Frederick LaRue


Frederick Cheney LaRue was born in Athens, Texas, on 11th October, 1928. His father, Ike LaRue, had been in prison for fraud before becoming immensely rich after discovering oil in Mississippi.

LaRue trained as a geologist before joining his father's oil and gas business. He was first cousin of Sid Richardson, the Texas oil and ranching tycoon. In 1957 the family sold one of its oilfields for $30m. Soon afterwards LaRue killed his father while duck-shooting.

LaRue had extreme right-wing opinions and worked for Barry Goldwater as a political adviser. After Goldwater's crushing defeat in the 1964 presidential election, LaRue joined Richard Nixon. He helped Nixon in the 1968 campaign and afterwards served as one of his political advisers.

In 1972 LaRue worked with John Mitchell on Nixon's re-election committee. On 20th March, LaRue attended a meeting of the committee where it was agreed to spend $250,000 "intelligence gathering" operation against the Democratic Party. This included the decision to plant electronic devices from the Democratic campaign offices in an apartment block calledWatergate.

LaRue now decided that it would be necessary to pay Frank Sturgis, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, Bernard L. Barker, E.Howard Hunt and James W. McCord large sums of money to secure their silence. LaRue raised $300,000 in hush money. Tony Ulasewicz, a former New York policeman, was given the task of arranging the payments.

Hugh Sloan, testified that LaRue told him that he would have to commit perjury in order to protect the conspirators. LaRue was arrested and eventually found guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice. He was sentenced to three years in jail but only served four months before being released.

Over the years it has been claimed that LaRue was Deep Throat, the man who leaked crucial information about Watergate to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. LaRue always denied this charge. Woodward said he would reveal the identity of Deep Throat after his source had died.

In 2003 Jeb Magruder claimed that Richard Nixon approved the Watergate plan in a telephone conversation with Mitchell. LaRue denied this and told The Sun Herald newspaper that Magruder lied when he claimed Nixon knew about the break-in.

Frederick Cheney LaRue was found dead in his hotel room in Biloxi, Mississippi and it is believed he died three days earlier on 24th July, 2004.

Primary Sources

(1) Jeb Stuart Magruder, An American Life (1974)

Fred LaRue, who was about six years my senior and became one of my closest friends in Washington, was an introverted, soft-spoken Mississippian whose life had been haunted by tragedy. Fred's father, Ike LaRue, was an oil man and a cousin of the Texas oil millionaire Sid Richardson. Ike LaRue was sent to prison in Texas for banking violations, and upon his release started over in the oil business in Mississippi. In 1954 he and his sons, Fred and Ike Jr., struck oil in the Bolton field, twenty miles from Jackson, and made a fortune. Then, three years later, in 1957, during a duck hunting trip in Canada, Fred LaRue accidentally shot and killed his father.

LaRue continued in the oil business, and also became a behind-the-scenes power in Mississippi politics. He had ties to both parties, for although a Republican he was close to Democratic Senator James Eastland. In 1964 he was a major contributor to the Goldwater campaign, and in 1967 he became an early and substantial contributor to the Nixon cause. In the process he became a close friend of John Mitchell's. When Nixon became President, LaRue moved into an office in the White House. He had no title and was paid no salary, but Mitchell and other top figures consulted him on political affairs, particularly with regard to southern politics.

LaRue had neither the desire nor the talent for an out-front role. He was homely, had extremely poor eyesight, and was not a good public speaker. His talents were for a backstage role. Because he was likable, sincere, and politically astute, he was excellent at dealing with people and in negotiating internal problems, such as the disputes we at CRP had with the Republican National Committee over its campaign role.

(2) Douglas Martin, New York Times (29th July, 2004)

After Nixon's election in 1968, Mr. LaRue worked in the White House without title or salary. Partly through his friendship with Senator James O. Eastland, the Mississippi Democrat who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. LaRue helped to win confirmation for Nixon's nominees to the federal bench.

"He was an elusive, anonymous, secret operator at the highest levels of the shattered Nixon power structure," The New York Times reported in 1973. "He is a man of personal mystery, too - a latter-day character, it sometimes seemed, out of a Southern gothic novel."

(3) St Petersburg Times (28th July, 2004)

Fred LaRue, a Watergate figure and high-ranking Nixon administration official who once was rumored to be Deep Throat, has died of natural causes. He was 75.

His body was discovered Tuesday by a maid who entered his hotel room in Biloxi, Coroner Gary Hargrove said. The coroner said he believes Mr. LaRue died Saturday (July 24, 2004).

Mr. LaRue was known as the "bagman" who delivered payoffs to keep participants in the Watergate breakin quiet, and served 41/2 months in federal prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Mr. LaRue served as special assistant to John Mitchell, the former attorney general who later headed President Richard Nixon's reelection committee. Mr. LaRue was at a 1972 meeting with Mitchell and Nixon aide Jeb Stuart Magruder in Key Biscayne, where the plan to break into the Watergate complex allegedly was hatched.

After his political career ended in scandal, Mr. LaRue returned to his home state of Mississippi to work in his family's business.

Mr. LaRue discounted rumors that he was Deep Throat, saying the mysterious source for Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein was not one person, but probably a combination of people.

(4) Las Vegas Times (28th July, 2004)

LaRue discounted rumors that he was Deep Throat, saying the mysterious source for Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the Watergate story was probably a combination of several people.

Woodward says Deep Throat was an individual and not a composite, and promised to reveal his identity only after the source is dead. A request for comment from Woodward left with the newspaper Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Among the other people who have been cited as possible Deep Throats are Earl J. Silbert, an original Watergate prosecutor; Alexander Haig, who was Nixon's chief of staff and Ronald Reagan's secretary of state; L. Patrick Gray, the acting FBI director who lived four blocks from Woodward; and deputy White House counsel Fred Fielding. All have denied it.