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Watergate Figure Also Has Real-Life "A-Team" : New Liddy Academy Teaches Counterterrorism

August 24, 1986|BILL LOHMANN | United Press International

At the G. Gordon Liddy Academy of Corporate Security and Private Investigation, the teachers are ex-commandos and the tuition includes ammunition but not room and board.

Like its namesake, the Liddy Academy, which made its debut recently in Miami with 10 students paying $2,700 apiece, is an original.

"It's the only thing of its kind that exists," said Liddy, the former Nixon aide who spent more than four years in prison for his role in the Watergate break-in.

Now Teaching Others

Now the tight-lipped mastermind of that fiasco is teaching others how to fend off such intrusions and assorted similar deeds.

"There isn't any other real security training in this country," Liddy said in a telephone interview from his Maryland home. "There are some companies which make an attempt to train their own people, but they don't have the facilities or instructors.

"The only way to get similar training would be to become an FBI agent or work for the CIA."

Only the First Act

The three-week course in Miami is only the first act of a show that Liddy plans to take on the road to other U.S. cities.

The New York leg of the tour, scheduled for August, was pushed back to September by "an enormous response," said Jack Sague, a spokesman for G. Gordon Liddy and Associates Inc. in Miami, a polygraph testing company and a private investigation firm, and the parent company for the school,

"We need more time to process the applications," Sague said.

The 10 students in the Miami course, who range from corporate security employees to private investigators, spent their first days of study learning proper investigative techniques, lie detection and surveillance methods.

Counterterrorism Tactics

The exciting part of the curriculum, featuring field exercises at undisclosed locations in Miami, includes hand-to-hand combat, electronic eavesdropping, weapons training, hostage negotiations and counterterrorism tactics.

The faculty includes former Israeli commandos, former Drug Enforcement Agency investigators, security experts and Liddy himself.

The academy had dozens of inquiries, from corporations and individuals, but turned down more prospective students than were accepted.

Criminal Types Not Wanted

"We had to turn down numerous people (who applied) because they had previous criminal records," Sague said. "We wouldn't want a criminal type who could use this knowledge to their advantage."

To some, the idea of Liddy running a security school is ironic. To others, it is fitting.

"It is somewhat ironic," said Olaf Rankis, vice president of G. Gordon Liddy and Associates and an intelligence consultant. "But I don't think there's another man in the country with more experience."

The academy is not the only new Liddy endeavor raising curiosity across the nation. There also is his "Hurricane Force," a real-life "A-Team," that is available for hire immediately.

The 10-man strike force--including former Israeli, British and Cuban commandos--is billed as the only private anti-terrorist team of its kind. The unit will go anywhere in the world and do just about anything: deliver ransoms, rescue kidnap victims and coach executives stationed abroad in techniques to avoid abduction.

The fee is between $500,000 and $1 million--depending on the equipment needed and the risk involved.

'We Are Set Up'

"American businesses are operating all over the world, and right now there is a terrorism problem throughout the world," Liddy said. "We are set up to handle the problem as you wish."

Liddy said the "Hurricane Force" will be careful not to embarrass any law enforcement agency but also will not "call the government every time we get involved in anything."

Liddy said the feedback to the counterterrorism outfit has been positive, but warned that the group is not simply a do-anything-for-money outfit.

"I don't think we'd be inclined to rescue a drug dealer who has been imprisoned in Mexico by Mexican authorities," he said. "They would have the need and the money, but we wouldn't be interested in helping. We want to help legitimate people who have been victimized."

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