L. Patrick Gray

L. Patrick Gray

Infobox Officeholder
name =Louis Patrick Gray III

imagesize =150px

caption =L. Patrick Gray
order =2nd Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
term_start =May 3, 1972
term_end =April 27, 1973
president =Richard Nixon
deputy =W. Mark Felt
predecessor =J. Edgar Hoover
successor =William D. Ruckelshaus
birth_date =July 18, 1916
birth_place =St. Louis, Missouri
death_date =July 6, 2005
death_place =Atlantic Beach, Florida
constituency =
party =
spouse =Beatrice Gray
profession =
religion =

footnotes =

Louis Patrick Gray III (July 18, 1916 – July 6, 2005) was acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from May 2, 1972 to April 27, 1973. During this time, the FBI was in charge of the initial investigation into the burglaries that sparked the Watergate scandal, which eventually lead to the resignation of President Nixon. Gray was nominated as permanent Director by Nixon on February 15, 1973 but failed to win Senate confirmation. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=236] He resigned on April 27, 1973, after he admitted to destroying non-Watergate-related documents given to him by White House counsel, John Dean. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=244]

By the time Gray had successfully defended himself against five federal grand juries and four committees of Congress, he had been vilified by the press and denounced by the prosecutors who could not prove his guilt. Gray remained silent about the Watergate scandal for 32 years, speaking to the press only once, at the end of his life and shortly after his second in command at the FBI, Mark Felt, publicly announced that he was the secret source to the "Washington Post" known as “Deep Throat”.

Early career

Gray was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 18, 1916, the eldest son of a Texas railroad worker. He worked three jobs while attending schools in St. Louis and Houston, Texas, graduating from St. Thomas High School in 1932, at the age of 16 (having skipped two grades). Gray initially attended Rice University, however, his true goal was to be admitted to the United States Naval Academy. He was finally admitted the Naval Academy in 1936 and he immediately dropped out of Rice University in his senior year so he could attend the Naval Academy.

At the time, however, Gray could not afford the bus or train fare to Annapolis, so he hired on as an apprentice seamen on a tramp steamer out of Galveston. During the journey to Philadelphia (the closest the steamer could get him to Maryland), Gray taught calculus to the ship's captain, a Bulgarian named Frank Solis, in return for basic lessons in navigation. Once in Philadelphia, Gray hitchhiked to Annapolis. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=xix-xx]

Once at the academy, Gray walked onto the football team as the starting quarterback, played varsity lacrosse and boxed as a light heavyweight. In 1940, Gray received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Academy and the Navy commissioned Gray as a line officer, as which he would serve through five submarine war patrols in the Pacific during World War II. Gray suffered a ruptured appendix at the start of his sixth patrol and he was unable to get to a hospital for 17 days, an ordeal that should have killed him. His Academy class of 1940 would go on to suffer more wartime losses than any other class in history.Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=xx]

In 1949, while still serving in the navy, Gray received a J.D. degree from George Washington University Law School where he edited the law review and became a member of the Order of the Coif. He was admitted to practice before the Washington D.C. Bar in 1949; later, he was admitted to practice law by the Connecticut State Bar, the United States Military Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Claims, and the United States Supreme Court. Harvnb | FBI | 2008]

By 1960, Gray's achievements in the Navy included commanding three submarine war patrols during the Korean War, earning the rank of captain two years before he was legally allowed to be paid for it, and serving as congressional liaison officer for the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Chief of Naval Operations. In that same year, when Gray indicated his desire to retire from the Navy, Arleigh Burke the Chief of Naval Operations, told Gray "If you stay, you'll have my job some day." Gray did not stay, and in 1961 joined a Connecticut law firm.

Nixon, the FBI, and Watergate: 1969–1973

In 1969, Gray returned to the federal government and worked under the Nixon administration in several different positions. In 1970, President Nixon appointed him as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division in the Department of Justice. In 1972, Gray was appointed Deputy Attorney General but before he could be confirmed by the full Senate, his nomination was withdrawn. Instead, President Nixon designated him as Acting Director of the FBI after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Gray served in this position for less than a year. Day-to-day operational command of the Bureau remained with Associate Director Mark Felt.

Watergate and the FBI’s investigation

On June 17, 1972, just six weeks after Gray took office at the FBI, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel complex in Washington, D.C.. The culprits were caught in the act by Frank Wills, a security guard at the Watergate Complex.

Gray first learned of the Watergate break-ins on June 17 from Wes Grapp, the SAC of the Los Angeles field office. Gray immediately called Mark Felt, his second in command. At the time, Felt only had limited information, remaining unclear as to whether it was a burglary or bombing attempt. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=59]

Felt had more information the next day, when he informed Gray that the burglars had connections to the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP), one of which was the head of security for the committee, and that at least one listening device had been found. Gray recalled the conversation concluding with the exchange:

“Are you absolutely certain that we have jurisdiction?” I asked.“I’m sure of it,” he [Felt] answered.“Just check it and be absolutely certain,” I ordered. “And then investigate it to the hilt with no holds barred.” [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=60]

On the same day, Gray also met later-identified Watergate conspirator Fred Larue in California on Sunday, June 18, 1972 -- the day after the five Watergate burglars were arrested. The two discussed Watergate, according to Larue, and made arrangements to meet again back in Washington D.C. [Harvnb | Emery| 1995 | p=157] In his own memoir, Gray relates the LaRue meeting as a chance encounter at a hotel swimming pool and quotes their entire Watergate-related conversation:

“The Watergate thing is a hell of a thing,” he said.“You bet it is, Fred,” I answered. “We're going to investigate the hell out of it.”That was all either of us said about it. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=60-61]

For the first six months of the investigation, Gray remained heavily involved. It was only when it became apparent that the White House was involved that Gray recused himself from the investigation and handed control over to Mark Felt. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=65]

The cover-up

On June 23, 1972, White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman and President Nixon held one of the infamous “smoking gun” conversations in which they conspired to use the CIA to block the FBI investigation into the money trail leading from the Watergate burglars to the Committee to Re-elect the President, which would constitute hard evidence that Committee members were involved in the planning of the burglaries.

According to Gray, this plan was first put into action when he had a meeting with Vernon Walters, then deputy directory of the CIA, in which he quotes Walters as falsely saying, “If the investigation gets pushed further south of the border… it could trespass onto some of our covert projects. Since you’ve got these five men under arrest, it will be best to taper the matter off here.” This conversation implicitly stated that the FBI should not interview Manuel Ogarrio and Kenneth Dahlberg, individuals connected with the money used to fund the Watergate burglars. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=72]

This would later be backed up by the Director of the CIA, Richard Helms, when he specifically told Gray that Karl Wagner and John Caswell should also not be interviewed, as they were, he stated, active CIA agents at the time. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=77]

The basis for such a request came from a long-standing understanding between the CIA and the FBI that they would not reveal each other’s informants. This effort by the White House and the CIA succeeded in delaying the interviews of both Ogarrio and Dahlberg for a little more than one week, at which point Gray and his senior FBI staff, including Mark Felt, Charlie Bates, and Bob Kunkel, decided that, due the increasing importance of these individuals in the investigation, they needed a written request from the CIA not to interview them, which would have to state in greater detail the reasons for not interviewing these individuals. Once the decision was made, Gray called Vernon Walters and demanded that written request the next morning, or he would order the interviews to go forth. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=85-87]

The next morning, Vernon Walters arrived and delivered a three-page memorandum, marked “SECRET” that did ‘’not’’ ask the FBI to hold-off on the interviews of Ogarrio and Daghlberg. The meeting concluded with Walters suggesting to Gray that he should warn the President that some members of the White House staff were hindering the FBI’s investigation. After the investigation, Gray ordered the immediate interviews of both Ogarrio and Daghlberg. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=88-89]

Ultimately, the CIA cover-up succeeded in little more than delaying the FBI investigation no more than two weeks.

Felt and the search for the source

The White House tapes reveal that Bob Haldeman told Nixon that Felt was the source of leaks of confidential information contained in the FBI’s investigation to various members of the press, including Bob Woodward of the ‘’Washington Post’’. Gray claimed that he resisted five separate demands from the White House to fire Felt stating that he believed Felt's assurances that he was not the source. Eventually Gray demanded to know who was claiming Felt to be leaking. Attorney general Richard Kleindienst told Gray that Roswell Gilpatric, former deputy secretary of defense under John F. Kennedy and now outside general counsel to "Time", had told John Mitchell that Felt was leaking to Sandy Smith. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=133]

After Felt admitted in the May 2005 Vanity Fair article that he lied to Gray about leaking to the press, Gray claimed that Felt's bitterness at being passed over was the cause of his decision to leak to "Time", the "Washington Post", and others. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=280]

The confirmation hearings

In 1973, Gray was nominated as Hoover's permanent successor as head of the FBI. This action by President Nixon confounded many, coming at a time when revelations of involvement by Nixon administration officials in the Watergate Scandal were coming to the forefront. Under his direction, the FBI had been accused of mishandling the investigation into the break-in, doing a cursory job and refusing to investigate the possible involvement of administration officials. Gray's Senate confirmation hearing was to become the Senate's first opportunity to ask pertinent questions about Watergate.

During the confirmation hearing, Gray defended his bureau's investigation. During questioning, he volunteered that he had provided copies of some of the files on the investigation to White House Counsel John Dean, who had told Gray he was conducting an investigation for the President. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=191-193] Gray testified that before turning over the files to Dean, he had been advised by the FBI's own legal counsel that he was required by law to comply with Dean's order. He confirmed that the investigation supported claims made by the "Washington Post" and other sources of dirty tricks committed and funded by the Committee to Re-Elect the President, notably activities of questionable legality committed by Donald Segretti. The White House had for months steadfastly denied any involvement in such activities.

During the hearings, Gray testified that Dean had "probably lied" to the FBI, [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=225] increasing the suspicions of many of a cover-up . The Nixon administration was so angered by this statement that John Ehrlichman told John Dean that Gray should be left to "twist slowly, slowly in the wind."

Destruction of documents and resignation from the FBI

On June 21, 1972, Gray met with John Dean and John Ehrlichman in Ehrlichman’s office. During this meeting, Gray was handed several envelopes full of documents from the personal safe of E. Howard Hunt. Dean instructed Gray, in the presence of John Ehrlichman, that the documents were “national security documents. These should never see the light of day." [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=81-82] Dean further repeatedly told Gray that the documents were not Watergate related.

Six months later, Gray admitted to bringing the documents to his family incinerator, skimming some of the pages to see some references to the assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem, and then dropped them into the incinerator.

After learning from Ehrlichman that John Dean was cooperating with the U.S. attorney and would be revealing to him what happened on June 21, Gray told his staunchest congressional supporter, Senator Lowell Weicker, so that he might be prepared for that revelation. As a result, Senator Weicker leaked this revelation to some chosen reporters. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=238-243]

Following this revelation, Gray resigned from the FBI on April 27, 1973.

Aftermath 1973–2005

For the next eight years, Gray was forced to defend his actions as acting FBI director, testifying before five federal grand juries and four committees of congress. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=xxi]

On October 7, 1975, the Watergate Special Prosecutor informed Gray that the last Watergate-related investigation of him had been formally closed. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=267] Gray was never indicted in relation to Watergate but the scandal dogged him afterwards.

In 1978, Gray was indicted along with Mark Felt and Assistant Director Edward Miller for allegedly having approved illegal break-ins during the Nixon administration. Gray vehemently denied the charges and they were dropped in 1980. Felt and Miller, who had approved the illegal break-ins during the tenures of four separate FBI directors, including J. Edgar Hoover, Gray, William Ruckelshaus, and Clarence Kelley, were convicted and later pardoned by President Ronald Reagan. Exonerated by the Watergate Special Prosecution Force after a two-year investigation, [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=265-267] Gray returned to his law practice in Connecticut.

On June 26, 2005, mere days before his death from pancreatic cancer, Gray spoke about the Watergate scandal for the first time in 32 years, after the Vanity Fair article that claimed his former deputy Mark Felt was the secret informant Deep Throat. Gray told ABC's "This Week" that he was in "total shock, total disbelief," noting, "It was like I was hit with a tremendous sledgehammer."

In an article written in 2005 by the Felt family's attorney, [Harvnb | O'Connor | 2005] deputy director Mark Felt, by then suffering from memory loss, [Harvnb | Woodward | 2005 | pp=149-183] claimed to be Deep Throat, the famous source of leaks to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Gray's posthumously-published Watergate book, "In Nixon's Web", disputes this claim, citing Woodward's own notes and other evidence as proof that Deep Throat was a fictional composite made up of several Woodward sources, only one of whom was Felt. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | pp=289-302]

Before his death, Gray, using his extensive and never-released personal Watergate files, began working on his memoirs with his son, Ed Gray, who finished them. The book, entitled "In Nixon's Web: A Year in the Crosshairs of Watergate" was published on March 4, 2008 by Times Books, a division of Henry Holt and Company.


In 1945, Gray visited Beatrice Kirk DeGarmo, the widow of his classmate at the Naval Academy, Ed DeGarmo. A year later, in 1946, he and "Bea" were married, and he would adopt her two sons, Alan and Ed. They would have two more of their own, Patrick and Stephen. At the time of his death, Gray was survived by his wife, four children, fourteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. [Harvnb | HIGH | 2008]

Gray's Documents

Gray was a meticulous record keeper, a fact most easily evidenced by the forty boxes of personal records he took with him from his year with the FBI. [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=303] This archive would grow even after Gray left the FBI as a direct result of the legal proceedings in which he was forced to take part in the years to follow.

This archive has become what is undoubtedly the "most complete set of Watergate investigative records outside the government." [Harvnb | Gray III | Gray | 2008 | p=304] The Gray family intends one day to make these records available to the public, although it remains in private hands at the moment and subject to very limited access.

ee also


Further reading

title =Biographical entry
publisher = St. Thomas High School Hall of Honor
url =http://www.sths.org/about/hallofhonor/hohgraynews.html
accessdate =2008-07-02

* Citation
last =Emery
first =Fred
title =Watergate: The Corruption of American Politics and the Fall of Richard Nixon
publisher =Simon & Schuster
isbn =0684813238
ref = CITEREF_Emery_1995

title =Directors, Then and Now
publisher = The Federal Bureau of Investigation
url =http://www.fbi.gov/libref/directors/gray.htm
accessdate =2008-08-07

* Citation
last =Gray III
first =L. Patrick
last2 =Gray
first2 =Ed
title =In Nixon's Web: A Year in the Crosshairs of Watergate
publisher =Times Books/Henry Holt
isbn =0805082565
ref = CITEREF_Gray_III_Gray_2008

* Citation
last =O'Connor
first =John D.
publication-date =July 2005
title =I'm the Guy They Called Deep Throat
periodical = Vanity Fair
url =http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2005/07/deepthroat200507
accessdate =2 July 2008
ref = CITEREF_O'Connor_2005

* Citation
last =Simeone
first =John
last2 =Jacobs
first2 =David
publication-date =2002
title =Complete Idiot's Guide to the FBI
publisher =Alpha Books
isbn =002864400X

last =Theoharis
first =Athan G.
author-link =Athan G. Theoharis
publication-date =2000
title =The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide
publication-place =New York
publisher =Checkmark Books

* Citation
last =Woodward
first =Bob
author-link =Bob Woodward
publication-date =2005
title =The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat
publisher =Simon & Schuster
isbn =0743287150
ref = CITEREF_Woodward_2005

External links

*This article is based in part on the FBI-Biography http://www.fbi.gov/libref/directors/gray.htm
* [http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Obit-Gray.html L. Patrick Gray, Deep Throat's Boss at F.B.I., Dies at 88] . "New York Times", 6 July 2005.
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/27/politics/27gray.html Ex-F.B.I. Chief Calls Deep Throat's Unmasking a Shock] . "New York Times", 27 June 2005.
* [http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Politics/story?id=883440&page=1 'Deep Throat's' Ex-Boss Shocked by Revelation] . "ABC News This Week", 26 June 2005.
* [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002364134_grayobit07.html Obituary] . "Seattle Times", 7 July 2005.
* [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB156/ White House Tapes relating to FBI] . "National Security Archives", 2 July 2008.
* [http://www.sths.org/about/hallofhonor/hohgraynews.html"Biographical entry] . "St. Thomas High School Hall of Honor", 2 July 2008.
* [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23520836#23520836 Ed Gray on "Morning Joe."] "MSNBC", 7 March 2008.
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/washington/09gray.html Ex-F.B.I. Chief’s Book Revisits Watergate] "New York Times", 09 March 2008.
* [http://www.lpatrickgrayiii.com www.lpatrickgrayiii.com]
* [http://lpatrickgrayiii.com/rosenreview.html Gray in Black and White] . "The American Spectator", June 2008.

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