The Economist, in a review of a recent Nixon biography, repeats an old allegation against Chuck Colson:
Chuck Colson, Nixon’s general counsel who famously said that he would run over his grandmother for his boss, once contemplated firebombing the Brookings Institution, a stately think-tank, and then sending in FBI officers dressed as firemen to steal a document that Nixon wanted.
Colson admits to doing many unsavory things in his time before converting to Christianity, but he prefers to be infamous only for the real ones, writing:
SIR – I noticed that your review of a biography of Richard Nixon referred to me in a couple of unflattering ways, including the notion that I contemplated firebombing the Brookings Institution (“The fuel of power”, May 10th). You need to know, if it ever does any good, that this is untrue. The fellow that testified about it during Watergate has totally recanted.
It is not true that I ever urged or suggested it. It was the idea of one Jack Caulfield, who told me about it in the White House men’s room, and I told him he was crazy. Mr Caulfield called me one day and said he wanted to make amends; that I had been unfairly treated, and he was sorry. He later confirmed this to Jonathan Aitken, who wrote a biography of me. I don’t know if it does any good to try to change these things now, but that is the fact.
I was able to locate the relevant passage of Aitken’s book, Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed, online and it confirms Colson’s claim. It’s not well-known that Caulfield recanted his allegation, so the Economist doesn’t look all that bad. Still, fact-checking is supposed to be the big advantage of the mainstream media, isn’t it?