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Passings : Charles A. Nuzum

FBI agent led Watergate probe

August 26, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Charles A. Nuzum, 85, the FBI agent in charge of the agency's investigation into the Watergate burglary, died Aug. 2 at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital in Florida after a fall.

Nuzum oversaw the probe into the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic national headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., when he was chief of the FBI's bankruptcy, antitrust and wiretapping unit.

The investigation uncovered the connection of the White House to the burglary and of the burglary to wide-ranging crimes undertaken to punish perceived political enemies of President Nixon's administration.

Nuzum reported the team's findings to his superiors, including Robert Gebhardt, assistant director of the FBI's investigative division. Gebhardt sent the reports to W. Mark Felt, the agency's associate director, who was revealed in 2005 to have been Deep Throat, a key source for the Washington Post reporters who covered the scandal.

Felt sent the reports to the FBI's acting director, L. Patrick Gray, who later admitted sharing FBI interviews of suspects with the White House.

"We had many sleepless nights . . . because there were obstacles to the investigation," said the now-retired Gebhardt, adding that Nuzum "knew it was one of the biggest cases the FBI ever had."

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