans as well Democrats. Perhaps Dean thought the intell he could gather from the DNC would be more usable because it would be limited to Democrats.
But, of course, once the burglars had been arrested, Dean had to do all he could to cover-up his role in the burglaries. And in that regard, he had as his allies, some perhaps unknown to himself, like the CIA. Nixon, on the other hand, didn’t have allies and, in fact, unbeknownst to himself, had enemies like John Dean. It’s ironic: Nixon had an “enemies list” and it was eventually his enemies that took him out, with his collaboration of course. So it goes!